118. Painting Of A NightmareUnited States President John F. Kennedy suffered two gunshot wounds during his assassination in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. The fatal bullet struck Kennedy in the top of his head and, literally, blew out his brains. Most people have seen frame 313 of the Zapruder Film that shows the president’s head exploding and there’s little dispute in the timing, nor placement, of this shot. The other bullet—the one that got Kennedy in the back, at the base of his neck—is far more controversial.

A1Officially, this bullet is known as Warren Commission Exhibit 399 and was said to strike JFK approximately 4.92 seconds earlier. This bullet allegedly cut clean through his neck, exited below his Adam’s Apple, and carried on to severely wound Texas Governor John Connally who was seated ahead of the President in the limousine. It was later recovered intact on a hospital stretcher in what’s been described as “pristine” condition and became the cornerstone of the Warren Commission’s Single Bullet Theory that postulates one bullet did tremendous damage to two men and came out looking like new.

LHO Backyard 2This “perfect” bullet has been held as proof of conspiracy in the JFK Assassination for over fifty years. To this day, three-quarters of Americans believe it’s impossible for one missile to perform incredible feats of altering trajectory, piercing seventeen layers of clothing, four layers of skin, fifteen inches of flesh, smash a rib and a wrist bone before coming to rest entirely intact in a thigh, then be suspiciously found and conclusively matched to the alleged assassin’s rifle. It had to be planted, conspiracy theorists tell you—set up to frame Lee Harvey Oswald—or else the bullet had to be magic.

But was it? Here’s what the investigation, ballistic design, and forensic science tell us about CE399—the “magic” bullet.

Dealey Plaza

At 12:30 pm the Kennedy motorcade rounded a tight left turn from Houston Street and headed west onto Elm Street in Dealey Plaza, right below the southeast, sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository where Lee Oswald was concealed with his 6.5 X 52 mm Mannlicher-Carcano military surplus rifle.

TSBD Shots

Oswald fired his first shot from a distance of about 77 feet and missed. The best guess is that it hit a traffic light and deflected. Oswald’s second shot was fired approximately 6.57 seconds later from a 21-degree downward angle, at 189 feet, and is purported to have wounded both Kennedy and Connally. Oswald’s third shot was from 265 feet and it killed Kennedy. An estimated 11.49 seconds elapsed from the first trigger pull and allowed Oswald plenty of time to reload the bolt-action rifle twice. Oswald fled, leaving his rifle and three expended cartridges behind.

Parkland Hospital

A3The motorcade rushed to Parkland Hospital, five minutes away. Connally remained conscious and was partly able to stand. He was put onto a stretcher and wheeled into the Emergency Room, then transferred to an operating theater and surgically treated for wounds to his chest, wrist, and thigh. Kennedy was unconscious with a massive head wound, a punctured neck, and in the last gasps of life. He was laid on a different stretcher, taken to another part of the ER where, despite a gallant resuscitation effort, President Kennedy was declared dead at 1:00 pm.

Most of the medical staff who treated JFK observed a tiny hole in his throat that they assumed was a bullet’s entrance wound. The perforation was partly obliterated during an emergency tracheostomy and the president’s body was not rolled to inspect for a back wound.

A2Around 2:00 pm a Parkland hospital worker found an intact bullet between the pad and metal side flange on one of the Kennedy entourage stretchers. The bullet had obviously been fired as it displayed the engraved striations from the lands and grooves of a rifle barrel. Evidence put before the Warren Commission could not positively establish if the bullet was found on Kennedy’s stretcher or Connally’s and the bullet’s chain of custody was not clearly recorded. It passed between at least five people before coming into possession of the FBI firearms examiner who forensically matched it with Oswald’s sixth-floor rifle to “the exclusion of all other firearms”. This bullet weighed 158.60 grains and was entered into the Warren Commission’s evidence as Exhibit 399 and is now stored in the National Archives in Washington.

Kennedy’s Autopsy

President Kennedy’s body was shipped to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington where a postmortem exam was performed that evening. As history would come to regret, the examining pathologists were hospitalists and not trained in forensic methods, although one doctor was somewhat experienced with World War II battlefield gunshot wounds.

There were serious errors made in interpreting and recording JFK’s neck/back wound during the autopsy.

JFK Throat Exit

JFK Back WoundThe pathologists failed to notice the throat hole due to the tracheostomy incision and they failed to dissect this wound’s path from rear to front. They were correct in interpreting the defect in Kennedy’s back as a downward entrance wound due to the elliptical shape and the inward fold of the skin as well as the presence of circular bruising known as an abrasion collar. The pathologists attempted to probe the wound path with a metal rod but were blocked by rigor mortis of the scapular muscles. They speculated the bullet may have entered JFK’s back, then stopped and was worked out during the chest compressions during Parkland CPR.

The Bethesda pathologists used two anatomical reference points to record the back wound location—the acromion process which is the tip of the right shoulder and the mastoid process which is the bony protuberance below the right ear. They also anatomically referenced the entrance point to the right of the first thoracic vertebrae which is located at the top of the shoulder at the base of the neck.


The pathologists seemed to overlook that the mastoid and acromion process points are valueless in fixing another anatomical location as both the acromion and mastoid are flexible parts of the body and can be moved with the twist of the head or rotation of the shoulder. To compound the location reference errors, Kennedy’s personal physician mistakenly signed the death certificate with the back wound identified at the third thoracic vertebrae—some three inches lower. This incorrect entrance location made the geometry of the suspected trajectory from the sixth-floor window appear impossible, thereby adding to conspiracy theories.

