Category Archives: JFK Assassination

FORENSIC FACTS IN THE JFK ASSASSINATION

Forensic WorkshopHere’s a bit of news for DyingWords followers that I’m kinda proud to share. I’ve been invited to present at the 4th International Conference on Forensic Research & Technology being held on September 28-30, 2015, in Atlanta.  I’ll be doing a 2 hour workshop on The Forensic Facts in the JFK Assassination

The theme of this years conference is From Evidence To Verdict . It’s a prestigious event attended by hundreds of prominent forensic scientists and tech wizards from around the world, so it’s really humbling to be recognized for my dig into the JFK murder. Here’s the abstract I submitted which outlines the presentation.

LHO Backyard 6Fifty-one years after United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, nearly eighty percent of Americans polled believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was involved in a conspiracy to murder JFK. A portion even think that Oswald might have been completely innocent – the ‘patsy’ which Oswald claimed to be.

The JFK evidence was never presented in a trial and Oswald’s ‘twelve peers’ were never asked to deliver a verdict because Oswald was murdered before he could stand trial. Six different government investigations have resulted in conflicting conclusions. In fact, the last probe in 1978 found a possibility that a second gunman fired, therefore there was a ‘probability’ of conspiracy.

CE399A half century has produced many forensic breakthroughs, some of which applied to the JFK homicide give us a better understanding of what really went down in Dealey Plaza, on November 22nd, 1963, and a clearer look at Lee Harvey Oswald’s guilt or innocence.

If you were presented the factual forensic evidence, what would your verdict be?

LHO Rifle -Lt DayJoin retired homicide detective, forensic coroner, and firearms expert Garry Rodgers as he lays out the forensic facts in the JFK case and how modern science interprets it. Rodgers’s life-long study of the most thoroughly investigated, highest profile homicide case of all time is delivered in an easy to follow and understand look at the ballistics, acoustics, autopsy, photographic, fingerprint, document, and other forensic evidence.

Attend this two hour workshop and deliver your own verdict on who murdered America’s 35th President.

Here’s the link to the conference website  http://forensicresearch.conferenceseries.com/ There’s a cool promo-banner there.

JFKSome additional news is that my book Lone Nuts – A No BS Guide to the JFK Assassination is with Wiley Publishing to be released as The JFK Assassination For Dummies.

THE MISSING BULLET IN THE JFK ASSASSINATION

JFKThere are only three significant questions left unanswered in the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy which occurred in Dallas, Texas, on November 22nd, 1963.

First is Lee Harvey Oswald’s motive.

Why’d he do it? We’ll never know for sure because Oswald never confessed and he died two days later, taking that secret to his grave.

Second – where was Oswald going after the assassination?

LHO photoHe left the scene, went home, grabbed his revolver, and was walking south on a Dallas street when intercepted by Officer JD Tippit. Oswald shot Tippit and continued fleeing before getting cornered in a theatre where he attempted to shoot the arresting officers. Clearly he was planning to live another day.

The third question – what happened to the missing bullet?

This can now be reasonably explained, although it’s taken a half century to figure it out.

LHO Rifle -Lt DayEvidence clearly shows that Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from his 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifle which was recovered from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Conspiracy theorists – give it a rest. Oswald was the trigger man and he acted alone. Not one single piece of evidence exists to refute this because non-events leave no evidence. It never happened any other way than Oswald acting alone.

The problem with the three shot evidence is that only two bullets were recovered. One has never been accounted for.

So what happened to it?

Let’s look at the firearms evidence in the JFK homicide case.

First of all, you have to weigh the ear-witness reports. The vast majority of witnesses stated that three gunshots were heard. Some claimed that one, two, and as many as nine shots were heard, but you’re going to get that variation with the hundreds of people that were present in Dealey Plaza when Kennedy was shot.

