What James Jenkins saw: revelations from a witness to JFK’s autopsy

Last month James Jenkins, a man who witnessed the autopsy of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago, spoke with JFK researchers in Dallas.

Doug Horne, former ARRB analyst.

One of them was Doug Horne, who served as chief analyst for military records for the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) in the 1990s. Horne thinks Jenkin’s story is important and I agree.

Jenkins’s story certainly can’t be dismissed as more speculation from a conspiracy theorist. In fact, Jenkins’s account is eyewitness testimony that must be acknowledged by any serious student of the JFK story.

What follows are excerpts from Horne’s report:

“On Thursday, November 21, 2013. I noticed a tall, reserved, dignified and almost shy man standing in the lobby of the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, where the JFK Lancer conference was being held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. He was well over six feet tall, wore glasses, had white hair, and sported a well-trimmed short white beard; was impeccably groomed, and had an air of quiet and seriousness that made me hesitant to approach him. I immediately knew it was James Curtis Jenkins, one of the two Navy corpsmen who served as “autopsy technicians” and assisted the Navy pathologists, Drs. Humes and Boswell, at President Kennedy’s autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital on the evening of November 22, 1963.”

Horne notes that Jenkins’s comments were sober and detailed.

He spoke about the condition of JFK’s brain:

“Jenkins stated that the standard incisions in the cranium required to remove the brain — a ‘skull cap’ (his term for a craniotomy) — were not done, because they were not necessary. He thought this might be explained by prior incisions, meaning that some surgery had been done prior to the autopsy [emphasis added by Horne]. He recalled that the damage to the top of the cranium was much more extensive than the damage to the brain itself, which he found unusual. Jenkins recalled Dr. Boswell asking if there had been surgery at Parkland Hospital. He recalled Dr. Humes saying: ‘The brain fell out in my hands,” as he removed the brain from the body.’”

Jenkins spoke about the nature of Kennedy’s head wound:

“Jenkins recalled the large posterior hole in JFK’s head, but also recalled a small (approximately 5 mm in diameter) hole in the right temporal bone, just forward of and just above the right ear. He saw this quite early in the autopsy, and recalls that Dr. Finck saw this and commented on it. The circumference was gray, which suggested to Jenkins the passage of a bullet. He said that even Dr. Finck speculated that a bullet might have caused this hole.”

“However, none of the pathologists ever returned to this site, nor did they discuss it any further. When questioned, he said he did not recall seeing evidence of a bullet’s entry high in the forehead, above the right eye, but did state that these two sites were completely different, i.e., separated by enough distance to be distinguishable. He had no recollection of the bullet entrance wound low in the posterior skull described by all three pathologists in the autopsy report, and in their testimony over the years.”

Read Horne’s complete report on his Inside the ARRB blog.

I wonder what anti-conspiracy theorists make of Jenkins’s account.







  1. Jason L. says:

    This is interesting, as it corroborates the line in the Sibert/O’Neill report regarding a possible surgery to the head that was done prior to the autopsy.

    • Dave says:

      I would really love to see Dr. Cyril Wecht weigh in with his opinion on this new Jenkins information on the Bethesda autopsy, and on Doug Horne’s analysis of it. To me, what I have read of Horne, and now Jenkins (via Mantik’s notes of 11/22/13) makes sense. But I’m no forensic pathologist, just a guy with a J.D.

      Calling Dr. Wecht!

      • Pat Speer says:

        Jenkins did not support Horne’s theories. Mantik and Horne have cherry-picked a few of his statements to make it appear that he does, but Jenkins was adamant that the back of the head was intact at the beginning of the autopsy–overlying shattered skull, but intact. If this is true, and there’s good reason to believe it is, Horne and Mantik will have to revise their theories a bit.

  2. Jonathan says:

    “I wonder what anti-conspiracy theorists make of Jenkins’s account.”

    I’ll try: Does Jenkins have an M.D. degree? Why should we trust Jenkins rather than the autopsy doctors? Why should we trust Jenkins’s memory? Has Jenkins ever reported these alleged observations before? Did Jenkins talk with Horne at a gathering of conspiracy theorists?

    • Jonathan says:

      I’ll respond to my own objections.

      Jenkins, not an M.D., was a knowledgeable medical technician, a trained observer, who had o dog in the fight. Unlike Humes and Boswell, who were under pressure from the military brass in the gallery.

      Doug Horne, elsewhere, makes a persuasive case that Kennedy’s body arrived at the autopsy room at 6:35 p.m. and underwent the “surgery to the top of the head” by Humes before the official arrival of the body around 8:00 p.m. on 11-22-63.

      • Lanny K says:

        The fact that you find Horne’s case for the 6:35 p.m. arrival of JFK’s body to Bethesda “persuasive” is, for my money, Exhibit A for the case of “Doug Horne Assassination Scam Artist Extraordinaire.”

        Horne has been pimping the alleged value of the “after action report” of Marine Sergeant Roger Boyajian for the past 15 years; as if it was the greatest historical discovery since Bedouin shepherds tripped over the Dead Sea Scrolls.

        I am assuming you share his breathless enthusiasm for this document.

        To read Horne’s various writings and interviews on this subject one would think he never conducted the phone interview with Roger Boyajian on Sept. 5, 1997 which, along with a follow up letter from Boyajian, comprised the major contents of ARRB Medical Exhibit MD236 (http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=758) in which Boyajian admits to having no knowledge of any details of JFK’s arrival to the Bethesda morgue whatsoever. Not a description of the hearse/ambulance, casket, and certainly not a description of the President’s body at any opening of the casket.

