The following review has just appeared in THE FEDERAL LAWYER (May 2001),
pp. 52-56.  This journal (formerly:  THE FEDERAL BAR NEWS AND JOURNAL)
is a publication for attorneys who work for the federal government, who
practice before federal agencies, or who appear before federal courts.

Murder in Dealey Plaza: What We Know Now That We Didn't Know Then About
the Death of JFK, Edited by James Fetzer; Catfeet Press, 2000.  468
pages, $19.95.

Reviewed by George Costello*

There has always been strong evidence of multiple gunmen in the
assassination of President Kennedy -- strong evidence that the official
story presented in the Warren Report,1 and in large measure ratified by
the report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA),2 is
false.  Conspiracy evidence, however, has always run up against autopsy
evidence that substantiates the official story that shots hit the
President only from behind.3  Ordinarily, the autopsy is the best
evidence of how a murder was accomplished, but the Kennedy
assassination has proven to be the exception to the rule.  Murder in
Dealey Plaza pulls the props from under the autopsy report, and gives
us good reason to believe that the report, along with accompanying
X-rays and photos, was falsified to hide evidence of frontal shots.

Murder in Dealey Plaza is aptly subtitled ^─What We Know Now that We
Didn't Know Then About the Death of JFK.ż  For years, key evidence in
the case was kept secret by the federal government.  Thanks to the work
of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB), however, we now have
much more information than we did before about the assassination of
President Kennedy, and about the cover-up orchestrated from within the
government.4  Thanks to the dedication and persistence of people like
Professor James Fetzer, Dr. Gary Aguilar, Dr. David Mantik, and Douglas
Horne ^┬ contributors to Murder in Dealey Plaza ^┬ we now have a better
idea about what really happened.

Soon after the ARRB released its report in 1998, supporters of the
Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone
assassin were quick to provide sound bites proclaiming that there were
no ^─smoking gunsż in the released files.  This was true only in the
very literal sense that the actual murder weapons and assassins were
not identified.5  There is explosive material in the newly released
files ^┬ evidence that helps establish that the autopsy report was
misleading on critical points, that supporting X-rays and photographs
relied upon by the HSCA were falsified, and that the government has
never revealed the true nature of the President's wounds.

Murder in Dealey Plaza, building on knowledge that has been gained over
the years,6 sets forth much of the new information and explains its
import.7  The principal focus is on the medical evidence, but there are
also interesting chapters on the Presidential limousine, the failure of
Secret Service protection, the authenticity of the Zapruder film, the
failure of professional historians to probe behind the cover-up, and
Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry's files on the case.  A perceptive 1964
essay by Bertrand Russell rounds out the book.8

Among the book╝s findings are the following:

Í Contrary to conclusions in the HSCA's report, witnesses to the
Bethesda autopsy confirmed, rather than contradicted, the Dallas
doctors' assertions that there was a large hole in the back of the
President's head.9  Such a hole would ordinarily signify an exit wound,
not an entrance wound, and is therefore indicative of a shot from the

Í Autopsy X-rays were forged, probably shortly after the autopsy, to
make it appear that there was a round metallic object, 6.5 mm in
diameter, lodged in the back of the President's skull near the alleged
bullet entry site identified by the HSCA.  (Accused assassin Lee Harvey
Oswald's rifle used 6.5 mm ammunition.)

Í Not all of the photos and X-rays taken at the autopsy remain in the
collection at the National Archives. ARRB interviews with autopsy
doctors, photographers, and X- ray technicians reveal that some
photographs and X-rays taken during the autopsy are missing from the
collection at the National Archives, and that some of the photographs
now in that collection were not taken during the autopsy.

Í As a follow-up to the autopsy there were two separate brain
examinations of two different brains.  The first examination, evidently
of President Kennedy's brain, was probably conducted on the morning of
Monday November 25, prior to the President's funeral.  The second
examination, conducted about a week later, was of a different brain ^┬ a
brain that showed damage consistent with the official story of a head
shot from the rear.