Kennedy’s Clothing

A5The FBI examined JFK’s suit jacket, his shirt, and his tie. The jacket displayed a defect in the rear which was also ovoid, indicating a downward angle of impact, and the fibers were bent inward. Traces of metallic contamination corroborated that it was a bullet hole. The shirt also showed a similar hole in the back and another in the front of the collar with outwardly pushed fibers. A corresponding nick in the tie knot also supported a back-to-front bullet travel but more confusion arose when the perforation in the suit jacket failed to line up with the hole in the shirt back.

This added more fuel to the conspiracy cover-up theories until years later when a photo was discovered taken moments before the shooting that showed JFK’s jacket being ridden or “bunched-up” his back. Taking this natural tendency for a jacket to rise up while the wearer is in a sitting position, the holes matched perfectly.

Connally’s Surgery

JFK Connally woundsGovernor Connally was treated for three separate injuries. He’d been shot from the rear with a similar caliber bullet as Kennedy with it striking below his right armpit, also in a downward angle but with a more elongated, ovoid entrance hole. This bullet traversed his chest and smashed five inches of his fifth rib before blowing out a two-inch diameter exit hole below his right nipple.

Connally suffered a secondary elongated entrance wound to the back of his right wrist with the bullet smashing through his radius bone and exiting with a nearly round hole. Four fragments of lead weighing 0.59 grains were recovered from the wrist and became Commission Exhibit 842.

The third wound was to Connally’s left thigh. It, too, was round and consistent with a 6.5 mm missile, however this void was shallow and contained only traces of lead too small to recover.

Connally’s Clothing

A8Another mistake in the JFK investigation was a failure to seize Connally’s suit jacket, shirt, undershirt, and pants at the hospital. By the time investigator’s realized their importance, Connally’s staff had them laundered and any trace of forensic gunshot evidence was erased. The holes were still obvious, though, and hadn’t been mended. Noteworthy was the shape of the perforations and the later-known, important fact that the exit hole in the front of Connally’s jacket was in the lapel.

The Warren Commission

The Warren Commission Members

The Warren Commission Members

The Single Bullet Theorythe SBT in JFK Assassination terminology—was crucial to supporting the Commission’s explanation of how Oswald pulled off the shots that first wounded, then killed President Kennedy, and did the collateral damage to Governor Connally. Transcripts of the hearings show the Commissioners struggled more with CE399 as a piece of evidence than anything else and they were not in unanimous agreement that the first shot missed and the second hit both men, although they had no doubt three rounds were fired and the last shot was the fatal impact to the President’s head.

A11So, according to the inquiry headed by the Chief Judge of the United States Supreme Court, it appeared the same bullet that blasted through President John Kennedy did the same to Governor John Connally—then disappeared—somehow to turn up on a random hospital stretcher—perfectly intact and in pristine condition with beautiful rifling marks that conclusively matched to a rifle proven to be owned by Lee Harvey Oswald.

“Bullshit!” say the conspiracy buffs. “CE399’s an obvious fake. Planted to set up a patsy.”

“How could this be?” ask those without tinfoil hats. “To do all that damage and still appear perfect? It seems like magic!”

But the SBT has officially stood the test of time and survived a reinvestigation of the assassination in 1978 as well as a modern computer-animated reconstruction of what went down in Dealey.

Live 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano Cartidge From My Personal Firearms Collection

Live 6.5 X 52 mm Full Metal Jacket Mannlicher-Carcano Cartridge From My Personal Firearm Collection

A13Well, I have to admit that I doubted 399’s authenticity until one day—when I was already an experienced homicide investigator with a court-recognized expertise in the operation and identification of firearms—I was at the Firearms Section of the RCMP’s forensic laboratory and got a “JFK Ballistics 101” lesson from an examiner from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. He explained the construction of a 6.5 mm Carcano bullet and how it behaved in the JFK case.

Twenty years later, when I was researching a book on the JFK Assassination, I was further tutored on the Single Bullet Theory ballistics by Larry Sturdivan, a firearms expert who testified before the House Select Committee on Assassinations that revisited the JFK murder in 1978.

Understanding how CE399 behaved scientifically is the key to unlocking the SBT and ultimately leading to the truth in knowing how President Kennedy was murdered.

Bullet Construction

CE399 is a typical 6.5-millimeter diameter, 161 grain, round nosed, full metal jacket, military bullet that was one of four million made by the US Western Cartridge Company in the 1950’s and destined for the Korean war. Thousands were released to the civilian sporting market with many 6.5’s chambered to World War II Italian Mannlicher-Carcano rifles. Oswald bought his rifle through mail order in 1963, complete with a scope, for twenty bucks.

A15Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullets were mandated by the Geneva Conventions at the turn of the nineteenth century as a means of minimizing battlefield casualties. Up to then, mostly lead and partially metal-clad bullets were used that created massive damage to soldiers who were ripped apart by fragmenting projectiles. FMJ bullets were designed to minimize break-up. They were made to remain intact and pass through a body—effectively taking the soldier out of combat and tying up other resources in treating an injury, rather than having grotesque carnage on the battlefield.

