The mystery surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy reawakened Tuesday with an academic's announcement: The iconic sound of gunshots long believed to prove their was a second shooter is not gunfire, after all.
Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, had old recordings of the shooting re-analyzed using state-of-the-art technology. He says the recordings do not capture gunshots at all, but the sounds of an idling motorcycle and the rattling of a microphone.
"We found, in fact, that these tapes and recording have no gunshots on them, none," Sabato said. "And the reason is because the policeman who was actually recording them -- because he had a stuck microphone on his motorcycle -- was two miles away at the time of the assassination."
The new information doesn't change the outcome of the investigation, but it does indicate that one piece of evidence from that day is not what it was thought to be, Sabato said.
"The evidence is very, very clear that the House Select Committee on Assassinations simply got it wrong," Sabato said. "Now that doesn't mean that no one else was involved, it doesn't mean that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't encouraged by somebody to do what he did or even that there wasn't somebody else at Dealey Plaza."
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John F. Kennedy was fatally shot on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas while riding in a presidential motorcade with his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally and Connally's wife Nellie through Dealey Plaza.
Sabato, who authored The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy, took another look at two conflicting government reports that followed Kennedy's death.
The Warren Commission report in 1964 found no evidence that anyone assisted Lee Harvey Oswald, but the 1979 report from the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded President Kennedy was "probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy." In fact, the HSCA relied heavily on the recording to prove their was a second shooter at the scene.
Thousands of documents pertaining to the assassination remain classified
Sabato's new book was released Tuesday and is part of a larger project exploring the life and legacy of JFK produced by the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. A website, documentary and a free online course on Kennedy will follow.
A mobile app will also allow users to relive the events of Nov. 22, 1963.