«NOVEMBER 22, 1963 (Friday) 12:00 AM (Nov. 22, 1963) Nine Secret Service agents drinking at Pat Kirkwood’s bar the “Cellar Door” in Fort Worth, ...»
Dr. Joseph Dolce - the Army’s chief consultant on wound ballistics - is eventually called upon to verify Arlen Specter’s “magic bullet” theory. As to Dolce’s credentials, he explains: “I was a battlefield surgeon in the Pacific war. I was in the combat zone for three years. I’m a retired full colonel of the Army. I saw many, many of these wounds. Beside that, we did a tremendous amount of research at the Edgewood Arsenal. And I think that’s enought evidence. And besides that, in my own private experience as a surgeon, I’ve seen many bullet wounds...So I would say my experience is a large one.” Dolce is so preeminent an expert on the medical aspects of gunshot wounds that “in the event of an injury, serious injury to any VIP in Congress” or “to any in the administration” he is “to be called to go over the case.” Following the assassination, Dolce is NOT called upon to be present at Bethesda.
SA Vince Drain escorts Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle and other evidence from Dallas to Washington, D.C., on a midnight flight aboard an otherwise empty C-135 Stratolifter. About 24 hours later, he will make the return flight to Texas on an F-104 Starfighter.
Secret Service Report regarding Presidential Limo in White House garage: At 12:01 A.M., November 23, 1963, the security detail was relieved by Special Agents Paraschos and Kennedy and White House Policeman J. W. Edwards.
Today, three persons named John Mertz, Irma Rio Mertz, and Sara Mertz will fly from Houston to Mexico City. It has been suggested that Jean Souetre could be posing as John Mertz or Michel Roux. BT Also today, Michel Roux leaves Fort Worth by bus and returns to Houston. Either today or tomorrow he will leave Houston for Mexico City. He will stay in Mexico City for a short period while obtaining a visa and then will return to France from Laredo, Texas, on December 6. BT 12:01 AM (Nov. 23, 1963) Richard B. Stolley of Life magazine contacts Abraham Zapruder, asking to meet to view the film. Zapruder agrees to meet at 9 A.M. tomorrow morning. BT Death certificate drafted for JFK by Dr. George Burkley. This is one day before Burkley verifies the autopsy face sheet (Boswell’s drawings) The Dallas Morning News runs an article today, quoting “witnesses” describing “a bushy-haired man about 30” as J.D. Tippit’s killer. The only named witness in this article is Helen Markham. WM A second search of Oswald’s belongings in a garage of the Paine home in Irving, Texas reveals two prints and one negative of pictures showing Lee Harvey Oswald standing in his backyard wearing a holstered pistol and holding a rifle and some communist literature. These eventually become known as the “backyard photographs.” It is interesting to continually note that the chain of possession of evidence in this case, so vital to any possible court proceeding, is broken in virtually every instance.
Shortly after midnight, Lee Harvey Oswald faces the press for the first time in a basement assembly room at police headquarters. Jack Ruby mingles in the crowd, correcting District Attorney Henry Wade’s explanation that Oswald is a member of the “Free Cuba Committee” by shouting out: “Henry, that’s the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.” Ronald Jenkins testifies that no identifications are checked for the midnight press conference and that press cards are lying on the table for anyone’s access. Thayer Waldo, the first journalist to arrive at headquarters, agrees with Jenkins’ assessment that anyone could have wandered into the press conference, which Seth Kantor describes as “something akin, I guess, to something you might conjure up for the Middle Ages.” 12:20 AM (Nov. 23, 1963) LHO is placed in a maximum-security cell on the fifth floor of the Dallas jail.
