CSI JFK: The chain of custody for ‘the magic bullet’

The so-called “magic bullet” (Don Roberdeau).

At the close of his book, You Are The Jury, David Belin, attorney for the Warren Commission, cited 10 major contentions as the foundation of the case against Lee Harvey Oswald.

I examine these 10 points in my recent Op-Ed News article, How the Warren Commission Covered Up JFK’s Murder. In this article I address the chain of custody for the so-called “magic bullet,” otherwise known as Commission Exhibit 399 (or CE399). According to the Warren Commission, this bullet wounded both President Kennedy and Governor John Connally.

With unwarranted confidence, Belin asserted:

“Scientific ballistic evidence proved that the magic bullet found at Parkland Memorial Hospital came from the 6th floor rifle.”

In fact, the chain of custody for this central piece of evidence is non-existent. The true and amazing story about the near-pristine “magic bullet” found at Parkland Hospital shortly after JFK’s assassination has been carefully pieced together by analysts such as Sylvia Meagher in the ’60s and John Hunt in the past few years.

Although Secret Service agent Richard Johnsen received the bullet in Parkland Hospital by about 1:30 p.m., an hour after the assassination, Johnsen’s initials are nowhere on the magic bullet, despite regulations mandating Secret Service agents to initial forensic evidence.

Johnsen handed the bullet to the Secret Service Chief James Rowley at Andrews Air Force Base at about 7:30 p.m., who didn’t initial it either. Neither Johnsen nor Rowley could identify the bullet when shown it later.

The positive ID was finally made by FBI agent Elmer Todd, who received the bullet from Rowley and delivered it to Robert Frazier at the crime lab.

Todd swore that he initialed the bullet — but his initials are not on it either. The only initials on the bullet are those of Frazier and the other crime lab examiners.

The FBI maintains that the bullet — known as “Q1” — was delivered from Todd to Frazier at 7:30 p.m.

However, this does not jibe with Johnsen’s note stating that he gave the “attached expended bullet” to his boss Chief James Rowley at 7:30 p.m.

Todd has a written receipt from Rowley dated 8:50 p.m., which again doesn’t jibe with the FBI lab’s claim that Todd delivered it to Frazier by 7:30 p.m.!

How did such a troubling situation come into play? Look at this …

Within an hour after the assassination, Johnsen was given the bullet by Parkland hospital security director O.P. Wright, after orderly Darrell Tomlinson found it by a stretcher. Like Johnsen and Rowley, neither Wright nor Tomlinson could identify the bullet.

In a 1967 interview by private eye Tink Thompson, Wright was described as a professional law enforcement officer with “an educated eye for bullet shapes.” Wright told Thompson that the bullet looked like a 30-30 round and had a pointed tip, not a blunt tip like the 6.5mm magic bullet.

It looks like someone originally planted a 30-30 bullet on or near a stretcher before the bullet was found sometime between 1:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m., in an effort to align the evidence with the Dallas police dispatcher’s report at 12:44 p.m. that the 5 foot, 10 inch, 165-pound shooter used a 30-30 or some type of Winchester. (30-30 ammo has been used in Winchesters since the 19th century.)

Many years after Thompson’s interview with Wright, a FBI memo was found that said both Wright and Tomlinson thought the bullet in evidence “appeared to be” the same one that they had seen on November 22.

Thompson and his colleague Gary Aguilar sought out the memo’s author, FBI agent Bardwell Odum, and interviewed him about this contradictory evidence in 2002. Incredibly, Odum said that he never had possession of the magic bullet. Odum added that even though it was highly unlikely that he forgot such a significant event, the established procedure was to write up a report about something that important. No such memo has been found in the National Archives, despite numerous searches. The use of Odum’s identity is another astonishing piece of fabricated evidence.

The magic bullet would be excluded at any trial, based on the utter failure to create any sort of trustworthy chain of custody.

101 thoughts on “CSI JFK: The chain of custody for ‘the magic bullet’”

  1. John Connally wrote in his autobiography, “the most curious discovery of all took place when they rolled me off the stretcher and onto the examining table. A metal object fell to the floor, with a click no louder than a wedding band. The nurse picked it up and slipped it into her pocket. It was the bullet from my body, the one that passed through my back, chest, and wrist, and worked itself loose from my thigh.”

    In an interview with The Dallas Morning News in 1993, former District Attorney of Dallas Henry Wade said “I also went out to see Connally, but he was in the operating room(note the time frame). Some nurse had a bullet in her hand, and said this was on the gurney that Connally was on… I told her to give it to the police, which she said she would. I assume that’s the pristine bullet”

    A July 7th 1964 FBI memorandum states that on June 24th 1964, Agent Elmer Lee Todd showed CE 399 to Richard Johnsen and James Rowley who told the FBI that they “could not identify this bullet as the one” they saw on the day of the assassination. The memo is corroborated by a June 24th 1964 memo from the FBI’s Dallas field office.

