Here are the reasons why I find Sirhan’s latest court appeal falls short:
A brief report of Wm. Harper’s Balliscan camera photographs, also Lowell Bradford statement on news media getting it wrong.
“The bullets talk to us” W.H. (please Click here here for all plain talk seven exhibits)
While examining Attorneys Pepper/Dusek latest brief I noted they linked switching the Kennedy neck bullet in the Sirhan trial frame. I knew from Sirhan ballistics records it is not possible to assign a definite time frame in which bullet switching occurred prior to 1975 Patrick Garland Court Order # 2 Evidence Inventory. That is the first known documented date in the records of wrong bullet markings and it is there that I discovered many of the Sirhan/Kennedy bullet bases bore incorrect id markings. Therefore, I find P/D ’s time frame assignment for bullet switching as presented to the court cannot be stated with an absolute certainty. And for that reason, it is my opinion that their latest court filing cannot succeed. They do not submit the necessary documentation.
Additionally, I was surprised to see that P/D repeated their incorrect assertion (re Harper’s examination of Sirhan bullets pre-trial) in this latest court filing (11-26-11, pages 55&56) When I discovered that error in P/D April ‘11 Supplemental Brief I wrote to Sirhan asking him to notify P/D of that serious error - and now to see no correction was made - I was surprised. Amazing stuff.
It is important to note that P/D indeed used my bullet substitution (switching) research findings to write their 11-26-11 brief. And at no time was I consulted by either Pepper or Dusek of their intended use. Since they relied on and used my bullet substitution research I should have been afforded the opportunity to check their work for accuracy - but I wasn’t. In spite of the fact that there is no love lost between P/D and me, I would have reviewed their latest court filing.
Then too, I wondered why P/D neglected to inform the court of the fact that they based their bullet -switching information on my research discoveries. I cannot imagine the extensive use of someone else’s research in a court filing without sourcing it. Isn’t the court entitled to know the source of that research and the identity of the researcher/ author who was responsible for those disclosures? (reporting the serious crime of creating imposter bullets )
Here is what they write:
“…where the record showed that the trial clerk delivered the substituted bullet in evidence at the trial to the Wenke Panel Administrator. The way that evidence was handled irrefutably reveals that this key piece of evidence - the Kennedy neck bullet - never made it to the courtroom for consideration of the judge and jury. This was due to the fact that substitute bullet with different markings than those put on the real evidence bullet upon removal by the medical examiner, was the one admitted into evidence.” (Pepper/Dusek 11-26-11 court filing page 61, lines 8-14) hereinafter all future Pepper/Dusek references will be ( P/D p. --,line--).
It is precisely here where P/D go out on a limb and tells the court : “…the Kennedy neck bullet - never made it to the courtroom…” I ask - how do they know that? There is, technically speaking, no record of when the K. neck bullet was switched - let alone when that bullet made its way to the courtroom . Clearly, what they present the court with is at best an educated guess.
This is what P/D writes to the court:
“Petitioner submits that this extraordinary contradiction means that the bullet in evidence at the trial which was removed from the body of Senator Kennedy, which was testified to as being matched with Petitioner’s gun, resulting in his conviction, was not, in fact, the Kennedy neck bullet which Dr. Noguchi testified that he had removed before the Grand Jury and the Board of Supervisors. “DW” “TN” was not the mark he placed on the base. Thus, it is irrefutable that the prosecution’s case against Petitioner is completely undermined and must fall away.
“Additionally, if this were not enough, the Panel’s report lists the Goldstein bullet it received from the court clerk (Exhibit 52) bearing the mark on the base of “6” when an “x” was placed on the base by Dr. Max Finkel after removal in the hospital. (id)
“…. For the first time in the long history of this case it has been possible to provide new evidence. With respect to the facts set out above it appears to be undeniable that a fraud has been committed upon the court, in the absence of which it is more probable than not that no reasonable juror would have voted to convict and no jury would have convicted.
“It is clear that the prosecution’s Chief Criminalist lied to the jury when he identified Exhibit 47, which was before them, as the bullet that the Medical Examiner removed from the neck of Senator Kennedy. He also lied when he said there was a match between that bullet, as well as bullets in Exhibits 52 and 54, when such a match was impossible as the Wenke Panel of experts confirmed.” (P/D p 29, lines 7-27)
Well, if P/D are referring to the switched K neck bullet as being “ new “ when they tell the court : “…For the first time in the long history of this case it has been possible to provide new evidence. “ If they are now telling the court that K neck bullet substitution/switching is new evidence for the court to consider, then they are in error.