A14FMJ bullets are built like an egg with a hard, outer shell composed of copper-zinc and an inner core of lead, usually mixed with zinc, silver, and antimony for hardness. But despite how sturdy bullets are built, they all have a point of fracture known as yield threshold. It’s based on a bullet’s density (hardness), its mass (weight), velocity (speed), and resistance (the medium of force acting against it like air, flesh, or bone).

CE399 was designed to be fired from Oswald’s Carcano at a muzzle velocity of 2,160 feet per second—far under the threshold where air resistance could cause its break-up. With diminishing velocity, the bullet became far less susceptible to the forces of distortion that could make it elastic (bending but recovering shape), plastic (permanently altering shape), or destruct (fragmenting or coming apart).

A17Another factor in bullet design is its gyroscopic stability—the spin set upon it by the lands and grooves of barrel riflings—much like a child’s top or quarterback Tom Brady’s football pass. Once a bullet is in-flight, it’s governed by gravity, the mediums of resistance, and a peculiarity called ballistic coefficient or its ability to overcome medium drag.

The 6.5 mm Carcano bullet has an exceptionally high ballistic coefficient based on its heavy mass (an average of 161 grains) relative to its small diameter. It’s a long, lean missile with an intentionally designed ability to overcome its break-up yield threshold and pass through mediums like air, cloth, skin, muscle tissue, ribs, wrists, and thighs while remaining intact.

Bullet Terms

A2Knowing about yield threshold and diminishing velocity are not enough to understand how CE399 behaved in the JFK Assassination. Factors like tipping (deflecting from a straight line and altering course), tumbling (going end-over-end), yaw (changing angle in flight), and presentation (going from nose-first to sideways as presented to a point of contact) all came into play in how CE399 ended up in it’s spent condition.

Victim Alignment

A7Much has been made of the “Magic Bullet” having to zig-zag in flight to align with the wounds evident in Kennedy and Connally. The Oliver Stone movie “JFK” was a terrible offender in perpetuating misinformation about how the trajectories were impossible based on the limousine layout.

A6Stone and other conspiracy theorists failed to study the seating arrangements where Connally was not directly in front of JFK, rather he was in a jump seat below and inward of the President. Taking the true picture, the trajectory in the limo accounts perfectly for the properly recorded wounds.

Sniper’s Nest Alignment

Dale Myers is the Emmy-Award winning producer of Secrets Of A Homicide where he developed a computer-generated 3D recreation for the 40th anniversary of the JFK Assassination. Myers took precise measurements of Dealey Plaza and combined them with known photographs and films taken of the murder to recreate exactly what happened.

A19Myers conclusively demonstrated how all the shots came from the sniper’s nest in the Depository, and how the second shot accounted for CE399’s trajectory, diminishing velocity, and how the SBT matches exactly with the frames of the famous 8-millimeter home movie of the assassination taken by Abraham Zapruder.

Zapruder Film

Aside from the ballistic and wound evidence of the Single Bullet Theory, the Zapruder film stands as a timeless witness as to how JFK and Connally were both shot at the same time.

A20Zapruder stood on a concrete pedestal near the nefarious Grassy Knoll and activated his camera once the Kennedy motorcade was well into Dealey Plaza on Elm Street, approaching him. With all due respect to Dale Myers, who thought Zapruder caught evidence of the first missed shot on film, this does not appear to be true and Oswald’s shot that probably hit the traffic light happened before Zapruder started rolling.

But what Zapruder did capture was conclusive evidence of the simultaneous strike that photographically corroborates the SBT.

It’s important to know there are many frames in the “Z” film and that it was shot at 18.3 frames per second. There was no sound. Frame 313 is the most sensational—by far—and it show the third 6.5 mm Carcano FMJ bullet exceeding its yield threshold by fragmenting and blowing pinkish gray matter into the air. In frame 313, the bullet did exactly what it was constructed to do.

223-224 FullBut, backing-up to frames 223—224, there’s a clear picture of one bullet striking two men at the same time.

In Z-223 the limo is seen emerging from behind the Stemmons Freeway sign. Everything’s fine, but Connally seems to be looking over his right shoulder to identify the location of the first gunshot as he said in his Warren Commission testimony.

Z-224 is captured 0.0546 of a second later. Connally’s jacket lapel has “flipped” or bulged as the bullet passes through him and is exposed as a dark image covering over his white shirt, right where the exit wound on his chest was. His right shoulder is clearly forced forward from the bullet’s impact.

By Z-225, the lapel is back to its original shape but Connally’s expression is changing and you can just see the first image of JFK emerging from the sign with his fists and elbows rising. The President had already been shot in the back.

Larry Sturdivan’s Reconstruction

A1There comes a point in any criminal investigation where evidence is put before a jury that requires an expert opinion to interpret it. The Kennedy case is no different. While I have a limited amount of recognized expertise in firearms and ballistics, as well as far more knowledge about John Kennedy’s murder than the vast majority of people, I’m going to defer to Larry Sturdivan who truly knows what he’s speaking of.

This paraphrases Larry’s explanation for how CE399 acted.

