At the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles on Sunday, producers and investigators behind Reelz Channel's new documentary "JFK: The Smoking Gun" made the claim that George Hickey, a Secret Service agent riding in the car behind Kennedy, accidentally shot the president on Nov. 22, 1963. The film follows veteran police detective Colin McLaren in his four-year investigation of the assassination and points at Hickey, who died two years ago.
McLaren's research built on the work of Howard Donahue, who spent 20 years studying the assassination and had his findings documented in Bonar Menninger’s book Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK, A ballistics expert's astonishing discovery of the fatal bullet that Oswald did not fire
Addressing the crowd, McLaren claimed that Hickey and otherSecret Service agents were out partying the night before Kennedy's fatal motorcade drive through Dallas. Based on his painstaking investigation, McLaren said, evidence suggests Hickey was not qualified to use the weapon he was holding the morning of the shooting.
"It was his first time in the follow car, his first time holding the assault weapon he was using,"
McLaren said he believes that Hickey's weapon had hollow-point rounds -- different from the ammunition for the weapon used by Lee Harvey Oswald, whom the Warren Commission declared in 1964 was the lone gunman in the case. Menninger and McLaren said that based on their review of the forensics in the case, they believe that Kennedy was also struck by a hollow-point round.
Oswald was killed before he could stand trial, but the case has continued to inspire various theories around just how the tragedy occurred. Books and films have advanced different ideas -- including a second shooter theory.
"We're not saying this was intentional," Menninger said Sunday. "This was a tragic accident in the heat of the moment."
"We don't suggest he was in any way involved in a conspiracy," Menninger added.
Donahue wrote about his theory decades ago, but McLaren said it's taken decades -- and the release of thousands of JFK-related documents during the Clinton administration -- for a proper review of all the evidence and information related to the case. The authors acknowledged Sunday that there are many other books and films on the assassination, but said theirs is unique because it is based on a new review of the documents released during the 1990s.
McLaren and Menninger also alleged that the government -- including Robert F. Kennedy -- covered up the involvement of the Secret Service and Hickey.
The producers were pressed on how the alleged involvement of the Secret Service could be covered up for 50 years.
"Nobody was going to gain" from having this out there, Menninger said.
"We're not here to blacken the name" of Hickey or any otherindividual, or the modern-day Secret Service, McLaren said.
Menninger discussed the fact that he was sued by Hickey in the 1990s, but noted that despite a settlement, his publisher never removed his book from the shelves.
"I'm sure that [Hickey] suffered greatly from this," Menninger said. "The fact that he passed on -- maybe it's time to talk about it."
"Our documentary is going to be the only one that has opened the case forensically and looked at the evidence from the beginning and examined everything that happened that day in Dealey Plaza," Michael Prupas, the film's executive director, said.
Reelz Channel gained notice two years ago for airing the miniseries "The Kennedys," which some historical experts criticized as an unflattering portrayal of the family.
"No other network will touch these things," Reelz's CEO Stanley E. Hubbard said Sunday.
The documentary is set to air on Nov. 3, 2013, according to a press release. - THP
The Reelz Channel will mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination this November with a documentary dusting off the theory that he was actually killed by "friendly fire" from a clumsy Secret Service agent.
"JFK: The Smoking Gun," which will premiere Nov. 3, is based on the book Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK, A ballistics expert's astonishing discovery of the fatal bullet that Oswald did not fire
by Bonar Menninger, buttressed with a four-year investigation by Australian detective Colin McLaren.
Their work, McLaren and Menninger told TV writers here Sunday, stems from an earlier book by Howard Donahue that reached the same conclusion.
Specifically, "The Smoking Gun" says the fatal bullet was fired by an inexperienced Secret Service agent named George Hickey.
Hickey was riding in the follow-up car behind JFK's limousine in Dallas's Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963.
When Lee Harvey Oswald fired his first shot, the authors say, Hickey responded by trying to fire back with his Secret Service-issued AR-15.
But because he was inexperienced with the weapon and the car lurched forward, they say, his shot went awry and accidentally killed the President - who was also hit, but quite possibly not fatally wounded, by Oswald's second shot.
"There was no conspiracy," says McLaren. "We're just saying a second shooter fired the fatal round."
"The only conspiracy," said executive producer Michael Prupas, "was the subsequent coverup."
McLaren said much of the evidence from that day, including autopsy photos, was spirited away. But some of it was released starting in the 1990s, when he said a gag order was also lifted on those involved with the immediate investigation.
He said his conclusions were based on both witness testimony and forensic evidence.
Specifically, he said the trajectory of the fatal shot, its "blow-out" effect and the size of the entrance wound were all inconsistent with the ammunition Oswald was using, but in line with the ammunition used in Secret Service weapons.
Hickey, who died two years ago, sued St. Martin's when the Donahue book was published. The suit was dismissed on statute of limitations grounds and McLaren says St. Martin's paid a "nominal settlement" to Hickey to preclude an appeal.
McLaren says he made numerous attempts to contact Hickey, who never responded.
More than 800 books have tackled the Kennedy assassination, which McLaren called the "Holy Grail" of assassination cases. Another two dozen are scheduled this fall, along with a dozen or so TV series.
The 1960s Warren Commission report, which concluded Oswald was the lone gunman, has stood as the official explanation for the assassination. - NY Daily New
NOTE: I find it hard to believe that if this were the case, how was it covered-up for 50 years. This theory seems implausible to me...but I will watch the documentary. Lon