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Warren Commission Report: Page 109« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER III - The Shots From the Texas School Book Depository)

Arsenal, Drs. Olivier and Arthur J. Dziemian, chief of the Army Wound Ballistics Branch, who had spent 17 years in that area of specialization, concluded that it was probable that the same bullet passed through the President's neck and then inflicted all the wounds on the Governor.317 Referring to the President's neck wound and all the Governor's wounds, Dr. Dziemian testified: "I think the probability is very good that it is, that all the wounds were caused by one bullet."318 Both Drs. Dziemian and Olivier believed that the wound on the Governor's wrist would have been more extensive had the bullet which inflicted that injury merely passed through the Governor's chest, exiting at a velocity of approximately 1,500 feet per second.319 Thus, the Governor's wrist wound suggested that the bullet passed through the President's neck, began to yaw in the air between the President and the Governor, and then lost more velocity than 400 feet per second in passing through the Governor's chest. A bullet which was yawing on entering into the Governor's back would lose substantially more velocity in passing through his body than a pristine bullet.320 In addition, the bullet that struck the animal flesh was flattened to a greater extent than the bullet which presumably struck the Governor's rib,321 which suggests that the bullet which entered the Governor's chest had already lost velocity by passing through the President's neck. Moreover, the large wound on the Governor's back would be explained by a bullet which was yawing, although that type of wound might also be accounted for by a tangential striking.322


Dr. Frederick W. Light, Jr., the third of the wound ballistics experts, who. has been engaged in that specialty at Edgewood Arsenal since 1951, testified that the anatomical findings were insufficient for him to formulate a firm opinion as to whether the same bullet did or did not pass through the President's neck first before inflicting all the wounds on Governor Connally.323 Based on the other circumstances, such as the relative positions of the President and the Governor in the automobile, Dr. Light concluded that it was probable that the same bullet traversed the President's neck and inflicted all the wounds on Governor Connally.324

The Subsequent Bullet That Hit

After a bullet penetrated President Kennedy's neck, a subsequent shot entered the back of his head and exited through the upper right portion of his skull. The Zapruder, Nix and Muchmore films show the instant in the sequence when that bullet struck. ( See Commission Exhibit No. 902, p. 108.) That impact was evident from the explosion of the President's brain tissues from the right side of his head. The immediately preceding frame from the Zapruder film shows the President slumped to his left, clutching at his throat, with his chin close to his chest and his head tilted forward at an angle.325 Based upon information provided by the doctors who conducted the autopsy, an artist's drawing depicted the path of the bullet through the President's head, with his head being in the same approximate position.326
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