“Oswald fired his second shot—a 161 grain, 6.5 mm, FMJ Carcano bullet—when the limo was moving directly away from his sight picture at a combined downward incline of over 21 degrees.
The bullet discharged at 2160 fps and traveled 189 feet through the air, losing 135 fps and hitting Kennedy’s suit coat at 2015 fps—staying intact. It entered the soft mediums of cloth and flesh well below the 2400 fps velocity these mediums would need to break the bullet into pieces. Inside Kennedy’s neck, the bullet’s force created a pressure vacuum called a “temporary cavity” which altered its flight course by about 5 degrees upward.
The intact and unaltered bullet cut through the front of Kennedy’s neck, stretching the skin and—shored by the collar and tie—returned to appear as a tiny hole, much smaller than its 6.5 mm diameter. It now slowed to around 1840 fps and was beginning to tumble, altering its nose from a direct gyroscopic flight path to a sideways presentation.
The bullet hit Connally’s armpit in a 70-degree yaw and left the elongated hole in his clothes and skin. Now moving at 1450 fps, right below the yield threshold of being broken by bone, the bullet presented itself sideways to his rib and permanently deformed into a plastic state, neither pristine nor fragmented, but the bent and crushed base you see in CE399’s photos.
It blew out below Connally’s right nipple in a near backward position and entered his right wrist at + or – 500 fps with enough energy left to fracture the radius bone and deposit some lead fragments from the bullet’s open base. It was like squeezing toothpaste from a tube.
With almost no energy remaining—still near full weight and going only 135 fps—it cut the Governor’s pants and pushed a bit into his left thigh. No wonder it fell out, intact.”

A21By now you might buy into the Single Bullet Theory and that CE399 was capable of performing the “magical” feats it’s accused of. But I know you’re asking “How do you prove 399—reportedly found on whatever stretcher at Parkland—was the same bullet Oswald fired and did the damage?” The proof is in 399’s molecular composition and what it left behind in John Connally’s wrist.

Neutron Activation Analysis

A22NAA is the DNA of the JFK investigation. Unfortunately, DNA was unheard of in 1963 when the stretcher bullet was found. Despite 399’s multi-handling, today’s DNA sophistication would likely be able to identify Kennedy and Connally genetics on this little missile if it, in fact, passed through both. That would be the end of it—the Single Bullet Theory would be a fact and we could all go home.

But wait—genetics isn’t the only molecular forensic science available and there’s a lot of proof about CE399’s validity that turned up in the molecules of metallurgy.

In 1964, the FBI turned to a then-new science of non-destructive testing called Neutron Activation Analysis where they took the stretcher bullet,CE399, and Connally’s CE842 wrist fragments, and did a chemical signature much the same as today’s DNA analysis checks for biological signatures.

It was inconclusive.

But by 1978, NAA science had advanced and the bullet evidence was re-evaluated in the HSCA investigation of the JFK Assassination. The chemical ratio of antimony in CE399’s lead core was found to be so consistent with the antimony in Connally’s wrist fragments that the statistical probability of them coming from two different sources is virtually impossible.

In my opinion, the Single Bullet Theory is the single bullet fact and if CE399 behaved in any other way than in what it was designed to do—then it really would be a magic bullet.

*   *   *

Here are links to credible sites with information on the Single Bullet Theory:

Dale Myers – Secrets Of A Homicide Computerized Reconstruction Website Click Here

Dale Myers – Reconstruction Video  Click Here

Zapruder Film – Enhanced & Stabilized  Click Here

Warren Report – Chapter Three – Shots From The Texas School Book Depository  Click Here


  1. Francesco

    While I appreciate the tremendous effort you’ve put into presenting very detailed analysis of evidence, I have to point out the numerous inconsistencies about the lone gunman theory.
    According to the Warren report Lee Oswald scored 2 hits firing 3 shots in 6 seconds, with an Italian made rifle Carcano. Not only were master marksmen unable to replicate Oswald’s fit, but Oswald’s weapon was a medium to low velocity weapon, which could have not inflicted the damage to the President skull.
    In regards to the single bullet theory, not only the condition of the nearly pristine bullet found on the stretcher is inconsistent with the amount of damage it would have caused passing through two bodies in four different points (making its way through fabric, flesh and bones), not only the change of angle makes it for an impossible shot, but Governor Cannally himself insisted to his death that he was not hit by the same bullet.
    The Warren Commission started the investigation with the biased premise that there was a lone gunman, dismissing (or simply disregarding) the numerous witnesses stating they heard and saw several shots coming from different directions, at different times, not to mention the accounts about several men making signals and behaving suspiciously. The Commission didn’t even investigate any further such possibility, because it would have contradicted the premise.
    Moreover, Oswald was conveniently put to silence as quickly as possible, to avoid for him to testify any involvement of other accomplices. Plenty of evidence point to some kind of larger plan.
    I’m sorry, but the lone gunner theory doesn’t hold up water, and IMHO your attitude towards any form of evidence presented that differs from your opinion, makes me think that you just made up your mind, or are “misguided” by someone else, or are just too stubborn to listen to others.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Sorry, Francesco, but you’re the one who’s seriously misguided. Your comment shows a typical conspiracy theorist mentality that doesn’t have a grip on the case facts but you’re entitled to your opinion. I posted your comment to show your ignorance.

      1. Fernando Araiza

        I have a question more than a comment. Is the head wounds consistent with a full metal jacket bullet. I have read a few articles stating that the headshot reacted more to a bullet that fragmented much easier than a full metal jacket bullet.

