The conspiracy to assassinate John Kennedy began in a series of discussions held in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. The men in the discussions were extremely angry that Kennedy had stopped plans and preparations for another invasion of Cuba (scheduled for the latter part of 1963.) One of the instigators was David Ferrie, a CIA contract agent who had been training pilots in Guatemala for the invasion. Meetings held in Ferrie's apartment in New Orleans were attended by Clay Shaw, William Seymour and several Cubans. Plans for assassinating President Kennedy developed out of those early meetings. Others whose support was sought by the group included Guy Banister, Major L. M. Bloomfield, Loran Hall, Lawrence Howard, Sergio Arcacha Smith and Carlos Prio Socarras.
During this period in the summer of 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald was working for Guy Banister on some anti-Castro projects and used the Communist cover of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. Oswald attended some of the meetings where JFK's assassination was discussed.
Oswald either approached the FBI or they approached him in the later summer of 1963, and he began to tell the FBI about the plans of the group to assassinate JFK. Oswald had been a secret informant for the FBI since mid-1962.
In September, the group moved the scene of their planning to Mexico City. There they solicited the assistance of Guy Gabaldin, a CIA agent. Meetings were held in the apartment of Gabaldin, attended by Shaw, Ferrie, Seymour, Gabaldin and Oswald on at least three occasions. Others were brought into the conspiracy at this point. These included John Howard Bowen (alias Albert Osborne), Ronald Augustinovich, Mary Hope, Emilio Santana, Harry Dean, Richard Case Nagell, and "Frenchy" (an adventurer who had been working with Seymour, Santana, Ferrie, Howard and others on the Cuban invasion projects in the Florida Keys). Fred Lee Crisman, Jim Hicks and Jim Braden (alias Eugene Hale Brading) were also recruited at this point.
Oswald continued to inform on the group to the FBI in Dallas. In mid- to late September the assassination group decided to make Oswald the patsy in the murder. They had discussed the need for a patsy in the earliest meetings in New Orleans. Billy Seymour, who resembled Oswald, was selected to use Oswald's name and to plant evidence in New Orleans, Dallas and Mexico, which could later be used to frame him. In addition, another man under CIA surveillance in Mexico City also used Oswald's name in a probable attempt to make it appear that Oswald was headed for Cuba. His name may have been Johnny Mitchell Deveraux. His picture appears in the Warren Commission Volumes as CE 237.
The team needed financial support for the assassination. They received it from Carlos Prio Socarras in Miami, who brought more than 50 million dollars out of Cuba. They also received money from Banister, and from three Texas millionaires who hated Kennedy: Sid Richardson, Clint Murchison, and Jean DeMenil (of the Schlumberger Co.). The Murchison-Richardson contribution also included soliciting the assistance of high-level men in the Dallas police force. They were powerful members of the Dallas Citizens Council that controlled the city at that time.
The group in Mexico City planned to assassinate JFK in Miami, Chicago or Dallas, using different gunmen in each case. The Miami plan failed because the Secret Service found out about it in advance and kept JFK out of the open. The Chicago plan backfired when JFK cancelled his plans to attend the Army-Navy game at Soldiers Field in early November. The group set up two assassination teams for Dallas. One was in Dealey Plaza; the second was near the International Trade Mart where JFK's luncheon speech was to be delivered.
The best evidence of CIA (Deputy-Director of Plans) involvement is the fact that the majority of the known participants were contract agents or direct agents of the CIA. In Mexico City, the meetings were held in the apartment of Guy Gabaldin, a CIA (DDP) agent, working for the Mexico City station chief. Others attending the meetings who were CIA (DDP) contract or direct agents included Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, Albert Osborne, Harry Dean, Richard Case Nagell, Ronald Augustinovich, William Seymour, Emilio Santana and Fred Lee Crisman. It is likely (but not yet provable by direct evidence) that the group sought and obtained from the acting or permanent CIA station chief in Mexico, assistance or approval to go ahead with assassination plans. Tad Szulc claims that a CIA source can prove that E. Howard Hunt was acting station chief in Mexico City at the time of the Gabaldin apartment meetings (August and September 1963). Hunt has denied under oath before the Rockefeller Commission that he was in Mexico.