As far back as 1996 I discovered the K neck bullet was in fact substituted (switched) and shortly thereafter I turned over my research findings along with the supporting evidentiary records to Sirhan Attorney Lawrence Teeter for him to include in his Writ of Habeas Corpus court filing. I was especially interested in learning the time when that bullet was switched and in what venue it was first used. In this I was woefully unsuccessful - I never learned when the K neck bullet was actually substituted . Therefore, when I read what P/D now writes to the court I was most anxious to learn how they arrived at their time frame information? And what was their source? Why didn’t P/D submit such important records to the court?
Pepper/Dusek goes on to tell the court:
“Petitioner suggests that the discussion and analysis of the evidence in the case and the documented factual history, supra, where the record showed that the trial clerk delivered the substituted bullet in evidence at the trial to the Wenke Panel Administrator. The way that evidence was handled irrefutably reveals that this key piece of evidence - the Kennedy neck bullet- never made it to the courtroom for the consideration of the judge and jury. This was due to the fact that substitute bullet with different markings than those put on the real evidence bullet upon removal by the medical examiner, was the one admitted into evidence. Petitioner has reluctantly concluded that this substitution of vital evidence constitutes a fraud upon the court and mortally taints the proceedings. In such instances, the verdict and sentence are, and must be, set aside” (P/D p 61, lines 7-16
For the following reasons I challenge their telling the court : “…the Kennedy neck bullet - never made it to the courtroom for the consideration of the judge and jury. This was due to the fact that substitute bullet with different markings than those put on the real evidence bullet upon removal by the medical examiner, was the one admitted into evidence.”
Let us begin by following the Kennedy neck bullet (Peo. 47) on its way to the trial court.
Dr. Thomas Noguchi removed this bullet during the autopsy he performed on Sen. Robert F. Kennedy on 6-6-68 at which time he inscribed “TN31” on the bullet base.(Autopsy Rep., p. 24)
LAPD Sgt. W.C. Jordan #7167, Rampart Detective, was present at autopsy and took custody of K. neck bullet from the hand of Dr. Noguchi. (Autopsy Rep., p. 24)
Jordan then turned over K. neck bullet to LAPD Officer L.M. Orozco #11072 (SUS Rep., p. 633)
Thus it was Orozco - and not Jordon - who filed the LAPD Property Report at which time Orozco booked that bullet at Ramparts Headquarters. Orozco records: “ item # 53 ; slug .22 cal long, package - coroner’s case number #68-573 “. He neglects to record “TN31” identity information inscribed on bullet base in the column provided for it.(LAPD Property Rep.)
Next, the K. neck bullet is entered into evidence with the LA County Grand Jury on 6-7-68 as GJ5A at which time Dr. Noguchi examined GJ5A and testified to inscribing his initials “TN31” on the bullet base. (LAC GJ transcript, p. 22)
Next, the K. neck bullet was stipulated into evidence at the Sirhan trial in Feb. 1969 at which time it became Peo. Ex. 47(agreement reached STT, p. 3967)
Criminalist William Harper examined Peo. 47, along with other trial bullets, in the LAC clerk’s office in 1970. But here is where I see a serious problem. You see, Harper’s examination of K. neck bullet concerned the rifling angles. I want to emphasize Harper did not examine the id markings on the K. neck bullet base. He simply assumed this to be the true K neck bullet and wanted to compare K. neck bullet rifling angles with victim Weisel bullet rifling angles and then compare those bullets with the rifling angles on one of Wolfer’s test bullets in Peo. Ex 55 Evidence envelope.
I am including a statement by Lowell Bradford, one of the seven members, who opens the door wide on the gun v. bullets issue. He writes: The findings of the firearms examiners is being improperly interpreted by the news media”
Following Harper’s examination of Sirhan evidence bullets in 1970 (I repeat - for rifling angles - and not for id markings on the bases of the bullets) there was a call for a Grand Jury investigation re violation of the Judge Loring/Judge Walker court order. I am including a copy of the confidential memorandum from Richard W. Hecht, Head Organized Crime and Pornography Division to Joseph P. Busch, Jr., District Attorney dated July 28, 1971. That correspondence addresses additional concerns about the possible mishandling of the Sirhan evidence and that the evidence might be subject to damage by unauthorized persons having access to the evidence in violation of the ‘69 court order.
Next came the Baxter Ward Hearings in the spring of 1974 at which time Dr. Noguchi examined K. neck bullet and identified his marking “TN31” on the bullet base.