  2. Lawrence Schnapf

    There is absolutely no evidence that OSwald ever bought rifle bullets despite exhaustive canvas by FBI. No bullets were purchased with rifle. No evidence he ever purchased bullets later. So perhaps its not surprising none of the shells had his fingerprints on them. Follow the bullets and they dont point back to LHO…..

  3. David

    This fellow claims that Oswald was able to hit JFK in the head twice, once at z313 and again at z331. This is only 18 frames apart, and Zapruder’s camera was operating at 18.3 frames/second. Reload, aim and shoot in just under one second? Indeed….

    1. Exactly Bob, just wanted to share for it’s absurdity. To now say JFK was hit by all 3 shots, including one wounding James Tague:

      “- The final bullet hit the slumped president in the cowlick area of his head, exited through the crown of his head, exited the open driver’s-side window of the limo, and, after striking concrete curbs on the south side of Elm and Main, ended up embedded high up in the concrete western face of the triple underpass behind where a slightly injured spectator was standing.”

  4. What is all this rubbish about Oswald being on the 6th floor with a rifle? What is all this rubbish about a bullet found on s stretcher at Parkland? What is all this rubbish about chain of evidence? Start with a “Big Lie” and 51 years later you will still have people trying to figure it all out. Start with a professional team of shooters and an expert team of politicians, lawyers, and police and you can present a “Big Cover Up for the Big Lie.” People use the WCR as a basis for truth when it is not. Forget Oswald. Focus on Ruby, DPD, Johnson, Wade, Alexander,Curry,Decker, Hoover & FBI as far as tampering with evidence, obfuscation, and blatant lying about the assassination. When you are done being amused with these casts of clowns, move over to the Generals and the CIA for the real plotters. If you can not solve a simple case of murder, then it is a simply matter of who, what, when, where and why. Does Oswald fit these construct? Oswald was a patsy like the racist Joseph Milteer states.
    “A Miami police informant, a prophetic racist and fresh questions about JFK’s death.” – Broward Bulldog.

  5. jeffc

    I have heard the same thing about rifles with telescopes and decided to try it out one time. I took the stock off of a rifle that I had sighted in. The scope was mounted above the receiver, and I did not remove it from the receiver. When I put the rifle back together, it was still shooting accurately. If I had removed the scope, it would have been an entirely different story.

    Would it have been necessary to remove the scope in disassembling the 6th floor Carcano?

    1. Bob Prudhomme December 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      Sorry I missed this one, Bob. My understanding on this is that most military rifles have a free floating barrel that doesn’t touch or press against the wood stock. Therefore taking the action/barrel out of the wood and then replacing it causes no change in the barrel bedding. The rifle would shoot to the same impact point as before. Easy to see the importance of this with a combat rifle that might have to be cleaned every day.

      I’ve never been able to observe a Carcano so I don’t know if it is free floated or not. I’ve never seen anything in the literature about the bedding either.

      It has been my experience with American hunting rifles (Remington, Winchester and so on)that most barrels are not free floated (though some are)but instead have a pressure point that the barrel rest on towards the end of the stock. It has also been my experience that if these rifles are properly bedded to begin with you can take the action out of the stock, clean it, put it back with the same results you got. The rifle will continue to hit the same impact point.

  6. Seems like there’re lots of good ballistics guys on here. Anyone care to take on this question — are Jackie’s movements in the limo, to recover the gray matter from the back/trunk of the car, de facto evidence of a shot from the front?

    1. I would say so, Dick, if you could just find a photo of her actually reaching for a piece of brain.

      Seriously, though, you bring up an interesting point. One of the things used to discount the possibility of a shooter on the Grassy Knoll is that the exit wound on JFK’s head, described by Parkland doctors as being in the right rear of JFK’s skull, cannot line up with a trajectory from the limo to the GK.

      Years ago, I used to hand load my own rifle cartridges for deer hunting. As the deer where I live are not that large, some of us used to rely on head shots, in order to damage as little meat as possible. I was seeking a bullet for my .308 with more killing power and I happened upon a box of 110 grain hollow points. I loaded these into cartridges, sighted the rifle in (had to change the powder load a couple of times) and took the rifle hunting. These bullets surpassed my greatest expectations, and everything I shot in the head with them stayed down. However, the results were so obscene that, after the box was used up, I went back to soft point bullets.

      The most interesting thing I observed about the head wounds in the deer was that, while the hollow points always made a tiny hole going in, the “exit” wound(s) would be huge BUT, THE EXIT WOUND(S) DID NOT ALWAYS LINE UP WITH THE ENTRANCE WOUND. Many times, I would shoot a deer in the side of its head, and the top of the head would blow off.

      The reason I wrote the word as “exit” is that the WC, and those who still promote it, have us brainwashed into believing a bullet has to exit a wound. If a bullet breaks up completely in a wound, as one obviously did in JFK’s skull, what is left to exit? Is it not more likely the blowout in the back of JFK’s head was due more to a massive buildup of pressure?

