JFK Assassination: A Probability Analysis of Warren Commission Witness Unnatural Deaths

24 Apr

JFK Assassination: A Probability Analysis of Warren Commission Witness Unnatural Deaths

Richard Charnin
April 24, 2013
Updated: March 23, 2014

Click Reclaiming Science:The JFK Conspiracy to look inside the book.
JFK Blog Posts
JFK Calc Spreadsheet Database

The following mathematical proof closes the book on those who still promote the fiction that Oswald was the lone assassin. The few remaining defenders of the Warren Commission’s Magic Bullet Theory have tried mightily for nearly 50 years to dismiss the mathematical significance of the mysterious deaths of JFK-related witnesses – starting with Ruby shooting Oswald. After all, a “clean-up” operation would only occur in a conspiracy. Of course, Warren Commission apologists claim that Oswald was a lone nut who acted alone.

The basis of the lone nut “argument” has been to claim that 1) the dead witnesses were of minor or no importance and that 2) the universe of total witnesses was ultimately unknowable. But they ignore the fact that the Warren Commission considered the witnesses important enough to have them testify.

The analysis focuses on the 31 unnatural and suspicious deaths of 552 Warren Commission witnesses from 1964-1978  At least 14 were officially ruled as unnatural: 4 homicides, 2 attempted murders, 6 accidents, 1 suicide, 1 unknown. But it is likely that least 21 deaths were unnatural, of which 17 were likely homicides. The deaths are among the 122 listed in the JFK witness spreadsheet database.

Warren Commission Witnesses (1964-78):
– 14 official ruled unnatural deaths

There were officially 3 homicides, 1 attempted murder, 4 suicides, 6 accidents, Given the 0.000316 weighted average mortality rate, the probability is P= 4.0E-07 (1 in 2.4 million).

– 21 unofficial actual unnatural deaths
There were an estimated 17 homicides, 2 accidents, 1 suicide,  1 unknown. Normally, 7 unnatural deaths would be expected. Given the 0.000132 weighted rate, the probability is P = 4.0E-20 = 1 in 20 million trillion

The “universe” of 552 Warren Commission witnesses is obviously a known quantity. Therefore, given the number, cause and timing of the unnatural and suspicious deaths (and corresponding mortality rates), we have all the information needed to calculate the probability that the deaths would occur in a given time interval.

The probability analysis is straightforward; it is not a theoretical exercise. It is a mathematical proof of conspiracy based on factual data (552 total witnesses, at least 21 unnatural deaths, corresponding mortality rates) and the Poisson probability formula. The numbers and probabilities speak for themselves.

A number of Warren Commission witnesses were sought in later investigations but never lived to testify. Three deaths officially ruled as suicides were likely homicides. Roger Craig supposedly shot himself after surviving several attempts on his life. George DeMorenschildt supposedly shot himself the same day he was called to give testimony at the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Albert Bogard supposedly committed suicide from carbon monoxide. Jack Ruby and Frank Martin had sudden cancers within one month after being diagnosed. Edward Voebel, a classmate of Oswald, died from a mysterious blood clot. Other natural deaths (heart attacks and natural causes) were suspicious.

This is a challenge to those who still claim that the deaths do not prove a conspiracy: You must refute the data (i.e., the Warren Commission witness list), the unnatural mortality rates and the use of the Poisson formula.


This graph shows the long-term trend in the U.S. homicide rate. Note that in 1963 the homicide rate was 5.4 per 100,000.

Deaths by Major Causes: 1960-2011 Source: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. The average homicide rate for 1964-1978 was 8.4 per 100,000.

Warren Commission apologists have suggested that there were many more than 1400 material witnesses and therefore the probabilities are not valid – without providing a list. Even assuming 25,000 witnesses, the probability of at least 84 homicides is 8.55E-15 or 1 in 100 trillion.