        Wrote the former Marine Sergeant in his letter: “One thing bothering me is that I can’t recall seeing the casket arrive, yet I state in the report that it arrived at 16:35 hours. I think I split the detail initially sending seven men to meet the ambulance, and taking the remainder with me to set up security posts within the corridors.”

        Even if he did that, he has no apparent memory of which squad member was responsible for the entry or what additional facts constituted a positive ID of President Kennedy’s body that would distinguish it from some other decedent being routinely transported into the medical center.

        At least Boyajian had the humility to have been “bothered” by his obvious memory lapse. I have encountered very few conspiracy theorists, least of all Doug Horne and his partner-in-not-so-benign-neglect David Lifton, who have expressed any concern about such a glaringly weak factual foundation for the report at all.

        Nor have I encountered any sharp minded assassination researchers who have expressed the slightest curiosity that the Boyajian report does not mention the arrival of the ambulance containing Mrs. Kennedy and company and the fact that a casket from that vehicle was offloaded into the Bethesda morgue.

        Are we to assume therefore that that event did not occur?

        As for James Jenkins, I would have great interest if his recent remarks at the JFK Lancer conference were in the form of a professionally prepared verbatim transcript of his presentation.

        I would count it even more valuable if Mr. Jenkins would give sworn testimony to some official investigative body equipped with subpoena power that asked him pointed questions by which he could confirm or amend information he gave to the HSCA in an unsworn phone interview in 1977.

        I have the unqualified LEAST amount of faith in the integrity and accuracy of ANY JFK assassination evidence that has passed through the “filter” otherwise known as Douglas Horne.

        • Dave says:

          When I read the totality of ARRB Ex. MD236, I think the notes and reports made by Marine Sgt. Boyajian within days of the autopsy speak much more accurately and tellingly than his recollection some 34 years later. Best evidence on the casket arrival time of 18:35 is his after-action report of 11/26/63.
          Why all the vitriol directed towards Doug Horne?

          As for your insistence on a verbatim transcript of Jenkins’ presentation at Lancer, I assume this was video/audio taped so it should not be too hard to obtain at some point. Jenkins is a key witness by any standard.

  3. Jean Davison says:

    I think the key phrase here may be “50 years ago.”

    When Jenkins talked to the HSCA in 1977, he described only one head wound: “middle temporal region to the occipital.”


    He provided this drawing of the front and back of the body:


    Lifton also interviewed Jenkins at about this time. According to Best Evidence, “Jenkins did no see an entry wound on the front of the head” (see Chapter 27).

  4. Preston Newe says:

    Those unaware of Doug Horne’s startling revelations about James Jenkins will also find on a downloadable pdf file that Doug Horne also authored explaining what was happening to JFK’s body on AF-1 in Dallas, how it got separated from Jackie Kennedy & pre-autopsy head surgery to remove bullet fragments as revealed on the AF-1 audio tapes & witness recollections. The file is here:


    Fellow researcher David Liston can be seen & heard in the later part of his recent lecture at Bismarck State College describing the multi-hour cleanup of AF-1′s forward cargo/luggage bay to remove blood here:


    I had trouble sleeping after taking in all this information. It’s very clear what was going on & what is means.

    • Lanny K says:

      In the link you provided to Doug Horne’s recent manuscript “The AF1 Tapes and Subsequent Events at Andrews
      AFB on November 22, 1963,” Horne begins with the subhead “Context is Everything” and states as an overarching premise “Everything in this essay is grounded around one basic undeniable fact: that the heavy, bronze, reddish brown ceremonial casket from Dallas, in which JFK’s body was taken aboard AF1 at Love Field in Dallas, was empty when the public saw it unloaded from Air Force One on live television shortly after 6:04 p.m. November 22, 1963 and placed into a light gray Navy ambulance.”

      Apart from the undeniable fact that the empty casket fantasy was, is and continues to be HIGHLY DENIABLE, Horne and Lifton like to pretend that an empty casket supports the testimony concerning shipping caskets and multiple casket deliveries. But the real conspiracy here is their use of the testimony concerning shipping caskets, body bags and surgical alteration of the corpse prior to autopsy to convince us that the casket was, in fact, empty. It is a sleight of hand and far from meaningless turn of phrase necessitated by the fact that since there is no direct evidence of the body having been stolen out of its casket PRIOR to Air Force One’s take off from Dallas, it is essential that folks like yourself can nonetheless INFER earlier theft of the corpse from the testimony of people seeing the body at autopsy AFTER its return to Washington.

      What is really pathetic about this myth is that the whole premise for surgical alteration of the President’s wounds is to prove the conspiracy’s existence by providing “evidence” of its alleged attempt to conceal itself by tampering with the forensic evidence.

      In a move that can only be described as tragically ironic, the architects of this particular brand of nonsense simply invented one conspiracy out of whole cloth in order to pave way for proving the other one. In this case, it is that the Secret Service stole the body out from under the noses of the Kennedy family and staff in order to facilitate the forensic tampering that they somehow already knew would be required.

