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JFK (John F Kennedy) Assassination - Bullet Analyses

NCJ Number
Analytical Chemistry Volume: 51 Issue: 4 Dated: (April 1979) Pages: 484A-486A,488A,492A-493A
V P Guinn
Date Published
6 pages
The history of bullet analyses from the John F. Kennedy assassination is traced, and the results and method of the author's 1977 bullet analysis, using instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), are presented.
The 1963-1964 analyses of Kennedy assassination evidence included an analysis of the various bullet fragments, using emission spectrography. The results showed that all of the bullet-lead specimens were qualitatively generally 'similar' in elemental composition and 'could be' all of the same brand of ammunition. This was the extent of the chemical analysis work cited in the Warren Commission Report. For a number of years after the publication of the Warren Commission Report, a number of forensic scientists urged that the bullet-lead evidence specimens be examined in more quantitative detail by some more powerful method, such as neutron activation analysis, so as to test the Commission's conclusion that all of the specimens recovered were fired only by Oswald. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ignored these requests; however, in 1973, a letter from were Edgar Hoover to the Warren Commission, dated July 8, 1964, turned up in the National Archives. It reported that the FBI had performed neutron activation analysis on the bullet fragments, yielding inconclusive results. The 1977 INAA analysis commissioned by the House Select Committee on Assassinations yielded more definitive results. The bullet samples were all found to be in the concentration ranges of WCC/MC bullet lead, and the specimens show clear evidence for the presence of only two WCC/MC bullets. These findings support, although they do not prove, the Warren Commission theory that the bullet found on Governor Connally's stretcher at the hospital is the one that caused the President's back wound and all of Governor Connally's wounds. Tabular and graphic data and six references are provided.


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