      1. Excellent points, Bob. I have no experience with rifles, but would be curious on your opinion for the difficulty level of the shots from the sixth floor. I always found it strange Oswald allegedly missed a stationary target in Walker, but pulled off the Dealey Plaza shooting?

          1. Well, the very first thing to understand is that Oswald would have been shooting downhill at a moving target. The WC apologists would have us believe this was the simplest thing in the world, just “aim and shoot”, but nothing could be further from the truth.

            A little known ballistic fact is that when a bullet is fired uphill OR downhill, the bullet will always impact a point that is higher than the point you are aiming at. I’ve lost track of how many marksmen I have seen hunting in mountainous country who get completely surprised at their inability to hit something that is uphill or downhill from them, yet these are men who, at a range on level ground (plus at a known distance), can put successive shots into a bullseye.

            So, here is Oswald, six storeys up, waiting for JFK to come out from behind a tree, not knowing the range to the first, second or third shot (all were under 100 yards) or the angle he is uphill from his target. How much training did Oswald get in the USMC, shooting downhill at moving targets? Does he aim a little high, to compensate for the moving target, or does he aim a little low, to compensate for shooting downhill AND shooting at a target under 100 yards?

            If it was me? I would have taken the shot while the limo was coming down Houston St. There was no tree in the way, and you could track him all the way from the corner at Main St. JFK would be coming straight towards you, and getting bigger by the second. A shot aimed at the lower thorax, even if it did go high, would still hit him in the upper chest. But then, I wouldn’t have shot him from the 6th floor.

          2. Lol….please tell your wife I appreciate her patience. I know my wife’s patience is tried at times on this case. Lol

            I was thinking the same about the easier shot being coming towards the on Houston St. Are you thinking 2-3 teams with spotters? It’ s interesting the film taken of the limousine moving down Houston towards the TSBD shows no figure aiming out the 6th window, even as the limo takes slow turn onto Elm.

          3. Bob – since this topic has come up…could you comment on a point Walt Brown likes to make – that the disassembled rifle would need to be “sighted” on assembly. As well, there is no direct evidence that Oswald fired a rifle at all since his return from Russia – can someone just pick up a rifle and shoot accurately with no practice for months or years?

          4. Actually all you have to do is go to the Sixth Floor Museum and look out the adjacent window and see how easy a shot it was.Once you are there in person you can see that the distances involved in this case have been greatly distorted by two-dimensional photography. Even the Grassy Knoll is hardly more than a boulevard strip,
            Once JFK started down toward the Triple Underpass the shooter never had to move his gun.

          5. Nonsense Photon. If the shots in Dealey Plaza were so easy to make on a moving target, how do you explain away Oswald allegedly missing a much easier target in Edwin Walker?

          6. Not according to Walker’s testimony to the WC – he was a stationary target at a much closer distance than the President’s limousine:
            Mr. LIEBELER. Right. Now did you make any sudden movement on or about the time that shot was fired?
            General WALKER. None that I was aware of; no. Just moving with a pencil and thoroughly engrossed in my income tax.
            Mr. LIEBELER. How far is it from where you were sitting to the fence where we think the shot was fired from? How many feet?
            General WALKER. I would say 100 feet. I would say between 100 and 120 feet.
            Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever say in words or substance after this shot was fired at you that the guy must have been a lousy shot? That sounds like something you might say, doesn’t it?
            General WALKER. Yes.
            Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember saying that?
            General WALKER. But I will tell you what I did think. I think I said that, right. The police asked me to sit down. You want me to tell you?
            Mr. LIEBELER. Yes.
            General WALKER. The police asked me to sit down when I got there and they went through the motions of lining up the shot from inside and outside.
            And one policeman said, “He couldn’t have missed you.”
            And one said, a lieutenant I believe it was, said, “It was an attempted assassination.”

          7. David,

            You stopped the Walker quote too soon. Walker gave his own explanation of why the shooter missed:

            Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever say in words or substance after this shot was fired at you that the guy must have been a lousy shot? That sounds like something you might say, doesn’t it?

            General WALKER. Yes.

            Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember saying that?

            General WALKER. But I will tell you what I did think. I think I said that, right. The police asked me to sit down. You want me to tell you?

            Mr. LIEBELER. Yes.

            General WALKER. The police asked me to sit down when I got there and they went through the motions of lining up the shot from inside and outside. And one policeman said, “He couldn’t have missed you.” And one said, a lieutenant I believe it was, said, “It was an attempted assassination.”

            And I said, “What makes you call it that?” And he said, “Because he definitely was out to get you.”
            And I said, “Your remark sounds like a natural remark.”

