A Land Surveyor’s Expertise and its Role in Laying One JFK Assassination Theory to Rest


With the fifty-year anniversary of the assassination of our 35th president having just passed, many questions are still left unanswered and many theories are still being put forth. John F. Kennedy still remains a monumental, frequently-discussed topic in our culture and although much time has elapsed and advancements in technology have been made, there are still many gaps in the events that circle that November day. Despite the fact that a number of theories and rumors were thrown around, there was one in particular that was quickly eliminated as a result of a land surveyor’s knowledge and expertise.


It was on March 1, 1967, a little less than five years after JFK was assassinated, when Clay Shaw was taken into custody and charged with conspiring to assassinate the president. Shaw was a New Orleans businessman, said to have been in collaboration with Lee Harvey Oswald to end JFK’s life. Shaw was put on trial and brought before a jury where he was quickly found to be not guilty.


The Clay Shaw Trial included testimony from Robert West, a land surveyor from Dallas, Texas. West was brought to the courtroom to testify, as he was deemed an expert on the structural conditions of the Dealey Plaza. Robert West was present at the Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963 where President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. West’s knowledge and testimony were detrimental to the case as well as to future surveyors. The knowledge that Robert West possessed of the topographical conditions of the plaza would serve as an important example to fellow and future surveyors alike when pursuing the profession of documentation experts of existing conditions.


What some may have perceived as a career solely about defining boundaries, observing geographical locations and studying documents was quickly recognized as a “jack of all trades” profession. West’s competency to testify as an expert on the conditions of the Dealey Plaza proved that a land surveyor may also play the role of a detective every now and then.


(Source: American Surveyor)