Dead in the Wake of the Kennedy Assassination

Roger Craig: Mysterious Death?

by Magen Knuth

Former Dallas County Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig was one of the police officers who, upon hearing shots, rushed to the scene of Kennedy's assassination. He investigated the Grassy Knoll, talked with witnesses, and investigated the Texas School Book Depository. He stated that he saw Oswald get into a green Rambler shortly after the shooting. Throughout the years, he made other claims on the assassination that were at odds with Warren Commission findings.

On May 15, 1975, Craig was found dead in his father's house from a gunshot wound. While Roger Craig is not on Jim Marrs' list of "mysterious deaths," Roger Craig did make Mae Brussell's, Ronald Ecker's, and Day Williams' lists. They claim those involved in the conspiracy had to silence him because he had evidence that was damaging to the claim that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. Yet Dallas police homicide investigator Robert Garza said the gunshot wound was apparently self-inflicted (Dallas Morning News, May 17, 1975). Was he really silenced?

Craig had been involved in a serious car accident two years prior to his death and was shot in the shoulder six months prior (Dallas Morning News, May 17, 1975). He was taking pain medication which was shown in the autopsy report to be diazepam, also known as Valium. Diazepam is a muscle relaxant and can be used as a tranquilizer (Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia:1998 ed. 27 pp. 466). Desmethyldiazepam is a metabolite of diazepam, or a result of diazepam being metabolically processed (Rxlist). It has been shown that diazepam should not be taken by people who are depressed or who show signs of impending depression as it enhances depression. The Physician's Desk Reference states that in depressed patients taking diazepam, "protective measures may be necessary" (2698). Depression is even a side effect of diazepam (Physician's Desk Reference. Medical Economics Company, Montvale:2000 ed. 54 pp. 2698). It is reasonable to assume that Craig was depressed. Not only was he in physical pain from two injuries, he was fired from the sheriff's office, unable to work from his injuries, and his wife left him (Video: "Two Men In Dallas" Alpa Productions, Inc., 1992). Apparently, his own depression, enhanced by diazepam, lead to his suicide. He left a note stating that "he was sorry for what he has to do, but he could not stand the pain" (Dallas Morning News, May 17, 1975).

The autopsy report stated that Roger Craig died from suicide. The autopsy report also showed that Craig had a blood alcohol content of 0.3, three times the legal limit for drivers (in most states) of 0.1. Alcohol is also depressant, which would add to his depressed state of mind. It is also strongly recommended that someone taking diazepam should not consume alcohol as this drug enhances the affects of alcohol. Even without the medication, people who drink are twice as likely to commit suicide as those who are not drinking (Rivara, Frederick. "Alcohol and Illicit Drug Abuse and The Risk of Violent Death in the Home." Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 278. Issue 7. 1997 Aug 20: 569-75).

Given the details in the autopsy report, to believe that Craig was silenced, one has to believe that some assassin managed to sneak into his house while Craig's father was in the back yard and shoot Craig with a .22 caliber (or similar) rifle. This assassin somehow chose to shoot Craig in the chest, and even managed to put the muzzle of the gun in contact with Craig's chest, all the while leaving no evidence of a struggle. He then left a fake suicide note. Since Craig had been telling conspiratorial stories from the very day of the assassination, it's not clear what additional sinister knowledge he had that conspirators feared.

Roger Craig was an unfortunate man in many ways, and he contributed to his own misfortune by telling a variety of "interesting" stories about what he had seen in the wake of the assassination — stories that undermined his credibility as a law enforcement officer. His decision to "end it all" was a tragedy, but one entirely unconnected with the tragedy in Dealey Plaza.

Patrick Schmick contributed key research to this article.

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