Among the conclusions that can be drawn from these and other findings
are the following:

Í President Kennedy was shot at least twice in the head.  At least one
shot to the head came from the front.

Í Autopsy photos and X-rays were falsified to conceal the true nature
of President Kennedy's wounds, and to create images consistent with the
official version of the shooting.  The autopsy report was deliberately

Í The second brain examination, evidently of a brain not the
President's, was conducted in order to create a record of a brain
specimen that was consistent with the official story that President
Kennedy had been shot from behind.

Í All of the official investigations of President Kennedy's
assassination relied on falsified or misleading medical data to reach
their conclusions.

The new findings about the medical evidence cannot be set forth in full
detail in a book review of this length.  Some elaboration here,
however, should help convince the reader that the medical essays in
Murder in Dealey Plaza are both thorough and persuasive with respect to
their principal findings, and that the book merits serious attention.

The Autopsy Witnesses

One of the most shocking revelations in the ARRB's releases is the fact
that the HSCA misrepresented the basic thrust of statements made to
Committee staff by witnesses to President Kennedy's autopsy at
Bethesda.10  According to the HSCA report,

In disagreement with the observations of the Parkland doctors are the
26 people present at the autopsy.  All of those interviewed who
attended the autopsy corroborated the general location of the wounds as
depicted in the photographs; none had differing accounts . . . .  [I]t
appears more probable that the observations of the Parkland doctors are

The autopsy photographs referred to by the HSCA report show the back of
the head apparently intact, the hair free of blood, with only a small
red spot near the cowlick.12 By contrast, doctors at Parkland Hospital
in Dallas who treated the mortally wounded President, including
neurosurgeons, described a large, gaping wound in the back of the head,
with brain tissue from the cerebellum as well as the cerebrum
extruding.  (The cerebellum, located low in the back of the brain, has
a very distinctive appearance that no doctor should mistake for the
cerebrum.)  The autopsy report, although it wrongly concluded that
President Kennedy was shot only from behind, also clashed directly with
these photographs.  The report describes a large hole ^─involving
chiefly the parietal bone, but extending somewhat into the temporal and
occipital regions.ż13  This is a description of a hole that extends well
into the back of the head.14 Any large hole in both the parietal and
occipital bones should have been readily apparent in a photograph of
the back of the head, at least if there was a corresponding loss of

According to Dr. Aguilar, it is simply not true that the autopsy
witnesses interviewed by the HSCA staff corroborated the autopsy
photos.   Staff summaries of the witnesses' statements, locked up for
30 years until being released through the ARRB, reveal that all 13 of
those interviewed (only half of those present at the autopsy)
corroborated the observations of the Parkland doctors that there was a
large wound in the back of the head.  Many Warren Commission witnesses
had also described a large wound in the back of the head.  Dr. Aguilar
reports that, between Parkland and Bethesda, there were more than 40
witnesses ^┬ including the autopsists themselves ^┬ whose original
observations attested to a right-rearward skull wound.15

Thus, it is no longer a matter of Parkland doctors and other Dallas
witnesses being contradicted by the autopsy photographs and all of the
autopsy witnesses.  Rather, it appears that the current autopsy
photographs were contradicted by virtually all interviewed witnesses at
the Bethesda autopsy as well as at Parkland.  As Dr. Aguilar contends,
it is difficult to imagine how there could have been near unanimity
among so many people -- many of them highly trained professionals --
and how all of them could have been wrong about so basic a matter as
the location of a large head wound recognized by all as the fatal wound.

