Winston-Salem man collects Kennedy assassination memorabilia

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Winston-Salem’s Patrick Boyles has researched the events surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy since he saw a magazine article about the tragedy as a teenager. (Bruce Chapman/Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem’s Patrick Boyles has researched the events surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy since he saw a magazine article about the tragedy as a teenager.

Boyles was a 6-year-old first-grader at Moore Elementary School when Kennedy was killed Nov. 22, 1963. A few years later, he saw a magazine article about the assassination that stimulated his interest in the event.

Since then, Boyles has collected boxes full of newspapers, magazine articles and nearly 200 books about the topic.

“There was so much of that stuff that came out,” he said. “There are so many unanswered questions about it. I decided to do my own thing.”

Boyles first traveled to Dallas in 1984 and visited the homes of Kennedy’s accused killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Oswald’s convicted killer, Jack Ruby. Boyles has spoken to people who saw the shooting 50 years ago.

He went to the basement of the Dallas police station where Oswald was shot and the Texas Theatre where Dallas police arrested Oswald. Boyles also visited Parkland Memorial Hospital, where doctors tried unsuccessfully to save Kennedy’s life.

He also found the manhole cover that has a nick, which some sources contend was made by an assassin’s bullet that missed Kennedy.

Boyles planned to travel to Dallas to participate in that city’s 50th anniversary observance of Kennedy’s assassination today.

Boyles, 56, the owner of Jukebox Oldies in Reynolda Village, recently spoke about his research to a communications class at Wake Forest University, and he has presented his work to a history class at a local high school.

Boyles also has collected other memorabilia associated with the assassination, including three death certificates issued in Dallas and by the Bethesda Naval Hospital (now the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.), and the Warren Commission’s report that determined Oswald acted alone and wasn’t part of any domestic or foreign conspiracy to kill Kennedy.

Many Americans, including Boyles, have doubts about the Warren Commission’s findings and believe that Kennedy’s death was the result of a conspiracy.

That falls more in line with the conclusion of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, which determined in 1979 that Kennedy “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.” But investigators were unable to identify a second gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.

Richard Saunders, a history professor at Clemson University who is an expert on the Cold War, said in an article he wrote that the Warren Commission’s report contained only evidence that supported the lone-gunman theory, and evidence that didn’t support that theory wasn’t included in the report.

Boyles criticized the autopsies conducted on Kennedy at Parkland hospital and the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

“They did a lousy on the autopsy,” Boyles said. “We still don’t know exactly where the bullets hit Kennedy.”

The doctors at Parkland never turned Kennedy over, Boyles said, and they never saw the bullet hole in his back. The doctors at Bethesda didn’t find the bullet hole in Kennedy’s neck because that is where the doctors at Parkland performed a tracheotomy trying to save his life, he said.

Boyles points to other inconsistencies in the Warren Commission’s report that supports his belief that a conspiracy was involved with the shooting.

“No one person did all of this,” Boyles said.

By John Hinton/Winston-Salem Journal

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