‘Stunning’ new FBI study casts doubt Warren Commission’s JFK findings

CE 665 fibers
Warren Commission Exhibit 665

Lee Harvey Oswald was linked to the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle alleged to have been used to shoot President Kennedy by the hair and fiber analysis of FBI expert Paul Stombaugh. The Warren Commission’s final report drew conclusions from Stombaugh’s testimony that buttressed assertions about Oswald’s guilt, particularly the association between hair and fiber evidence allegedly tying Oswald to the rifle.

The Commission considered Stombaugh’s testimony of “probative value,” the report stated.

But a devastating recent study by the Justice Department and the FBI shows that close analysis of cases involving hair and fiber testing raises grave concerns about the role of similar scientific testimony by law enforcement experts in criminal convictions.

“Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000,” the Washington Post reported on April 18.

“The review confirmed that FBI experts systematically testified to the near-certainty of ‘matches’ of crime-scene hairs to defendants, backing their claims by citing incomplete or misleading statistics drawn from their case work,” the Post’s Spencer Hsu reported.

“In reality, there is no accepted research on how often hair from different people may appear the same. Since 2000, the lab has used visual hair comparison to rule out someone as a possible source of hair or in combination with more accurate DNA testing.”

One University of Virginia law professor quoted by the Post described the results of the study as a “mass disaster.” The unfounded science has remained uncorrected because courts rely on outdated precedents that admitted scientifically invalid testimony at trial.

A 96 percent error rate

The Post report stated that the results of the first 268 cases examined showed that FBI testimony was fundamentally flawed in 257 of those cases — a “stunning” 96 percent of the total.

Rifle discovered
Rifle discovered

With the proliferation of “Crime Scene Investigation” TV shows detailing police procedures and the key importance of the gathering and analysis of forensic evidence, public awareness of technical demands in these areas has increased.

So has scientific scrutiny.  A 2009 report for the Department of Justice by the Committee on Identifying the Needs of the Forensic Sciences Community, entitled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” reviewed issues involving forensic evidence with an eye toward scientific corroboration of methods and analysis. Hair and fiber evidence were among the topics reviewed in the study.

The report concluded that hair and fiber sample analysis for purposes of admissibility in criminal trials was characterized by “imprecision” and a lamentable lack of consensus within the scientific community, which is a threshold test for admissibility.

As a science adviser to President Obama recently wrote in the New York Times, it is time to “Fix the Flaws in Forensic Science.”

What Stombaugh said

What does the new scientific research tell us about the Warren Commission’s findings?

Stombaugh’s 1964 testimony linked Oswald to the rifle by concluding that certain hair and fiber samples could be associated with Oswald and with a blanket found in the garage of his wife’s Irving, Texas residence.

Stombaugh was careful to qualify some of his key opinions. He said he was “unable to render an opinion that the fibers which he found in the bag had probably come from the blanket.” At other times he said, “All I would say here is that it is possible;” and “the possibility exists, these fibers could have come from this blanket.”

The Warren Commission report omitted most of those qualifications in asserting the “probative value” of Stombaugh’s testimony, which was said to be “strong evidence” that the rifle was “most probably” linked recently to Oswald’s shirt.

“The Commission was unable to reach any firm conclusion as to when the fibers were caught in the rifle….” the report stated. “The Commission was able to conclude, however, that the fibers most probably came from Oswald’s shirt. This adds to the conviction of the Commission that Oswald owned and handled the weapon used in the assassination.”

What we know now

Advances in the scientific methods of analyzing such evidence over the decades since the Warren Commission’s Report have undermined the strength of the hair and fiber evidence inculpating Oswald.

The recent revisions to the state of the art of hair and fiber analysis provide cautionary lessons. The continued withholding of still-classified documents involving Oswald and related matters should serve to belay hasty conclusions about the exact nature of his involvement. The progress in analysis of various types of evidence (acoustics / recordings, documents) should provide impetus for declassification.

In short, the evolution of scientific consensus may lead to new insights into the evidence in the JFK case.  In some instances, the public’s skepticism about the case against Oswald has been shown to be well-founded. An open mind and dispassionate discussion of the elements of the case against Oswald will promote elucidation of the true facts, which we would hope to also evolve.