Incomplete and Altered Autopsy Photos

How can it be that the autopsy photographs conflict so starkly with the
observations of the 13 autopsy witnesses who described a large hole in
the back of the President's head? With the exception of one confusing
photo of the inside of the skull,16 the collection of autopsy
photographs at the National Archives does not verify a large defect in
the back of the head.  In fact, as mentioned above, the extant photos
of the exterior of the back of the head show it to be intact.  The
explanation appears to be that the original autopsy photos were
replaced with subsequently made and probably fabricated photos that
were intended to be consistent with the official story of shots from

Through interviews with the autopsy doctors, photographers, X-ray
technicians, autopsy witnesses, and a technician who developed autopsy
pictures, the ARRB helped to establish that there were key photographs
taken during the autopsy that are not now present in the collection at
the National Archives. Various discrepancies emerged.   For example,
particular angles and views that were photographed during the autopsy
are not now represented (e.g., the inside of the chest cavity, the
inside and outside of the skull where the beveling of a bullet entry is
revealed). The number of exposures supposedly taken during the autopsy
exceeds the number of pictures in the collection. Photos now in the
collection were taken with film that was not used by the autopsy
photographer, and that was not developed at the Naval Photographic
Center, where apparently the original autopsy photos were developed.

Another strong indictment of the authenticity of the extant photo
showing a blood-free  and intact back of the head is the reaction to
this photo by the two FBI agents present at the autopsy: ^─this looks
like it's been doctored in some wayż and ^─it looks like it could have
been reconstructed or something.ż17

The HSCA's account of authentication of the photographs is almost as
troubling as its misrepresentation of the statements of the autopsy
witnesses.  The Committee reported that the autopsy photographs were
authenticated, although it claimed that the Department of Defense ^─had
been unable to locateż the camera and lens that had been used at the
autopsy. HSCA files released in 1997, however, revealed that DOD had
indeed identified the camera and sent it to the Committee, but that the
Committee's photographic experts, rather than raising embarrassing
questions of authenticity, chose instead to conclude that the camera
and lens had not been the one used to take the autopsy photographs
existing in 1977.18

Forgery of the Autopsy X-Rays

There are two aspects of the extant autopsy X-rays that Dr. Mantik
believes are forged.  One is the round, 6.5 mm fragment mentioned
above, apparently lodged in the back of the skull and visible on the
frontal X-ray.  The other is the intact back of the skull seen on the
lateral X-rays.  Dr. Mantik, a radiation oncologist who is
board-certified by the American College of Radiology and who also has a
PhD in physics, relies on optical densitometry measurements to confirm
the forgeries.

The round 6.5 mm object that appears to be lodged in the back of the
skull was apparently not present on the X-rays taken the night of the
autopsy.19  When questioned under oath by the ARRB, the three autopsy
doctors had no recollection of the object, and no witness to the
autopsy has ever described it.  A major objective of autopsy X-rays is
to identify bullets and bullet fragments present in the body so that
they can be removed and preserved as evidence.  Other much smaller
bullet fragments were removed from the President's head during the
autopsy, and it stands to reason that this largest of all objects would
also have been spotted and removed.  The fact that this object was not
identified and removed the night of the autopsy is by itself strong
evidence that it was not there.  In addition, irregularities in optical
density measurements led Dr. Mantik to conclude that the object was not
a bullet fragment at all, but had been placed on the X-ray film through
use of a composite.20

The lateral X-ray shows an impossibly dense area within the posterior
skull ^┬ so dense, in fact, that Dr. Mantik concluded that if it were
bone it would have to be nearly solid bone from one side of the skull
to the other.  Also indicative of forgery is the fact that there is no
corresponding dense area visible on the frontal X-ray, as one would
expect if there were something that dense within the skull.21   Dr.
Mantik concludes that this X-ray also appears to be a composite created
by double exposure.22

Another aspect of the skull X-rays bears emphasis, although it is not
indicative of forgery. Visible on the lateral X-ray is a trail of tiny
metallic particles extending from near the hair line on the right
forehead most of the way back across the top of the skull. This trail
of particles does not line up with either of the bullet entry sites
identified by government inquiries.  The trail clearly could not have
resulted from a bullet that entered low on the back of the skull near
the external occipital protuberance (the site identified by the autopsy
pathologists).  In fact, the autopsy report misplaces this trail by
over 10 cm, an astonishing error that the pathologists could not
explain to the ARRB.  Nor does the trail line up with the much higher
site posited by the HSCA.  The trail of particles does align, however,
with a possible bullet entry site near the hairline on the forehead.23