        1. Garry Rodgers Post author

          Thanks for your note, Fernando. The head shot definitely was from a FMJ bullet – a 160 grain Carcano military surplus round – which did fragment and left several large pieces in the limo which were forensically matched to being shot from Oswald’s rifle left behind on the 6th floor of the TSBD. There was also a live FMJ round in the Carcano’s chamber which shows Oswald reloaded after the third round. FYI, FMJ bullets are designed to stay intact in soft tissue but they’ll always fragment when their impact force resistance exceeds their yield threshold. The bone on JFK’s skull was more than the Carcano FMJ bullet could withstand.

  2. Marion

    you have an impressive life experience. I like theory and knowledge as much as any thing. I also like empirical results. I read that similar rounds fired into cadavers sustained more damage than round presented as evidence against Oswald. There could be a very good reason for this difference as I am not as well versed on topic as you are.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      I’m not aware of any tests with human cadavers but there were some done on goat carcasses. The results did differ from CE399 but that’s to be expected. They were using different mediums and contact velocities so obviously there’s going to be a difference in characteristics. There is no practical way to duplicate the JFK/Connally situation in test conditions. The key to understanding the magic bullet fact is in the bullet composition and diminishing velocities. Thanks for your comment, Marion.

  3. Mark

    Garry, I appreciate what you have written. I believe that I always need to research and continue to look at other points of view, including those different than my own.

    I don’t buy the single bullet, or “magic bullet” theory. CE 399 is in pristine condition, right?

    Can you explain to me, then, a HUGE oversight? Connally was operated on but the surgeon who operated on him announced there would be another operation to remove bullet fragments from his thigh. Those fragments were not removed and Connally in fact DIED with fragments still in his leg.

    If there are “fragments” in his leg–and his doctor said there were–and he died with them–that by definition makes the CE 399 bullet NOT pristine.

    You have discounted Altgens 6, which shows a bullet hole in the windshield and JFK reacting to the bullet from the front.

    You got one thing right that many researchers got wrong. The first shot hit the traffic light. That bullet lines up with the one in the grass. Another bullet struck a curb. However, neither of those shots came from the TSBD–they came from the Dal-Tex building. Anther bullet hit the chrome of the limo. That’s at least three missed shots. Add the one that hit the storm drain, and now you have four bullets. That’s without any hitting JFK or Connally.

    I believe that two–not one–bullets hit JFK’s head within a split second of each other. One came from behind–from Dal_Tex, not TSBD. It lines up perfectly. The other came from the front–not the Grassy Knoll! The Grassy Knoll would have been at a 17 degree angle, would have had to have stopped on impact and taken a sharp turn to exit out the back. That’s just not how bullets act. On top of that, JFK was at a 90 degree angle from Zapruder, and his head was turned 26 degrees AWAY from him–making FRONT the South Overpass. But the shot that killed JFK did not come from the Grassy Knoll.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Mark – By leaving a comment like this, you’re being hypocritical in saying that you need to do research which you obviously haven’t. However, you’re entitled to your opinion and if you choose to believe the misinformation that there were multiple shooters then so be it. Here’s a quick reply to set you straight.

      1. No credible JFK assassination student would ever describe CE399 as in “pristine” condition. That term is a regurgitated conspiracy theorist phrase and shows a profound ignorance of fact. The truth is that CE399 originated as a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Carcano full metal jacket military bullet that would have weighed approximately 160 grains when new or in “pristine” condition. When it was recovered on the Parkland stretcher, it had been fired (from Oswald’s rifle to the exclusion of all other firearms) and showed rifling engraving. It was also bent and flattened to a point where it was just above its yield threshold or fragmentation point. It also weighed 158.60 grains, showing an approximate loss of +/- 1.20 grains. There were four tiny fragments removed from Connally’s wrist that weighed a total of 0.59 grains which leaves +/- 1.81 grains still missing. It’s true that the fragments in Connally’s thigh were never removed and he died & was buried with them still in place. Another fact is that the neutron activation analysis (NAA) signature on CE399’s chemical makeup matches the profile of the wrist fragment. Unquestionably, CE399 was fired that day from Oswald’s rifle and deposited some of its material in John Connally after it passed through John Kennedy’s neck. There is no other story to this and, no matter how you want to accept it, this is the truth.

      2. There was no bullet hole “through” the windshield. The truth is that there was a small defect in the windshield which showed spiderweb cracking that radiated out from an impact point that existed on the inside of the windshield. This had to be caused by one of the fragments (CE567 or CE569) that broke apart from the shot that hit Kennedy in the back of the head. Both of these fragments were ballistically linked back to Oswald’s rifle (again, to the exclusion of all other firearms) and these two fragments were also matched by NAA as coming from the same bullet.

      3. Despite what you throw out, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that any shots were fired from the front or from the Dal-Tex building. Again, you are putting out misinformation made up long ago by other conspiracy theorists, either ignorantly or maliciously. If you actually did your research, you would know this.

      4. We agree that the first shot probably hit the traffic light. There simply is no other rational explanation for it, however, no physical trace of it has ever been found. Part of it could be the Tague fragment, although this might also have been from the missing headshot fragments. I’ve heard the theory about the grass bullet but there is nothing credible there. The storm drain business has long been known as false.

      Mark – I feel somewhat sorry for people like you who are so ignorant of the JFK case facts and expose themselves as fools by writing stupid comments on credible websites. Unfortunately, guys like you who shoot their mouth off without checking their facts will always exist. This is partly why I research and write credible information about the JFK case as there is so much bullshit out there that people choose to believe. I make no apology for telling the truth.