Then in 1975 Judge Robert Wenke authorized the re-examination of Sirhan ballistics evidence by a panel of seven experts. Patrick Garland, Court Administrator , also served as one of the seven panel members, wrote a detailed Evidence Inventory as part of Court Order 2. That is where I made the discovery of the wrong id marking - “DW” “TN”- on the base of the K. neck bullet. No one had previously discovered this extraordinary information. We clearly see the documented proof that K. neck bullet was in fact a switched bullet . I should add, it was easy for me to immediately spot the K. neck bullet switch because I had become so familiar with the id markings on all of the Sirhan evidence bullets while searching for information about the identity of the two comparison bullets in Special Exhibit 10 photograph. In short, it was my truly intensive search for the bullet identities depicted in Special Exhibit 10 photograph , #8 which led to my discovery of the switched Kennedy neck bullet!!! Who could have guessed such an amazing fraud existed?
I carefully examined evidence records for the K. neck bullet and was unable to discover the true time line of when that bullet was switched. Nor was I ever able to learn with an absolute certainty which bullet was entered into evidence as the K. neck bullet at the Sirhan trial. What we do know is that Dr. Noguchi’s confirmed the authenticity of K neck bullet shown to him in 1974. It is for that reason that it is unknown whether a true or a substituted K neck bullet was stipulated into evidence (as Peo. Ex. 47) at Sirhan trial. In short, Dr. Noguchi’s 1974 confirmation of id marking TN31 on K neck bullet base turns P/D claim to the court on its head .
What we do know from the above is that bullet switching in the Sirhan case did in fact take place and that most of the bullets in the 1975 examination were substitute and/or misrepresented evidence bullets, eg the two damaged bullets with wood tracings embedded in them allegedly came from the front passenger seat of the Sirhan car. (Peo. Ex 38a&b) I suspect those two spent bullets were actually dug out of the Ambassador kitchen pantry door post - and did not come from Sirhan car. My suspicion arises from the fact that one of those deformed bullets (Peo. Ex 38 - either a or b) had a flattened area which resembled a knife marking (which logically would be the case if that bullet was dug out of the pantry door post with a knife). If not the door post, then where did those two damaged bullets with wood tracings embedded in them come from? Someone , I do not recall exactly who, actually suggested Sirhan dug those two bullets out of the shooting target’s wood frame at the gun range, then placed those two bullets on the front passenger seat of his car - and finally, - that Sirhan then covered those two bullets with a newspaper !!! Goodnight !!!
For the above reasons, I cannot definitively state that the bullet which was stipulated into evidence at the Sirhan trial as K. neck bullet was not marked “TN31” and conversely, I cannot state that the K. neck bullet at trial was marked “TN31”. I was never successful in obtaining any documentation of exactly which K. neck bullet was used at Sirhan trial. Was it “TN31” or an imposter bullet? Where did P/D find this critical information? If they had such documentation P/D would most certainly have included it in their 11-26-11 court filing as an exhibit. Why didn’t they?
As I stated in my earlier reports it is important to remember that Special Unit Senator (SUS) took complete control of the RFK assassination investigation - out of the hands of LAPD. This happened shortly after RFK assassination. Thus it was that SUS’ hand-picked team was in complete control of the RFK/Sirhan evidence and the LAPD was left twiddling their thumbs. Why was it necessary to form SUS and shut out LAPD in the first place?
Here is a brief outline report of Wm. Harper’s Balliscan photographs of the Kennedy neck bullet, the Weisel bullet and a test bullet from Peo. Ex. 55 evidence envelope in 1970:
When Harper discovered a different gun’s serial number on Peo Ex 55 Evidence envelope (# H18602 whereas the Sirhan gun serial number should be #H53725) his focus became centered on examination of the rifling angles of the known evidence bullets (K. neck bullet, victim Weisel bullet and a test bullet from Peo. Ex. 55 evidence envelope). He had no reason to question the authenticity of these bullets, therefore he did not examine the id engraving on the bullet bases. That is a fact.
Here is what happened ; When Harper gained access to Sirhan evidence in the clerk’s office in 1970 he discovered gun serial #H18602 on Peo. 55 evidence envelope differed from Sirhan gun serial # H53725 . He soon learned H18602 gun once belonged to a man named Jake Williams who had been arrested in March, 1967. Since Williams did not reclaim that gun it became the property of LAPD Property Division. Harper subsequently learned that H18602 gun was destroyed in July, 1968 shortly after Wolfer test fired it for muzzle distance and sound tests.
What Harper wanted to do next was to compare the rifling angles of the Kennedy neck bullet (Peo. Ex. 47) with the Weisel bullet (Peo. Ex. 54) and a test bullet from Peo. Ex. 55 evidence envelope. Now, he was involved in the development of a new camera - the Balliscan camera , and so he enlisted the help of an assistant to carry the bulky Balliscan camera into the clerk’s office at which time he photographed the above Sirhan evidence bullets.
Harper received the K. neck bullet from the court clerk in a coroner evidence envelope which was filled out by Dr. Noguchi. Therefore, he had no reason to question the authenticity of the K neck bullet in that envelope.