The Two Brain Examinations

If the discovery by ARRB staffer Douglas Horne that there were two
brain examinations of two different brains following President
Kennedy's autopsy does not constitute a ^─smoking gun,ż it is hard to
imagine what would.  Horne set forth his findings in a staff memorandum
released to the public in 1998, and summarized by Horne in a chapter in
Murder in Dealey Plaza.24

Horne based his conclusions on ^─three sets of indiciaż: (1) conflicting
evidence, drawn mostly from ARRB interviews with participants, as to
the timing of what was initially assumed to be one brain examination;
(2) conflicting evidence as to the type of film and photographic
techniques used to photograph the brain(s); and (3) differences between
the appearance of the brain at autopsy and in photographs of the
(second) brain examination.

As for the timing, both autopsy doctor J. Thornton Boswell and autopsy
photographer John Stringer told both the HSCA and the ARRB that the
brain exam was conducted 2 or 3 days after the autopsy.  President
Kennedy was killed in the early afternoon of Friday, November 22, 1963,
his body was flown back to Washington that afternoon, and the autopsy
was conducted that evening.  The brain exam that was conducted 2 or 3
days after the autopsy most likely occurred on the morning of Monday,
November 25, the day of the funeral, there having been pressure to
complete the autopsy procedures in time to bury the brain with the
body.  There was other evidence, however, of a later brain exam.  Dr.
Pierre Finck of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the third
doctor present at the autopsy (and a meticulous record keeper), wrote
in a 1965 memo to his superior that Dr. Humes had called him on
November 29, 1963 about the need to examine the President's brain, and
that he had subsequently attended such an examination.  Dr. Finck
reaffirmed to the ARRB that the brain examination he attended could not
have been as soon as 2 or 3 days after the autopsy.  Relying on this
information as well as interviews with other key people, Horne
concluded that Dr. Finck had been excluded from the first brain exam,
and was then called in to observe the second.25

The brain observed at autopsy and the photographed brain were grossly
disparate.  The right hemisphere of the photographed brain was
disturbed, but virtually all of the brain matter was present.  The
recorded weight was 1500 grams, near the upper limit for a male brain
(the average is reportedly 1350 to 1400 grams).26 But by all accounts a
significant amount of the President's brain was blown away when he was
shot in the head.27 Witnesses at Parkland and at the autopsy said that
at least a third of the brain was gone,  and the extant autopsy X-rays
show a complete absence of brain in the front of the head.  These major
discrepancies alone could have justified Horne's conclusion that the
brain that was photographed and described could not have been that of
President Kennedy.


What does all of this mean?  Any one of the findings summarized above
would be troubling by itself.  Together, these findings form a critical
mass of evidence indicating that President Kennedy's autopsy was
falsified, and help establish a compelling case that people within the
federal government covered up evidence of frontal shots ^┬ and hence of
multiple gunmen and conspiracy in the assassination of President
Kennedy.  Because it pulls this evidence together in one place, Murder
in Dealey Plaza is one of the most important books to date on the
Kennedy assassination.

The new evidence turns the tables.  No longer can defenders of the lone
assassin theory hide behind the autopsy evidence and claim that it
trumps all the other evidence. The weight of this other evidence now
trumps the autopsy report.  Lone assassin theorists must address and
explain the new evidence if they wish to regain credibility.

It is time for people of integrity who were involved in the official
investigations ^┬  especially the professionals ^┬ to take a good-faith
look at the new evidence and confront the likelihood that their
conclusions were based on falsified data.  Murder in Dealey Plaza may
not be the last word on the medical evidence, but it should be the
starting point for a fresh look ^┬ not only at the medical evidence, but
also at the assassination and its implications.


