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American University students investigate JFK's assasination

Friday - 11/22/2013, 7:08am  ET

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The students' investigation during the spring 2013 semester was intentionally set before the 50th anniversary of the president's death. (AP)

Students reflect on the investigation

WTOP's Megan Cloherty

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WASHINGTON - It was a five-month investigation into a 50-year-old mystery as American University students tried to determine who killed President John F. Kennedy.

Adjunct Professor Don Fulsom was a cub reporter when the president was killed, and he always had a fascination with the conspiracy theories around the event. So he named his course after the question most Americans have pondered, "Who Killed JFK?"

"One of the students wrote on my evaluation, in the complaint part, 'Course did not answer the question posed in the title,' but I never thought it would," Fulsom says.

His students heard from dozens of experts on conspiracy, as well as the CIA, FBI and mafia in power at the time and trudged through hundreds of documents, including writings about conspiracy theories for the class' investigation.

"We really walked through all of the theories which was wonderful no matter how ludicrous or incredible they may be," says junior Kristen Pulkstenis.

When the students' stumbled into the gaps or facts missing from the investigation, that's is when senior Connor Trafton says his frustration hit.

"You spend the entire class trying to come up with as much information as possible and it ends up just with the conclusion of, 'Well, this is what we think happened, but until we learn more, it's just a big unknown,'" says Trafton.

The psychology portion of the investigation the most interesting to Trafton -- delving into Lee Harvey Oswald's past and where he was in his life and the state of the government at the time of the assassination.

"It could have been a situation where the government knew something was going to happen and just missed the opportunity to stop it. And they don't want to tell people 50 years later, 'Oops we dropped the ball. The president was killed.' No one wants to hear that," says Trafton.

Fulsom believes that come 2017, the public could know more about JFK's assassination.

"2017 was specified in an Act of Congress that all materials related to the assassination be put out at that time. There is a catch though, and that is the president at that time has to have the final word whether or not he or she thinks it's in the national interest to reveal this information," says Fulsom.

He's hopeful more information will come to light and the full scope of what happened in Dealy Plaza will reveal itself -- eventually.

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