Patrick McCarthy is an attorney in Pleasanton, California

86 thoughts on “‘Stunning’ new FBI study casts doubt Warren Commission’s JFK findings”

  1. For the readers, here are the five factors that a scientific evidence has to meet for a judge to determine that the evidence is reliable.

    (1) whether a theory or technique can be (and has been) tested–fiber evidence fails this test because of the lack of studies(see NAS report summary assessment previously shared”There have been no studies of fibers (e.g., the variability of their characteristics during and after manufacturing) on which to base such a threshol”;

    (2) whether the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review and publication- likewise, no such peer review publication for fiber theory has ;

    (3) the known or potential rate of error of a particular scientific technique(NAS–“no studies that characterize either reliability or error rates in the procedures”);

    (4) the existence and maintenance of standards controlling the technique’s operation (NAS-“The Fiber Subgroup of the Scientific Working Group on Materials Analysis (SWGMAT), has produced guidelines, but no set standards; and

    (5) a scientific technique’s degree of acceptance within a relevant
    scientific community(law review articles have suggested the fiber examiners are not a scientific community for meeting this acceptance criterion but I might concede this point)

  2. ah Photon- a little legal knowledge is a dangerous thing especially in your hands. I repeat- read the recent law review articles on this very issue. Legal minds far greater than yours do not agree that fiber analysis survives Daubert. No peer-reviewed studies, no testable data,etc. This has relevance regardless of when a trial occurred. Defendants who have been jailed for decades are filing motions and being exonerated because the forensic theory used against them has been proven to be unreliable.

  3. Briefly, the Daubert test is a federal filtering device to keep junk science out of the courtroom. The judge acts as a “gatekeeper” prior to admission of proposed scientific opinion to determine whether the foundations of the opinions and conclusions proffered are generally accepted within the scientific community.
    In reviewing Stombaugh’s testimony, it is interesting to note that he carefully qualified his views. In summarizing and relying upon them, the Warren Commission gave the impression that the hair and fiber evidence was another unassailable brick in a wall of evidence clearly proving Oswald’s guilt. This type of overstatement or distortion could be argued in relation to the entire Warren Commission Report. As Gerald McKnight’s commendable book, “Breach of Trust,” lucidly argued, even the FBI’s conclusions did not necessarily match with the WC Report’s conclusions. For example, the FBI did not revise or amend its conclusion of “three shots, three hits.” The long-withheld transcripts of the executive sessions of the WC demonstrate that the commissioners themselves felt hemmed-in from the start by the early release of the FBI report (largely leaked to the press).
    In short, there were dissonances between the FBI’s report and the WC Report. Furthermore, the Secret Service never really signed-on to the Single Bullet Theory either. (Again, McKnight is good on this point.) The WC Report was a political solution. The discovery of additional information about the pressures brought to bear on the commissioners that has emerged over the decades, in addition to the emergence of additional evidence and the re-analysis of evidence available early in the investigation, taken together, lead to the conclusion that the presentation of the WC Report as a redoubtable bulwark was itself a deception. (See Jerry Policoff on the media coverage of the WC Report, especially on the NY Times’ coverage.) A close reading of the Stombaugh testimony adds to that view, in my opinion.

    1. Rule 104(a) of Daubert lays out five requirements for admissibility of scientific evidence-fiber analysis meets all of the standards.
      In addition, Daubert makes the judge the “gatekeeper”, in other words the ultimate decider of what is scientifically valid ( frankly a horrible concept as most judges have little if any scientific background- it reminds me of the ” I know pornography when I see it” opinion of one of our senior jurists).
      As such, I again ask-has any judge rejected the concept of fiber evidence as reliable evidence from a trial? Until you can prove that,this entire Daubert conversation is nothing but unproven assumptions and misinterpretation of the decision.
      Daubert isn’t even applicable in many states-and certainly would not have been in 1964 Texas.

  4. @Photon- The NAS conclusions have ramifications under the Daubert and Frye line of cases that establish standards for admissibility of evidence. As I previously mentioned, there are numerous law review and trade journals that discuss the implications of the NAS findings. I have two dozen or so such articles in my possession and have offered to share them with anyone (including you).

