Henry Hurt the investigative reporter published his book, Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation into the Assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1986. The book included an interview with Robert W. Easterling. In 1974 Easterling was committed to a mental institution. The following year he got in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his knowledge of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Although interviewed by the Secret Service several times between 1974 and 1982, Easterling felt his story was not being fully investigated. He therefore contacted Hurt.
Robert W. Easterling told Hurt that he had been recruited by Manuel Rivera to drive Lee Harvey Oswald from Dallas on the day of the assassination. Easterling claimed that David Ferrie, Jack Ruby and Clay Shaw had been involved in this conspiracy. So also were unnamed members of the Texas oil industry. Easterling also told Hurt that Rivera had been the gunman who killed Kennedy. Rivera used a 7-mm Czech-made automatic rather than the Mannlicher-Carcano that had been planted in the Texas Book Depository to implicate Oswald.
Easterling decided not to take part in this conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy and instead fled to Jackson, Mississippi. On 21st November, 1963, Easterling informed the FBI in Washington of the plot. He was told they knew of the conspiracy. The FBI agent told him: "We know all about it. We're going to catch them red-handed." You're in too deep. You're going to get killed."
Henry Hurt is also the author of Shadrin: The Spy Who Never Came Back (1983).
As one of the 80 percent who doubted the official version I began a quest to understand the case. Beyond the general feeling that the official version seemed illogically simplistic, I was not burdened by an preconceived notions. During the early months of research I fully expected at any moment to encounter that single, unalterable piece of evidence that would leave no doubt that Oswald had acted alone. That discovery never came. Instead, the evidence continued to point in a different direction.
One of the enduring oddities of the evidence found in the assassin's lair is the discovery of the three cartridge shells ballistically linked to the Oswald rifle. Those shells were not scattered widely as one would expect them to be if ejected from a rifle in the normal fashion.
Moreover, two of them were only inches apart. Another curious point is the failure by investigators to find a single Mannlicher-Carcano cartridge other than those, including a live round still in the rifle, discovered at the scene. No extra cartridge was ever found on Oswald or in his possessions. No evidence was found that he ever purchased ammunition at all. If he was the assassin, his only ammunition was at the scene - the cartridge shells lined up as evidence in the assassin's lair. There is no official explanation as to where Oswald supposedly got his four cartridges.
As for the Mannlicher-Carcano that was officially established as the Oswald assassination rifle, the ancient, bolt-action weapon was one of the worst possible selections for such skilled shooting. There is no indication that Oswald knew much about guns, and he was never regarded as a superlative marksman while he was in the Marine Corps. Yet he is credited with a combination of shooting skills on November 22 that has never been matched in repeated government tests by the most proficient riflemen in the United States.
Moreover, there is no evidence that the Mannlicher-Carcano was even fired on the day of the assassination.
Reasonable Doubt is the most thorough, objective, well-documented study of the Kennedy assassination that has ever been done. The author, with a research team, spent several years sifting and analyzing mountains of data, following every lead, cross-checking and corroborating every fact from at least two sources, and interviewing hundreds of people involved with and knowledgeable about the case. The result is a work that is riveting, authoritative, and utterly convincing - a massive synthesis that doubtless sheds as much light on the awful tragedy in Dallas as we will ever have.