November 22, 1963
Dallas, Texas
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"If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way."

- French author Emile Zola

"Treason does never prosper.
What's the reason?
When it prospers,
None dare call it treason."

Sir John Harrington


View a fragment of the video confession, preceded by comments of Jim Garrison : Click here
NOTICE: This document is the sole and exclusive copyrighted property of JFKMURDERSOLVED.COM and may not be copied, reproduced or duplicated in any form without written permission.

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On March 22, 1994, television producer Robert G. Vernon videotaped the confession of James E. Files during which Mr. Files confessed that he fired the fatal last shot into the right front temple of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dealey Plaza, Dallas Texas. A transcript of Mr. Files's confession follows. Included in the transcript is documentation and research (in italic font) based on existing evidence uncovered by leading JFK assassination researchers and authors. The purpose of this writing is to compare the confession of James E. Files to a majority of the evidence that has been uncovered in the last 34 years relative to the assassination. Readers are invited to review the following and to judge the veracity of Mr. Files's confession for themselves.


References in the text are numerically keyed to the bibliography. Each reference is assigned a number and is listed by that number in the bibliography. When a reference is cited in the text, the references's bibliographic number is given. Page numbers, if any, appear after the reference number. If the entire reference is being cited, then only its number is given. For example, Mark Lane's book Rush to Judgment is listed as reference number 4 in the bibliography. If the entire book is being cited, the citation will look like this: (4). If pages 221-224 are cited from the book, the citation will appear as follows: (4:221-224). The only exceptions to this method are when information is cited or quoted from the Warren Commission's report and from the appendices to the report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Citations from the Warren Commission's report will be given as WCR, followed by the page number(s). Thus, WCR 32 refers to page 32 of the WCR. For the HSCA volumes, the volume number will be given, followed by the abbreviation HSCA and the page number(s). Thus, for example, 6 HSCA 110-111 refers to pages 110-111 of volume 6 of the appendices to the Select Committee's report.



March 22, 1994
Present: James Earl Files - Inmate, Robert G. Vernon - Producer, Bob Baxter - Cameraman, Mike Krolikiewicz - Prison Clinical Services

Location: Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois State Penitentiary, Joliet, Illinois

Time: 10:30 AM CST
Q: Please tell me your name.

A: My name is James Files and I changed my name basically at the end of 1963 for purposes of ...let me rephrase that. I took the name Files in 1963, my real name is James Sutton.

Q: Say that again.

A: My real name is James Sutton but I changed my name in late 1963 due to the fact that at that time I wished to get married and raise a family.

Q: And what is your name now?

A: Today, I'm incarcerated and I'm under the name James E. Files. I raised a family under that name, James Files.

Q: Did you change your name for any particular reason or anything involved in your past?

A: I changed my name for a particular reason because I had been working with a radical Cuban group and what we wanted to do at that time was to protect my identity so they wouldn't know who I really was when I got married because of my family life. I didn't want anyone to retaliate on the things that we were doing so I took on a different name that was authorized to me through a government agency.

Q: Were you ever in the armed services?

A: I was in the 82nd Airborne. I went in '59...1959, date of entry...January and in July 10 of 1959, I believe it was July 10, we shipped out to Laos. I was 82nd Airborne.(1)

Q: What were some of your duties?
A: My duties at that time...we were working a special operations group to work with the Laotian Army in Laos at that time. I was there strictly as an advisor..on training...with small automatic weapons...setting detonators, explosives, mechanical ambushes. There was just a handful of Americans working with the Laotians at that time.

Q: How long did you serve there?
A: I was there through...approximately 14 months I was in Laos..before I came home.
Q: You mentioned to me at one time that you were in jeopardy of being court martialed could you elaborate on that a little bit?
A: I really don't wish to elaborate on that part of the court martial. It had to do in the field but not of cowardice, it was something that I did to hold face with the Laotian Army.
Q: Could you tell me how you first became involved in organized crime activities?
A: Well, I first''s a strange way to start out...but I was racing stock cars and driving at a local track and Mr. Nicoletti had taken a shine to my driving and he'd watched me on several occasionsand he had asked me once if I would drive him one evening. I took him out and test drove his car that we'd just picked up..a brand new Ford...and he was pretty well pleased with my driving and from then on I became more like an assigned driver to him and I did several drivings for him on different jobs that he did.

Q: Who was Charles Nicoletti?
A: Charles Nicoletti, at that time, he was an up and coming figure with organized crime and he was known as one of the local hitman. As far as I'm concerned he was the best that ever lived, as far as I'm concerned.(2)

Q: What Mafia family did he work for?

A: He was out of the Chicago family.
Q: Who would have been the boss of the Chicago family?

