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Gregory Freeman Stone collection on the Robert F. Kennedy assassination

Finding aid prepared by Katie Richardson, Andrew Goodrich, and Vivian Yan, April 2011

The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the Council on Library and Information Resources.

Summary Information

Repository
USC Libraries Special Collections
Creator
Stone, Gregory , 1949-
Title
Gregory Freeman Stone collection on the Robert F. Kennedy assassination
Collection no.
0241
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1968-1991
Date [inclusive]
1944-1991
Extent
92.0 Linear feet, 99 boxes
Language
English
Abstract
The collection includes files accumulated by Gregory Freemen Stone during his investigation into the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], Gregory Freeman Stone collection on the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, Collection no. 0241, Regional History Collections, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

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Historical note

On June 5, 1968, United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Kennedy had just won the California primary election for the Democratic nomination for President earlier that night. While Kennedy was passing through the hotel's kitchen, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, a 24-year old Palestinian immigrant, shot and killed the presidential hopeful. Sirhan subsequently confessed to the crime, was convicted of first-degree murder on April 17, 1969, and is currently serving a life sentence for Kennedy's assassination.

Despite Sirhan's confession and conviction, many believed that Kennedy's assassination was not so cut and dry. Gregory Freeman Stone, a former political science doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin, was one such individual. From his research, Stone came to believe that Sirhan did not act alone but was assisted by a second gunman, who was responsible for firing the bullet that ultimately killed the Senator. Stone devoted his life to searching for evidence to support this theory.

In 1985, Stone dropped out of his doctoral studies program in order to spend more time on the case. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles to continue his research and the small duplex in which he lived served as the main location for his collection of materials related to the assassination. In 1988, the Los Angeles Police Department released their files regarding the investigation and credit Stone as being instrumental in making this happen. These files are currently housed in the California State Archives.

Stone and his colleagues were confident that their research would finally launch a reinvestigation into the murder. On May 13, 1990, the Washington Post published an article by Dan Moldea in which the author stated that more bullets were fired than could be accounted for in Sirhan's revolver, nine to twelve in total. Stone's research was vital to Moldea's conclusion. The following week Stone and his colleagues held a press conference to present their findings on the second gunman. The findings received national attention but did not lead to the reinvestigation into the murder the group hoped for. Stone was deeply upset by the outcome and developed depression. In 1991, he committed suicide.

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Scope and Content

The collection includes the materials that were accumulated and studied by Gregory Freeman Stone over the course of his investigation into Senator Robert F. Kennedy's assassination. Included are excerpts from the FBI and LAPD's investigative files regarding the Kennedy case, full transcripts of the Sirhan trial and subsequent appeal, VHS recordings of evidence and media coverage of the case, correspondence exchanged between Stone and other second-gunman theorists, transcripts of interviews conducted with witnesses in the case, photographs and diagrams of the crime scene, Stone's personal notes and conclusions, and indexes and lists providing direction for further research. The collection also includes a comprehensive survey of media coverage of the Kennedy case, including newspaper and periodical clippings, journal articles, excerpts from books, and news and video broadcasts.

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Arrangement

The collection is organized in four series: 1. Trial Transcripts and Legal Documents; 2. LAPD and FBI Investigative Files; 3. Subject Files; 4. Media Coverage. For the most part, the collection was kept in original order and original folder titles were used to describe the folder contents.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

USC Libraries Special Collections
April 2011
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-0189
213-740-5900
specol@usc.edu

Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition

The collection was given to the University of Southern California by Philip H. Melanson on August 25, 1991.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials

Inventory of the Los Angeles Police Department Records of the Robert F. Kennedy Assassination Investigation, circa 1968-1978 at the California State Archives.

The Robert F. Kennedy Assassination Archive Collection. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Archives and Special Collections University Library. MC 1/RFKAA.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Ambassador Hotel. -- Archives
  • Los Angeles (Calif.). Police Dept. -- Archives
  • United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Genre(s)

  • Audiocassettes
  • Clippings
  • Correspondence
  • Magazines (periodicals)
  • Memorandums
  • Notes
  • Periodicals
  • Press releases
  • Reports
  • Transcripts
  • VHS (TM)
  • Videotapes

Geographic Name(s)

  • Los Angeles (Calif.)--History--20th century--Archival resources
  • United States--History--Archival resources

Personal Name(s)

  • Bradley, Tom, 1917-1998 -- Archives
  • Houghton, Robert A. -- Archives
  • Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968 -- Assassination
  • Lowenstein, Allard K. -- Archives
  • Melanson, Philip H. -- Archives
  • Moldea, Dan E., 1950- -- Archives
  • Sirhan, Sirhan Bishara, 1944- -- Archives
  • Stone, Gregory , 1949- -- Archives
  • Webster, William H. -- Archives
  • Wolfer, DeWayne -- Archives
  • Younger, Evelle J. -- Archives

Subject(s)