            But as I later was analyzing the thing, he couldn’t see either with a scope or without a scope. He couldn’t see from his position any of the lattice work either in the windows or in the screens because of the light. It would have looked like one big lighted area, and he could have been a very good shot and just by chance he hit the woodwork.

            Mr. LIEBELER. Which he did in fact?

            General WALKER. Which he did, and there was enough deflection in it to miss me….


          8. Jean, the remainder of Walker’s tesimony does nothing to prove it was Oswald who fired the shot. Care to share anything more conclusive?

          9. David,

            “… the remainder of Walker’s tesimony does nothing to prove it was Oswald who fired the shot. Care to share anything more conclusive?”

            I don’t have a video of the shooting, if that’s what you mean.

            How about a photo of Walker’s house found among Oswald’s possessions taken a few days before the shooting that shows the window the bullet would go through from the sniper’s position. Any of your sources mention that?

        1. David, I’ve been on the 6th floor of the Book Depository several times. I was there in 1975 with several US Marshals; These guys go to the range several times a week and all were trained in shooting at moving targets at FLETC (the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) in Glynco, Georgia. the window sill is about a foot above the floor and the bottom window only raises so much so a sniper would have to kneel down and contort his body in a very uncomfortable position in order to just get the barrel of the rifle facing in the right direction. Your next problem is a vertical steam pipe that extends from floor to ceiling right in front of the alleged sniper’s window. We all fell about with laughter as we took our turns trying to set up in front of the window. Just cocking the rifle and squeezing the trigger three times(with no attempt to aim) would have been out of the question. Anyone who’s REALLY been to the 6th floor sniper’s window will tell you for sure that the Warren Commission is full of bologna. The window at the corner of the building closest to the grassy knoll would have had a much better chance. There would have been no tree to contend with nor a steam pipe to have to work around. If the Marshals said it couldn’t be done – it couldn’t be done. The lone nutters will stick to their story but it didn’t happen the way Ford and Specter said it did. It’s so obvious that the Warren Commission was involved in a cover up that the museum people have roped off the window so you can’t look out through it anymore. Too many people were laughing uncontrollably and cheesing off the curator when they looked out the window and saw the Stemmons Freeway sign, the large tree, and the low window sill that only gave a shooter a very narrow opening. Combine that evidence with Ruby telling a reporter that “If Johnson hadn’t been Vice President, Kennedy would still be alive today” and not a jury in the land would have convicted Lee at trial. Obviously that’s why they made mob associate Jack Ruby rub Oswald out in the basement of the Police Station. He had to be silenced. To be a lone nutter you have to either be completely ignorant of the facts of the case or you must have an agenda of some kind. For Lyndon’s Commission to accuse Lee of taking 3 shots from that window in less than 10 seconds is balderdash. But, it’s 51 years since the big event and we aren’t bringing Jack back so I’m fine with the “two lone nut conspiracists” having a little fun at the expense of those of you who are seeking the truth. We know Oswald didn’t do it and so does the big guy upstairs and that’s all that matters.

          1. How could you have possibly been on the Sixth Floor in 1975 when the building was closed to the public and in the middle of an ownership dispute? It wasn’t open to anybody that year.The public opening of the Sixth Floor museum was in 1989.
            Please check out YouTube “Refuting JFK Conspiracies, No. 2:Oswald’s Rifle” for a demonstration how easy it was to have fired the rounds accurately even faster than you think is impossible.
            This appears to be another variation of the Hathcock myth, but with “U.S. Marshals” as the next “expert” group asserting that an easy shot just couldn’t be made-despite recreation after recreation in the media for the last 50 years demonstrating that not only could the shots have been made accurately in a similar shooting situation, they could be made even faster.

          2. How could your “Marshals” have been trained at FLETC when the first training group didn’t even start until Sept. 1975? You DO know how long those training courses were, don’t you?

          3. photon, please site your source for this: “. . . the building was closed to the public and in the middle of an ownership dispute?”

            and please expound on the dispute, i.e. who was involved, what were the issues, etc.

          4. Leslie, how about asking BrotherBruce for confirmation about his 1975 trip to the TSBD and how he got in.
            Or how he took a trip with U.S. Marshals trained ” in shooting moving targets” at a facility that didn’t even teach a course in shooting until the last months of 1975.

          5. photon, you are referencing circumstances of a public nature whereas brotherbruce is speaking to his personal experience. I believe the onus is on you to document your claim.

          6. Leslie, after several days Bruce can’t refute my statements. Just as with the Fiester challenge earlier this year, when I post documented facts impeaching a narrative that is untrue the source of the claim disappears.
            Too much of the CT narrative is built on such towers of sand, melting under the hard glare of actual investigation.

          7. “Just as with the Fiester challenge earlier this year, when I post documented facts impeaching a narrative that is untrue the source of the claim disappears.”~Photon

            I would appreciated it greatly as a new member here if Photon would give me the link to this so called “impeaching”.

