A Different Gun Number in the Sirhan Trial Transcript
This Report is, without question, the most frustrating of all of my research reports. I am talking about a different gun number in the Sirhan trial transcript which for years openly masqueraded as a puzzling typographical error. But the evidence will show this was no error.
I discovered a clear and consistent pattern of conduct which was designed to do one thing – and that was to PREVENT GUN ID # H53725 from being received in evidence in COURT RECORDS, e.g., the Grand Jury Transcript and the Sirhan Trial Transcript. It is not there.
Additionally, I take a closer look into the secret meeting between two judges who were trying to lock down the Sirhan trial evidence – to create a difficult barrier for anyone in the future who wanted to examine the Sirhan ballistics evidence. This was the ill designed Judge Loring/Judge Walker Court Order which promptly sank, like the ill designed Vasa, at it’s launching.
For me, that stillborn Judge Loring Court Order opened up a major can of worms by bringing into question the admissibility of evidence that was seized from the DeSoto under the authorization of the second search warrant (I refer specifically to Peo. 38).
The records show, no one ever attempted to put in use that farcical court order.
I present five documents in the SUS official records (plus 2 pages) which fully exonerates LAPD criminalist DeWayne Wolfer of the charge of falsifying the ballistics evidence. These documents tell us Wolfer’s reports were based on the evidence he was given and not of his own manufacture. There was no reason for him to suspect the evidence turned over to him was substituted evidence and there was no reason for him to falsify it.
My usual admonition applies - if the Reader isn’t blessed with an enormous amount of smarts these Reports will be a waste of time.
(Please click here for all exhibits)
I want to begin by sharing a disturbing dialogue in the transcript of the judge Loring/judge Walker meeting and also examine the serious consequences of Walker’s actions.
During the May 16, 1969 meeting in judge Loring’s chambers trial judge Walker reminded everyone present there was something that he, judge Walker, “…didn’t want to put in evidence because of the affidavits attached to it.” (examine page 9, lines 21 and 22 in above exhibits) This is what you will see:
“Judge Walker: There was one I didn’t want to put in evidence because of the affidavits attached to it.”
It is important to note – there are TWO DIFFERENT SEARCH WARRANTS
Judge Walker was specifically speaking about the Second Search Warrant which was in fact the Search Warrant for the correct car - Sirhan’s DeSoto. The first search warrant was mistakenly issued for the wrong car – a Chrysler. Therefore, the first search warrant was a non-issue.
I carefully searched through the records but was unable to find even a suggestion for judge Walker to block the second search warrant from being received in evidence in court - and instead to allow a XEROX COPY to be admitted into evidence in its place.
Nor is there anything in the record to suggest there might be condition issues with the second search warrant. No, he doesn’t go there.
The serious consequences
One of the consequences of judge Walker’s action concerns the status of the evidence that was seized during the search of the DeSoto.
There are a number of reasons why I am making such a fuss over that Xerox substitution
One is Peo. 38. I question on what basis can Peo. 38 be admitted in evidence when the court order itself was deemed inadmissible without a showing of good cause? I don’t see how an item of evidence (Peo. 38) can itself be received in evidence on the basis of a Xerox copy alone (and not the original document).
Here is the problem I am talking about
That very same Peo. 38 (Panel ID # 1 and #1a) was subsequently proven to be two SUBSTITUTED bullets in the 1975 Patrick Garland Evidence Inventory. And bear in mind these are the two bullets with wood tracings embedded in them.
What’s right about this?
On May 21, 1969 Judge Walker informed Cooper of the following:
“THE COURT; Are you cognizant of the fact that I issued an order governing the exhibits?
MR. COOPER; I wasn’t aware of it.
THE COURT; I thought I would make you aware of it. I gave it to the clerk. You may want to read it while you are resting during the noon hour.
(Whereupon an adjournment was taken until 1:45 p.m. of the same day, Wednesday, May 21, 1969)” (Sirhan Trial Transcript, page 9015)
Before I leave the subject of the above courtroom conversation I want to correct judge Walker. The court order Judge Walker speaks of is the Judge Loring Court Order which took place in Judge Loring’s chambers on May 16, 1969. It is NOT the Judge Walker Court Order which he incorrectly tells Cooper. You see, not one person from the defense knew about the secret meeting in Judge Loring’s chambers until Walker notified Cooper on May 21, 1969 – five full days after the meeting took place. And now Walker is trying to cover his backside.