  • Assassination--Investigation--United States--20th century--Archival resources
  • Assassination--Political aspects--United States--History--20th century--Archival resources
  • Assassins--United States--Archival resources
  • Brainwashing--History--20th century--Archival resources
  • Conspiracies--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
  • Firearms--Social aspects--United States--History--Archival resources
  • Forensic ballistics--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources
  • Freedom of information--United States--Cases--Archival resources
  • Hypnosis--History--20th century--Archival resources
  • Interviews--United States--20th century--Archival resources
  • Murder--California--Los Angeles--Case studies--Archival resources
  • Police--California--Los Angeles--History--20th century--Archival resources
  • Trials--United States--Archival resources

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Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Trial Transcripts and Legal Documents 1968-1990 

Scope and Content

The series includes photocopies of reporter's court transcripts from the Sirhan B. Sirhan trial and subsequent appeals, excerpts of witness testimony, photocopies of exhibit materials used during the trial, correspondence regarding the case, handwritten notes compiled by Stone relating to the case and the witness interviews, materials that Stone accumulated about Sirhan such as article clippings and his interrogation. Also included are legal documents pertaining to California's penal code and constitution, Los Angeles' administrative code, and other files relating to federal cases.

Box
1-7, 95-99

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Series 2:  LAPD and FBI Investigative Files 1944-1990 

Scope and Content

The series includes materials related to the LAPD and FBI's investigation into the Kennedy assassination and the subsequent release of the investigative files to the general public. The original records for the investigation are maintained by the state and housed at the California State Archives.

Included in the series are LAPD summary reports, article clippings, interview synopses and excerpts from witness files, background information collected about Sirhan, a chronology of the events and activities at the Ambassador Hotel on the night of the shooting, LAPD property records for Sirhan and others, physical evidence booked during the investigation, LAPD name index cards, correspondence and memoranda, copies of the LAPD's Special Unit Senator investigation, audio cassettes and audio reels, copies of photographs taken the night of the assassination, excerpts from Kennedy's autopsy report, transcripts of court hearings and grand jury proceedings relative to the case, press releases, bibliographies, informational pamphlets about the California State Archives, and 22 rolls of microfilm labeled "California State Archives: RFK Assassination Investigation Papers."

In addition to those materials, there are also a number of folders pertaining to the lawsuit filed by Gregory Stone and Philip Melanson regarding the release of the FBI and LAPD investigative files into the assassination. Stone and Melanson argued that under the Freedom of Information Act, the public had the right to see those restricted files. In conjunction with the case the series includes court transcripts, notes, article clippings, and correspondence relating to the release of the materials.

Box
7-65

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Series 3:  Subject Files 

Box
65-85

 Names- Non Hotel 

Scope and Content

Materials in the subseries pertain to witnesses in the Kennedy assassination case that were not present at the crime scene, but had prior encounters with gunman Sirhan B. Sirhan. Included are interview transcripts, interview notes, and official statements issued by these witnesses.

Box
65
Folder
10-46

 Names- Hotel- Grand Jury 1967-1990 

Scope and Content

Materials in the subseries pertain to witnesses in the Kennedy assassination case that were present at the Ambassador Hotel at the time of the shooting. Included are interview summaries and statements submitted by these witnesses to the members of a grand jury about their recollection of the assassination. Also included are interview notes, diagrams and photos depicting witnesses' locations at the crime scene, and indexes listing witnesses' names.

Box
65-66

 Names- Alphabetical 1968-1991 

Scope and Content

The subseries consists of interview summaries and official statements of witnesses that were interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the Kennedy assassination. Items are arranged alphabetically, according to the last name of the interviewee.

Box
67

 Names- Political 1968-1990 

Scope and Content

Materials in the subseries pertain to the role of politics, both to conspiracies in general and the controversial release of the Kennedy assassination files in particular. Included are witness statements and affidavits, witness rosters, memoranda exchanged between Stone and elected officials, lists of source materials related to the Kennedy assassination, clippings from newspapers and periodicals, excerpts from speeches, an edition of the free speech publication News Media and the Law, and miscellaneous correspondence.

Box
68-69

 Sandra Serrano Files 1968-1988 

Scope and Content

The subseries contains materials related to the eyewitness account of Sandra Serrano, a campaign worker who claimed to have seen a "girl in a polka dot dress" accompanying Sirhan at the time of the shooting. Though vehemently discredited by the police, Serrano's account was corroborated by several other witnesses present at the crime scene and supported Stone's presumption that a second gunman was involved in Kennedy's assassination. The series consists primarily of transcripts of interviews conducted with both Serrano and these eyewitnesses. Also included are charts and photographs of the crime scene; article clippings; memoranda; a transcript of Serrano's polygraph examination; excerpts from books published about the shooting; a copy of the official report regarding Kennedy's assassination; and subsequent comments on this report.