      That is to say, that the conspirators knew that by placing shooters in front of the President as well as behind they were all but assured of creating prima facie evidence of a multi-shooter conspiracy rather than the scenario of a lone nut assassin. Rather than simply avoiding that risk of discovery by placing all assassins to the rear, Horne believes the greater risk of evidence tampering after the fact was inexplicably selected as part of the conspiratorial strategy.

      Of course once the shooting started, there was no way of knowing or controlling whether the Presidents wounds would ultimately lend themselves to effective and convincing manipulation. Nor is there any evidence that the Secret Service attempted to manipulate traffic on board Air Force One in the 33 minutes JFK’s body was on board prior to take off so as to give its agents unfettered access for the purpose of skullduggery. Horne suggests a method by which they might have attempted such control, but there is simply no evidence of such an effort taking place.

      Thus, Horne would have us believe the conspirators were unbelievably lucky TWICE with regard to TWO CRITICAL aspects of the assassination: the physical manner and extent to which the President was wounded coincidentally allowed for successful surgical tampering, AND a sufficient opportunity to steal the body just happened to prevent itself (rather than to have been well planned) within the narrow time window of 33 minutes.

      Finally, when evaluating the shipping casket and body bag shell games testimony that is used to sell the mythological scenario of corpse napping, consider that this information came from three different individuals: X-ray technician Ed Reed, morgue technician Paul O’Conner, and photography assistant Floyd Riebe. In each case, their respective working partners (Jerrol Custer, James Jenkins and John Stringer) contradicted either the casket type, use of a body bag and/or both – not to mention other autopsy witnesses who undercut the body theft evidence with their own testimony to ARRB or HSCA.

      (Note: In Horne’s detailed analysis of Jenkins’ appearance on his “Inside the ARRB” blog, item number (8) may give the impression that FBI agents Sibert and O’Neil were barred from the morgue AFTER carrying the ceremonial Dallas casket inside but BEFORE the casket was opened. Both agents specifically testified in their 1997 sworn ARRB depositions (both of which Horne attended) that they carried the casket inside the morgue, viewed the casket opening and identified President Kennedy’s remains (and the absence of any “body bag”) before leaving the morgue for the initial taking of photographs and x-rays (which they also witnessed through a glass window in the door connecting the morgue anteroom and the morgue lab proper).

      • Bill Pierce says:

        Lanny K writes:
        “That is to say, that the conspirators knew that by placing shooters in front of the President as well as behind they were all but assured of creating prima facie evidence of a multi-shooter conspiracy rather than the scenario of a lone nut assassin.”

        That’s correct. I can’t speak for Mr. Horne, but I believe the CIA-sponsored conspirators wanted the hit to look like a sophisticated ambush using multiple shooters linked to Castro and the Kremlin. They were not trying to hide it. Powerful government insiders including RFK, Burkley, LBJ and Hoover immediately suspected the scenario above and shut it down.

        WC fundamentalists need to understand that conspiracists are not responsible for the misidentification of Oswald’s rifle; destruction of evidence by the FBI; the bizarre autopsy; the moving head wounds; the CIA’s perplexing behavior regarding Oswald’s Mexico City odyssey; failure of the Secret Service to protect the president; the rush to clean and refit the limousine . . . and hundreds of other important matters that raise serious questions about the credibility of government institutions and the piece of nonsense entitled The Warren Report.

        If you find the idea of conspiracy so outlandish, you need to understand that your side is responsible for the mess.

        • John Kirsch says:

          Bill, you write, “… I believe the CIA-sponsored conspirators wanted the hit to look like a sophisticated ambush using multiple shooters linked to Castro and the Kremlin. They were not trying to hide it. Powerful government insiders including RFK, Burkley, LBJ and Hoover immediately suspected the scenario above and shut it down.
          Why do you think the conspirators wanted the hit to look “like a sophisticated ambush using multiple shooters linked to Castro and the Kremlin.”? Would that have made an attack on Cuba, and possibly the Soviet Union, more likely? Do you believe the government insiders you mention shut down the scenario to avoid war?

        • John Kirsch says:

          Defenders of the official story like to say they are concerned with facts, facts, facts. But that’s just a smokescreen designed to hide the fact that they are trying to peddle an implausible story, which the American people, to their credit, have never accepted.
          When challenged the defenders of the official story try to confuse the issue or resort to speculation or mind reading. Maybe they use a ouija board to communicate with Oswald.
          What all this flimflammery is designed to do is to frustrate the peoples’ desire for the truth about what happened to their president in Dallas. The government’s refusal to do this is a gesture of contempt toward toward democracy.
          That same contempt for democracy and the people is apparent in some of the comments on this site.

      • Dave says:

        Paul O’Connor’s interviews and “testimony” at Bugliosi’s mock Oswald trial are on YouTube. He says when the bronze casket was opened before him at the “official” 8 pm autopsy, the body was in an unzipped body bag (not how it left Dallas). He also said there was no need for any craniotomy because there was already a huge hole in the skull and only “half a handful” of the brain left! This supports Jenkins’ account, as well as Horne’s view that there was definitely pre-autopsy surgery done prior to 8 pm.
        History will not be kind to Dr. Humes.

        • brianh51 says:


          Actually I just saw the same YouTube with the late Paul O’Connors testimony.

          You are absolutely correct except he didn’t even say it was a ” bronze casket “.

