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  • Fred Litwin

Was Kerry Thornley the Second Oswald?

Kerry Thornley was a Marine buddy of Oswald's and they served together for three months in the spring of 1959. Oswald took an interest in Thornley when he learned he was also an atheist; they then had regular discussions on politics. Oswald told Thornley that "communism was the best - that the Marxist morality was the most rational morality to follow that he knew of."


Thornley decided to write a book that would explain the "particular phenomenon of disillusionment with the United States after serving in the Marine Corps overseas in a peacetime capacity." The main character, Johnny Shellburn, was to be based on several Marines, including Oswald. But before Thornley could finish the book, The Idle Warriors, Oswald defected to the Soviet Union, and Thornley had to reconsider his ending.


He left the Marines in September 1960 and went to California. He moved to New Orleans in February 1961 and worked at menial jobs while trying to make it as a writer. He left in May 1963 to go back to California, traveling via Dallas. In late August 1963, he went to Mexico City for a week and returned to New Orleans in September. He overlapped with Oswald for just three weeks.


Garrison was greatly influenced by Harold Weisberg's book Whitewash which presented the theory (before Richard Popkin) that somebody was impersonating Oswald in order to incriminate him in the assassination. For a variety of reasons - and you should consult my book On The Trail of Delusion for the details - Garrison believed that Oswald and Thornley knew each other in New Orleans and that perhaps Thornley was the second Oswald.


I am presenting today a memo that Garrison wrote on August 10, 1977 to the HSCA called "Data Correlations of K.T. [Kerry Thornley] and L.O. [Lee Oswald] Locations."




So, Garrison is noticing something he thinks is peculiar. Oswald had moved out of his apartment in Dallas at the end of April 1963, while in early May, Thornley was leaving New Orleans to go to California. His bus trip had passed through Dallas, and Garrison wondered if he might have stopped. If so, maybe he'd impersonated Oswald in the famous backyard photos.


Further, Thornley's father was a photoengraver. Being somewhat coy, Garrison hinted that "I do not, at this late juncture, expect that we would ever be so lucky in this manner as finally to find a bird's next laying on the ground."


Again, was Garrison on drugs?


But wait, there's more. Back on September 21, 1968 Garrison held a conference with his investigators, and, at one point, they started to talk about Thornley. Here is part of the transcript.

T = Bill Turner, an investigator who also wrote for Ramparts; G = Garrison; S = Richard Sprague, a critic who specialized in photography; Sc = Andrew Sciambra, an assistant District Attorney.


So, there you have it. It was Thornley's body in the picture. And, they took that from the Reverend Raymond Broshears - a complete fraud - who said he had sex with Thornley and recognized his hips. Thornley was straight, by the way.


If you think that was bizarre, well Bill Boxley, another investigator, had this to say later in the conversation.:


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