A: At that time, Tony Accardo.
Q: That's before Giancana or after Giancana?
A: Tony Accardo handed it up...headed it up....then Giancana came after that. Giancana at that time was one of the underlings, I guess you might say he was of the top lieutenants at that point. Things were handed out in different branches in organized crime such as someone might handle the liquor license, someone would handle the loan sharking and booking, someone would handle the contracts for murder for hire and anything like that.(3)
Q: James, where were you on November 22, 1963?

A: On November 22, 1963, I was in Dealey Plaza. I arrived at Dealey Plaza shortly before 10 AM that morning.
Q: What was your reason for being there?
A: My reason for being there at that point was to look the area over. I had driven a vehicle down there and I had taken several weapons to Dallas, Texas.

Q: For what purpose did you do this?

A: I did this for the sole purpose for the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Q: Who instructed you to do this, James? Tell me the your words...
A: The story started back....oh, roughly six months prior to that when Mr. Nicoletti contacted me one evening and I had met with him and he instructed me that we was going to do a friend of mine. It was more like a personal joke because I had never liked John F. Kennedy since the Chianos Bay affair which was the Bay of Pigs.

Q: Were you at the Bay of Pigs, Jimmy?

A: No, I was not at the Bay of Pigs but I had helped train several of the operatives that were involved at the Bay of Pigs.
Q: When you say "helped train them" what do you mean?
A: I helped train them on what they call..we called it "Gator Ridge" back then, some people refer to it as "No Name Key" some people call it "Assassin Ridge" it was in the Everglades down there in Florida.(5) We worked solely with the Cubans at that time...we had supplied them with weapons...the weapons had come basically from the government...from the CIA...they had been heavily involved in that. And at that time, David Atlee Phillips was my controller. So I had never liked Kennedy since he had backed out on us and we didn't get enough firepower and I felt that we had been betrayed.(6) But, I, at that point, I had never even considered killing anybody at all over the situation, but when Charles Nicoletti told me that we were going to do my friend, I thought that they were referring to a local party in town and I said why what the hell did he do. He laughed, he says no not him, we're going to do John F. Kennedy, the president. I was a little bit shocked at first but I said hey fine, great, don't matter to me. I was game for anything he wanted to do. And then we discussed it and then he asked me what I thought about Johnny Rosselli(9) working with us and I told him hey fine I like no problems there.

Q: So you knew John Rosselli before that day?

A: I knew John Rosselli before that day.
Q: How did you meet him?

A: I had met John Rosselli in Miami and discussed a few things with him and he...I had met him through David Atlee Phillips...David Atlee Phillips was an operative for the CIA. Through time everybody got to be fairly well good friends but I grew up basically under Chuck's wing...Mr. Nicoletti's wing. Chuck had told me we were going to do it. We'd first originally planned to do the assassination in Chicago but a lot of people didn't like that idea so then it was moved to another location.

Q: When you say "we planned it" could you clarify "we"?
A: Well when I say we...I was just with Mr. Nicoletti. Whatever he said do, I would do. When I say we, I'm referring like...the only thing I did was just drive the car or whatever that they needed me for. Mr. Nicoletti had asked me then at that point when we'd decided not to do it in Chicago and it was going to be moved to Dallas...when John F. Kennedy had decided to go to Dallas...a week in advance, I took the '63 Chevrolet that we had at that time..I left and I went down a week earlier. I picked up the weapons from the storage bin that we had and loaded them in the car with everything that I thought we might need..with a various assortment...and I left and I drove to Dallas. I stayed out at a place in Mesquite, Texas.(11) Once I got there, I called back and notified Mr. Nicoletti that I was thee and on the scene. The following day, Lee Harvey Oswald came by the motel where I was at...they had given him my location...and he took me out to a place somewhere southeast of Mesquite where I test fired the weapons and calibrated the scopes on anything that might be needed. Then he was with me for a few days in town there...we drove I would know all the streets and not run into any dead ends streets if anything went wrong and we had to flee from the area.

Q: So Lee Oswald spent time with you...he knew why you were there, you knew why he was there...?
A: Lee Harvey Oswald knew that I was there but I never told him why I was there. He had just been come over and told to stay with me and to help me out and to assist in any way he could. Lee Harvey Oswald and I never discussed the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I discussed that with no one. Because my part of it...I had no part of the assassination at that time...all I did was go down, take the car down, take the weapons down, clean the weapons, calibrate the scopes, make sure everything was functioning properly and then know the immediate area surrounding Dealey Plaza back to the expressways and the other local highways that could be used as an extraction point to leave Dallas in case something should go wrong. At that point, I had no involvement at all in the assassination outside of that...just doing my little job that I had to do.

Q: Could you give me the exact chronology of what happened from the time you arrived in Dallas...? You've already said that you went out and test fired some guns and things...take me back to maybe November 21, the day before, and in your own words, tell me what happened from November 21, 1963 until the night of November 22, 1963...
To be continued in the book: Files on JFK

The last seconds of life

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