1  The Warren Report is the popular name of the Report of the Presidents
Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  The
Warren Commission was established on November 29, 1963 by E.O. 11130,
and charged with  evaluating the evidence developed by the F.B.I., with
making such further investigation as the Commission finds desirable,
and with reporting findings and conclusions to President Johnson.  The
Commissions report, delivered to President Johnson on September 24,
1964,  concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, and firing three
shots from a sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository
above and behind the presidential limousine, killed President Kennedy
and wounded Governor Connolly, and that Jack Ruby, acting alone, killed
Oswald two days later. 2  The House Select Committee on Assassinations
was formed in 1976 to review the evidence relating to the
assassinations of President Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Committee devoted much of its limited resources to assembling
panels of experts to examine and evaluate the evidence, and conducted
only a limited new investigation.  See Gaeton Fonzi, The Last
Investigation (1993).  The Committees report, issued in 1979, agreed
with the Warren Commission that the President was killed by Lee Harvey
Oswald, who fired three shots from the sixth floor of the Texas School
Book Depository.  The Committee also, however, found a high probability
that a second gunman fired at the motorcade, but missed, from behind
the picket fence atop the grassy knoll to the front and right of the
Presidential limousine.
3  According to the official story formulated by the Warren Commission
and agreed to by the HSCA, two of the three shots fired by Lee Harvey
Oswald from the sixth floor snipers nest in the Texas School Book
Depository building struck President Kennedy.  Under this scenario the
first shot to strike the President hit him in the upper back and exited
his throat just below the Adams apple.  This same bullet (later dubbed
the single bullet or magic bullet), then allegedly struck Governor
Connolly, seated in front of the President, and caused all of the
Governors wounds.  Both official accounts agreed that the second shot
to strike the President was fatal, and entered the back of the head.
They strongly disagreed, however, as to the location of the bullet
entry hole on the back of the head.  The Warren Commission, relying on
the findings of the autopsy doctors, concluded that this bullet entered
low on the skull slightly above and to the right of the external
occipital protuberance.  The HSCA, however, relying on autopsy
photographs and X-rays, placed the entry hole about four inches higher,
near the cowlick.
4  The ARRB was established pursuant to the President John F. Kennedy
Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, Pub. L. 102-526.  The
Boards mission was to obtain all government records relating to the
assassination, and to the fullest extent possible release those records
to the American people. The Board was not charged with investigating the
crime or with making findings as to who was responsible for the
Presidents murder.  The Board was authorized, however, to pursue issues
related to the completeness of assassination records and the possible
destruction of records; relying on this authority, the Board conducted
extensive interviews relating to the autopsy and other medical records.
5  In the Prologue to Murder in Dealey Plaza (MIDP), Fetzer identifies
16 smoking guns revealed by the new evidence.
6  A number of researchers have contributed to deciphering the medical
evidence.  Among the more significant books on the subject have been
Harold Weisberg, Post Mortem (1975); Charles Wilber, Medicolegal
Investigation of the President John F. Kennedy Murder (1978); David
Lifton, Best Evidence (1980); Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason (1997);
Harrison Livingstone, High Treason (1998); and James Fetzer, Editor,
Assassination Science (1998).
7  MIDP is a sequel to Fetzers 1998 book Assassination Science.  Both
books are collections of essays by assassination researchers probing
different aspects of the case.  The MIDP chapters on the medical
evidence are thorough summaries that cover the new evidence and bring
the essentials together in one place. MIDP does not replicate what is
found in Assassination Science, however, and is well supplemented by
the earlier work.
8  This reviews emphasis on the medical evidence is not intended to