In 1967 Richard Helms told a group of CIA officials, including Victor Marchetti, that both Clay Shaw and David Ferrie were CIA (DDP) contract agents and that Shaw had to be given CIA protection and assistance in his New Orleans trial. This is a strong indication that Hunt and Helms gave "turn of the head" approval to the Shaw-Ferrie assassination plan as a minimum form of support.
The assassination group, having failed in Miami and Chicago, moved an operational team into Dallas during the second week in November of 1963. Shaw, Ferrie, Gabaldin and other high-level plotters travelled in other directions, establishing alibis as planned. On November 22, Gabaldin was in Mexico City, Shaw was in San Francisco, and Ferrie was in New Orleans. The team moving into Dallas included Albert Osborne, William Seymour, Emilio Santana, Frenchy, Fred Crisman, Jim Hicks, Jim Braden, and a new recruit from Los Angeles, Jack Lawrence. There was also a back-up rifle team of Cubans to be used at a location near the International Trade Mart in the event something went wrong at Dealey Plaza.
The teams stayed at two locations in Dallas for two weeks. One was a rooming house run by a woman named Tammie True. During this period final preparations for the assassination in Dealey Plaza were made. These included the collecting of and planting of evidence used to frame Oswald, the recruiting of the Dallas police participants, and the plans for the escape of the team members by car and by train. The riflemen selected were William Seymour in the Depository Building, Jack Lawrence and Frenchy on the grassy knoll, and Emilio Santana in the Dal Tex building. Jim Hicks was set up as radio coordinator and a man with each of the riflemen had a two-way radio...
Upon a visual and oral signal from the man at the wall and upon a radio command from Hicks, the team fired its first round of shots. Crisman received the command from Hicks and caused Frenchy to fire a shot from a position behind the fence on the knoll, about twenty feet west of the corner of the fence. This shot missed. The umbrella man fired a shot using his small-bore umbrella gun. When this shot struck JFK in the throat, the dart paralyzed JFK and later presented by Commander Humes to the FBI. The shot was fired at Zapruder frame 189: JFK was behind a large oak tree, hidden from the sixth floor window of the TSBD Building. On command from Braden, Emilio Santana fired his first shot two seconds later from the second floor window of the Dal Tex building at Z 225 after JFK came out from behind the sign in Zapruder's film. The shot struck JFK in the back about 5 3/4" down from the collar line, penetrated to a depth of about two inches and stopped. The bullet fell out of JFK's back somewhere in or at the Parkland Hospital, or perhaps travelled down inside the body of the President, and was never recovered.
William Seymour fired his shot from the west end of the TSBD Building upon command from his radio man between Z 230 and Z 237, after Santana's shot. He used a Mauser rifle with no telescopic sight. While he was aiming at JFK, he fired high and to the right, hitting John Connally in the back. The bullet travelled through Connally's chest and then entered his left thigh. The bullet fell out of his thigh in or near Parkland Hospital and was never recovered. Governor Connally's wrist was not hit at that time.
Jack Lawrence did not fire a shot in the first round because from his cupola position he did not have a clear shot.
Hicks gave a second radio command for another round of shots as JFK passed the Stemmons Freeway sign. Emilio Santana fired his second shot between Z 265 and Z 275. The bullet narrowly missed JFK, passed over the top of his head and over the top of the limousine's windshield. It travelled on to strike the south curb of Main Street, breaking off a piece of concrete which flew up and hit James Tague. The bullet either disintegrated or flew into the area beyond the overpass. It was not found.
William Seymour may have fired a second shot which may have struck JFK in the upper right part of his head at Z 312. That bullet disintegrated.
Upon command from his radio man, Jack Lawrence fired his first shot from a pedestal on the west side of the south entrance to the western cupola on the grassy knoll. The shot may have hit Connally's wrist.
Frenchy fired the fatal shot through the trees from his position behind the fence.
The Lawrence shot or possibly the second Seymour shot produced a bullet fragment that passed through Connally's right wrist at Z 313. At that time his wrist was elevated and nearly directly in front of JFK's head, in such a position that Connally's right palm was facing JFK as the governor fell into his wife's arms. The fragment entered the front of his wrist and exited from the back.