  4. Hernan

    Well, finally someone who uses his brain and is well informed. I congratulate you, your article is conclusive as to much of the physical evidence of the assassination.
    I just think I should add a supplementary article explaining the final shot that hits Kennedy’s head. There are supporters of conspiracy theory, who use the movement of Kennedy’s head (back and left) as a clear test of that shot came from the front. It must be shown to all of them that it is physically impossible for that shot to come from the front. That the movement of JFK’s head is absolutely consistent with a shot taken from behind the president. That the bullet crosses its head, generates a jet effect by the exit of the bullet, the expulsion of blood and bones and also there is a contraction of the muscles of the back, due to the enormous cerebral damage caused by the wound.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Thanks for your support, Hernan. It’s nice to get a comment from someone who hasn’t swallowed the Conspiracy Koolaid. I’m not sure what it is about the JFK case that makes people lose the ability to exercise common sense in objectively looking at the known case facts. I guess it’s that they want there to be something more than a lone nut being found in a unique situation and he just decided to do something bad. Just a comment about the “jet effect” of blood, bone and brain matter. There was a big aerodynamic effect happening with the limo traveling 11 mph into an oncoming 25 mph headwind. That’s a combined 36 mph force which, of course, blew the material backward. However, it’s clear in frame 313 of the Zapruder film that the matter was first propelled forward from the force of the shot.

      1. Hernan

        Dear Gary. I thank you very quickly for your response. I’ve read a lot about the murder but most of the literature is on the side of some crazy theory of conspiracy. Most of them are looking for the motives of the murder but leave aside the physical evidence, their authors did not even read the Warren report and are only based on the garbage made by Oliver Stone. To all this, it must be added that all conspiracy theories are very inconsistent with each other, they involve more and more groups and organizations to build a very complex plot. The truth is much simpler and as Ockham’s razor says: the simplest explanation is almost always correct.
        As for why people cloud their judgment about the Kennedy assassination, I suppose there are many people who are reluctant to believe that the most powerful person in the world at that time, has been murdered by a loser like Oswald with a rifle $ 12.
        Thank you again for your response. It is really difficult to find someone with a background in various sciences and a deep knowledge of the murder. And I apologize for my grammar, since I am not American and my knowledge of English is not so broad. Greetings.

        1. Garry Rodgers Post author

          Very good point about reading the Warren Report, Hernan. I’d say the vast majority of JF conspiracy theorists haven’t read the main body of the WR let alone delving into the appendices where the scientific analysis, witness statements and in-depth investigation is hi-lighted. I’ve often asked CT’s if they’ve actually read the WR and they all come back with the same answer – “No. Why would I want to waste my time reading that garbage. It’s all false and part of the real conspiracy.” There is no way of having a rational discussion with that mindset.

  5. Adam Alford

    I feel that a DNA test of the Magic Bullet, would conclusively put to rest whether Oswald worked alone, or was part of a conspiracy.

    How does a DNA test prove anything?

    If this bullet went through JFK AND Connelly, as is alleged; there would be DNA from both JFK and Connelly on the bullet.

    If DNA from both of these individuals is NOT on the Magic Bullet, then that theory is proven wrong, and there is absolutely100% a conspiracy.

    Follow me on Twitter; @AA72TML

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      This is a profoundly ill-thought out comment, Adam. It shows you don’t have the slightest idea about DNA analysis. Good grief, you conspiracy theorists can be stupid.

  6. Brian Dean

    Single Bullet proponents have to assume several things – a tumbling bullet is just one of them. The credible evidence, however, does not support a tumbling bullet. In fact, it supports the exact opposite, which is that a straight-flying bullet struck John Connally’s back. Only a few people observed John Connally’s back wound before he underwent surgery.

    Dr. Robert Shaw, who was Connally’s thoracic surgeon, saw it longer than anyone else – making him the most qualified witness concerning the wound’s size, nature, etc. Dr. Shaw testified the wound’s original size, before he debrided (removing all material, including tissues, which could promote infection and impede healing) it, was only 1.5 cm. This is approximately the same diameter of a straight-flying bullet. He testified the pre-operative wound was small and circular.

    A tumbling bullet, striking in an elongated manner, would create a much larger sized entrance wound. It also would not create a circular entrance, but an elongated one. The hole in John Connally’s jacket and shirt was approximately 1.5 cm, which is consistent with the wound’s pre-operative size and nature, as well as Dr. Shaw’s observation. (See Dr. Shaw’s Warren testimony: 4 WCH 104, 107; 6, WCH 85-86, 88).

    Dr. Shaw further testified the bullet created a “small tunneling wound.” (See Dr. Shaw’s House Select testimony: 7 HSCA 149). He also noted, “the neat way in which it stripped the rib out without doing much damage to the muscles that lay on either side of it.” (See the Warren testimony 4 WCH 116) His description is entirely inconsistent with a tumbling bullet. Tumbling bullets do not create “small tunneling wounds” or neatly strip out ribs, without damaging side muscles.