minimize the significant contributions of Vince Palamaras analysis of
the Secret Service performance in Dallas and its aftermath, of Douglas
Weldons research into the post-assassination disposition of the
presidential limousine, or of David Mantiks analysis of the Zapruder
film. All of these chapters in MIDP are well worth the readers
9  After the shooting in Dealey Plaza, President Kennedy was taken to
Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where a team of doctors attempted
unsuccessfully to save his life.  During the course of treatment, these
doctors observed two wounds  a small puncture wound of the throat and a
large hole in the back of the head.  After President Kennedy was
pronounced dead, his body was forcibly removed from Parkland Hospital,
in disregard of Texas law requiring that the autopsy be performed
there, and transported to the National Naval Medical Center at
Bethesda, Maryland. The autopsy was performed at Bethesda under the
direction of Dr. James Humes, of the Naval Medical Center, and with the
assistance of Dr. J. Thornton Boswell, also of the Naval Medical
Center, and Dr. Pierre Finck, from the Armed Forces Institute of
10  That HSCA staff kept the witness statements and their import from
its own panel of forensic pathology experts is also shocking.  When Dr.
Aguilar showed these statements in 1995 to Dr. Michael Baden and Dr.
Cyril Wecht, both members of the HSCA panel, they both said they had
never seen them before.  MIDP, p.188.
11  Report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, 95th Cong.,
2d Sess., vol. 7, at 37-39 (1979), as quoted and emphasized in MIDP, pp.
12  That red spot was later identified by HSCA experts as the bullet
entry hole.  This represented a major upward shift of about four inches
from the entry point identified by the autopsy doctors, just to the
right and just above the external occipital protuberance (EOP).  With
the exception of one occasion when Dr. Humes seemed to waver on the
issue under questioning by the HSCA, the three autopsy doctors Humes,
Boswell, and Finck have consistently maintained that the bullet entry
hole was at the lower site, near the EOP.
13  In 1996 Dr. Boswell reconfirmed these observations by drawing just
such a large hole on a skull as an illustration for the ARRB, MIDP pp.
235-37. 14  The two parietal bones cover much of the top and sides of
the skull, from the coronal suture in front, where they meet the
frontal bones, to the lambdoid suture in the back, where they meet the
occipital bone.  The back of the head is thus comprised of parietal
bone on top and occipital bone below.  Note as well that the occipital
bone overlies the area of the brain that contains the cerebellum, and
that the Parkland doctors reported seeing tissue from the cerebellum
extruding from the wound in the back of the head.
15  The emphasis on original statements is important.  Soon after the
autopsy Secret Service agents visited the Parkland doctors in an effort
to get them to revise their statements.  Some of them did back off their
initial statements, both with respect to the head wound and with respect
to the wound in the front of the throat, which they had initially
described as a likely entry wound.
16  Confusing to the layman, that is.  Dr. Mantik contends that this
picture, properly oriented and interpreted, shows the damage to the back
of the head and also reveals the proper placement of a bone fragment
found at the assassination scene in Dealey Plaza.
17  Sworn statements of Francis X. ONeill and James W. Sibert,
respectively, to ARRB counsel Jeremy Gunn, as reproduced in MIDP, p.
208.  Dr. Robert Grossman, a neurosurgeon who attended President
Kennedy at Parkland Hospital, had a similar reaction to the picture
when interviewed by ARRB staff.  See MIDP, p. 201.
18  Whether the lens in the camera had been changed between 1963 and the
HSCAs examination in 1977 remains unknown.
19  It is probably not coincidental that the size of this fragment
matched the 6.5 mm ammunition used by Oswalds rifle.  Nor is it likely
to be coincidental that spatially compatible images of the 6.5 mm
object are visible on the lateral and frontal X-rays (the object is
round on the frontal view, and narrow on the lateral view, and in both
views appears at the same spot on the back of the skull).  A random
artifact might appear on one or the other views, but not both, or a
speck-on-the-lens artifact could appear in identical shape and size on