          8. photon, aside from the fact that you also have a history of disappearing from discussions, my question was and is, what are your sources for the ownership dispute (and the dates of that dispute) that you say caused the museum to be closed? Are you referring to the ‘sniper’s’ window issue? Who were the parties involved? What references are you relying on? This is an area of interest for me primarily as it relates to the owners of the depository business, not the owner of the building.

          9. photon, I’m surprised with your response, but on reflection I realize you seldom cite specific sources but instead refer the challenger to some expert/secondary source for the evidence. I was asking for for hard facts that should be easy for you to cite either from county / city documents of news articles. This is not about your opinion of the episode in question, this is about legal documentation; if you’re not up to the task just say so.

  7. Folks, there has been little, if any, discussion around potential implications of NSAM 271 on 11/12/63. Coming on the heels of signing the Test Ban Treaty, one can imagine the shock waves this sent through corridors at CIA/NSA: ExoNews: 50th Anniversary of Kennedy US-USSR plan to cooperate in space & UFO research (SE02) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee_MMtm0SpM&sns=tw

  8. I read recently that Dallas DA Henry Wade said years later that he was contacted by “Washington” on three occasions the night of the assassination. He was told that DPD had their man and there was no conspiracy. Ostensibly, he was told this because the USSR was on red alert with a defector to Russia in custody as the president’s assassin and the feds were trying calm things down.

    Could this account for some of the sloppiness and slipshoddiness of the investigation? When the feds tell the local DA and PD that the investigation is over, people may think they know something and normal evidence procedures are no longer necessary.

      1. Interesting issues regarding Mr. Carr. He had extensive contact with the Warren Commission regarding the proximity of Lee Oswald to Jack Ruby’s front door (at the site of the Tippet Killing). He was asked to keep them informed if Ruby ever mentioned anything about it.

  9. Clarence Carlson

    Bottom line: the first four people who handled the bullet in question could not, in fact, identify it as being the same one they handled. The first two law enforcement officers who handled it did not place their initials on the bullet, as was required. There are time differences about receipt of the bullet. One person who handled the bullet recalls that the bullet in evidence has a different shape than the one he handled. I submit that a court would not have allowed the bullet into evidence. How can one argue for any theory about a bullet who’s provenance is not clearly established?

      1. “Interesting to note surgery to the head observed…”~David Regan, citing the Sibert-O’Neil Report.

        But that report was amended later the same night during the autopsy:

        “When the body was first observed on the autopsy table, it was thought by the doctors that surgery had possibly been performed in the head area and such was reflected in my notes made at the time. However, this was determined not to be correct following detailed inspection and when the piece of bone found in the limousine was brought to the autopsy room during the latter stages of the autopsy.”
        — Sibert and O’Neill memorandum, 29 June 1966.

        See: scan of original document:



    1. David

      Sorry for not addressing this earlier. Very interesting, indeed. It would seem to go along with this news story:


      In this article, Nurse Phyllis Hall, who was 28 at the time of the assassination, claims she was cradling JFK’s head, and observed a pointed tip bullet lodged between his right ear and shoulder. She claims this bullet was not deformed or damaged at all, and was removed and never seen again.

    2. The “bullet lodged behind the President’s ear”comment was not from an official report, but from an FBI bureaucrat’s recollection of what he’d been told by those in attendance at the autopsy.

      In light of what we know about the autopsy, it seems more than likely this reference was to the largest bullet fragment found inside the skull, which was removed from behind the other E word, the EYE.

      1. Perhaps Pat, but again that is speculation. WC defenders also ask us to believe Sibert & O’Neil are mistaken about their observations, as well as Hoover being confused about his agents Dallas hearing tapes from Mexico City that was not Oswald.

  10. Many years after Thompson’s interview with Wright, a FBI memo was found that said both Wright and Tomlinson thought the bullet in evidence “appeared to be” the same one that they had seen on November 22.

    Many years?

    The FBI report is dated July 7, 1964.

    The “many years” stuff comes from Tink Thompson and Gary Augilar.

  11. Bill

    My apologies again. Just re-read your post, and see now this photo was not of the original bullet but, rather, of one similar to it. I hope the calibre was similar, as well.

    This now has me wondering, where on earth did Wright come across such a strange bullet?

      1. I don’t know, put it down to “temporary brain fade”. As Bill said, lots of things don’t seem to work as well as they used to.

    1. Thanks but no sweat Bob. I took no offense and like to chat with with people that know something about guns and ammo.

      I used to shoot and hand load a lot. Now bad eyes and shot nerves have shut me down on the range. I probably couldn’t hit the barn anymore.

      1. I know what you mean, Bill. I used to like hunting with open sights, but I can no longer get my eye to focus on rear sight, front sight and target at the same time. Thank God for telescopic sights!