    The wound’s size, after Dr. Shaw debrided it (which enlarged it), was 3.0 cm. Thus, Dr. Shaw’s debridement procedure doubled the wound’s size, and it is the post-operative wound size (3.0 cm), and not the pre-surgery size (1.5 cm), that Single Bullet tumbling proponents cite to support their theory. The bullet did not tumble, and was not impeded. A rifle fired the bullet and it traveled, straight and unimpeded, directly struck John Connally’s back. The objective, credible, evidence shows the bullet did not tumble, and created a small, circular, 1.5 cm wound. If the bullet didn’t tumble then the Single Bullet theory is not even possible. Again this is just one, of many, problems with the Single Bullet theory.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Brian, I am very familiar with Dr. Shaw’s testimony and you’re flat out wrong. If you knew your stuff, or did your homework, you’d be familiar with page 85 where he testified about Connelley’s back entrance wound where he states “When Governor Connelley was examined it was found there was a small wound of entrance, roughly elliptical in shape, and approximately a cm. and a half in its longest diameter in the right posterior shoulder which is medial to the fold of the axilla”. Here’s his full deposition:

      You know, Brian, before you post on a credible site like DyingWords, I’d appreciate if you check your facts. Your nonsense here is typical of a conspiracy theorist who regurgitates a bunch of existing bullshit that has no basis in fact or the expertise in which to interpret fact. The only other response I have to your ignorant comment is that it’s not the “Single Bullet Theory”. It’s the “Single Bullet Fact”.

  7. Sue Coletta

    Wow. Such a fascinating case, and an equally fascinating explanation of how this “magic bullet” occurred. Makes sense to me, though I’m certainly not well-versed in this subject. And I know better than to disagree with you, someone whose spent a lifetime studying this case. 🙂 Well done, my friend. Your theory of the case is rock-solid.

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Hey Sue – I wish I could take credit for figuring out the SBT but it’s been around since I was eight. Nothing new to see here, except for the NAA revisit in 1978, but I thought it’d make an interesting forensic article. The JFK Assassination story, today, has become an amazing study in human nature. There’s something really weird in people when it comes to high-profile deaths – and JFK’s was one of the highest of all time. People will completely abandon common sense and rational deduction to purport the wildest theories which have no basis in truth. I think it’s because we, as humans, want to find meaning in patterns and in the JFK Assassination it was a random act of opportunity. The real story is in the strands of fate that caused the assassination… but that’s for another post 🙂

      1. Brian Dean

        I stand corrected, and committed an honest mistake in how Dr. Shaw described the wound. Dr. Shaw testified the pre-surgery’s wound was 1.5 cm (0.6 inches), in diameter, and elliptical shaped – not round, as I misstated. However, this mistake does not change the fact Dr. Shaw’s testimonies (he testified twice before the Warren Commission) does not support the single bullet theory.

        After testifying, in March, 1964, Dr. Shaw observed the Zapruder Film, examined CE 399 (the alleged single bullet) and saw Connally’s clothes. Dr. Shaw highly doubted that a single bullet caused JFK’s back and throat wounds and then entered Connally and caused all his wounds. Here is what he said after examining CE 399.

        Mr. Specter: What is your opinion as to whether bullet 399 could have inflicted all the wounds on the Governor then, without respect at this point to the wound of the President’s neck?

        Dr. Shaw: I feel that there would be some difficulty in explaining all of the wounds as being inflicted by bullet Exhibit 399 without causing more in the way of loss of substance to the bullet or deformation of the bullet. (4H114)

        Dr. Shaw further stated, “the examination of the wrist by x-ray & at the time of the surgery showed some fragments of metal that made it difficult to believe that the same missile could have caused these two wounds.”

        Dr. Shaw, after reviewing the Zapruder Film, doubted a single bullet caused all the wounds. He indicated Z-frame 236 was when it was even possible, due to JFK’s and Connally’s positioning, for the single bullet to work. JFK, however, was clearly hit 12 frames earlier. Dr. Shaw testified, “I think it is hard to say that the first bullet hit both of these men almost simultaneously.” (4H 114).

        As I stated before, SBT proponents rely on several different assumptions and variables to make their theory work. I hope the readers do their own due diligences and not rely on cherry-picked pieces of evidence.

        For example, I direct them (readers) to research James Sibert, one of the two documented FBI agents that was at JFK’s autopsy, and his observations/opinions. He did not believe in the SBT.

        He noted JFK’s back would was below his shoulder blade – which was also below JFK’s neck wound, making the SBT impossible. A fact Gerald Ford realized and is why he raised the wound and changed its description.
        Read Sibert’s deposition.

        Please also research Dr. Joseph Dolce and his studies, as well as their results. The single bullet theory is junk science and an impossibility. I encourage you (the readers) to do your own research on this issues.

        1. Garry Rodgers Post author

          You’re entitled to your opinion, Brian, even if it is misinformed. I’m not going to debate it with you. The material I set out in this post is what actually happened, not some misguided wish that there might be something sinister hidden in the JFK murder case. I’ve learned that it’s not possible to have a sensible debate with a JFK conspiracy theorist.