  5. Photon says:

    Just exactly how knowledgable was he? What can we make about his claim to be a” Ph.D. Student in Pathology” when no such degree granting program existed at Bethesda in 1963. His only training in medical affairs prior to coming to Bethesda was attending Hospital Corpsman “A” school- he apparently never attended college which anybody who has attended graduate school knows is a prerequisite to get into graduate school.
    To get any advanced degree in Pathology requires an M.D. and completion of an approved residency program in pathology; such degrees are granted only rarely and in conjunction with research done during the residency. Why the subterfuge? What evidence is there that he ever actually did any procedures directly involving contact with the autopsy subject? And for heaven’s sake what is the baloney about his claim of recognizing and exit wound by a gray color of the skin? That is complete nonsense. There is no evidence whatsoever that he ever even saw a gunshot wound prior to Nov. 22,1963, much less that he had any expertise in wound evaluation.
    Finally, Mr. Horne knows nothing about autopsies, about autopsy technique, nor craniotomies. Anybody with a pair of eyes knows that it would have been impossible to remove “en bloc” JFK’s “skull cap” in the customary fashion as it was not intact and had fractures associated with the entrance wound. It is not inconceivable that Boswell had to saw some portions of the skull to adequately dissect out and remove the brain. Horne’s comments reveal that he has never seen an autopsy nor has any idea what transpires when a brain is removed post-mortem in the autopsy suite.
    Again, another example of conspiracy theorists coming up with poorly educated technicians not qualified to make reputable judgements about medical or forensic evidence simply because the real experts will not support their theories. What exactly does Mr. Jenkins do now? What has he done for the last 50 years? Why if he only attended the Lancer conference to simply observe others was he the subject of a specific ” breakout conference”?
    Finally, the disgusting accusation by Mr. Horne accusing Dr. Boswell of committing a felony prior to the autopsy would almost certainly result in a libel suit if CAPT. Boswell was still alive.I wonder if Dr. Boswell’s family is aware of this slander ; perhaps Mr. Horne would be able to explain to them why he has the right to make unsubstantiated claims about a decorated carrer Naval Officer,veteran and recognized authority in Pathology simply by making things up.

    • John Kirsch says:

      You can fulminate all you want, Photon, but the fact is, Jenkins was there. Nowhere in your comment do you state or suggest that you were there, too, so I’m going to assume you weren’t.
      So whose views should we give greater weight to — those of a person who was there or those of a person who wasn’t?

      • Photon says:

        A Ph.D candidate in Pathology who didn’t know how to fix the brain?
        Believe what you want, but someone who claims to have seen a “cut in two places” in a spinal cord that was never dissected out is not credible.

      • Jean Davison says:

        John, You ask, “So whose views should we give greater weight to — those of a person who was there or those of a person who wasn’t?”

        I think a better question might be, “Which account should we give greater weight to — Jenkins’ 1977 description of one head wound, or his 2013 description of two head wounds? Should we accept his first or second account? Paul O’Connor’s description of the condition of the brain doesn’t appear to agree with either of Jenkins’ accounts, so what now?

        During the HSCA investigation another witness who was there “remembered” a bullet falling out of JFK’s clothing when he was being placed on the autopsy table. Nobody else saw this, and it’s indisputable that JFK was unclothed.

        Just a few examples of why some people prefer photos and x-rays over testimony given years later.

        • JSA says:

          I would agree except when the WC supporters look at the testimony or first witness statements from Parkland, they ignore the first day statements and instead choose to only hear what some of the doctors said after they were led by intense political pressure from the Secret Service and from the Warren Commission, in late 1963 and then in 1964. Don’t you think the first observations would count for more, and a year or so later would be less reliable, following that logic of memory?

          Regarding the x-rays of JFK’s skull, when shown the lead embedded in the back of the skull in one of the xrays, nobody can explain it. They ignore it. It’s discussed in “Hear No Evil” however.

          Much evidence was ignored by the WC unless pushed by attorneys to be addressed, such as the cheek hit from a stray bullet that missed and caused James Tague to get nicked on the cheek (most likely from a curb fragment from the shot that chipped the curb). Only because there was pressure did this even get addressed by the WC, reluctantly I might add. Then they flew into action, securing the curb piece (cut away) and analyzing it. Because of Tague’s minor wounding from the stray shot, Specter had to change the original FBI report that said one shot entered JFK’s back and a different shot hit Governor Connally—-to one single bullet hit both. This has always been a very weak link in the WC version of events, because the Zapruder film (also suppressed for many years) shows JFK reacting to a hit way sooner than Connally, and the Governor himself always argued that he was hit by a different shot than the fist shot that hit JFK.

          • Jean Davison says:

            The idea that Tague forced the creation of the SBT is a myth that has been passed from one conspiracy theorist to another for decades. I wonder if you read this in “Hear No Evil”? Wherever you got it, JSA, it’s bunk.

            I agree, first-day testimony is much more likely to be accurate than memories years later, but even immediate impressions can be wrong. The throat wound was small, so it looked like an entry, but the Parkland people didn’t see the corresponding bullet wound on JFK’s back.

          • JSA says:


            The fact of the matter remains that James Tague’s insistence that he was hit by a curb shot that missed meant that Arlen Specter had to have only one bullet be the one that did all the damage to JFK and to Governor Connally. That’s no myth, that is fact. It’s also a fact that Arlen Specter pressured many people into saying what they didn’t want to say, in the style of the O.J. Simpson trial. Just because someone is a good lawyer doesn’t make them right.