    @Willy- based on the NAS study, an expert like Stombaugh would not even have the opportunity to provide his opinion on the fiber evidence because the use of fiber evidence would challenged and deemed not reliable. Courts are required to serve as gatekeepers to preclude “junk science” from being used in trials.

    1. Can you give an example of any recent trial where fiber evidence itself has been deemed unreliable by the presiding judge?

  5. The Commission considered Stombaugh’s testimony of “probative value,” the report stated.
    Stombaugh was careful to qualify some of his key opinions. He said he was “unable to render an opinion that the fibers which he found in the bag had probably come from the blanket.” At other times he said, “All I would say here is that it is possible;” and “the possibility exists, these fibers could have come from this blanket.”~Article above

    What we have here is the distinction between “Probative” and “Positive” evidence. As was too often the case the Warren Commission asserted ‘positive’ value to what was actually only ‘probative’ value to evidence and testimonies.

    This is the difference between “reasonable doubt” and “unreasonable certainty”, between ‘supposition’ and proven fact. And this is yet another instance of the WC failing to actually prove what they claim to have proven.

  6. Photon- you are clearly in the dark about the fiber evidence. The excerpt you cite (National Archives ” Report of the President’s Commision on the Assassination of President Kennedy” Chapter Four pp 124-125) is meaningless. This statement could not be used in a court of law because the theory of fiber evidence is no longer considered reliable forensic tool. Its junk science, snake oil. No expert would be allowed to testify in court to even give a probability estimate. You really need to do some reading to get some enlightenment. You know not what you are talking about.

        1. Proving that your claim of May 5,2015 at 2:07am is not correct.
          Both are cases based largely on fiber evidence.
          If you wish to claim that they were innocent, be my guest.

          1. It is not MY claim but that of the National Academy of Science. Those cases were decided prior to the National Academy of Science determined in 2009 the fiber evidence is not be used to establish identity. I have not followed those cases. There may have been other circumstantial evidence linking them to the murders. Many defendants are being exonerated based on flawed forensic methods. read the links I posted earlier if you want to learn something instead of simply being argumentative.

          2. Please document exactly where the NAS determined in their 2009 report that fiber evidence is not to be used to establish identity.
            The fiber entry in the report stated that chemical techniques had the potential to improve accuracy even further.
            Besides, since when does the NAS establish rules of evidence in the American legal system?
            And exactly which fiber specialists were part of the panel?

        2. Richard Marc Evonitz was surrounded by police and killed himself with his pistol on June 27, 2002.
          Maurice Nasmeh…
          However, a judge dismissed murder charges in 2007 after prosecutors conceded they were unprepared to go to trial and questions were raised about the proficiency of a county criminalist. Nasmeh was ordered released.
          A new analysis by Microtrace, an Illinois lab, found that the county criminalist’s original conclusions regarding the fibers he tested were accurate, Rosen said Wednesday.

          Rather back and forth on the fiber evidence, which has been put to question again, as per the new findings we see in the article this thread is about.

  7. Does anyone here know if there has been any research, any recent research done, which would refute the findings of the above article? I would think there has to be as there usually is a pro and con side to most issues, especially dealing with research.

    1. Lawrence Schnapf

      this is a very hot issue in the criminal justice community. indeed, Oklahoma City University Law School had a conference on the use and misuse of forensic evidence. If you dont have access to law review and legal trade journals, you can try to google professor Paul Giannelli.

      I have downloaded two dozen or so articles on this issue. Maybe I can figure out with Jeff how to post these so everyone has access to them

  8. If the above article is true, conclusive than the implications reach far beyond the Oswald case. This would mean that many criminal cases need to be re-examined, that a number of those in prisons today would be out on the street. It looks like it could become harder and harder to get a conviction in a court of law. Even DNA testing is under attack by some. We certainly don’t want innocent people locked up but we also seem to be backing ourselves up against the wall by debunking so many of the things we’ve depended on in the past to keep our children and streets safe.

    1. Lawrence Schnapf

      worse than jailing innocent people is that an estimated 30 people were put to death based on flawed forensic evidence. DNA evidence is very different from fingerprinting, CBLA, fiber analysis, etc which are subjective with no national criteria against which to evaluate. Yes there may be a risk that guilty people may be let free but our Constitution prefers that result than jailing innocent persons.