Harper chose the Weisel bullet because it was in near perfect condition and the best test bullet in Peo. Ex. 55 evidence envelope to photograph using the Balliscan camera for comparison with the K. neck bullet. His purpose was to compare the rifling angles of all of those bullets
Again, Harper’s interest focused on two different guns at the crime scene. At that period of his investigation he was unaware of bullet switching (which he learned about at a later date from inside leaks he received from LAPD sources). His research therefore focused on the examination of the rifling angles of Kennedy, Weisel and a Peo. 55 test bullet. And so those were the bullets he chose to photograph with the Balliscan camera.
By 1974 the LAC Coroner’s Office had purchased their own Balliscan camera (CO. # 309260) at a cost of 3,500 dollars. During the 1974 Baxter Ward Hearings the coroner’s Balliscan camera was used to take photographs of the same bullets Harper had photographed in 1970.
Both sets of Balliscan photographs (Harper Balliscan photographs and Baxter Ward Hearing Balliscan photographs) were given to the seven Wenke Panel Members for their examination. Harper’s findings were as follows:
“The mean value of 132 separate readings which we obtained on the RFK bullet (Exh. #47) is 181 minutes; the mean value of 132 separate readings on the Weisel bullet is 158 minutes, thus giving a difference of 23 minutes. Since the rifling angle is a basic class characteristic of a fired bullet, it is my contention that such a difference would rule out the possibility of these bullets having been fired from the same weapon. (“The Criminalistics in the RFK Assassination” by Wm. Harper, 2-19-75) -
What I found disturbing is that the seven examiners in 1975 were NOT given the coroner’s Balliscan camera for them to take their OWN photographs of Sirhan evidence bullets Peo. Ex. 47 , Peo. Ex. 54 and a test bullet from Peo. Ex. 55 evidence envelope.. The reason given was: “ It is felt that final judgments should be based on an examination of original evidence, not photographs of the evidence.” (AFTE Journal Volume 8; No. 3; October 1976; Special Edition; Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners - this is found on the last page. That’s nonsense because both sets of Balliscan photos were given to Wenke examiners for their examination. Why bother to give Harper Balliscan photos and Baxter Ward Hearing Balliscan photographs to the seven examiners if they were not important? And then not permit the seven examiners to take their own Balliscan photos of the K. neck bullet given to them - with the WRONG id markings on the bullet base (“DW” “TN”). I wasn’t born yesterday is all I can say.
Why didn’t anyone think it was important for the ’75 examiners to take their OWN Balliscan camera photographs of the bullets presented to them? It would immediately tell me if Harper/Kennedy Balliscan photo matched a Balliscan photograph of Kennedy neck bullet marked “DW” “TN” But that, unfortunately did not take place. And what about Baxter Ward Balliscan photographs of the same bullets in 1974? The fact that the seven examiners were not given the coroner Balliscan camera to take their own photographs of K neck, Weisel and a test bullet from Peo. Ex 55 evidence envelope was, in my opinion , a clever ruse. Were they afraid they would differ from Harper/Baxter Ward Balliscan photographs?
Clearly the imposter K. neck bullet which was presented to the Wenke examiners should not have taken place. Who was responsible for that bullet switching in ’75 ? WHY was it necessary to give a fake K. neck bullet to Wenke examiners? Was it to grow an extra cannelure? I say this because SUS put their foot in it when they locked in the information that all of the crime scene shell casings (Peo. Ex 21) were CCI shell casings having two cannelures. So when Harper Balliscan photo of K neck bullet was shown to have one cannelure while Balliscan photo of Weisel bullet showed two cannelures that was enough to raise a red flag. .It is important to note the cannelure count cannot positively be proven from the photographs. Peo. Ex 21 shell casings were CCI manufacture having two cannelures Prof . Herbert MacDonell’s Affidavit covers this very point in great detail. (Affidavit of Herbert Leon MacDonell, p.3, dated 11-28-73)
And then to have only one panel member record the id markings on the bullet bases. And then create a Bullet Worksheet which did not include a column for each examiner to individually record id markings of each bullet he was examining. And what about the information from Wenke Hearing transcript that there was a custodial gap for the evidence from 1969- 1973? Even a fall-down drunk knows the difference between swill and the real thing.
A word about P/D charge of Wolfer lying on the stand re K neck bullet coming from his test gun.. Wolfer’s response in the 1970’s was that he attributed receiving the incorrect serial number from someone - he did not remember who. This locked-in response has long plagued everybody connected to the case - because gun H18602 was destroyed in July, 1968. How does one question a dead witness (gun # H18602)?
Rose Lynn Mangan, 12-20-11