      1. The Warren Commission members were getting all set to go home, thinking their work was done. With the published report of a missed shot(i.e., the one that came close to hitting Tague), they had to get right back to their job. I wonder if Arlen Specter privately asked himself “What the heck am I doing?” as he figured out how his theory might work. To me, the silliness of the Magic Bullet theory is what led people to think there were other shooters.

      2. You see a lot of fantasies-like your claim that I am Paul May , that I review books , that I post all over the Internet . This is the only blog I have ever contributed to-the other blogs that you contribute to would ban me after the first post for being a heretic.

        1. I don’t know about Paul May Photon, but this last comment of yours has the same pattern and subtext of someone I am very familiar with and have debated countless times, one Albury Smith.
          I will not pronounce that you are he, I will just note the resemblance of style and content. Especially this: “..would ban me after the first post for being a heretic.”
          I have read these exact words from Smith!

        2. Now dear Photon, you have told us that you are “Mother May’s child”. Hence your last name must be “May”. Res ipsa loquitor.

          How many guesses will you give me until I get your first name right?

          And of course you don’t work for the CIA or anything like that. You work for SMERSH and have MH370 hidden on your secret island. Prove me wrong. 🙂

  12. Bob,

    I’m really pleased you are posting here. I tried to reach you to help me write this article; though I used to teach riflery I don’t pretend to be an expert on rifles or ballistics. I tried to reach you through one address I had, but apparently it didn’t get to you.

    So here’s a question. O.P. Wright identified a bullet to Tink Thompson back in 1967 that resembled the bullet he remembered handling. Tink may have mis-remembered the bullet as a 30-30 when he discussed it many years later. Here is a picture of it.


    What kind of bullet is it?

    1. Hello Bill

      My apologies for sounding so harsh in my earlier posts. I sometimes forget that we are all on the same team, and that each of us have our own special talents.

      With that out of the way, this is the first time I have ever studied the photo of the “Wright” bullet up close. The first thing that crossed mind is that it is narrower than the blade of the key beside it. The key is definitely an older style of key but, I believe I may be able to track one down in my junk collection, or I will ask a locksmith if he can provide me a duplicate. Just judging by the keys I have in the house, this could be a very small calibre bullet and, as it is full metal jacket, there were few candidates in 1963 outside of the AR-15 .223/5.56mm bullet. However, this is only speculation, and without an accurate measurement on the key blade, I should refrain from further guesses. Even if it is a larger bullet, the field is still narrowed by it being FMJ.

      What really fascinates me about this bullet is the narrow groove just ahead of the bullet’s cannelure band. It is very even, and appears to be part of the bullet’s manufacture. If so, it could mean this bullet was made to do very special things. The only thing I have ever seen like it in an FMJ bullet are the frangible range bullets made for the 6.5mm Carcano, and designated M37.

      Another interesting thing is the spitzer nose does not come to a true point. This could just be the design of the bullet or it could also be that this bullet has a hollow point incorporated into it. And, once again, I may be trying to see more than is really there but, is there a small groove running back from the nose about an eighth of an inch? If all the things I think I’m seeing are really there, this is no garden variety FMJ bullet.

      Has anyone ever considered the possibility that this pointed bullet was the bullet actually planted on the stretcher, and the purpose of this was not to incriminate one lone nut with a 6.5mm Carcano but, rather, to incriminate a group of foreign assassins equipped with extraordinary ammunition, and to force the USA to retaliate against whomever they determined sponsored these assassins? Could this be why the coverup implicating Oswald seems so “last minute” and cobbled together?

      Give me a few days to work on the key thing and I will see if I can narrow down the calibre of the bullet in the photo a bit. In the meantime, if you would like to speak privately, I frequent the Ed Forum and the DPF, and we could exchange PM’s there.

  13. The mistake on the description of 30-30 rounds is minor.

    The major issues are the broken chain of evidence and possible forged documents relating to the Magic Bullet

    1. The mistake on the description of the 30-30 bullet is not minor, in my opinion. It speaks volumes to me about shoddy research, not just by Mr. Simpich but by many other researchers as well.

      This was a murder committed by a rifle, after all, yet most researchers gloss over the topics of rifles, bullets, and wound ballistics as if there is nothing to investigate. Most troubling is the vacuum of knowledge this creates, and the tendency for unscrupulous types to fill this void with myths favoring the WCR, that often seem to become established “facts”.

      1. I agree that most researchers on either end of the argument are not experts in firearms or ballistics. And the JFK assassination researcher who was most qualified to comment on firearms and ballistics evidence has been shunned by pretty much everyone on all sides(Howard Donahue). So it can be difficult to judge the firearms/ballistics evidence based on the opinions of most researchers.

        However, the issue surrounding CE 399’s missing chain of evidence is something that doesn’t require any expertise in firearms to understand.

        As for OP Wright’s expertise in firearms, it’s possible that he was misquoted in his description of the bullet. I don’t want to read too much into his background based on one comment. It’s also important that other law enforcement agents who were at Parkland hospital when CE399 was discovered were unable to confirm that the Carcano bullet is the same one that was found on the hospital stretcher. So Wright isn’t alone.