    1. As for Wade, we know that he gave in to FBI demands that the latter take over the investigation. The suggestion that Wade was corrupt leads me to wonder if he really did “give in” to the FBI, or was that transfer part of a huge plan.

      1. Ronnie Wayne

        Wade shut down his investigation and backed off conspiracy claims because his idol LBJ had aide Cliff Carter call Wade and tell him to do so multiple times over the weekend of the 23rd/24th. LBJ did this in part because of his much more powerful across the street neighbor and frequent dinner guest during his Senate years, J Edgar Hoover.
        But yes, some believe the assassination of Oswald was a planned and coordinated event. With good reason.

        1. That is one of the great untold stories of the assassination.

          The reason Wade and Curry are telling the world that “we have our man” is in direct response to what “Washington” is telling them to say.


  9. I’m a bit of a rookie To the JFK research community. In fact, this is my first post. Hi. Made the mistake of watching 1-7 of “The men who killed kennedy.” Lots of stuff there, and I’m sure some of it has been thouroufly debunked by now. Can anyone recommend a highly agreed upon up-to-date crash course?

    1. Len Osanic has an excellent series on Youtube called “50 Reasons for 50 Years.” Start with episode one and you’ll soon be hooked.

  10. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

    A forensic waste of time on a murder weapon that no U.S. court would have been accepted as evidence since it could neither be purchased nor picked up by the defendant, and the data about the alleged purchase do not match with the weapon entered into evidence.

  11. It should become apparent to even the most die-hard defenders of the Warren Commission that the key findings were based on what we would now call “junk science”.

    There simply would not be enough admissible evidence to convict Oswald–indeed the defense may even have been able to prevail in a directed verdict/preliminary hearing…..

    1. “Junk Science” is a term used by Jim Tague in his book LBJ AND THE KENNEDY KILLING. Rest in peace Jim, for fouling up the WC’s Single-Bullet theory.

    2. Please correct me if possible, but none of this is relevant to methods and techniques prior to 1980.
      There isn’t a single reference to the techniques or personnel that did the fiber analysis in the JFK case, nor any implication that ANY of the fiber data in that case is in doubt.
      It is a stretch to claim that this can possibly be related to what was going on in 1963.

      1. Photon, I can’t “correct” something which, strictly speaking, is verifiably accurate. It’s true that the study only went back to look at cases after 1980. It’s also true that there is no reference in the study to the JFK assassination.

        However, I’m afraid you will surely find yourself in error should you assume that the evidence collected before 1980 was any more reliable. Now THAT would be a stretch.

          1. Was the technology better before 1980? Was the training any better? The personnel?

            Do you really think forensic investigations were infallible prior to 1980? What changed? Was it Reagan’s fault?

      2. Lawrence Schnapf

        Photon- its doesnt matter when the analysis was done. we now know the methods used to build the case against Oswald are unreliable. This is the reason that some people who have served a decade or more in jail are being released. The real tragedy and miscarriage of justice are the estimated 30 people who have been put to death because of this flawed “science”. History will one day include LHO to that list

        1. You have posted no evidence that any of the fiber analysis in the JFK case was flawed.
          You have posted no evidence that events that transpired 20 years after the assassination have any relationship to the techniques used in 1963 nor the individuals that utilized those techniques.
          ” It doesn’t matter when the analysis was done.” Thank you for posting the mantra of the Conspiracy viewpoint-facts don’t matter, opinions do.

          1. Lawrence Schnapf

            Photon- to pass muster, the evidence must (1) be based on methodology that is scientifically valid, (2) the witness must have properly applied the method0logy reliable and (3) the interpretation of the expert must valid. Hair/fiber and CBLA have been found to fail the first test. Hence, we dont even get to determining if Frazier or Stombaugh properly interpretated the evidence. The forensic theories were nothing more than snake oil. Read the articles I have suggested.

          2. Uh, Photon, did you fail to read the part of the WC testimony where the fiber analysis expert says he could only say the fibers were possibly from LHO’s shirt and the blanket in which the rifle was supposedly wrapped? You probably are aware of it, but just choose to ignore it. And you obviously said this at your mirror: “[F]acts don’t matter, opinions do.”

          3. Photon, if I may, I have to say that your argument here is making no sense to me whatsoever.
            Are you claiming that in 1963, the techniques for assessing the presence of fibers and hair in minute quantities was in some way superior to the techniques that followed as this science became more sophisticated?

