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Lee Edward Bowers, Jr. (January 12, 1925 – August 9, 1966)[1][2] was a key witness to the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas in 1963.[3] At the moment of the assassination he was operating the Union Terminal Company's two-story interlocking tower, overlooking the parking lot just north of the grassy knoll and west of the Texas School Book Depository. He had an unobstructed view of the rear of the concrete pergola and the stockade fence at the top of the grassy knoll.[4] He described hearing three shots that came from either the Depository on his left or near the mouth of the Triple Underpass railroad bridge on his right; he was unsure because of the reverberation from the shots.

Bowers worked in the two-story railroad tower seen at the top of this photo of Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas

Warren Commission[edit]

When asked by the Warren Commission, "Now, were there any people standing on the high side — high ground between your tower and where Elm Street goes down under the underpass toward the mouth of the underpass?" Bowers testified that at the time the motorcade went by on Elm Street, four men were in the area: one or two uniformed parking lot attendants, one of whom Bowers knew; and two men standing 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 m) apart near the Triple Underpass, who did not appear to know each other. One was "middle-aged, or slightly older, fairly heavy-set, in a white shirt, fairly dark trousers" and the other was "younger man, about midtwenties, in either a plaid shirt or plaid coat or jacket." One or both were still there when the first police officer arrived "immediately" after the shooting.[5] Many assumed that Bowers meant that these men were standing behind the stockade fence at the top of the grassy knoll.[6]

Rush to Judgment[edit]

However, two years later when Bowers was interviewed by assassination researchers Mark Lane and Emile de Antonio for their documentary film Rush to Judgment, he clarified that these two men were standing in the opening between the pergola and the stockade fence, and that "no one" was behind the fence when the shots were fired.[7] Bowers said,

These two men were standing back from the street somewhat at the top of the incline and were very near two trees which were in the area. And one of them, from time to time as he walked back and forth, disappeared behind a wooden fence which is also slightly to the west of that. These two men to the best of my knowledge were standing there at the time of the shooting.

Bowers told Lane that as the motorcade passed "there was a flash of light or smoke" in the vicinity of where the two men were standing.[8]


Bowers served in the U.S. Navy from ages 17 to 21. He attended Hardin-Simmons University for two years then Southern Methodist University for two years, majoring in religion. He worked for the Union Terminal Co. railyard for 15 years, also working as a self-employed builder. In 1964 he began working as business manager for a hospital and convalescent home.[1]


Bowers died in August, 1966, when his car left an empty road and struck a concrete bridge abutment near Midlothian, Texas.[9][10]

It was alleged in Richard Belzer's book "Hit List" that Bowers's death was murder, not accidental, to cover up knowledge of the JFK assassination [11]

Bowers was played by Pruitt Taylor Vince in the 1991 film JFK.


  1. ^ a b Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 6, p. 284, Testimony of Lee E. Bowers, Jr., April 2, 1964.
  2. ^ Ancestry.com. Texas Death Index, 1903-2000 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
  3. ^ Warren Commission Report, p. 71–72, The Witnesses: At the Triple Underpass.
  4. ^ Warren Commission Report, p. 74, Commission Exhibit 2118, View From North Tower of Union Terminal Company, Dallas, Texas.
  5. ^ Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 7, p. 287–288, Testimony of Lee E. Bowers, Jr., April 2, 1964.
  6. ^ Mark Lane, Rush to Judgment, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966, p. 31–32:
    "His [Bowers'] description of the two men behind the fence was not unlike Miss Mercer's…"
    Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, Carroll & Graf, 1993, ISBN 978-0-88184-648-5, p. 75:
    "Bowers told a fascinating story of suspicious cars moving in the sealed-off railroad yards minutes before the assassination, and of seeing strange men behind the picket fence."
    Harrison Edward Livingstone, High Treason, Carroll & Graf, 1998, ISBN 978-0-7867-0578-8, p. 116:
    "Lee Bowers Jr. … was in the railroad control behind the grassy knoll and saw two men behind the fence, a puff of smoke during the shooting, and a lot of activity."
    Anthony Summers, Not in Your Lifetime, Marlowe & Co., 1998, ISBN 978-1-56924-739-6, p. 36:
    "Lee Bowers, the railway towerman who had seen two strangers behind the fence just before the assassination, had partially lost sight of them in the foliage."
  7. ^ Rush to Judgment, which advocated a multi-shooter conspiracy, did not use that portion of Bowers' interview. The redacted portions of the Bowers interview were first published by Dale K. Myers in 2004. Dale K. Myers, Secrets of a Homicide: Badge ManThe Testimony of Lee Bowers, Jr. The interview transcript is among the papers of De Antonio at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives.
  8. ^ Mark Lane, Rush to Judgment, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966, p. 31
  9. ^ Bugliosi, Vincent (2007). Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. New York: W.W. Norton. p. 899. ISBN 978-0-393-04525-3. 
  10. ^ "Executive Dies After Car Wreck", The Dallas Morning News, August 10, 1966, p. D4.
  11. ^ http://www.bubblews.com/news/2000218-belzer-and-wayne-examine-the-jfk-hit-list

External links[edit]

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51 news items

KCRA Sacramento

KCRA Sacramento
Sat, 05 Apr 2014 10:03:19 -0700

He spent eight years in prison. Most people though don't realize that Kevorkian was also a longtime painter. Eleven of his works of art are on display this month in a trendy West Hollywood art gallery. "He was a talented amateur," curator Lee Bowers ...
Park Labrea News/Beverly Press
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 05:00:00 -0700

He was classically trained,” Gallerie Sparta co-owner Lee Bowers said. She said the most interesting thing about the paintings is Kevorkian's perspective. Bowers said no other artist would paint the same subject matter with the same materials in such a ...

Medical Daily

Medical Daily
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:54:28 -0700

The remaining works will be given to the Smithsonian Institution, according to the curator, Lee Bowers. "He was a talented amateur," Lee Bowers told CNN. "He painted throughout much of his life." The exhibition of the Michigan-based doctor has ...

National Right to Life News

National Right to Life News
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:52:30 -0700

Three years later, another cycle of admiration, this time (actually, the latest time) for his paintings. “He was a talented amateur,” Lee Bowers, curator of the Smithsonian Institution, told CNN. (Any paintings that are not sold will be given to the ...
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 11:22:30 -0700

Bruce Lee Bowers was charged with domestic violence battery by strangulation and taken to the Seminole County jail. • Police arrested a 19-year-old Winter Springs man Tuesday after they said he grabbed a man in the hallway of Seminole State College.


Fri, 11 Apr 2014 00:18:45 -0700

"He was a talented amateur," curator Lee Bowers told CNN. "He painted throughout much of his life." His “thanatron” is also for sale – the machine which he used to help people to die. The asking price is US$25,000. The paintings may give some insight ...
Bristol Post
Wed, 02 Apr 2014 01:03:45 -0700

BRITISH Superbike racer Michael Rutter, below, will be the special guest at this year's National BikeSafe event and stunt rider Lee Bowers will put on displays at the event at Castle Combe, on April 12, from 10am. Visitors will also be able to ride the ...
Los Angeles Times
Mon, 24 Mar 2014 07:01:57 -0700

The show, “Jack `Dr. Death' Kevorkian,” runs April 3-30. Instead of classifying Kevorkian's implement of death as art, Lee Bowers, the gallery's co-owner, said “we're just calling it the Thanatron assisted-suicide device. We'll put it on a pedestal ...

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