Mary Lawrence is working at the B&B Restaurant - two doors from Jack Ruby’s Vegas Club. She is the head waitress and has known Jack Ruby for the past eight years. She and the night cashier see Jack Ruby and a person identical to Lee Harvey Oswald in the restaurant shortly after midnight. She reports this to the Dallas Police and receives a phone call on December 3 from an unknown male who states “If you don’t want to die, you better get out of town.” When questioned by the Dallas Police, Mary Lawrence states that the man with Ruby was “positively Lee Harvey Oswald.” Neither Mary Lawrence nor her friend were interviewed by the WC. TA 12:23 AM (Nov. 23, 1963) LHO is fingerprinted for the second time and photographed. H&L 12:35 AM (Nov. 23, 1963) Cabinet’s plane lands at Andrews Air Force Base At a motel in Irving, Texas (about fifteen miles away from Dallas) Marina and Marguerite Oswald seek refuge from the hundreds of reporters assigned to the story.
Also on this date, William Somersett and Joseph Milteer meet at Union Station in Jacksonville, Florida. Milteer has just come from Dallas and is jubilant over the assassination. He brags to Somersett that “everything ran true to form. I guess you thought I was kidding when I said he would be killed from a window with a high-powered rifle.” Secret Service Report: At 1:00 A.M., as per arrangements by Deputy Chief Paterni, a team of FBI Agents examined the Presidential limousine. This team was comprised of Orrin H. Bartlett, Charles L. Killian, Cortlandt Cunningham, Robert A. Frazier, and Walter E.
Thomas. Mr. Orin Bartlett drove the Presidential vehicle out of the bin. The team of FBI Agents, assisted by the Secret Service Agents on duty, removed the leatherette convertible top and the plexi-glass bubbletop; also the molding strips that secure the floor matting, and the rear seat. What appeared to be bullet fragments were removed from the windshield and the floor rug in the rear of the car. The two blankets on the left and right rear doors were removed, inspected, and returned to the vehicle. The trunk of the vehicle was opened and the contents examined, and nothing was removed. A meticulous examination was made of the back seat to the car and the floor rug, and no evidence was found. In addition, of particular note was the small hole just to the left of center in the windshield from which what appeared to be bullet fragments were removed. The team of agents also noted that the chrome molding strip above the windshield, inside the car, just right of center, was dented. The FBI Agents stated that this dent was made by the bullet fragment which was found imbedded in the front cushion. During the course of this examination, a number of color photos were taken by this FBI ”FBI” inserted in longhand with an arrow search team. They concluded their examination at 4:30 A.M. and the President’s car was reassembled and put back in the storage bin.
At around 1:35 AM, Lee Harvey Oswald is formally charged with murdering President John F. Kennedy. LHO is awakened in his cell and brought before the judge. Judge J. P. Johnson pens across the bottom of statement charging LHO: “1:35 AM 11-23-63.
Bond hearing -- defendant remanded to Sheriff, Dallas County, Texas. No Bond -- Capital offense.” (LHO had the legal right to be transferred ”forthwith.”) LHO listens, and says: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Johnson tells him: “You will be given the opportunity to contact the lawyer of your choice.” LHO has been asking for John Abt of New York almost all day. LHO adds that if Abt is unavailable he will accept the services of a Dallas American Civil Liberties Union lawyer. LHO is irritated. He has pleaded for legal assistance for the past eight hours. He has begged for it at a press conference. He has phoned for it. He is still unrepresented. Judge Johnson will swear before the Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy that he apprised LHO of his constitutional right “again.” Chief Jesse Curry, a witness, will eventually swear: “I do not recall whether he did or not.” The American Civil Liberties Union has earlier contacted the police in an attempt to protect LHO’s rights. They have been told by the police that LHO has declined the services of a lawyer. LHO is returned to his jail cell on the 5th floor in F block where he goes to sleep.
Sometime after 1 AM today, the FBI conducts an examination of the Presidential limousine in the White House Garage. The FBI team is composed of agents Orrin H. Bartlett, Charles L. Killiam, Cortland Cunningham, Robert A. Frazier, and Walter E. Thomas.
The FBi especially notes in their report of the examination that no bullet holes are found during their examination. MIDP 3:00 AM (Nov. 23, 1963) Cartha “Deke” DeLoach, J. Edgar Hoover’s number-three man writes in his book, Hoover’s FBI, that he sees the Zapruder film on television at this time while he is at FBI headquarters. This statement cannot be true because the film is not shown on television until years later. It is assumed that he is actually watching a projection on a screen of a copy of the actual film. DeLoach further writes of the “jerky image of John Kennedy pitching suddenly forward.” The Zapruder film in existence today clearly shows the president’s head and body being thrust suddenly backward. Note that Dan Rather will also report seeing JFK pitch forward when he views the film later this morning. BT 3:30 AM (Nov. 23, 1963) (Washington) President LBJ goes to bed.
