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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VI - Page 38« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Robert M. Mcclelland Resumed)

Dr. Mcclelland.
assassination, this was much more readily explainable to ourselves that the two wounds were made by two separate bullets.
Mr. Specter.
And what is your view or opinion today as to how many bullets inflicted the injuries of President Kennedy?
Dr. Mcclelland.
Mr. Specter.
Now, what would be the reason for your changing your opinion in that respect?
Dr. Mcclelland.
Oh, just simply the later reports that we heard from all sources, of all the circumstances surrounding the assassination. Certainly no further first-hand information came to me and made me change my mind in that regard.
Mr. Specter.
Dr. McClelland, let me ask you to assume a few additional facts, and based on a hypothetical situation which I will put to you and I'll ask you for an opinion. Assume, if you will, that President Kennedy was shot on the upper right posterior thorax just above the upper border of the scapula at a point 14 Cm. from the tip of the right acromion process and 14 cm. below a tip of the right mastoid process, assume further that that wound of entry was caused by a 6.5-mm. missile shot out of a rifle having a muzzle velocity of approximately 2,000 feet per second, being located 160 to 250 feet away from President Kennedy, that the bullet entered on the point that I described on the President's back, passed between two strap muscles on the posterior aspect of the President's body and moved through the fascial channel without violating the pleura cavity, and exited in the midline lower third anterior portion of the President's neck, would the hole which Dr. Perry described to you on the front side of the President's neck be consistent with the hole which such a bullet' might make in such a trajectory through .the President's body?
Dr. Mcclelland.
Yes; I think so.
Mr. Specter.
And what would your reasoning be for thinking that that would be a possible hole of exit on those factors as I have outlined them to you?
Dr. Mcclelland.
Well, I think my reasoning would be basically that the missile was traveling mainly through soft tissue, rather than exploding from a bony chamber and that by the time it reached the neck that it had already lost, because of the distance from which it was fired, even though the muzzle velocity was as you stated--would have already lost a good deal of it's initial velocity and kinetic strength and therefore would have perhaps made, particularly, if it were a fragment of the bullet as bullets do sometimes fragment, could have made a small hole like this in exiting. It certainly could have done that.
Mr. Specter.
What would have happened then to the other portion of the bullet if it had fragmented?
Dr. Mcclelland.
It might have been left along, or portions of it along the missile track--sometimes will be left scattered up and down this. Other fragments will maybe scatter in the wound and sometimes there will be multiple fragments and sometimes maybe only a small fragment out of the main bullet, sometimes a bullet will split in half--this is extremely difficult for me to say just what would happen in a case like that.
Mr. Specter.
Well, assuming this situation--that the bullet did not fragment, because the autopsy report shows no fragmentation, that is, it cannot show the absence of fragmentation, but we do know that there were no bullets left in the body at any point, so that no fragment is left in.
Dr. Mcclelland.
I think even then you could make the statement that this wound could have resulted from this type bullet fired through this particular mass of soft tissue, losing that much velocity before it exited from the body. Where you would expect to see this really great hole that is left behind would be, for instance, from a very high velocity missile fired at close range with a heavy caliber bullet, such as a .45 pistol fired at close range, which would make a small entrance hole, relatively, and particularly if it entered some portion of the anatomy such as the head, where there was a sudden change in density from the brain to the skull cavity, as it entered. As it left the body, it would still have a great deal of force behind it and would blow up a large segment of tissue as it exited. But I don't think the bullet of this nature fired from that distance and going through this large area of homogenous soft tissue would necessarily
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