            You can’t cherry pick memory collection and say that the Parkland doctor first day statements are no good but others are. That looks like you are bending the data to make it conform to a pre-conceived notion.

            If I were a professional denier defending the Warren Commission today, I’d go about things in a more sophisticated way. I wouldn’t stonewall every piece of contrasting data (a la Nixon in Watergate). What really looks suspicious for example is CIA not letting the Oswald-related files go free. That just looks suspicious, like Nixon sweating under the t.v. studio lights in Chicago at his first debate with Kennedy in 1960. You’d think CIA would show a bit more finesse, but I guess they’re just a bunch of government bureaucrats, in an age when the top talent goes to corporations and not into government as it did fifty years ago. We’ve really declined as a nation since 1963, when Cornpone seized the presidency and began the Vietnam saga.

          • Jean Davison says:

            No, it is not the “fact of the matter” that the Tague incident forced Specter to adopt the SBT. Please provide any evidence you have that this is a fact. (If you look closely, I think you’ll find that your source didn’t provide any.)

          • jeffc says:

            The best account of the process and development of the Single Bullet Theory is found in Gerald McKnight’s “Breach Of Trust”.

          • JSA says:


            Please take a look here:

            You can scroll your mouse over the footnotes to get source information.

          • JSA says:


            I quote from the above cited website, which explains how the Tague incident being raised noisily forced Specter to reconsider:

            Warren Report, p.117. James Tague’s wound demanded its own bullet because he was too far away for his injury plausibly to have been caused by a fragment of a bullet which had struck Kennedy or Connally. President Kennedy’s head wound demanded its own bullet because it clearly occurred later than at least some of his and Connally’s non–fatal wounds. That left a single bullet to create all the other wounds. The single–bullet theory had been proposed by Arlen Specter a few weeks earlier, but it was the publicity attached to Tague’s wounding that forced the Commission to adopt the theory.

          • Jean Davison says:

            JSA, I asked for some evidence that Tague forced Specter to devise the SBT, but I’ve seen none.

            The website claims that the SBT was developed in June 1964, and that’s clearly wrong. This photo, e.g., was taken in May and a SBT is discussed in testimony even earlier than that.

            Not only is the timing wrong, but the Warren Report, p. 117, specifically says that Tague’s wound did *NOT* require its own bullet since it might’ve resulted from either the missed shot -OR- from a head shot fragment:


            Conspiracy author Josiah Thompson also theorized that Tague’s wound was probably caused by a head shot fragment.


            If there’s a more plausible theory to explain the ballistics and medical evidence, shouldn’t the critics have presented one by now?

    • andy young says:

      Proton does a person need a driving license to understand a car crash has happened? One thing is important, he was there, were you? Your knowledge about the assassination is good, dates times names qualifications etc, leads me to think your not an enthusiast but more of a professional, full time so to speak, with a wealth of information at your fingertips.
      Your posture is at odds with the 81 percent of your population, I wonder how much of the remaining percentage is undecided.
      New people to this site with an interest in this subject should look for themselves and make up there own minds, for some it will be for fun, others it may become addictive. in the what ifs or buts,the more interest the louder the cry to release to hidden documents, welcome all newcomers, read and partisipate, let us all stand behind Jeff.

  6. JG says:

    Was he under oath ?

    • Jeff Pascal says:

      One of the most interesting things Jenkins says is “the spinal cord was completely severed on both sides” How in the world could a bullet do that? Certainly not hitting high in the rear of the head and exiting high in the right side above the ear. There are several major irreconcilable conflicts between the Parkland Doctors and the Bethesda Doctors-between the Autopsy Assistants, X-Ray Tech,Radiologist,& Embalmer,with the Autopsy Doctors, between the FBI Agents, and the Autopsy Doctors Report and so forth.The Key questions are- Were wounds enlarged in searching for bullets, or fragments, prior to the official Autopsy?Were bullets, or fragments recovered and not placed into evidence?

      • Photon says:

        Jeff Pascal , do you realize that statement completely impeached Jenkins credibility?
        In the process of removing the brain it is reflected back out of the posterior fossa of the skull. It is then removed by cutting the medulla at the level of the foramen magnum at the base of the skull.
        The spinal cord begins at the foramen magnum.
        As the neck was not dissected out as has been repeatedly stated by critics of the autopsy it was impossible for Jenkins ever to have seen the cord, let alone claim to note it to be severed on”both sides”, whatever that means.
        The thing I find very curious is the comment about the carotids being cut-apparently Mr. Horne has no idea how the brain is removed. But the real joke is Jenkins comments about using the carotids for ” infusion”. Incredible as it seems he had no idea of how they fix the brain.
        I realize that most people without a medical background have no idea how to interpret complete nonsense put out by people who claim to “know” but actually don’t.But the level of gullibility of some of the folks who lap this tripe up is rather depressing

        • Paulf says:

          Seriously, photon, what are your qualifications to discuss autopsies? Do you have any relevant degrees? What makes you more of an expert?

          And if you are to be believed, the way you critique the statements of eyewitnesses, most of the people involved in the treatment, transportation and autopsy of the president are incompetent, unqualified and of poor character. Isn’t that a bit odd that so many shady characters wound up in such positions of responsibility?