JFK Snipers nest 6You’ve got to give credibility to the witnesses who were closest to the muzzle. There were three Texas School Book Depository workers directly below the sixth floor, southeast window (sniper’s nest) where Oswald fired from. They were unshakable and unanimous that three shots rang out.

Their testimony is corroborated (backed-up) by the fact that three expended shell casings were found in the snipers nest. These three casings were forensically matched as being fired from Oswald’s Carcano ‘to the exclusion of all other firearms’ as the categorical term goes.

JFK Cartridges 510What’s clearly telling is the location in which these casings were found and photographed. In all my reading and research, I can’t find any official comment on the meaning of the casing pattern, although it’s obvious when you simply think about it. Two casings are grouped together, and the third is by itself about five feet from where Oswald pulled his trigger.

JFK 3 Cartridges Clear photoTo further understand the significance, you have to know that Oswald piled a small fortress of book boxes around the sniper’s nest to conceal himself, creating a cardboard wall. When he ejected the casings from his bolt action rifle, they flew through the air at a 90 degree angle from the barrel and struck the wall of boxes to Oswald’s right, then ricocheted to rest on the floor.

Hmmm… two were together and one was off by itself. It’s obvious that Oswald’s barrel position changed between the lone cartridge and the group of two.

So how does this explain the missing bullet?

Let’s look at the two shots that were accounted for.

CE399The first bullet that hit Kennedy, known in assassination terminology as The Single Bullet Theory, got him through the back of the shoulder/ base of the neck, exited his throat, then entered Texas Governor John Connally’s back. In a rapidly diminishing velocity, it traversed Connally’s chest, blew out below his right nipple, continued on to smash his wrist, and lodge in Connally’s thigh. It remained intact, as full metal jacket bullets are designed to do when they penetrate soft mediums like cloth and flesh, and was recovered on Connally’s stretcher at Parkland Hospital. This bullet is also known as The Magic Bullet.

JFK CE567The second bullet that hit Kennedy blasted his head apart. It fragmented into multiple pieces, as full metal jackets are designed to do when they hit a hard medium like bone at a high velocity. Less than fifty percent of this round was recovered. By the way, both of these bullets were ballistically linked to being fired from Oswald’s Carcano ‘to the exclusion of all other firearms’.

These two shots were recorded on the famous Zapruder film which shows them occurring 4.88 seconds apart with both trajectories in the same line to the sniper’s nest window.

Ergo. The two tightly grouped casings came from these two shots because the angle of ejection, ricochet, and rest pattern are similar.

So why was the third casing so far apart?

Simple. It was fired from a different angle.

Let’s think this thing out, then look at some more physical and witness evidence.

JFK Houston StIf you were Oswald, intent on shooting the President, would you expose yourself to the eyes-front approach of the motorcade as it approached you from the south on Houston St.?  (Remember, Oswald was unstable, but he was calculating.)  An approaching target, when you’re in a vertical vantage point, is a tough target to hit (Remember, I was a sniper so I know what I’m talking about). It’s common sense that he’d wait until JFK’s limo rounded the corner onto Elm St. and was nearly stopped right in front of him. That’s the most logical time to squeeze-off a shot.

But the two shots that killed JFK happened when the limo was far west of the sniper’s nest and vanishing from Oswald’s sight picture.

So why didn’t he fire when he had the closest opportunity?

Well, he probably did.

The angle of ejection for the lone casing is entirely consistent with Oswald firing it at the first logical opportunity which was when the limo was closest to him and the security eyes were facing away.

So how did he miss?

JFK Traffic LightSimple again. As Oswald was following Kennedy in his cross-hairs, a traffic light came into play. Oswald squeezed off the first round, but it hit the metal housing on the light and fragmented.

jfk traffic light5This accounts for other evidence like where James Tague, a bystander five hundred and twenty feet to the west, was hit in the cheek by a piece of concrete curb that was sent flying by a lead fragment and where Virgie Rachley stated to have seen sparks fly from the pavement behind the limo when the first of three shots were fired. The simplest explanation is that these fragments were from the first, and missing, bullet.