The 1973 film Executive Action depicted a conspiracy to assassinate JFK and revealed that an actuary engaged by the London Sunday Times calculated the probability of 18 material witnesses dying within three years of the JFK assassination as 1 in 100,000 TRILLION. The actuary’s calculation is confirmed assuming 459 witnesses and 13 unnatural witness deaths, given the 0.000207 weighted unnatural mortality rate.

The Warren Commission witnesses are a subset of approximately 1400 material witnesses who were related in any way to the assassination (police, reporters, eyewitnesses, FBI officials, CIA contacts, anti-Castro Cubans, Ruby and Oswald contacts, etc.). A comprehensive analysis is provided in Executive Action: JFK Witness Deaths and the London Times Actuary.

Of the 126 witnesses in the JFK Cac spreadsheet/database, 80 deaths were ruled unnatural (homicides, suicides, accidents, unknown). The other 46 were highly suspicious heart attacks, sudden cancers, etc. Of the 126, 65 were sought in four investigations – and obviously relevant: 32 testified at the Warren Commission (1964), the others were sought by New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison at the Clay Shaw trial (1967-69), the Church Senate Intelligence Committee (1975) and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (1977-79).

Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination by Richard Belzer and David Wayne, is a unique and welcome addition to the massive trove of JFK Assassination literature.

It is important to recognize that the average 1964-78 national 0.000084 homicide rate (1 in 12,150) was much lower than the 0.000594 accidental death rate (1 in 1,660) and the 0.000130 suicide rate (1 in 7,700). The ratio of actual unnatural deaths to the expected number is much lower than the ratio of actual homicides to the expected number.

Nationally, homicides comprised 10% of unnatural deaths. But at least 34 (43%) of the 80 JFK witness deaths ruled unnatural were homicides. In fact, if the analysis was restricted to homicides, the mathematical proof would be simpler and even more powerful. Statistical expectation indicates at least 80 homicides.

The probability of 84 homicides among 1400 witnesses is E-107. To put this in context, consider that there are 60 TRILLION TRILLION (6E25) hydrogen atoms in a quart of water, approximately 700,000 TRILLION (7E17) grains of sand on the earth and 300 BILLION TRILLION (3E23) stars in the universe.

Here are the graphs and probability calculations which prove a conspiracy:

In this video, Mark Lane, famous author/investigator of several books on the assassination, interviews Penn Jones, an independent researcher of JFK witness deaths.


Posted by on April 24, 2013 in JFK


Tags: , , , ,

13 responses to “JFK Assassination: A Probability Analysis of Warren Commission Witness Unnatural Deaths

  1. Dr Stuart Bramhall (@stuartbramhall)

    April 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Hi, sorry if this is a repost, but I think I hit the wrong button. Brilliant article. Is there any chance you would agree to me posting it as a guest post on my own blog (

    • Richard Charnin

      April 28, 2013 at 11:20 pm


      Thanks. Of course, please post.


  2. Vince L

    December 7, 2013 at 9:02 am

    As you probably know, there was another purge when the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations started to call witnesses. Did you do an analysis on that as well?

  3. Jeffrey Liakos

    June 26, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Did the witnesses die naturally or were they murdered by people who did not want the truth to be revealed?

    • Richard Charnin

      June 26, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      Read my blog. At least 78 of 122 witness deaths were unnatural.

  4. Jeffrey Liakos

    June 27, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Richard Charmin, here is a good book for you: Hit List, which talks about the mysterious deaths of witnesses to the John F. Kennedy assassination. Were these reported deaths unnatural or were they ordered hits?

    • Richard Charnin

      June 28, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      I read it. In fact, they use my probability calculations in the beginning of the book.
      I wrote the forward for the just-released paperback edition.


  5. Jeffrey Liakos

    June 29, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Richard Charnin, do you think as I do that there were details that were deliberately omitted, that Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy?

    • Richard Charnin

      June 29, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Virtually everything in the Warren Report is either a lie or an omission of fact.

  6. Jeffrey Liakos

    June 29, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Why am I not surprised?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: