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Was it a 7.65 Mauser or a Mannicher-Carcano?

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Controversy still swirls around rifle used in JFK assassination

By Greg Kendall-Bell

Abilene Reporter-News

Tue, 11/22/2011 - 3:47pm


ABILENE, Texas -- Wayne Dorothy was reading his Sunday Abilene Reporter-News when he almost fell out of his chair, he said.

On Page 8A, in black and white, was a photo of part of a letter Gene Boone wrote to Dallas County Sheriff Bill Decker on Nov. 22, 1963.

Boone was a Dallas sheriff's deputy when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. On the day of the shooting, Boone discovered a rifle later linked to Lee Harvey Oswald on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. As part of his duties, Boone said, he was required to notify the sheriff of anything peculiar that occurred during his shift.

So he wrote his "Decker letter" saying he had been involved in the search of the building, and had found what "appeared to be a 7.65 Mauser with a telescope sight on the rifle."

That's what nearly unseated Dorothy.

"That was the first document I've ever seen -- from someone who was there -- that indicated the rifle they found was a Mauser, not a Mannicher-Carcano," Dorothy said.

The exact make and model of the rifle is one of the controversies that continue to swirl around Kennedy's assassination 48 years after the fact.

Dorothy, who is the director of bands at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, said he became interested in the various theories surrounding Kennedy's death while teaching in Tennessee in 1984.

While the band director at Abilene's Tullahoma High School, Dorothy said he attended a continuing education course about the assassination taught by the high school's head football coach.

"He had always enjoyed reading about the assassination, and ever since taking his course, I've been fascinated," Dorothy said.

For almost 30 years, Dorothy and his father, who also is an armchair assassination enthusiast, have amassed a large library of films, videos and books on the topic.

The more than 40 books Dorothy currently owns is just a tiny portion of the corpus of material that exists pertaining to just what happened in Dealey Plaza in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

"There are theories out there that run the gamut from absolute crackpot to more sober ideas," Dorothy said. "You have some real nuts, and you have serious scientists weighing in on it."

Dorothy said he has his own questions about the case, but he doesn't think they will ever be fully resolved.

"There's enough variation in all the theories out there that I don't think we'll ever be able to prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt. Look, we have two different official government reports (the 1964 Warren Commission report and the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations report) that basically contradict each other," he said.

The Warren Commission ultimately decided that Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman, and that gunman was Lee Harvey Oswald. The House Select Committee reported that it was likely Kennedy was killed as the result of a conspiracy.

Boone, who found the rifle, said he doesn't put much stock in conspiracy theories. He said he believes the Warren Commission's finding that only one shooter was involved.

"But, because of the political climate at the time, if it ever came out that there was a conspiracy, I wouldn't be surprised," Boone said. "If there was a conspiracy, I'd say it involved getting Oswald into the right place at the right time."

Any possible conspiracy could only have involved a handful of people, Boone said, "otherwise, something would have come out already."

Dorothy said he doesn't believe Oswald was the lone assassin, and that he doubts whether he even fired a single round. The amount of metal recovered from bullet fragments raises doubts about the number of shots fired, he said. Discrepancies between official medical reports from Parkland Hospital in Dallas, and the official autopsy performed in Maryland several days later need to be explained, he said.

But as for the rifle, identified initially as a German Mauser then later as an Italian infantry rifle?

"Well, I was mistaken," Boone said. He said he used the term "Mauser" to describe the weapon -- which he only saw from two to three feet away -- as a bolt-action rifle, not the particular brand.

Dorothy, however, is skeptical.

"The very first information out of Dallas said the rifle was a Mauser. Then it all changed, and it was said to be a Mannlicher-Carcano. How did three police officers all misidentify it?" he said.

"You know, the more I read about the assassination, the more questions I tend to have," he said.

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This is yet another area where too many CTers have given ground without good cause. Legally speaking, the evidence indicates that the weapon found on the sixth floor was a German Mauser. This is because the sworn affidavits from the two men who discovered it (leave out Roger Craig's testimony, if you like) both "mistakenly" identified it in exactly the same way. An honest courtroom could not have accepted the Mannlicher Carcano into evidence because the legal chain of possession doesn't apply to it; those who discovered it swore it was a different weapon.

Of course, I know that it was very unlikely that Lee Harvey Oswald would have been tried in an honest courtroom, and thus the Carcano would have introduced with no objection from what probably would have been an ineffective counsel. I also can understand the point that many CTers make, which is basically to question the purpose behind planting a weapon that couldn't be traced to Oswald. But facts are facts, and the only written documentation for the discovery of the sixth floor weapon describes it as a German Mauser.

Whatever this all means, it certainly is yet another contradiction of the official story.

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The types of "mistakes" and outright incompetence we are expected to swallow concerning this case simply boggles the mind.

I wonder how many pages we could fill listing "errors", "mistakes", and "coincidences"?

Rifle problems, shell problems, revolver problems, brown bag problems, chicken & Dr. Pepper problems, snipers nest and box configuration problems, time problems, palmprint problems, lineup problems, changing story problems, eyewitness problems, arrest search problems, bus transfer problems, ID problems, nitrate test problems, interrogation problems, chain of custody problems, notes problems, affidavit problems, photographic problems, autopsy problems...

It just goes on and on and on and on


Just think-- If there weren't so damn many problems with this case, it migh even have been solved by now!

The very fact that there are so many "problems" suggests to me that there was a very large and nearly-perfect conspiracy. The conspirators (before, during, and after the assassination) were very good at obsfcating, distorting, and, in many cases, conjuring up the "facts" of the case so that we would run around in circles like a dog chasing its tail (or a shadow of its tail!) for nearly fifty years now! I'm optimistic, however, because I feel we've made some progress during the past couple of weeks. I know I have. :)

--Tommy :ph34r:

Edited by Thomas Graves
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I have always heard it was a mannlicher cancarno, but then they had another rifle.

Wayne Dorothy said that President Kennedy underwent his autopsy "several days later."

Is he kidding? The awful affair was performed that very night Nov 22-23. Jackie, with her husband's blood still on her hands, arrived home around 4am on the 23rd. Somehow the Kennedys got ahold on the brain, which was put in a stainless steel container and buried in the grave with the assassinated President. There was a photo once with the container on the ground of the cemetery next to the opened grave in 1967. It again was buried in a new location they found more suitable to President Kennedy. This was done in the middle of the night with the cemetery guarded by the National Guard. The photo I couldn't find. But I saw it and spoke with another researcher, who had the picture about it.

Kathy C

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