JFK Signal lightEvidence of the strike exists in blowup photos from a Secret Service re-enactment in 1964 where you can see a defect in the traffic light housing. Unfortunately the light was replaced years ago and was never examined.

So, like Occam’s Razor states, the simplest explanation is usually the correct explanation.

To me, it’s obvious that the missing JFK bullet has a simple explanation.

5 HISTORY CHANGES IF JFK WASN’T ASSASSINATED

JFKJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, fifty-one years ago today.

JFK’s murder on November 22, 1963, might be the most significant, singular event that shaped modern history. Ever wonder how our world would be today if Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t pull his trigger and President Kennedy survived?

It’ll never be known, but here’s 5 things where history would probably read different.

1. 1964 Presidential Election

JFK LimoKennedy’s main reason for his trip to Texas in November, 1963, was to restore unity in the local Democrats. JFK critically needed their support to capture the Texas Electoral College votes. That was the tipping point which narrowly gave him the 1960 election victory over Richard Nixon. The margin was .17 percent.

The November, 1964, presidential election was going to be a race between Democratic incumbent Jack Kennedy and Republican Party’s Senator Barry Goldwater. JFK committed to winning a second term and the polls prior to his death looked promising.

His popularity rating was at 58 percent right before the assassination and he’d just completed 1,000 days in office. That number was higher than similar ratings for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama – five presidents who won re-election bids.

JFK3JFK was going to keep Vice President Lyndon Johnson on the ticket as his running-mate. Although Kennedy personally disliked Johnson and cut him out of most decisions, he needed Johnson’s support to carry Texas – Johnson being a powerhouse within Texan Democrats.

If JFK had won the 1964 election, Johnson was still likely to become President. I say ‘still likely’ because Kennedy was a sick man. His deteriorating spine caused him immense pain and his advancing Addison ’s disease, the failure of adrenal glands, required him to be severely medicated. It’s unlikely that his health would have stood another five years, thereby defaulting the presidency to Lyndon Johnson sometime in his second term.

There’s no doubt that the shock of JFK’s assassination gave otherwise unearned support to Johnson who pledged to carry out Kennedy’s policies which included civil rights, the space program, nuclear de-escalation in the Cold War, and slowing the spread of communism.

2. Civil Rights

On recordings made in the White House just before his death, President Kennedy told advisers that he expected a tough re-election campaign because of his support of civil rights.

JFK4JFK introduced the Civil Rights Act in June, 1963. It faced fierce opposition in Congress, mostly from southern Democrats. Kennedy rejected an attempt to substitute a bill that would allow segregation at public facilities to continue, but it was stalled in Congress when Kennedy died.

After JFK’s death, President Johnson told the nation that passing the Civil Rights Act would be the best way to honor Kennedy’s legacy. By July, 1964, Johnson and his allies got the act approved. If Kennedy had lived, the debate over the Civil Rights Act would never have occurred during an election year.

Kennedy would have waited until after the 1964 election with the hope of having more leverage in Congress to pass the act. The combination of Kennedy and Johnson’s commitment to civil rights would still have been a huge, uphill battle and, without JFK’s assassination, probably wouldn’t have succeeded. 

JFK5History records that once Johnson became president he was able to get the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964 and Voting Rights Act passed in 1965 using his mandate from a sympathetic landslide election, Kennedy’s legacy, and his considerable powers of persuasion in Congress.

Without question, JFK’s assassination accelerated the implementation of American civil rights which reverberated around the world.

3. Space Program

JFK6On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy stood before Congress to deliver a special message on “urgent national needs.” He asked for an additional $7 billion to $9 billion over the next five years for the space program, stating to Congress “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” 

Skeptics doubted the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ability to meet the president’s ambitious timetable. Within a year, Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom travelled into space. 