At the Navy Hospital, the body of JFK is now ready for burial. It has been prepared by employees of Gawler’s funeral home.
The morticians are certain that the only scalp missing on the corpse is in the back of the head. It is just about the size of an orange.
Eventually, in at least one autopsy photograph, the scalp will appear in place - seemingly intact. Tom Robinson, one of the morticians, will also eventually say that there is a hole in JFK’s right forehead that he filled with wax. He will also testify that there are three small holes in JFK’s cheek, which he also plugged to prevent leakage of the embalming fluid. The description of the hole in the back of JFK’s head will be repeated by John Van Hoesen, another of the undertakers, who will say that the hole was the size of an orange in “... the centerline of the back of the head, and its location was in the upper posterior of the skull. “... at or just below the cowlick area.” Hurchel Jacks, Texas State Highway Patrolman who served as driver of the Vice-President’s car in the motorcade, said in his written report of November 28, 1963, “Before the President’s body was covered it appeared that the bullet had struck him above the right ear or near the temple.” In an interview conducted on May 26, 1992 by Certified Legal Investigator Joe West, Thomas Evan Robison, one of the JFK embalmers,
describes JFK’s wounds and partial embalming process as follows:
Large gaping hole in back of head. Patched by placing piece of rubber.....over it.
Thinks skull full of Plaster of Paris.
Smaller wound in right temple. Crescent shaped, flapped down (3”) (approx 2) Small sharpnel wounds in face. Packed with wax.
Wound in back (5 to six inches) below shoulder. To the right of the back bone.
Adrenlin gland and brain removed.
Other organs removed and then put back.
No swelling or discoloration to face.
(Died instantly) Secret Service agent Roy Kellerman takes all of the autopsy and x-ray films and delivers them to Secret Service agent Robert Bouck at the White House. (The autopsy pathologists will not see the autopsy photographs until three years from now.) The Secret Service will maintain possession of the films in the White House for 17 months before turning them over to the control of Robert Kennedy, with other autopsy materials, on April 26, 1965. Bobby Kennedy will be in control of this material, locked in a trunk, until October 31, 1966, when the trunk is opened at the National Archives. This is when it will be discovered that JFK’s brain and tissue slides are missing. BT 3:56 AM (Nov. 23, 1963) Pontiac ambulance leaves Bethesda for the White House with coffin containing body of JFK.
4:00 AM (Nov. 23, 1963) A Navy plane carrying a top-secret package from Mexico City to Dallas lands about 4 a.m. EST. The package contains information concerning LHO’s visit to the Soviet and Cuban embassies in Mexico City. Former FBI Agent Eldon Rudd, later a Republican congressman from Arizona, was aboard the plane. Years later, he will recall: “There were no tapes to my knowledge, I brought the pictures up (from Mexico) and it was my understanding that it was just pictures.’’ (Associated Press/ 1999) The man in the photograph is NOT Oswald AND the voice on the tape is NOT Oswald’s. One inescapable question that now must be dealt with is WHY Oswald was being impersonated.
After searching their records from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. the officers of Klein’s discover that a rifle bearing serial number C2766 had been shipped to one A. Hidell, Post Office Box 2915, Dallas, Tex., on March 20, 1963. According to its microfilm records, Klein’s received an order for a rifle on March 13, 1963, on a coupon clipped from the February 1963 issue of the American Rifleman magazine.
The order coupon was signed, in hand printing, “A. Hidell, P.O. Box 2915, Dallas, Texas.” It was sent in an envelope bearing the same name and return address in handwriting. Document examiners for the Treasury Department and the FBI will testify unequivocally that the bold printing on the face of the mail-order coupon was in the hand printing of Lee Harvey Oswald and that the writing on the envelope was also his. W.C.