  14. If C.E. 399 is open to question, so is the magic bullet theory. If the magic bullet theory is open to question, so is the Warren Report. The Warren Report falls apart if the magic bullet theory loses support. That’s the logic on which the Warren Commission published its report, despite the statement that:

    “…there is very persuasive evidence from the experts to indicate that the same bullet which pierced the President’s throat also caused Governor Connally’s wounds. However, Governor Connally’s testimony and certain other factors have given rise to some difference of opinion as to this probability but there is no question in the mind of any member of the Commission that all the shots which caused the President’s and Governor Connally’s wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository.”

    This statement acknowledges the magic bullet theory may not reflect reality. What it doesn’t say is that without the magic bullet theory, there is no way Oswald or anyone else could have fired all the shots necessary to produce all the wounds to JFK, JBC, and James Tague.

    The title of this diary should be, “The Bullet that Wasn’t, the Report that Collapsed”.

    1. Interesting, Jordan. If this is true, and the story about the shallow JFK back wound is true, or the story of CE 399, this would make for three bullets fired from high powered rifles that defy everything I was ever taught about rifles and bullets.

      Pristine, indeed.

        1. David Regan

          The memorandum you referred us to says nothing about the “shallow” back wound. Would you please provide us a link to this declassified document you are referring to, if it is not too much trouble?

          So far, the only indication I have seen of a shallow back wound is the autopsists being told not to cut open and explore the wound track, and Humes’ claim he attempted to probe this back wound with his little finger, and that he succeeded in only getting his little finger in an inch.

          Now, think of what Humes said and consider the following. The 6.5mm WCC bullet is just a shade over 1/4 inch in diameter at .264″. I measured my little finger, at the first knuckle, and found it to be 3/4 inch wide, three times as wide as a Carcano bullet is in diameter.

          Unless Dr. Humes had hands like a little girl, is anyone really surprised he could not probe the wound with his little finger?

          Now, if you would really like to get into it over this “shallow” back wound, I am more than willing to accommodate you, as there are several sound and logical reasons why it was not possible.


          Do not mistake me for one of those who believe the bullet exited the throat. The bullet did not exit JFK’s body, and there is medical evidence from the reports of the Parkland surgeons to back up my claim.

          1. Bob, this link for the Sibert-O’Neil Report, which makes reference to Fink’s probing of the back wound as well as “surgery in the head area, namely at the top of the skull.” Note there is no mention of the intact bullet “lodged behind the President’s ear” from the Belmont-Tolson memo.

            Sibert and O’Neil were the only FBI agents present at the autopsy and never conformed to the single bullet theory. http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/arrb/master_med_set/md44/html/Image0.htm

          2. ” that he succeeded in only getting his little finger in an inch” No he didn’t he probed it with his little finger which determined the trajectory of the missile was at a downward angel 45-60 Degrees ,HE FURTHER PROBED AND FOUND IT WAS A SHALLOW WOUND IN AS SUCH THE END OF THE WOUND COULD BE FELT WITH THE LITTLE FINGER! Don’t know where your getting “his finger in an inch from”.

  15. It would seem obvious that White had never seen an Italian 6.5 mm round; it was relatively uncommon. On the other hand, the 30/30 round at the time was one of the most popular deer hunting rounds in the U.S., particularly Whitetail in eastern Texas. If he was an expert he would probably seen the round.
    As Bob says, the 30/30 bullet has a round nose. Despite the claim of a pointed nose, I suspect that White misidentified the round as a 30/30 PRECISELY because it was the only round that he was familiar with that had the same round nose.
    As such a major prop for the narrative collapses. There may be issues with the chain of evidence, but the 30/30 obfuscation is clearly erroneous .

    1. For once, I must concede that I agree with you.

      It does trouble me, though, that White could conceivably mistake a 6.5mm Carcano bullet for a 30-30 bullet, as the two look nothing alike. Perhaps he was not the expert he claimed to be.

      1. Oops, I typed White when I meant to type Wright. God, it’s fun getting old! LOL

        On reading the article again, I see now that it was Wright who described the bullet as having a pointed tip, and looking like a 30-30 bullet. I believe we can dismiss Mr. Wright as an expert on bullets.

        1. Please let’s not miss the forest from the trees. The larger issue is the chain of custody and the summary by Jeff is excellent in nailing this point.

        2. The account was of a 30-30 or some type of Winchester. Yes, according to Bob, and I believe him, there is apparently an error in the notion of a Winchester loaded with pointed ammo. If it illustrates a valid observation about the need for ballistic expertise in the investigative community, so be it. The broken chain of custody remains however, as does the identification of the found bullet as pointed, not rounded (as does the lack of corroboration by Mr. Odum of interviews attributed to him). For me there are two follow on possibilities: (1) the rifle used was not a Winchester but the type of a 30-30 rifle that takes pointed ammo or (2) the found bullet never flew in Dealey Plaza. For either possibility the found bullet was apparently switched with 399, which yielded the apparent the chain of custody discrepancy.