In February, 1962, John Glenn orbited earth. His success inspired a great army of people who worked to reach the moon. By May, 1963, Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra, and Gordon Cooper made multiple orbits. Each mission lasted longer than the one before and gathered more data. 

As space exploration continued through the 1960s, JFK’s shoot for the moon vision was fulfilled.

JFK7Gemini was the second NASA spaceflight program. Its goals were to perfect the entry and re-entry maneuvers of a spacecraft and conduct further tests on how individuals are affected by long periods of space travel. The Apollo Program followed Project Gemini. It was to land humans on the moon and assure safe return to Earth. 

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts—Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin realized President Kennedy’s dream. 

At 8:18 p.m. ET, Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon. Six hours later, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step onto the lunar surface. Both men were returned safely to the earth.

President Kennedy’s vision got the job done on time. His death speeded up our human destiny which is to explore and populate beyond Earth. 

4. The Cold War

In October, 1962, the world squeaked-by annihilation when the Soviet Union put nuclear Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis hit the height of the Cold War and tensions between the Russia and the USA were ready to snap.

Kennedy’s cool, but tough, handling through diplomatic back-door discussions with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev resulted in a Cold War turning point. The Russians backed down and removed the missiles in exchange for the Americans taking their ICBMs out of Turkey.

Khrushchev developed a respect for Kennedy as a man he could trust and deal with.

JFK9After JFK’s sudden death and Johnson’s immediate succession, the Soviets returned to an aggressive, hard line against America and continued their mistrust of American administrations under Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter. It took a quarter century for frosty relations to thaw till Ronald Reagan asked for the Berlin Wall to come down.

The Cold War would’ve been warmer and shorter had Jack Kennedy not been cut down in Dallas.

5. Vietnam

Audio tapes from November 19, 1963, show Jack Kennedy’s take on Vietnam as he quizzed two aides who’d returned from South-East Asia.

JFK13On the one hand, you get the military saying the war is going better, and on the other hand, you get the political opinion with its deterioration. I’d like to have an explanation what the reason is for the difference,” Kennedy asked.

He had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should support the war in Vietnam, but not get our soldiers involved in combat,” Robert Kennedy said about his brother. The reason was the Domino theory. “It’ll be the loss of all of Southeast Asia if you lost Vietnam. I think everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall and this is the quandary he wrestled with.

JFK10But, three weeks before President Kennedy’s death, South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem was killed in a military coup indirectly supported by the United States. Kennedy then made it his priority to stabilize the region by assisting with military material and advisers, but he was loath to putting American army boots on the ground.

The Vietnam situation rapidly deteriorated in the year after JFK’s death. In August, 1964, Congress (with President Johnson’s forceful manipulation) approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. It gave Johnson the ability to commit massive amounts of U.S. troops without a war declaration.

JFK12In 2009, Koji Masutani made a film about President Kennedy and Vietnam in Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived. It was based on research of data and transcripts from the Kennedy administration. Masutani and the researchers concluded that Kennedy would have sought a more diplomatic solution than Johnson.

Their theory was that Kennedy’s pattern of behaviour was established in his handling of crises like the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile situations. It saw the president going against the advice of his military advisers to find a diplomatic solution. Kennedy’s pre-presidential book Profiles In Courage also gave insight into his preference to diplomacy vs. aggression.

De-classified planning documents from November 20, 1963, (2 days before JFK was shot) verify that Kennedy wanted all military personnel out of Vietnam by the end of 1965, unless there were justified exceptions. The fallout from the Diem coup was unknown at the time of the Kennedy assassination, so how the he’d have handled Vietnam during an election year will never be known.

JFK14But what’s known  to history – inversely to John F. Kennedy’s plan to exit Vietnam as quick as possible without losing a soldier – perversely the administrations of Presidents Johnson and Nixon supported a decade-long war in Vietnam and lost.

58,220 U.S. military personnel died. So did well over a million Vietnamese.

History changed when JFK was assassinated.