          • Photon says:

            They tended not to be in positions of responsibility- that is my point in establishing credentials. Most if not all of the autopsy witnesses favored by conspiracy theorists have no evidence of being involved directly with the autopsy, nor actually coming into contact with the body, nor even being a position to make the claimed observations. Jenkins claim of seeing a spinal cord “cut in two places” is a prime example- the cord was never dissected out of the back nor visible during removal of the brain, ie. to Jenkins it was INVISIBLE and his claimed observation was physically impossible. And yet people give his claims credence because he “was there”. Never mind the fact that his observations have changed markedly as time goes on.
            I don’t claim to be an expert- but I do defer to real experts like forensic pathologists, the vast majority of whom that are familiar with the case support the Warren Report conclusions- the exception being Dr. Wecht. I can take his objections seriously because he has the credentials of being an expert in the field. Virtually no other pro- conspiracy “experts” have any real expertise in the subjects that they claim to be authorities in. From Groden’s claim of being a photographic expert completely destroyed at the Simpson trial to Mr. Horne’s claims of being an expert in autopsy protocol and surgery to an entomologist who claims to be an acoustics expert the conspiracy community is chock full of people who simply don’t know what they are talking about.

  7. Prestion Newe says:

    I don’t believe the Navy would have kept James Jenkins employed if he were incompetent or untruthful. Many professions in life require the services of a subordinate helping their superior accomplish certain tasks. The biggest difference between Mr. Jenkins & his critics is & will always be that he was there at JFK’s autopsy performing his assigned duties & his detractors were not.
    I’m expecting Cyril Wecht & Fox News’ Dr. Baden to see & join this thread at moment; both know a lot about autopsies, much more so than anonymous self-proclaimed experts. The door’s open, gentlemen.

    • Photon says:

      But what were those duties? If one of his claims is proven to be impossible how can you believe anything he says-particularly his claims of how involved in the autopsy he claimed to have been?
      Particularly his nonsensical claim to be able to identify an exit wound by gray skin color.
      For instance, he claimed to have removed the brain as an assistant. That is ridiculous.

      • Photon says:

        And exactly how long was he in the Navy and what did he do after?

      • Rufus Pinochle says:

        It is not uncommon for the diener (i.e. helper) to perform organ removal (among other duties, such as weighing, etc.) E.g. see this add for a current federal opening (with attention to the first listed duty):


        However, the notion that the pathologists collaborated on a clandestine surgery to destroy evidence requires a great deal of imagination. The autopsy was not perfect, but it’s the only one JFK ever got, and so the report filed on form 503 must stand as the proximate record. Everything else, especially second-hand interpretations from suboptimal radiographs and testimony that twists and turns and evolves over the course of multiple investigations, is necessarily less reliable.

        • Photon says:

          If you think that a diener would be involved in removing the brain of a victim of a gunshot wound to the head you would be mistaken. If you think that a diener would be involved in removing the brain of a gunshot wound to the head victim who happens to be President of the United States you would be grossly mistaken.
          As Jenkins didn’t even know how to fix the brain it would appear that his responsibility in the autopsy suite has been vastly overblown.

          • Rufus Pinochle says:

            I have been mistaken before, but I think the diener’s particular responsibilities would depend on the established relationship with the pathologist(s) — one would not expect the division of labor to be the same for each set of autopsists in the country.

            I agree wholeheartedly that in a case of this, perhaps unprecedented, magnitude, the assistant’s role would be less pronounced than usual. Indeed, I believe Jenkins’ “testimony” is consistent in that regard as it reflected that he neither removed nor fixed Kennedy’s brain, is that correct? So, in that sense, there doesn’t seem to be much to dispute. The impression I got was that he (Jenkins) was primarily an observer at this autopsy and, on account of his previous experience, saw fit to comment on certain aberrations or irregularities.

            Does that mean his conclusions (specifically that JFK’s brain was removed before the autopsy) are valid? Of course not. Does it mean that all his observations should be discounted? I’d say of course not to that, too. Fact is, the autopsy was incomplete and took place in circumstances that the pathologists could not have found ideal, and that has given much fuel to the speculations concerning conspiracy of one sort or other. Without RFK’s overbearing presence upstairs and with an empty, quiet gallery, a complete autopsy would have ensued and much of the hubbub about secret surgeries and missing fragments would have never arisen.

  8. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Mr. Jenkins, thank you for attending the 50th anniversary, re-stating your observations and expounding on them. We are fortunate Dr. Mantik was there to record them as I believe he is well respected in the research community.
    Your statements, to me are the final “nail in the coffin” regarding conspiracy. In conjunction with those of Corpsman O’Connor and FBI agents Siebert and Oneil about the “blowout in the back of the head” at Bethesda form a triumvirate of witnesses observation on the day of the execution. A multitude of Doctors, Nurses and others at Parkland in Dallas describe the same thing. Even if they did not lift he head as stated on this website the wound was large enough to notice otherwise by bending slightly or tilting the head. As it was they tried blood transfusions trying to save his life. This came pouring out of this right rear blowout head wound along with brain matter onto the gurney, dripping into the bucket on the floor.
    With the drawings of Dr. McClelland for Six Seconds in Dallas in 66′, Dr. Crenshaw’s 97′ diagram for the AARB an exit wound seems evident to a layman like me.
    This is all only exacerbated by the statements of the mortician. He noted, after stuffing the skull with a filling he inserted a piece of rubber into the right rear head wound hole to prevent oozing which he stitched the remaining portion of JFK’s scalp.

