Radford students investigate Kennedy assassination, present findings

Radford University students practicing for the presentations on the Kennedy assassination in the new court room.

Everyone knows what happened on Nov. 22, 1963 – but Radford University students will utilize the new courtroom in the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences (CHBS) to discuss and present findings of controversial aspects of the Kennedy assassination at 5 p.m. on Dec. 6.

The presentations cap a semester-long seminar, team-taught by the Department of Criminal Justice Chair Steve Owen and Criminal Justice Professor Tod Burke, which explored the Kennedy assassination and the controversial issues related to it.

“Throughout the semester, the students have been researching one or more controversial aspects of the Kennedy assassination,” Burke said. “These areas have never been researched by any of the authorized commissions into the Kennedy assassination. The CHBS courtroom is perfect for this presentation because the students will be presenting their findings to a panel of experts, similar to a real commission. The courtroom also provides the latest in technology, not often seen in a traditional courtroom setting.”

The student presentations will include an examination of Lee Harvey Oswald’s psychological profile; the investigation of the Texas Schoolbook Depository procedures following the assassination; an examination of Marina Oswald’s knowledge prior to the assassination; and an in-depth review of the Warren Commission’s interview process. 

“Over the course of the semester, students have studied the assassination through the lens of criminal investigation,” Owen said. “They have developed interesting research and theories that will be shared during the presentations.”

Senior Brianna Guest’s group focused on the mental health of Oswald.

“We read thousands of pages of witness testimonies to determine if Oswald could have possibly had a mental disorder that went undiagnosed, which is a topic that has not been extensively researched,” Guest said. “Considering present-day diagnoses differ from the 1950-60s, we found four possible diagnoses based on our research.”

The findings and conclusions, such as the four possible diagnoses for Oswald, will be heard by a panel of wide-ranging experts, including Bruce Brown, mayor of Radford City; Thomas Goodale, who worked with Ted Sorenson as an aide and liaison to President Kennedy; Emil Moldovan, a retired Investigation lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office and former adjunct instructor in criminal justice at Radford University; Chris Rehak, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Radford; and Don Goodman, Chief of Police for the City of Radford.

The event is open to the entire Radford community. Attendees should enter through CHBS 5011. Seating is extremely limited and will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis. 

Nov 30, 2016
Max Esterhuizen
(540) 831-7749