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Warren Commission Report: Page 585« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX X - Expert Testimony)

Thus, the Governor's wrist wound indicated that the bullet passed through the President's neck, began to yaw in the air between the President and the Governor, and then lost substantially more velocity than 400 feet per second in passing through the Governor's chest.314 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.315 In addition, the greater flattening of the bullet. that struck the animal's rib (Commission Exhibit No. 853) than the bullet which presumably struck the Governor's rib (Commission Exhibit No. 399) indicates that the animal bullet was traveling at a greater velocity.316 That suggests that the bullet which entered the Governor's chest had already lost velocity by passing through the President's neck.317 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.318


Dr. Frederick W. Light, Jr., the third of the wound ballistics experts, testified that the anatomical findings alone were insufficient for him to formulate a firm opinion on whether the same bullet did or did not pass through the President's neck first before inflicting all the wounds on Governor Connally.319 Based on the other circumstances, such as the relative positions in the automobile of the President and the Governor, Dr. Light concluded that it was probable that the same bullet traversed the President's neck and inflicted all the wounds on Governor Connally.320

Tests Simulating President Kennedy's Head Wounds

Additional tests were performed on inert. skulls filled with a 20 percent gelatin substance and then coated with additional gelatin to approximate the soft tissues overlying the skull.321 The skull was then draped with simulated hair as depicted in Commission Exhibit No. 860.322 Using the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and the Western bullets, 10 shots were fired at the reconstructed skulls from a distance of 270 feet which was the estimated distance at the time those tests were conducted.323 It was later determined through the onsite tests that President Kennedy was struck in the back of the head at a distance of 265.3 feet from the assassination weapon.324


The general results of these tests were illustrated by the findings on one skull which was struck at a point most nearly approximating the wound of entry on President Kennedy's head.325 The whole skull, depicted in Commission Exhibit No. 860, was struck 2.9 centimeters to the right and almost horizontal to the occipital protuberance or slightly above it, which was virtually the precise point of entry on the President's head as described by the autopsy surgeons.326 That bullet blew out the right side of the reconstructed skull in a manner very similar to the head wounds of the President.327 The consequences on that skull are depicted in Commission Exhibits Nos. 861 and 862, which illustrate the testimony of Dr. Alfred G. Olivier, who supervised the experiments.328 Based on his review of the autopsy report,

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