            And further are you denying that the WCReport did not use the fiber analysis as being more sure than the expert was himself? I think it is clear from the testimony that this expert was more circumspect in his conviction, or less certain than it is put in the Warren Commission language.

            Very much like many instances where the report says more than the testimony actually claims, or even flips the testimony to mean the opposite, as in the testimonies of the Connally’s as to whether the governor was hit by the same bullet that hit Kennedy in the throat.

            Yes that is two separate questions, plus my own commentary. You can either answer my questions, or you can fly off into the weeds addressing my commentary.

            We will all be watching to see which it is Photon…

          4. National Archives ” Report of the President’s Commision on the Assassination of President Kennedy” Chapter Four pp 124-125 outlines the fiber evidence for Oswald’s shirt coming in contact with the rifle. The expert cited stated that he could not prove that an IDENTICAL shirt not Oswald’s could not have been the source.
            What was the probability. that another ” identical” shirt even existed and was in Dallas on that date?

          5. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested while wearing a dark brown, button-down, long-sleeved shirt over a white T-shirt with no coat or jacket. There are many photographs of Oswald and his shirt after his arrest but if Oswald had changed the shirt when he stopped home briefly after the assassination it obviously would be impossible that the fibers on his shirt could be a match for fibers found on the rifle. This is further complicated by a number of witnesses that either described Oswald or the man they saw in the window of the School Book Depository as wearing a light colored shirt.

          6. On top of that Photon, FBI hair and fiber expert, Paul Stombaugh, presented to the Warren Commission side by side color photographs of the fibers found on the rifle and the fibers from Oswald’s shirt and repeatedly mentioned that the colors didn’t match http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=34#relPageId=93

            A report from the FBI Laboratory that linked fibers in Oswald’s shirt to fibers recovered from the rifle recovered from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, reminded “that fibers do not exhibit sufficient individual microscopic characteristics to be positively identified as originating from a particular source to the exclusion of all others.” http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=10406#relPageId=170

          7. Photon, no matter how many times you wash that hog, you’re still going to end up with dirty water each time. That’s just the nature of the game of hogwashin’!

  12. Antonio D'Antonio

    I’ve mentioned in recent comments that I am just discovering all this information on the JFK assassination which I didn’t even know existed. I’m finding out on a daily basis that there is so much logical information available which puts into serious doubt the conclusions of the WC.
    I was recently speaking to a friend about all this information and he basically dismissed it not as a strong supporter of the WC, but as a person who says that it wouldn’t impact his life in any way whatsoever if the findings of the WC were conclusively found to be untrue.
    I can not understand his thought process, because if it is found that there was a conspiracy and that elements of our own government were involved or at least involved in covering up the fact that Oswald was not alone, how can anyone say that this would not have an impact on their life?
    Such a revelation that our own government was in some way involved in the killing of it’s own president would bring into question what this country is supposed to stand for, which in turn would have an impact on every aspect of our lives!

  13. This news definitely shuts out the WC and every LN. Obviously it wasn’t Oswald’s gun. In fact the gun probably belonged to Michael Paine, who left it in the garage to rust out. And as I’ve read here, any bullets found at the scene wouldn’t even fit the rifle. How did they get away with matching the bullets to the rifle to begin with? It seems as if they were in too big of a hurry to cover everything up because they left the obvious behind. Of course all of those fibers found from the blanket could belong to many different blankets. And hair?? Of course this proves Oswald had nothing to do with the assassination. I wondered a few times if he was even there. What about a look alike or Lovelady?? I heard that even Oswald’s mother couldn’t tell the difference between Lee and Lovelady. This puts the LN in a bad light. We have to keep pressing for the truth.

  14. Another example of the Warren Report’s conclusions not being supported by the testimony it cited as support for the conclusions. The FBI expert’s testimony never rose to the level of probability and was never expressed in terms of probability. Instead, he couched all of his conclusions regarding the hair evidence and the fiber evidence in terms of mere possibility. He could not say that the fibers found in a crevice of the butt plate of the rifle came from the shirt worn by LHO at the time of his arrest to the exclusion of all other shirts. (IV WCH 88). Nor could he say that hairs found in the blanket in which the rifle was allegedly wrapped came from LHO to the exclusion of any other “Caucasian” individual.(IV WCH 69). Had the case against LHO gone to trial, the FBI agent’s testimony would likely have been inadmissible as it was based upon mere possibilities rather than probability. Expert’s opinions must be expressed in terms of reasonable probability in order to be admissible in evidence in a court of law.