And Cooper couldn’t cry foul because he would be calling the stove black.
We must keep in mind the primary purpose of that secret Judge Loring/Judge Walker meeting was to issue a court order which would require anyone wishing to access/examine the Sirhan evidence (now that the trial was over) that they must first obtain a court order and show good cause. In other words, the prosecution didn’t want any future prying eyes investigating the Sirhan bullets, etc. Better to let sleeping dogs lie
Trial Judge Walker in high fashion
I could swear I saw him wearing two hats in the courtroom. One hat for the bench and one hat for the prosecutor’s table.
Now to move on to the story of a different gun number in the Sirhan trial. I suggest the Reader brace him/her self with a stiff drink first (you will be need it )
But first here is the background story
One day, not long after the Sirhan trial ended Ted Charach, an independent investigative journalist, (also a big pain in the neck) visited the Sirhan home. Mary Sirhan and I invited him in and over tea and cakes we chatted about the trial.
While we were relaxing over tea Ted made the ridiculous comment that Grant Cooper (Sirhan’s chief trial attorney) did a wonderful job defending Sirhan- and he didn’t charge for his services. Of course I knew from reading the trial transcripts that was not at all true. In fact Cooper’s defense was as bad as it gets and so I told this to Charach in no uncertain words and I also threw in the charge that there were serious problems with the ballistics evidence.
Like a crazed animal Ted sprang out of his chair (I kid you not) and announced with fire in his eyes that he was going to report what he just heard to Cooper. I warned Ted to be sure to tell Cooper that it was me and not Mary Sirhan who is attacking him.
That is how it came about that Ted met with Cooper for the purpose of repeating my criticism. Cooper’s response was to advise Charach to pay William Harper, an independent consulting criminalist in Pasadena, a visit and let Harper be the judge of my charges.
I loaned Vol. 15 of the Sirhan Trial Transcripts to Ted for Harper to review. Immediately, Harper told Ted I was right. There indeed were serious problems with the ballistics evidence.
Then, sometime in the early summer of 1969 Harper phoned “Lynn, do you have a minute?” That was the method Harper always used when he received an insider LAPD leak that he wanted to share with me. I would drop what I was doing and go right over to his house.
Over time Harper learned that the Robert F. Kennedy assassination investigation was taken out of the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department by an independent investigative agency, SUS – Special Unit Senator. Before long, he began receiving confidential information from frustrated LAPD officers who were extremely critical of SUS’ takeover and their mishandling of the ballistics evidence.
Harper was aware of my frequent visits with Sirhan in San Quentin prison and also the open communication I had with attorney Luke McKissack. Those were the reasons Harper shared the insider LAPD leaks with me. He wanted me to tell Sirhan what was going on and also to build a fire under Luke to DO SOMETHING.
In the beginning Luke, who was really very bright, listened and began to make investigations. But, before long cocaine changed everything. In looking back on those years there is no doubt in my mind if Luke hadn’t had that set back then Harper would have worked with Luke and not with me. But it was out of the question, once Harper learned of Luke’s problem – there was no more communication between them. It was a terrible time for everyone.
Years later, while examining the SUS files I discovered a confidential report which fully corroborated the cocaine mess. What a shame. The Sirhan family and I always had the warmest regard and affection for that very special and talented man. And I am truly sorry we lost him so early.
Returning to Harper’s phone calls
When Harper learned the details of Pasadena police officer Thomas Young’s discovery of the little torn gun label (gun #H53725) in a trash barrel behind the Sirhan home – he excitedly shared that information with me to pass on to Sirhan..
I was convinced Harper was onto something really big with the torn gun label investigation because he always talked about it and he kept asking me over and over to have the Sirhan family search the house for that gun box. Was the label removed? (years later Adel Sirhan did find the gun box hidden in the back of a book shelf in the living room. The gun label had been removed)
Here’s where it really gets interesting
The entire Sirhan family was removed from their home on June 5, 1968 and not allowed to return until a week or so later. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies took possession of the house for some seven to ten days (the family was not sure of the exact number of days they were kept out of their home because of the shock they were in)
It was sometime before noon on the 5th of June that the FBI, the police and other investigation agencies conducted a thorough search of the house, garage and grounds but no one reported finding either the gun box or the torn label.
Sirhan told me he always kept the gun in the gun box. Therefore I found it most strange that the gun box was NOT in Sirhan’s car during the search of the DeSoto and it was not in the house on the 5th during that intensive search. So where was it? What was going on with that gun box?
