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  » Chapter 8
  » Appendix I
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  » Appendix IV
  » Appendix V
  » Appendix VI
  » Appendix VII
  » Appendix VIII
  » Appendix IX
  » Appendix X
  » Appendix XI
  » Appendix XII
  » Appendix XIII
  » Appendix XIV
  » Appendix XV
  » Appendix XVI
  » Appendix XVII
  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 141« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER IV - The Assassin)

which had been cut out of the box was also forwarded to the FBI and Latona identified it as Oswald's right palmprint.224 In Latona's opinion "not too long" a time had elapsed between the time that the print was placed on the carton and the time that it had been developed by the Dallas police.225 Although Bureau experiments had shown that 24 hours was a likely maximum time, Latona stated that he could only testify with certainty that the print was less than 3 days old.226

The print, therefore, .could have been placed on the carton at any time within this period. The freshness of this print could be estimated only because the Dallas police developed it through the use of powder. Since cartons absorb perspiration, powder can successfully develop a print on such material 227 only within a limited time. When the FBI in Washington received the cartons, the remaining prints, including Oswald's on the Rolling Readers carton, were developed by chemical processes. The freshness of prints developed in this manner 228 cannot be estimated, so no conclusions can be drawn as to whether these remaining prints preceded or followed the print developed in Dallas by powder. Most of the prints were found to have been placed on the cartons by an FBI clerk and a Dallas police officer after the cartons had been processed with powder by the Dallas Police.229 (See ch. VI, p. 249; .app. X, p. 566.)

In his independent investigation, Arthur Mandella of the New York City Police Department reached the same conclusion as Latona that the prints found on the cartons were those of Lee Harvey Oswald.229 In addition, Mandella was of the opinion that the print taken from the carton on the floor was probably made within a day or a day and a half of the examination on November 22.230 Moreover, another expert with the FBI, Ronald G. Wittmus, conducted a separate examination and also agreed with Latona that the prints were Oswald's.231

In evaluating the significance of these fingerprint and palmprint identifications, the Commission considered the possibility that Oswald handled these cartons as part of his normal duties. Since other identifiable prints were developed on the cartons, the Commission requested that they be compared with the prints of the 12 warehouse employs who, like Oswald, might have handled the cartons. They were also compared with the prints of those law enforcement officials who might have handled the cartons. The results of this investigation are fully discussed in chapter VI, page 249. Although a. person could handle a carton and not leave identifiable prints, none of these employees except Oswald left identifiable prints on the cartons.232 This finding, in addition to the freshness of one of the prints and the presence of Oswald's prints on two of the four cartons and the paper bag led the Commission to attach some probative value to the fingerprint and palmprint identifications in reaching the conclusion that Oswald was at the window from which the shots were fired, although the prints do not establish the exact time he was there.

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