    1. The fact that he refused to more strongly insist on the probability of these fibers being from Oswald’s shirt and the blanket the rifle was supposedly wrapped in is extremely telling.

  15. The Warren Commission Report is a “dead whale decomposing on the beach,” ~Norman Mailer

    Looks like Norm was closer to the truth with that statement than he could ever have imagined.

    The obvious becomes more obvious with each passing day, each passing year, each passing decade; The Warren Commission Report was politically motivated fiction – A cover-up in the worst fashion – A lie to hide the fact of a coup d’etat in “the Land of the Free”…

  16. I read recently that Fingerprint evidence is not reliable because it’s nearly impossible to distinguish between genuine fingerprints and planted fingerprints.

    From the paper:

    “Some forensic practitioners may think that the detection of forgeries based on
    the intrinsic features shown by the detected mark is an easy task. Results from past
    and more recent tests have shown the complete opposite.
    When forged marks have been produced using carefully chosen techniques, they cannot be distinguished from genuine marks even when the forgery has been obtained without the cooperation of the donor. That state of affair simply put more weight on the whole crime scene investigation that should provide other extrinsic evidence to help guiding on the genuineness of the collected marks.”


    These things are rewriting how I view crime scene investigations. CSI shows seem to exaggerate the reliability of Forensic Science.

    Forensics seems to be more subjective and open to interpretation than I previously thought

    1. there have been some really interesting articles and legal scholarship of the flawed assumptions underlying the key forensic methods. They are based on assumptions that are not based on published, peer-reviewed publications, objective criteria or uniform accreditation standards. The so-called science is more art (or witchcraft). It is estimated that 30 people have been put to death since the mid-1970s based on flawed forensic testimony.

  17. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

    To begin with, the Mannlicher-Carcano that the WC determined was ordered by LHO is not the one it says killed Kennedy. WC says LHO ordered a 36″-5.5 pound carbine, and the DPD entered into evidence a 40.2″-7.5 pound short rifle.
    For making the thing worse, the WC says LHO mailed from Dallas a $21.45 money order for the weapon on March 12, 1963, and the next day it was deposited by Klein’s Sporting Goods at the First National Bank in Chicago. That´s simply impossible, given the state of USPS mechanism in 1963.
    According to the markings on the envelope, the money order was mailed prior to 10:30 AM. The LHO assignment sheet at Jaggers-Chiles-Stovall that day shows he was busy there from 8:00 AM to 12:15 PM. And not only the post office opened at 8:00 AM, but also
    never produced a single employee who delivered or witnessed the delivery of a firearm to LHO.
    Thus, we got a murder weapon of dual nature which could neither be purchased nor picked up by the alleged assassin.

    1. I would be interested if anyone knows anything about the Mannlicher-Schonauer rifle that is said to have been favored by big game hunters in the 1963 era due to the penetrating power of the jacketed bullet. It fires a 6.5 x 54mm cartridge as compared to the 6.5 x 52mm cartridge for the Carcano. There are reports that Western Cartridge manufactured ammunition that was interchangeable for these two rifles for the Greek Civil War after World War II.

      1. If you intend this comment to mean that 1963 US Postal Air Mail was the equivalent of today’s next day delivery services, you’re way off the mark. An Air Mail letter might have gotten from Dallas to Chicago in one day, but it would merely have gone from one post office to another. It would have taken at least one more day for the letter to reach the addressee.

  18. There was tainted crime scene from the moment Deputy Sheriff Luke Mooney, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department found Inside this cubby hole affair was three more boxes so arranged as to provide what appeared to be a rest for a rifle. On one of these cartons was a half-eaten piece of chicken. The minute that I saw the expended shells on the floor, I hung my head out of the half opened window and signaled to Sheriff Bill Decker and Captain Will Fritz who were outside the building and advised them to send up the Crime Lab Officers at once that I had located the area from which the shots had been fired. At this time I continued to search this 6th floor along with many other officers and within a few minutes, I heard Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone holler out that he had found the rifle near the staircase between some rows of cartons
    Tainted because DPD new the location two min. after assassination from witnesses.