    I don’t know who fired the shot’s or orchestrated it but I have no doubt he was shot from the front and their was thus a conspiracy of some sort.

  9. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Addendum. Mr. Jenkins, I’ve read you and Mr. O’Neil were forced to sign a non discousure statement regarding what you saw. The story of Dr. Pitzer is important here as well, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKpitzerW.htm?menu=JFKindex

    Dr.’s Humes and Boswell were pathologists, “diagnosis of disease” but not forensic pathologists, inexperienced in the forensics part. Dr. Finick arrived after the Brain, Heart and other organs were removed. He was a forensic pathologist, albeit in a administrative capacity with little and no recent hands on experience as you had, literally. His notes were stolen. Dr. Humes first report was burned, by him.
    These men were under the direction of others in the audience as the autopsy proceeded. I cannot but conclude your statements and those of others contain more veracity than the “official” version.
    Thank You, again.

  10. Photon says:

    So Ronnie, what are the qualifications necessary to sit for the American Board of Pathology certification exam?
    Who is Dr . Finick?
    And lastly, don’t demonstrate your ignorance of the case by describing LCDR Pitzer as “Dr.” Pitzer. What Medical School did he attend? Do you know how easy it is to prove he wasn’t an M.D.?

    • John Kirsch says:

      The Free Dictionary (online) defines “credentialism” as an “Overemphasis on diplomas or degrees in giving jobs or conferring social status.”
      That is the approach our good friend Photon uses. In this case, it’s a way of trying to undermine the account of a person who was actually there at the autopsy.

    • John Kirsch says:

      Just to follow on to what I said about Photon’s use of credentialism to try and undermine those with whom he disagrees — it’s really a “shoot the messenger” approach.

      • Photon says:

        If credentials are not important why do folks like Ronnie inflate them like calling LCDR Pitzer “doctor” , or claiming that Jenkins was a Ph.D student, or calling a dentist a medical resident, or calling Billy Harper a medical student?

        • John Kirsch says:

          I can always tell when you’re on the defensive, Photon, because you raise false issues. I didn’t say credentials are unimportant. The point of my post was to draw attention to the overemphasis on credentials, or credentialism, that I see you doing all the time. As I said before, it’s a sort of “shoot the messenger” strategy.
          This is from the rational Wiki entry on credentialism, “credentialism can be used to bully others or to dodge examination of one’s ideas: “I’m a Ph.D. and you’re not.”

    • Ronnie Wayne says:

      Thanks for catching my misspelling of Dr. Finck’s name. Yes I realize Pitzer was not a Doctor, that was a mistake on my part.
      This is how easy it is:


  11. Pat Speer says:

    YIKES! Let me clear up some of the nonsense being spread about Jenkins’ appearance at the Lancer conference. I was present at both breakout sessions–the first attended by perhaps 10 people, the second attended by perhaps 30–and took some notes. I asked Jenkins a number of questions, and talked to Mantik briefly as well.

    First, as admitted in his blog post, Horne wasn’t there. Mantik attended both sessions, as I recall–although I think he came in late at the first one. Gary Aguilar came in halfway through the first one, and asked some questions. But I don’t think he attended the second one. If I recall, Josiah Thompson was present at the first one as well. But was not present at the second.

    I remember looking around at one point in the first session and thinking to myself that no one was recording Jenkins’ statements, and worrying if this would lead to problems down the road.

    The second session was much more crowded, and I’d be willing to bet someone recorded the thing, but can’t say for sure.

    Now, some observations:

    1. Jenkins was introduced by William Law. It was clear from the introduction and Jenkins’ comments that he was not an attention-seeker, and was someone who had a unique view on a moment in history, and thought it proper that he share this with those with an interest. He was not selling anything. He made it clear that this was the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death, and that he decided that that was an appropriate time for him to attend a JFK conference for the first and (presumably) last time, and tell his story.

    2. Jenkins tried to avoid speculation. He said Humes removed the brain but that Humes made a comment while doing so that led him (Jenkins) to assume it came out really easily. Jenkins was later asked to infuse formalin into the brain. He said the brain stem appeared to have been cut more than once, from different sides. He didn’t explain what that meant. He did say that Humes’ comments and the shriveled condition of the carotids led him to believe the brain had been removed prior to autopsy, and then put back in the skull.

    3. The rest of his statements made it hard to see how this could be. He stressed–repeatedly–that the back of Kennedy’s head was INTACT at the beginning of the autopsy. I wrote down some of his words, and added them into my online book. Here’s the paragraph in which I quote Jenkins:

    “In focus group discussions at the JFK Lancer conference in Dallas he (Jenkins) told a group of people, including at one point Dr. Gary Aguilar, Dr. David Mantik, and myself, that a common ‘misconception is that that there was actually skull missing’ at the back of Kennedy’s head. He explained that ‘the skull was fragmented from here (he pointed to the top of his head above his ear) to here (he pointed to the back of his head behind his ear), but it was intact.’ He later re-iterated ‘All of this back here (he pointed to the back of his head) was attached’ and still later, in a second discussion close to midnight, that ‘The only thing keeping the skull structure intact was the scalp’ and that it all collapsed when they pulled the scalp back.”

    4. Jenkins also repeated his claim he’d seen the impression on the back of the empty chest cavity pleura when Humes tried to probe the back wound with his finger. He said there was no passage into the cavity, and that the wound headed down from its entrance on the skin.