both images, but the odds of the spatially compatible but distinctly
differently shaped images appearing by random on two different X-rays
at the same spot on the skull are indeed remote.
20  Dr. Mantik also quotes Larry Sturdivan, the HSCAs ballistics expert,
who states unequivocally that this object could not possibly be a
sheared-off cross-section of a bullet or bullet jacket.  Never in his
experience, Mr. Sturdivan explained, had he seen a bullet that had
sheared off in this manner after striking a body.
21  A forgers objective would have been to simulate an intact skull, not
to create a suspiciously dense area inside the skull, so the need to
fabricate the frontal X-ray would probably not have been anticipated.
22  This finding is summarized by Dr. Fetzer as Smoking Gun #7 in the
Prologue to MIDP, and was described  in more detail by Dr. Mantik in
Assassination Science.  An effect of the composite was to leave the
frontal skull looking unusually dark, a feature that puzzled even Dr.
Humes when interviewed by the ARRB.
23  No government inquiry has identified a bullet entry hole at this
site, but Tom Robinson, the funeral home employee who restored the body
after the autopsy, described a wound at that location.  MIDP, p. 250.
This trail of particles, incidentally, is more characteristic of an
exploding bullet than of the full metal jacketed bullets used by
Oswalds weapon. See MIDP, Prologue, Smoking Gun #4.
24  The complete staff memorandum was printed in Probe, vol. 7, No.4
(May-June 2000).  Probe, now discontinued, was a research journal
produced by Citizens for Truth About the Kennedy Assassination.
25  It may seem incredible that Drs. Humes and Boswell could have
participated in such a deception.  Note, however, that John Stringer,
the autopsy photographer, when asked by the ARRB why he signed a false
statement verifying the completeness of the photographic record,
responded that he was ordered to.  Perhaps Dr. Humes had similar
orders.  There were instances when Dr. Humes was less than candid about
what transpired the night of the autopsy.  For example, Dr. Humes had
told the Warren Commission and the HSCA that he had burned his autopsy
notes because some of the Presidents blood was on them and he did not
want them to be the subject of morbid curiosity.  He also, however,
burned a first draft of the autopsy report that could not have been
stained with the Presidents blood.  See Final Report of the ARRB, p.
122, and MIDP pp  268-71.  Also, Dr. Humes initially claimed that he
was not aware that there was a bullet wound in the throat until he
talked by phone with Parkland doctors the next morning, and that it was
only then that he realized that the throat wound must have been the
point of exit for the bullet that entered the back.  (The small bullet
hole in the throat observed by Parkland doctors had been cut through to
insert a breathing tube during resuscitation efforts.)  This story was
contradicted in 1992 by Dr. Robert B. Livingston, who was Scientific
Director for two of the National Institutes of Health in 1963.  Dr.
Livingston recounted that he had called Dr. Humes the afternoon of the
assassination, before the body arrived at Bethesda, and had alerted him
that news reports from Dallas indicated there was a bullet entry wound
in the throat.  See Assassination Science, p. 162. Even Dr. Boswell
confirmed to the ARRB that the autopsy doctors were aware of the throat
wound during the course of the autopsy.
26   Oddly, no brain weight was recorded on the autopsy report.
27  Occupants of the Presidential limousine, as well as the motorcycle
policeman riding to the left rear of the limousine, were splattered by
blood and brain matter.  (In one of several incredible episodes of
destruction of evidence, the limousine was washed down at Parkland
Hospital soon after the assassination, prior to the inspection that
later took place in the White House garage.  As a result, there is no
complete photographic record of the limousine crime scene in the
collection at the Archives.  For a full account, see Douglas Weldons
chapter The Kennedy Limousine: 1963 in Murder in Dealey Plaza.  Weldon
also presents evidence suggesting that the original windshield, in
which several witnesses saw a through hole, was replaced by one
containing no perforation, but only cracks consistent with a hit from
the rear.)

* George Costello is an attorney who works for the federal government.
The views expressed in this review are solely his own.



Special Cases
Social Issues