  19. This account of the assassination appears to be an example of how the WC members were told they had to investigate under the idea that LHO was the lone shooter. The WC(led by Hoover’s orders)was told to not consider another shooter, when, perhaps there WAS another. “Do not open new doors, just close the old ones” Rankin told the members. This shirt fiber story was one of the many “mew doors”.

  20. In addition to the FBI’s discredited hair and fiber analysis, they also falsely relied on neutron activation analysis to claim that the bullet fragments and the “magic bullet” came from 2, and only 2, MC rounds. The HSCA doubled down on these findings, relying on analysis by Dr. Vincent Guinn of UC Irvine, in 1979, to support the SBT.
    Subsequent studies have shown that the chemical composition of bullets from the same box may be identical, or may vary considerably. Randich, E. and Grant, P., “Journal of Forensic Sciences”, vol.51, no.4 (July, 2006); Spiegleman, C., et. al., “Annals of Applied Statistics,” vol.1, no.1 (2007).
    Neutron Activation Analysis has been proven to be useless in determining the origin of bullet fragments, and the FBI has stopped using it for that purpose. But it is still useful in other areas, such as detecting gunpowder elements on human skin. LHO’s hands tested positive; his cheek tested negative, indicating that he fired a handgun, but not a rifle, on 11/22/63.

    1. Actually, the amount of nitrites, nitrates and other chemical compositions could have easily been sourced to the work environment, considering he worked with books in cardboard boxes.

      People who handle paper, paperboard and books are well aware of ‘split-finger’ caused by the nitrates present on such, drying the skin of their fingers and hands….

    2. The need for and WC supporters’ reliance upon Neutron Activation Analysis tests as evidence is absurd when you take into account that the type of ammunition claimed to have been used would LIMIT fragmentation. How do you have a pristine bullet such as CE399 (which was never fired out of a rifle) but then from that same weapon, have a bullet basically puree after only entering the back of the skull? The WC supporters would have us believe that one bullet passed through Kennedy and twice through Connolly (back and wrist) and still had enough velocity to puncture his leg. You would need a HIGH powered rifle with enough velocity, a velocity of which the Mannlicher-Carcano was incapable.

      1. “How do you have a pristine bullet such as CE399…but then from that same weapon, have a bullet basically puree after only entering the back of the skull?”

        the New Danger makes an excellent point. If coming from the same rifle, using the same ammunition, one bullet’s final condition contradicts the other’s.

        Is this the strongest ballistics’ argument against the WC’s SB conclusion? I believe so.

        Regrettably, IMO most of the other ballistic arguments are subject to a wide array of conflicting “expert” opinions, making for good conversation, but not provable fact.

        1. It’s never been clear to me how they matched the bullet fragments to the Carcano “to the exclusion of all other weapons,” as Bugliosi claims so often.

          I can see how the intact Magic Bullet might have been, but didn’t they use lead levels in the fragments to determine if it was from a similar batch or some sort of nonsense like that? And then we now know that the degree of lead varied widely in bullets of that day?

    3. Have there been any articles by experts in the topic since the Spiegleman 2007 article that support the Randich and Grant paper? Weren’t there serious flaws in the Randich paper that have never been addressed by anyone but Spiegleman ,who was not an unbiased source?
      Can you quote from a non conspiracy source the evidence that the FBI considers NAA ” useless in determining the origin of bullet fragments” when there were actually non-scientific reasons why they stopped pursuing it?
      NAA is useless for identifying gunpowder elements on the skin if the paraffin tests used to obtain those samples are inaccurate and unreliable, particularly from the face.Why CTers continue to beat this dead horse is beyond me-give us one example of a domestic police force that even uses this technique today.

      1. I check in every once in a while to see what kind of nonsense you legitimate truth-seekers (and real researchers) out there are dealing with. To everyone out there, this kind of distracting response from a pretender named “Photon” is nothing more than a set of intellectual diversionary tactics used by a disinformationist who, rather than correlating information, disconnects real information, attempting to scatter an investigator’s efforts and energies. As most of you know, it’s called counterintelligence. It not only “counters” your own intelligence gathering, but it presents an illusion of competence to those who are relatively new to personal JFK study. No one except a disinformationist, paid or unpaid for his efforts, could possibly spend the kind of time trying to debunk the truth that this photon spends unless something adverse were going on behind the scenes.

