Electronic Assassinations Newsletter
Mr. MCCANDLESS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. CONYERS. You are very welcome. I am now pleased to recognize our next witness, Dr. Randolph Robertson.
Dr. ROBERTSON. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today.
I am a diagnostic radiologist in private practice in Nashville, TN. Several years ago I became interested in the medical evidence in the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy. In pursuing study of this important evidence, I have read extensively from the Warren Commission records through the House Select Committee on Assassinations, as well as medically related articles.
As a researcher, the body of evidence has been limited because many of the principals involved, especially the autopsy pathologists, have been very selective in their discussions of the case and have not been open to critical questioning concerning certain aspects of the autopsy.
In addition, much of the primary source material has until recently been inaccessible. Answers to questions posed by official government investigators have not been available for the most part.
The release of some of the autopsy related documents from the HSCA investigation has substantiallly improved my understanding of the medical evidence of the case. However, many documents remain withheld, apparently because of the delay in nominating the members of the Assassinations Records Review Board.
Recently, I overcame a significant barrier to the study of the medical evidence when I was granted permission to examine the original radiographic and photographic record pertaining to President Kennedy's autopsy. So far as is known, I have the distinction of being the only board certified diagnostic radiologist to be allowed to examine the original radiographic and photographic record of the late President Kennedy's mortal remains independent of any government review agency or investigative body.
In 1963, the pathologists who conducted the President's autopsy reported that he was struck by a bullet which entered the back of his head near the hairline. Subsequently, three official government inquiries - the Ramsey Clark Autopsy Panel in 1967, the Rockefeller Commission in 1975, and the HSCA in 1979, - all concluded that the autopsy pathologists were mistaken in their placement of this wound by 4 inches, an error so great that it cannot to attributed to simple human error.
From the newly available documents under this law, I have found numerous, very credible eye witnesses to the autopsy whose HSCA testimony contradicts the conclusions of three governmental review panels and validates the original autopsy pathologists' placement of a wound of entry low in the back of the head near the hairline as seen on the autopsy photographs. These eye witnesses include agents of the Secret Service and the FBI as well as officers of the Armed Forces. Both the autopsy pathologists and the
government panels agreed, however, that a single bullet struck President Kennedy in the head.
We are left to decide whose conclusion is correct, - the government review panels who have had to rely on an admittedly poor radiographic and photographic record or the autopsy pathologists who have had the unparalled benefit of close, direct and prolonged visual inspection and manipulation of the skull and scalp and who have maintained the low entry point for almost 30 years.
The testimony of many other credible witnesses who were also in the autopsy room on November 22, 1963, endorses their location. I believe my research has provided the answer.
It is my opinion that the photographic and radiographic record is authentic and these materials have not been altered. It is my opinion that they provide evidence that President Kennedy was killed as a result of crossfire.
It is also my considered opinion that to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty the President was killed when he was struck in the head by two bullets instead of one as previously reported.
I draw these conclusions after a careful and meticulous study of the autopsy related materials at the National Archives, the autopsy report and the testimony of those present the night of the autopsy, some of which have just recently been released.
I have discovered radiographic evidence which confirms a low entry in the back of the head. Previous governmental review panels have overlooked or have not reported a transverse fracture of the right occipital bone present on the post-mortem skull radiographs. This fracture propagates from the area where the autopsy doctors have persistently maintained a wound of the entrance was.
When the autopsy pathologists examined the photographs with the HSCA medical review panel, they unanimously pointed out the scalp defect near the hairline as the entrance wound. This transverse fracture of the right occipital bone lies immediately under this scalp defect.
Dr. Boswell diagramed this fracture pattern in the autopsy notes at the autopsy table. The post-mortem skull radiographs validate the accuracy of Dr. Boswell's drawing.
This pattern of intersecting skull fractures leaves no doubt that the damage to the President's skull is inconsistent with only one bulllet entry and was necessarily caused by two separate impacts. The original autopsy team and all subsequent reviewers of the photographic and radiographic record failed to analyze and properly evaluate the intersecting fracture pattern in their reports.
The principle is simple and relies on the fact that a secondary series of propagating fractures has to stop abruptly at its intersection with the gap created by a preexisting primary fracture. This analysis of intersecting fracture lines is the first correct interpretation of the evidence which explains the discrepancy between the location of the wound of entry by the autopsy pathologists and subsequent review panels and allows the deduction of two separate wounds to the Presidents's head. I have included a diagram of this at the end of my statement.
The first shot which struck the President's head was fired from behind the limousine. The photographic and radiographic evidence, as well as eye witness accounts corroborates the location of the
first point of entry in the rear of the skull as described by the autopsy pathologists in their protocol. The evidence does not support the findings by subsequent review panels that the autopsy team erred by 4 inches in locating that wound.
The second shot to the head was fired from the right front of the Presidential motorcade as it traveled through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. It is my opinion that the second shot from the right front accounts for the snap of the President's head from the back to the left as seen in the Zapruder film.
The evaluation of the post-mortem skull radiographs need not be limited to the proof that President Kennedy was killed by two shots fired from different directions. They provide strong evidence that in some manner they were used in the preparation of Warren Commission exhibit CE-388, which I have included a reproduction of at the end of my pepared statement. CE-388 is a lateral illustration of the damage to the President's skull made under the supervision of Drs. Humes and Boswell for their Warren Commission testimony. According to the autopsy doctors, this was made without the benefit of the radiographs or or photographs. On the lateral skull radiographs there is a pair of diverging---
Mr. CONYERS. Excuse me, Dr. Robertson. Once again, we have a time problem. Could you come to a conclusion?
Dr. ROBERTSON. My conclusion is that it is a medical and scientific fact that the damage to the President's skull did not result from a single shot but was instead caused by two separate bullets.
Furthermore, it is my opinion that at least two gunmen fired upon and assassinated John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
I would welcome the further release of the assassination records by the nomination of the Review Board as soon as possible so they can commence their work and further records can be released.
(The prepared statement of Dr. Robertson follows:)