Then, on the following day, the 6th, Pasadena Police Officer ThomasYoung was assigned to guard the Sirhan home and after finishing a cup of coffee he walked over to the trash barrel to discard the paper coffee cup. That is how he made the discovery of the Argonaut Insurance envelope with the damaging writing and the torn gun label.
Note, the prosecution was very selective in allowing the court and jury to examine the highly inflammatory Argonaut Insurance envelope with the damning writing but hid from view the torn gun label with ID number H53725. The fact is gun number H53725 was SUS’ nightmare screw-up. And they were NOW going to hide it . It was SUS’ petard.
Those hot shots at SUS went through all the machinations to “discover” the torn gun label on the Sirhan property and then, at the trial - go to even greater lengths to HIDE THE CONTENTS IN THE CELLOPHANE BAG (the torn gun label) away from the eyes of the judge and jury.
So, you ask where is this leading?
OK, the serial number on the torn gun box label reads H53725. However, the serial number of the gun received in evidence at the Sirhan trial reads H58725. At first glance it looks like an innocent typographical error.
But that can’t be the case because trial judge Walker set up a strict routine to prevent this sort of thing from happening. The prosecution and the defense met in judge Walker’s chambers on a daily basis before the trial began where they meticulously went through the previous day’s testimony to check for any possible errors. Then too, Alice Nishikawa, judge Walker’s court clerk who was in charge of the recording and the identification of the evidence was, without a doubt, the best watchdog in the world. Nothing got past her.
So, we see with judge Walker’s precautions in operation something as important as the identification number for the murder weapon would most certainly have been meticulously checked and rechecked – and checked again - before it was finally recorded in the trial transcript. It is preposterous to dismiss H58725 as an error.
THERE IS MORE TO THUS GUN NUMBER STORY
I remind the Reader that on 6-5-68 Wolfer was given a gun with the wrong Item number (Item #22) Unfortunately, Wolfer did not record the serial number of this gun in his Log.
Let us call this Strike #1
On 6-6-68 Wolfer test fired a Police gun (H18602) for comparison test bullets. Wolfer’s three test bullets from that test firing were stipulated into evidence at the Sirhan trial in an evidence envelope marked Peo. 55. We see, gun H18602 is a Police gun and not the alleged Sirhan gun H53725. And I remind the Reader the gun number on the torn gun label is H53725
Let us call this Strike #2
Then there is the matter of the Grand Jury Transcript. On 6-7-68 the Los Angeles County Grand Jury met at which time they took possession of the alleged Sirhan gun. However, the serial number of the gun they received in evidence was NOT read into the record. In short - the Grand Jury Transcript does NOT contain the serial number of the gun they took custody of.
Let us call this Strike #3
Then there is the matter of the official Property Receipt, the document that accompanied the Sirhan gun to the trial. Here too the serial number of the gun is NOT recorded on this official document and the name of the Officer issuing this receipt is left blank.
Let us call this Strike #4
Then, with everyone sound asleep in the courtroom, gun number H58725 was read into the Sirhan trial record. The heavens didn’t shake and the sky didn’t fall.
Let us call this Strike #5
Then in 1988 the Sirhan trial evidence, including the gun, was transferred to the California State Archives. And here we see Appendix H: List and Description of Trial Exhibits, which is the official evidence inventory that accompanied the Sirhan trial evidence to CSA – that official evidence inventory does NOT record the serial number of the gun that was delivered to CSA !!!!!!!!!!
Let us call this Strike #6
Seeing there was a major problem with the Sirhan gun number I thought – let us have an examiner of questioned documents accompany me to the Department of Justice in Sacramento, Ca and have my expert examine the original triplicate copy of the Dealer Record of Sale for the Iver Johnson .22 cal revolver serial # H53725 and look for signs of tampering. I was suspicious of the white- outs I saw.
And so I sent a letter to DOJ asking for an appointment for the examination. The response I received should not have come as a surprise. First they couldn’t locate the DROS, then it was destroyed.
Why would anyone destroy the original triplicate copy for the Iver Johnson .22 cal revolver, DROS gun number H53725 and keep safely under lock and key a photostatic copy at the California State Archives ? On what planet does that make sense?
Let us call this Strike #7
And how to explain gun #H53727, Item #11 and Item # 12, having been transferred to SUS on 8-24-68? Since the Grand Jury did not record the serial number of the gun they took possession of there is no way of knowing what gun the Grand Jury received in evidence. Additionally, the Grand Jury ID tag has disappeared.