        1. Mr. Harker, I concur with your sentiments regarding “photon” and others of his ilk completely. Until “photon” sprouts enough courage to reveal his bonafides, as he demands of others, I suggest his comments be ignored for the odious vapor they are consistently shown to be. IMO the “photons” of this world are just clowns wearing tin foil hats and their obvious drivel is best just ignored.

      2. The FBI no longer uses the lead analysis techniques used by Guinn because it has been proven to provide false positives.

        This doesn’t mean Guinn was wrong. It just means that his findings, described as “conclusive” at the time, were “not conclusive”

      3. Lawrence Schnapf

        there are many law review and trade press articles published on the issues forensic science. one of the leading experts is law professor Paul Giannelli from Case Western.

        I am including his and other studies in my book on the legal evidence of the assassination. if u are serious about learning more about this issue (as opposed in engaging in rhetorical debates) send me your email off-line and I can forward them to you. there are dozens of articles.

  21. So now we can add this massive fail to the botched chain of evidence, the fact that nobody actually SAW Oswald shoot, and the unreliability of paraffin tests to determine anything. Oswald is dead before he can go to trial, and there are no good records of his interrogation. When you stack all these problems up, you cannot claim with ANY confidence whatsoever that Oswald did the shooting nor can you confidently say that if he did, he acted alone, because of the acoustical evidence.

    The Lone Nutters don’t even have any evidence with which to make their case. Their claims are bogus.

    1. One caveat, one person, Howard Brennan, did eventually claim to have seen Oswald shooting at JFK, but his description of the shooter was of someone who had to be standing while firing, and we know that can’t possibly have happened because the window didn’t open enough to allow a standing shooter to do his job without firing through the window glass. And no one disputes that the windows were intact afterwards.

      1. Brennan is long ago discredited as a witness. He couldn’t identify Oswald in a police lineup and is said to have had poor eyesight.

        1. Roy W Kornbluth

          All true, Thomas.
          Furthermore, Brennan’s foreman, Sandy Speaker told Jim Marrs (p 26 old Crossfire): “They took [Brennan] off for about three weeks. I don’t know if they were SS or FBI, but they were federal people. He came back a nervous wreck and within a year his hair had turned SNOW WHITE.”

          The FEAR of thousands of witnesses.

        2. Oh yes, I’m aware of that. However that doesn’t prevent certain Lone Nut Buffs from claiming his testimony is part of an “air tight” case against Oswald.

        3. Also about Brennan, I read where his BACK was to the TSBD during the shooting. Any more about this?

        4. Not only could he not identify, but the lineup was stacked against Oswald and he was complaining about it during the lineup. Brennan also nailed Oswald’s height exactly, which was hard to do since he was standing across the street, looking up six stories at a person who wasn’t even standing up. Yet it was his description that poice put out on the APB

          1. Ronnie Wayne

            But, how could they put out an APB accurate enough to get Oswald caught from this man who couldn’t ID him in a lineup?

        1. Oh yes, especially given that he was, by his own admission, not wearing his glasses at the time. “But he was farsighted!!!” the Lone Nut Buffs will cry. Yes, but all that means was his distance vision was less bad than his close-up vision. BTW, I think study of the photos and the Zapruder film have also proved his testimony of where he was standing and/or where he was looking was inaccurate.

      2. According to his testimony to the Warren Commission, Howard Brennan told the police that he could not make a positive identification of Oswald. He did identify Oswald as “looking more like a closest resemblance to the man” he saw with a high powered rifle in a southeast window of the Texas School Book Depository, but he had already seen pictures of Lee Harvey Oswald on television http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=39#relPageId=155

        Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels told the Warren Commission that when Howard Brennan arrived at the police station, he “said, “I don’t know if I can do you any good or not, because I have seen the man that they have under arrest on television”, and he said. “I just don’t know whether I can identify him positively or not”” http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=41#relPageId=364

        1. Brennan? I thought it was documented years ago no human being could identify an others face from six floors below.

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