Plain Talk Five
I open Plain Talk Five with a question: What if a passerby just happened to witness a terrible mugging? Should he/she look the other way and say nothing - or is there a moral obligation to cry out for help? What would you do?
The Sirhan Bullet Casings
# 1 - Begins with the bullet casings from the alleged Sirhan gun (ser # H53725) which was recorded as Item #12 in LAPD Property Reports on 6-5-68 and was therefore treated as crime scene shell casings.
# 2 - Next we move on to the Los Angeles County Grand Jury (6-7-68) where these eight expended shell casings were received in evidence as “Grand Jury Exhibit 7-A Envelope with 8 expended cartridges” at which time LAPD Officer Calkins testified to the following: “These cartridges were purposely not marked by myself in an effort to not contaminate them for possible fingerprint examination”
# 3 - These LACGJ shell casings (7-A) subsequently moved on to the Sirhan Trial and became Peo. Exhibit 21 where they suffered the same fate as virtually all of the other Sirhan ballistics evidence - they were stipulated into evidence by something resembling a self-anointing fiat.
# 4 -Click here Then on to the Judge Wenke Court Order (1975) which was granted permitting re- examination of Sirhan ballistics evidence. Court Order #1 lists items of evidence which were to be turned over to the seven panel members for their examination (9-18-75). Then a few days later Court Order #1 was replaced by Court Order #2 (9-23-75) at which time a number of evidentiary items were inexplicably removed. Among the deleted items of evidence was the gun (Peo. Ex 6) and also the eight shell casings (Peo Ex 21)!!! But the gun magically appears in Ct. #2 test results - and not on the face-page list of exhibits !!
# 5 - But there is more. Equally astounding was the removal of the two shell casings
from within Peo Ex. 55 evidence envelope!!. Where on earth did that order spring from?
I emphasize, someone - I do not know on whose orders - REMOVED - those two shell casings from within the Peo. Ex. 55 evidence envelope!!! Thus we see the seven examiners never received any shell casings what-so-ever which might have been used for comparison purposes. Therefore, even if one of the examiners became mildly curious and wanted to compare Peo. Ex. 21 eight shell casings and the two expended shell casings from Peo. Ex. 55 Evidence envelope with their own (1975) eight test shell casings from gun H53725 - they could not do so. This is an unbelievable and true fact.
# 6 -Click here Now let us move on to yet another layer in this tortured case. We clearly see in SUS/ LAPD Records: “Appendix H: List and Description of Trial Exhibits”. There is NO RECORD - no mention of the existence of the eight expended shell casings from the test firing of Sirhan gun by the seven examiners in 1975!!!! This is what I found:
# 7 -#ID No. F3906:128 --Special Hearing --24 (A-H) -- bullets fired from Sirhan’s gun on 9-27-75 (8)”. It is important to bear in mind that all relevant records from the 1975 re-examination were turned over to the California State Archives - with the EXCEPTION of the 1975 eight test- fired bullets and the now missing eight test - shell casings. Someone removed the 1975 eight test shell casings from that evidence list. I want to tell you what I really think took place: No one wanted the examiners to compare the pin- strike markings on the test shell casings with shell casings at the California State Archives - (Peo. Ex. 21 - plus the two shell casings in Peo. Ex. 55 Evidence envelope). No one could take the risk of having the ’75 test fired bullets and shell casings under the same roof. I suspect that is the reason those ’75 test bullets and shell casings were never sent to the California State Archives. After all, there was no guarantee that at some future date a court might grant a new examination of the evidence.
# 8 - Where are those missing eight shell casings from the 1975 test- firing (using the Sirhan gun ) ? I have examined several copies of those records and they too do not have an entry for those missing eight test shell casings from the 1975 examination. There is also the matter of the unknown whereabouts of the eight 1975 test bullets.
# 9 - I would like to add this thought- if I had been present during the discussions among the seven panel members in 1975, I would have alerted them to the wrong ID # (H18602 from the Jake Williams gun) on Peo. Ex.55 Evidence Envelope. Next, I would ask that the contents in LAPD Officer Druly’s evidence envelope of his test firing of the Jake Williams gun (H18602) on March 18, 1967 be given to the examiners. The next item of evidence I would ask for is Peo. Ex. 21 - the eight crime scene shell casings from gun ID #H53725. And finally, I would include the two shell casings in Peo. Ex. 55 Evidence Envelope from gun ID #H18602. I would then ask that a comparison of all of the above items of evidence be made with the 1975 eight test bullets and eight test shell casings . Clearly, that should have been done if you truly wanted to learn the provenance of the gun used in Peo. Ex. 55 . Wouldn’t the seven panel members want to know the correct identity of the gun used for Peo. Ex. 55 ballistics tests ? That is especially true since we are dealing with two different guns which were used for two different sets of comparison test bullets in the same case. The examiners did receive the victim bullets as well as GJ5B; Peo. Ex. 55 test bullets and the two expended bullets from Sirhan’s car for examination/comparison purposes. But no shell casings.
# 10 - Harper’s sharing of the LAPD leaks he received with me was what kept me tied to this investigation for so many years. I wanted to know what happened. And, as it turned out , years later when I was researching the Ten Volume SUS Investigation Reports those leaks essentially became my road map. He was my “teacher” back then, and I was his frightened pupil (that’s because he was so grumpy most of the time). Over the years many people have written about that most extraordinary man, but writer Lisa Pease described him best when she called him “Hero Harper”.