Box
70

 Mayor's Advisory Committee 1963-1988 

Scope and Content

The subseries includes correspondence, notes, memoranda, reports, press releases, meeting minutes, etc. revolving around the selection of a repository to house the RFK assassination investigation files. Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley established an advisory committee to help select the appropriate repository to house the files. Diane Nixon, Director of the National Archives, Los Angeles Branch served as the committee's chairperson and liaison between the group and the mayor. Following the committee's investigation, it was recommended that the materials go to the California State Archives where the records now reside.

Box
71-72

 Second Gunman Theory 1963-1990 

Scope and Content

Theodore "Ted" Charach, a California journalist and investigative reporter, was the first to propose that Sirhan may not have acted alone in the Kennedy assassination and thereby paved the way for Stone's exhaustive investigation. Included in the subseries are research materials related to Charach's work. Included are transcripts of witness interviews, correspondence, photographs, article clippings and press releases, handwritten notes, and excerpts from books about the assassination.

The subseries also includes materials related to the release of the Robert Kennedy assassination files in May, 1988, a milestone that can be attributed in large part to Stone's investigation related to the controversial second gunman theory. Included are press and article clippings from several newspapers and periodicals; excerpts from witness testimony and interviews regarding the possible presence of a second gunman; affidavits and transcripts from a civil suit filed by Stone and two other plaintiffs about the release of records from the Kennedy case; letters and correspondence; essays and book chapters about the Kennedy assassination; bibliographies; the transcript of a segment about the second gunman theory, which aired on Unsolved Mysteries; and the transcript of a polygraph examination for eyewitness Sandra Serrano, who alleged to have encountered an accomplice to gunman Sirhan B. Sirhan.

Box
73-76

 Fire Arms- Wolfer and Harper 1962-1990 

Scope and Content

The subseries includes Stone's holograph notes, correspondence, charts and research into the fire arms and bullets used in the murder. Included are notes from DeWayne A. Wolfer the criminologist who analyzed the bullets and the gun following the murder. Also included are materials from William (Bill) W. Harper, a Pasadena criminologist who found fault with Wolfer's work during the investigation and accused Wolfer of committing perjury. Transcripts from cases the criminologists were involved in and correspondence is also included.

Box
76-77

 Polygraphs- Mind control hypnosis 1961-1987 

Scope and Content

The subseries contains items related to the topics of hypnosis and mind control, both of which arose during the criminal investigation as possible explanations of gunman Sirhan B. Sirhan's actions. Included are article clippings and publications related to mind control tactics; transcripts of interviews conducted with two witnesses who were believed to encounter Sirhan prior to the assassination; copies of several books pertaining to various aspects of hypnosis; and transcripts of Sirhan's interrogation following the assassination.

Box
77
Folder
6-16

 Correspondence 1973-1986 

Scope and Content

The subseries contains correspondence pertaining to Stone's investigation of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. Included are letters and memoranda exchanged between Stone and others studying the Kennedy case between 1973 and 1986; draft correspondence authored by Stone; a statement issued before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors by Stone's mentor, Allard K. Lowenstein; a summary of the Kennedy assassination released by the LAPD; and several letters pertaining to the LAPD and FBI's investigation of the Kennedy assassination.

Box
77-78

 Notes and Memos- Stone 1968-1990 

Scope and Content

The subseries includes personal materials that were maintained by Stone over the course of his investigation into the Kennedy assassination. Included are personal notes; summaries of the various materials that Stone analyzed, including reports, interviews, presentations, witness files, and audio cassette tapes; article clippings about the Kennedy assassination that were collected by Stone; excerpts from books; and Stone's personal work plans.

Box
78-79

 Indexes 1968-1990 

Scope and Content

The subseries contains indexes and lists compiled or produced by Stone during the course of his research. Included is the guide to the Robert F. Kennedy Assassination Investigation records held at the California State Archives (CSA), a list of witnesses at the Ambassador Hotel during the Kennedy Assassination, newspaper indexes, the index from the Special Unit Senator by Robert A. Houghton, an outline to the DeWayne A. Wolfer testimony, the inventory list that the District Attorney's Office kept on Sirhan, an index to the microfilm reels held by the California State Archive in regards to the investigation into the Kennedy assassination, the index from the Grand Jury and trail of the People of the State of California v. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, an list of the Dan Moldea interviews, and other miscellaneous lists made by Stone.

Box
80-85

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Series 4:  Media Coverage 1962-1990 

Scope and Content

The series consists of print and video media coverage of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination and the LAPD and FBI's subsequent investigation. Included in the series are clippings from newspapers, journals, and periodicals; editorials and letters to the editor; excerpts from books and reports; transcripts of meetings conducted by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners; press releases; correspondence; and video cassettes of news broadcasts, documentaries, and newsmagazine specials regarding the assassination. Items in the series span the entirety of the Kennedy case, beginning with the assassination in 1968, continuing with the LAPD and FBI's investigation and the Sirhan trial, and ending with the controversial release of the Kennedy assassination files in the late 1980s and discrepancies discovered in the official findings.

Box
86-94

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