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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. IV - Page 88« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Paul Morgan Stombaugh)

Mr. Stombaugh.
No; because the gun was dusted for fingerprints and any fibers that were loosely adhering to it could have been dusted off.
The only reason, I feel, that these fibers remained on the butt plate is because they were pulled from the fabric by the jagged edge and adhered to the gun and then the fingerprint examiner with his brush, I feel, when brushing and dusting this butt plate, stroked them down into that crevice where they couldn't be knocked off.
In time these fibers would have undoubtedly become dislodged and fallen off the gun.
Mr. Eisenberg.
Mr. Stombaugh, is there anything you would like to add to your testimony?
Mr. Stombaugh.
No, sir; I can think of nothing else.
Mr. Dulles.
And you found no other pieces of fabric or other foreign material on the gun?
Mr. Stombaugh.
Nothing that I could associate with either the blanket or the shirt. I found----
Mr. Dulles.
Or the paper bag?
Mr. Stombaugh.
Or the paper bag; no, sir.
Mr. Eisenberg.
Just one further question. You said something like, "It was possible the fibers could have come from the shirt." Could you estimate the degree of probability that the fibers came from the shirt, the fibers in the butt plate?
Mr. Stombaugh.
Well, this is difficult because we don't know how many different shirts were made out of this same type of fabric, or for that matter how many identical shirts are in existence.
Mr. Eisenberg.
Mr. Stombaugh, I gather that, and correct me if I am wrong, that in your area as opposed to the fingerprint area, you prefer to present the facts rather than draw conclusions as to probabilities, is that correct?
Mr. Stombaugh.
That is correct. I have been asked this question many times. There are some experts who will say well, the chances are 1 in 1,000, this, that, and the other, and everyone who had said that and been brought to our attention we have been able to prove them wrong, insofar as application to our fiber problems is concerned.
Mr. Eisenberg.
You mean prove them wrong in terms of their mathematics?
Mr. Stombaugh.
There is just no way at this time to be able to positively state that a particular small group of fibers came from a particular source, because there just aren't enough microscopic characteristics present in these fibers.
We cannot say, "Yes, these fibers came from this shirt to the exclusion of all other shirts."
Mr. Eisenberg.
We appreciate your conservatism, but the Commission, of course, has to make an estimate, and what I am trying to find out is whether your conservatism, whether your conclusions, reflect the inability to draw mathematical determinations or conclusions, or reflect your own doubts?
Mr. Stombaugh.
Mr. Eisenberg.
Can you tell us which that is?
Mr. Stombaugh.
There is no doubt in my mind that these fibers could have come from this shirt. There is no way, however, to eliminate the possibility of the fibers having come from another identical shirt.
Mr. Eisenberg.
Now, in your mind what do you feel about the origin of the fibers you found in the bag?
Mr. Stombaugh.
I didn't find enough fibers in the bag to form an opinion on those.
Now if I would have found, say 15 or 20 fibers and all 15 or 20 matched the fibers from the blanket, then I could say, "Yes, I feel that these very easily could have come from the blanket." But I didn't. I only found two of the many types.
Mr. Eisenberg.
Okay. I have no further questions.
Mr. Dulles.
Do you have any further questions?
Mr. Murray.
No.; I have no further questions.
Mr. Dulles.
I have no further questions.
Thank you, Mr. Stombaugh, we appreciate your coming.

James C. Cadigan

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