    5. Jenkins also repeated his claim he thought a bullet had entered at the temple, at a gray-smeared location on the skull later determined to be part of the exit. Here is the section from my online book in which I present some of his exact words.

    “On November 22, 2013, at the JFK Lancer Conference in Dallas, Jenkins shared his recollections of what happened fifty years before with a small audience. I was in that audience, actually two audiences–one in the afternoon and one late at night–and took notes. When discussing this discoloration, Jenkins said he heard Dr. Pierre Finck tell Dr. Humes ‘that may be lead from a bullet.’ And that’s not all. Jenkins also said that his impression upon viewing Kennedy’s skull and x-rays was that fractures radiated out from the temple. Jenkins said that this impression, fueled by Finck’s words, stuck with him throughout the autopsy, to such an extent that after the completion of the autopsy he ‘went home with the knowledge that the wound (he meant bullet) that killed the President entered here (he pointed to his temple) and exited here (he pointed to the top of his head).’ He said he was surprised to find out later that the doctors had concluded that this wound–the one ‘in front and a little bit above the right ear’–was actually an exit.”

    Now, I took Jenkins’ words to mean he thought the bullet entered tangentially by the ear, and blew off the top of the head. I don’t recall his saying this entrance was a separate wound from the large wound on top of the head. I look forward to reading a transcript so I can clear this up in my own mind.

    Now, let’s be clear about this.

    Mantik and Horne are trying to convince people Jenkins’ impression about Kennedy’s brain supports their theories regarding wound alteration, etc. I think this is silly in the extreme.

    If I recall, Horne proposed there was an orange-sized wound at the back of Kennedy’s head when the body arrived at Bethesda, that Dr. Humes enlarged to include the top of the head. Jenkins specified that there was a wound at the TOP of Kennedy’s head when the body arrived at Bethesda, that was expanded to include the back of the head once Humes peeled back the scalp, and the skull collapsed. Jenkins’ core statements about what he observed thereby undercut most everything Horne believes and has proposed. So WHY is he pretending Jenkins’ statements support his theory?

    Ditto for Mantik. Mantik holds that the Harper fragment was blown out the back of Kennedy’s head from the occipital region of his skull. Jenkins’ specified–repeatedly–that there was NO HOLE in this location. So WHY is Mantik pretending Jenkins’ statements support his theory?

    I mean, something just doesn’t add up. Perhaps Mantik and Horne have modified their theories to incorporate Jenkins’ statements, whereby they now believe Humes not only enlarged the hole on Kennedy’s head to pull out the brain without Jenkins’ knowledge, he sealed it back up somehow after putting the brain back in, only to undue it in front of Jenkins later on while making some comment about how the brain fell out in his hands…

    But to me, it all smacks of desperation… Jenkins said some things which fit what I already suspected. He said some other things that sounded pretty wild. This is, I suspect, what one should expect from witnesses 50 years after the fact.

    • JSA says:

      I’ve come to the idea (pay attention Photon: I’m about to admit to a mistake) that perhaps my earlier embrasure of folks like Lifton, who claimed alteration of JFK’s head wounds and brain, may not have happened. It didn’t need to. Nobody was going to stop Lyndon Johnson after JFK had been eliminated. He controlled the situation, and quite masterfully I might add. However sloppy the Oswald cover story as a lone communist, however sloppy the single bullet theory nonsense, etc.—-didn’t matter. Power had switched hands. The bottom line is, the Warren Commission got its pig storyline dressed up and smeared with lipstick. LBJ was able to get elected in the fall. As Nixon said, “I wanted very badly to be president, but I wasn’t willing to KILL for it.” Source: Roger Stone’s book. I think Nixon knew the score.

      • John Kirsch says:

        I haven’t read the Stone book but my impression is that Nixon never actually provided anything like evidence or proof that LBJ had been connected with 11/22. All Nixon did, apparently, was leave a certain impression over drinks at the end of the day. I don’t think that amounts to much.

    • Ronnie Wayne says:

      Mr. Speer, I’ve read many of your posts on the Education Forum and found virtually all intelligent and often insightful. I was not aware you had a blog or on-line book. It looks interesting and I want to read there in more depth. My post on this thread was based on the statement by Mr. Horne from Dr. Mantik’s notes saying “twice during his talk at JFK Lancer, Jenkins recalled that he did observe the large wound in the right rear of the head, and it’s approximate size was “somewhat larger than a silver dollar”".
      If you can find a transcript I’d like to read it too.
      I did read the review by Mr. DiEugeino linked on your site of it. A positive review by him give it and your work credence as he does not hesitate to speak his mind freely. I did notice though that one of the two points he is contentious about was “the more than 40 witnesses between Parkland and Bethesda” that saw the right rear “hole”.
      Keep up the good work sir.

      • Pat Speer says:

        Ronnie, I discuss the “back of the head” witnesses in great detail in Chapters 18c and 18d of my website. If you read it, be prepared. I’m pretty hard on some very prominent researchers.

        If Jenkins said he observed a large wound on the right rear of the head (I don’t remember his using those words), I’m fairly certain he was either 1) talking about the head after Humes peeled back the scalp and skull fell to the table, or 2) talking about the TOP of the head. As stated, he repeatedly specified that the back of the head–the occipital/parietal region where so many thought they saw a wound–was intact, but shattered beneath the scalp.

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