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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. II - Page 375« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Comdr. James J. Humes)

Mr. Specter.
Yes, please do.
Commander HUMES. The X-rays made of the wound in the head of the late President showed fragmentations of the missile. Some fragments we recovered and turned over, as has been previously noted. Also we have X-rays of the fragment of skull which was in the region of our opinion exit wound showing metallic fragments.
Also going to Exhibit 392, the report from Parkland Hospital, the following sentence referring to the examination of the wound of the wrist is found:
"Small bits of metal were encountered at various levels throughout the wound, and these were, wherever they were identified and could be picked up, picked up and submitted to the pathology department for identification and examination."
The reason I believe it most unlikely that this missile could have inflicted either of these wounds is that this missile is basically intact; its jacket appears to me to be in tact, and I do not understand how it could possibly have left fragments in either of these locations.
Mr. Specter.
What wounds did Governor Connally sustain in his chest area, based upon the records of Parkland Hospital, which you have examined, Doctor Humes?
Commander HUMES. Governor Connally received in his chest a wound of entrance just--this is again from 392--just lateral to the right scapula close to the axilla which had passed through the lattisimus dorsi muscle, shattered approximately ten centimeters of a lateral and anterior portion of the right fifth rib, and emerged below the right nipple anterially."
These were the wounds of the chest of Governor Connally.
Mr. Specter.
Now assuming that there were only three missiles fired, and bearing in mind the positions of President Kennedy and Governor Connally from the photograph marked Commission Exhibit 398, do you have an opinion as to the source of the missiles which inflicted the wound on President Kennedy marked 385-C to D, and the wound in Governor Connally's chest which you have just referred to?
Commander HUMES. Yes. I would preface this statement by the following: As I testified earlier in the afternoon, as much as we could ascertain from our X-rays and physical examinations, this missile struck no bony structures in traversing the body of the late President. Therefore, I believe it was moving at its exit from the President's body at only very slightly less than that velocity, so it was still traveling at great speed.
I believe in looking at Exhibit 398, which purports to be at approximately the time the President was struck, I see that Governor Connally is sitting directly in front of the late President, and suggest the possibility that this missile, having traversed the low neck of the late President, in fact traversed the chest of Governor Connally.
Mr. Specter.
How much of the velocity, if any, or would there be an appreciable diminution of the velocity of the projectile on passing through the portions of President Kennedy's body which you have described?
Commander HUMES. I would have to defer to my associate, Colonel Finck, for an opinion about this.
Mr. Specter.
Fine. As to any damage to the rib which you described Governor Connally sustained, would that impact or trauma be consistent with the markings which are shown on Exhibit 399?
Commander HUMES. I think it quite possible. Here I think if this point were to be explored further, a most valuable piece of evidence would be an X-ray of the chest of Governor Connally, because I believe that this missile could have struck the rib a glancing blow.
The rib is a rather rigid structure, and the missile would not have to strike it directly to cause the fracture that was described, and the fracture is not very clearly described to me, and if an X-ray, for instance, showed no metallic fragments in the chest of the Governor, I would think it quite likely that this was the missile that had traversed his chest, because I doubt if this missile would have left behind it any metallic fragments from its physical appearance at this time.
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