  8. Michael Helms

    Sorry Garry, but I have to say “bullshit.” The chances of a round (bullet) performing as did CE399 are nil and none. The explanation you’ve presented has the bullet spinning, weaving and turning at an absolute perfect angle of degree before hitting Connally, plasticising, striking more bone but at less fps (which is natural), and then leaving the governor’s body before entering it again just deep enough to where it conveniently fell out onto the stretcher. Sometimes, lesser fps equals more damage to flesh and bone, especially while slowing if the round deviates from its straight flight path and turns or tumbles.
    Were there any traces of blood from either Kennedy or Connolly found on CE399? Nothing is mentioned about it, but surely there would be. After all, this bullet was in near pristine condition. How could there not be at least minute blood traces on the bullet after passing through two bodies and wreaking so much damage. Another point: another film of the JFK assassination exists which clearly shows blood and brain matter being propelled backward from Kennedy’s head. The vehicle wasn’t moving nearly fast enough to overcome this law of nature. A motorcycle cop riding well behind Kennedy in the procession stated that he was splattered with blood and brain matter from the head shot. Numerous witnesses stated they saw a muzzle flash (or flashes) coming from the direction of the grassy knoll. Also, was the traffic light that supposedly deflected Oswald’s first (and potentially best) shot taken down, examined, and preserved for evidence? If not, why? I’ve never heard of it if it has.
    I fought with the Marine Corps in Vietnam during 1967-68 against mostly NVA forces near the DMZ. I saw my share of action. I never witnessed any bullet (including full-metal jacket rounds) that hit bone EVER come out intact after passing through or lodging in a body. And yes, I did see two or three such bullets which were recovered from body wounds. EACH was damaged extensively. I also witnessed first-hand bullets striking heads. The blood/brain spray pattern always travelled in the same general direction as the round (bullet).
    Single bullet fact? The bullet performing exactly as it was designed to do? I don’t think so. I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.
    Thanks for a very interesting (if flawed, IMHO) article!

    1. Garry Rodgers Post author

      Hi Michael. Thanks for taking the interest and time to comment. I respect your right to express your opinion as well as your military service but I’m afraid you’re not properly informed on the facts of the JFK Assassination. To start with, you’re obviously implying there was a conspiracy and/or cover-up in the case which is simply not the truth. After fifty-two years, not the slightest piece of credible and irrefutable information has ever surfaced to support that anyone other than Oswald was involved. Why is there no credible evidence of a conspiracy? Because non-events leave no evidence. It never happened any other way than Oswald acting alone.

      You’ve mixed-in a few points and I’ll answer them individually.

      1. You say I have the bullet spinning, weaving and turning – you might want to read the article more carefully before making a statement like this.
      2. To the best of my knowledge, CE399 was never examined for blood. Robert Frazier, the FBI firearms examiner who testified at the Warren Commission, stated that the bullet had been handled by so many hands and been in numerous containers before he received it that all visible traces of blood were erased and they saw no value in a serology exam. They went straight to the ballistics and it’s helpful to know that they were in a real rush to get physical evidence to base a murder charge on Oswald. He was still alive and in custody when Frasier examined CE399. This was in the days before DNA, which I mentioned in the post. Today, it’s certain that DNA testing would be done.
      3. I am not aware of any other film being taken that captured the shots in the Kennedy Assassination. I believe you’re misinformed here and please direct me to it, if it exists. I’d be extremely interested in it and I know every other serious researcher would be, too.
      4. The details of the headshot are beyond the scope of this blog post but seeing as you brought it up, I’ll respond. If you carefully analyze the Z-Film’s frames 313 to 315, you’ll see what’s referred to as the “jet effect” where the cranial pressure from the force of the bullet forced liquified brain matter up and ahead of Kennedy’s head. There is also a visible forward motion of the head and shoulders. This is consistent with being shot from the rear. Following that, there’s a very violent rearward reaction by Kennedy’s head and shoulders. This is consistent with a neuromuscular response.
      5. It’s true that a motorcycle police officer (Bobby Hargris) was splattered with Kennedy’s blood and brain matter – a nasty experience I have to say. This was caused by airflow after the jet effect occurred and the biological matter was cast high enough to be above the air deflection from the limo’s windshield. The limo was traveling at 11 mph into an estimated 25 mph headwind, so when the forward expelled blood & brains met a 36 mph air current, naturally it was sent backward and into the path of the forward-moving motorcycle office.
      6. I know of no credible witnesses who claim to have seen a gunman or a muzzle flash(s) on the grassy knoll. The whole grassy knoll story is a silly myth based upon hearsay, speculation, and outright nonsense. Only the gullible would buy into the grassy knoll crap and I cringe when someone brings it up in a serious discussion on the JFK murder.
      7. Regarding the traffic light, this is a relatively new theory which I believe carries weight. I did a previous blog post on this titled “The Missing Bullet In The JFK Assassination” which you can read here:
      8. Responding to your comment about FMJ bullets destructing upon hitting bone. I really think you missed the whole point of this blog post by not grasping how unique the circumstances in the Kennedy/Connally gunshot were. I did my best to relate the explanation of why diminishing velocity through a change of density caused CE399 to end in a plastic state and not be destructed. This explanation is from Larry Sturdivan – someone who has far more ballistic expertise than I do, but from my objective look at the facts, I believe he’s right.

      I also understand that the JFK Assassination topic is an emotional one for many people and the vast majority of people who believe in a conspiracy do so because they are either misinformed of the facts, not equipped to understand the facts, or simply just want to believe in a conspiracy – that something greater must have happened than the sad fact that a total loser like Oswald grabbed an opportunity caused by many strands of fate and took out a man as meaningful as John Kennedy.

      I rarely respond to conspiracy theorists but, seeing as you’re a regular DyingWords follower and a fellow crime writer, I wanted to share your humble opinion and respectfully respond. You’re right, Michael – we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one 🙂


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