        3. Hey, wait a minute, Photon said White first, and I subconsciously mimicked him LOL. Talk about the power of singular suggestion!

    2. Photon: there “may be” issues with the chain of evidence? The piece points out a large number of glaring deficiencies and you have one nitpick (that is based on your mind reading of someone you don’t know).

      There is zero chain of evidence, and the discrepancies leap out in every aspect of the investigation.

    3. As Tink and I wrote,
      “As Thompson described it in 1967, “I then showed him photographs of CE’s 399, 572 (the two ballistics comparison rounds from Oswald’s rifle) (sic), and 606 (revolver bullets) (sic), and he rejected all of these as resembling the bullet Tomlinson found on the stretcher. Half an hour later in the presence of two witnesses, he once again rejected the picture of 399 as resembling the bullet found on the stretcher.”[9]
      [Fig. 4]”

      An image of the bullet Tink published in “Six Seconds in Dallas” is available on-line in our essay, Fig 4.: http://www.history-matters.com/essays/frameup/EvenMoreMagical/EvenMoreMagical.htm

  16. One thing that has always irked me about JFK researchers is that 99% of them know very little about rifles or ballistics.

    A .30 calibre bullet loaded into a cartridge for a 30-30 Winchester lever action rifle will NEVER have a pointed tip, and for one extremely important reason. The 30-30 Winchester, like most lever action rifles (but not all) has a tubular magazine that is loaded via an opening on the right side of the action. Inside this tubular magazine, the bullets sit end to end compressing a spring, with the tip of one bullet touching the base of the cartridge ahead of it. As all of you may or may not know, this places the tip of the bullet in contact with the primer of the cartridge ahead of it. The primer is the component that is detonated by the firing pin striking it, and it starts the gunpowder burning.

    If 30-30 cartridges were loaded with pointed bullets, and they were sitting in the 30-30 tubular magazine, there is a very good chance that, if the butt of the rifle was struck hard enough on a floor, the pointed bullet would detonate the primer ahead of it, and the entire magazine full of bullets would go off. The typical round nosed 30-30 bullet prevents this by not allowing a small point to concentrate all of the energy in one tiny spot.

    THAT is why the pointed bullet found at Parkland could not have been a bullet from a 30-30 Winchester.

    1. Be that as it may, it doesn’t change the assertion that the chain of evidence for this bullet would never be accepted by a court.No bullet; no magic bullet.

    2. Bob Prudhomme December 13, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Are you saying CE-399 is “pointed”? I don’t think so. And with the difference in diameter between the 30-30 round and the Carcano round I believe this measurement would be a better proof that CE-399 wasn’t a 30-30 round.

      1. Bill, I’m disappointed that the only thing you got out of my post is your mistaken assumption I said CE399 was pointed. Read it again, but wear your reading glasses this time LOL.

        The difference in calibre (and diameter) is not the only giveaway. The 30-30 bullet is a relatively short bullet, and I do not think I have ever seen one with a full metal jacket; only soft tipped ones. The 6.5mm Carcano bullet, OTOH, was only available in FMJ in 1963, and was a freakishly long bullet, almost 2 inches in length. Further, the Carcano bullet is a true round nosed bullet, while the 30-30 bullet is not really a round nosed bullet. It looks more like a pointed bullet that has had the point sawn off, leaving a flat tip that further aids in preventing accidental ignition of a bullet ahead of it in the magazine. In short, the two bullets look nothing like each other.

        1. Well, something in my memory was bothering me, so I went back in history to look at 30-30 Winchester cartridges. Sure enough, while the modern 30-30 Win. cartridge is loaded with a flat pointed bullet that resembles a truncated spire point, the popular 30-30 Win. cartridge from the early 60’s was indeed loaded with a round nosed bullet.

        2. Bob Prudhomme

          Yeah, reading glasses aren’t all I need at this late date. The old memory is not near what it was either.

          I probably haven’t seen a 30-30 round in 40 years but I was remembering it as a round nose bullet.

          So I’ll take your word for it and ease off to bed for a little nap!

    3. “One thing that has always irked me about JFK researchers is that 99% of them know very little about rifles or ballistics.”
      ~Bob Prudhomme

      One thing that has always irked me about some JFK researchers is that they do not understand the basis of an argument and think only in their narrow tunnel of supposed “expertise”.

      This planted bullet did not have to have been chambered in any rifle whatsoever. I had to have been a slug removed from a casing, or a slug available for ‘reloaders’ who take used casings and put new primer and powder and slugs into them.

      What is of the essence here, and what seemingly has flown over your head is that there is no solid chain of evidence. If you had read Mr Simpich’s article in toto you would understand this fact.

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