And not to forget on 6-7-68 Judge Arthur Alarcon issued a Court Order which prevented anyone accessing the Grand Jury evidence without first obtaining a court order. So how did it happen that gun #H53725, Item #11 and Item #12, were transferred to SUS on 8-24-68? (Item #11 and Item #12 were the identification numbers assigned to the gun and the eight crime scene shell casings in the LAPD Property Report)
Let us call this Strike #8
The above official records and events are miorn slip ups or irregularities. What we clearly see is a routine disregard of the judicial system.
Both gun number H53725 and gun number H58725 are unproven and without foundation. And further -
Every COURT document in evidence for the Sirhan gun has one thing in common – the gun ID number H53725 DOES NOT appear in a COURT document !! That is a true fact.
And, I promise, if not for Harper’s continued interest over the need to hide the serial number appearing on the torn gun label (H53725) I would never have suspected gun #H58725 which was read into the Sirhan trial record was in fact a fraud !
Why hide the gun number on the gun label if it was a bona fide number? Just look at the careful steps that were taken to make sure gun # H53725 does NOT appear in any of the official COURT documents. However, there would be no problem with gun # H53725 appearing on documents OUTSIDE of the official court records.
I believe the real reason the SUS investigation records were sealed for twenty years was to hide these monstrous frauds. And I stress, without Harper sharing with me the many leaks he received from inside the LAPD – how would I have known what was going on?
I was not on a witch hunt. I truly was looking into Harper’s ongoing frustration and complaints over the mishandling and falsification of the evidence..
Gun number H58725 at the trial
We plainly see the wrong gun number, H58725, was read into the trial record and if discovered, would appear to be an innocent error. Technically, this means gun # H53725 was NOT read into the Sirhan court record. (A replay of what occurred in the 1968 Grand Jury)
With the above information in mind – especially no gun number in the Grand Jury and the subsequent hiding of the torn gun label from the trial court and the many instances of the substitution of the evidence – these things lead me to conclude, without the slightest doubt, that gun number H58725 which was recorded in the Sirhan Trial Transcript was a ghost gun which was never proven up. It was designed to appear to be an innocent typographical error. It is in plain English a perfectly brilliant substitution of a gun ID number that masqueraded for too many years as a typographical error.
The fact is we will never know the serial number of the gun owned by Sirhan. Listen, we are not dealing with amateurs. These people (at SUS and not LAPD) had a hand in covering up rotten evidence.
It took me half a lifetime to finally come forward and put pen to paper about this supremely clever fraud. And if not for Harper’s constant badgering and screaming at me about the torn gun label number I would never have looked into there being two false gun numbers – #H53725 and #H58725.
Letter to Sirhan
Examine the enclosed copy of my letter to Sirhan dated as far back as September 7, 1972 wherein I asked Sirhan if he removed the label from his gun box. At that time only a handful of insiders knew about its importance - William Harper, myself and a few others in SUS.
My letter to Sirhan is my best witness to Harper’s growing frustration over the inside LAPD and Pasadena Police Department leaks he received that the gun number on the torn gun label was a substitution. But where could he turn? Luke was incapacitated. And Godfrey Isaac? I am not going there.
Carefully examine the five exhibits marked Wolfer #1 through Wolfer #5 plus two pages for evidence which clears LAPD criminalist DeWayne Wolfer of the charge of falsifying the ballistics evidence in the Sirhan case. The fact is most of the evidence he was given was inauthentic which he was unaware of. There was no reason for him to suspect the evidence he received was anything but bona fide and I would not defend his reputation if I thought he was guilty of committing the many frauds I discovered with the evidence over the years.
The fact is, what we do know from the records is that gun ID # H53725 was consistently BLOCKED FROM THE SIRHAN COURT RECORDS ! How better to achieve that than to cut out the tongue of the 1968 Grand Jury Transcript and then to hide the substitute gun #H58725 behind an innocent looking typographical error in the Sirhan Trial Transcript? They were no amateurs.
I confess there were many times when I wanted to run the other way, to get away from this dirty business. And I did for a while, then for whatever reason – I would take it up again even though I knew my research never stood a chance - let alone be believed. And then too, who was going to take the time to go through the hundreds of pages in my Reports?
Without the slightest doubt in the world, wiping out gun #H53725 was the game plan. And it was the sweetest fraud of all time because it was foolproof. Almost.
Rose Lynn Mangan 8-23-2015