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Earl Rose, Coroner When Kennedy Was Shot, Dies at 85


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The Parkland medical examiner who lobbied at the ER scene to keep JFK's body in Dallas for the autopsy has died at 85. He came under scrutiny by some researchers (also performed Tippit's and Ruby's post mortem) and spoke publicly about the assassination after Stone's film. As far as I know, he always advocated the trajectory and wounds of the WC findings.

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Thank you Michael for contributing a nice article, the kind of article that should be written of us all following the expiration of our life. I don't believe there was any significant abomination within Earl Rose, no more then I believe it of my dad, one of my better friends, or a physician I currently work with who all advocate what the Warren Commission concluded. At least four Parkland MD's describe wounds that defy LHO's singular involvement. Dr Rose knew that as well as he knew about most other theories that defined absolutely impossible coincidences and perfectly clear, deductive, and sound evidence of multicomplicity. But he, like the others I respect, chose, and choose, not to believe certain truths. I've noticed the look in their eyes when I've shown them certain conventionally unexplainable government autopsy photos. It's kind of sad. But maybe they will be better off then us. They have a foundation under them that I respect. We members here could also have a thread discussing the probabilities of future cataclysmic meteor collision with the earth. Do we at some point decide the scope of our life is better suited elsewhere? Seriously, I do understand the good that work from men like Morley and Lesar has, and will, accomplish. However, I suspect the vigilant concern over the cover-up of this one act of treason has done much greater damage, in the fifty years since, then the act itself did. The Industrial Military Complex should not exist. He was a good President who deserved much better. What are the odds he secreted back into his room from a solicitous encounter on the morning of his demise? The universe has laws that bear themselves out no matter what era or society. Don't you think he was also the perfect storm; the exact chain of events at the exact timing? Don't piss on all of your political enemies all at once is one lesson to carry away from Camelot. I recently told my wife the JFK stuff was a waste of time, and that I would find infinitely more pleasant things to occupy myself with. I've been telling her for a few years I'm gonna start working out too.

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Earl Rose, Coroner When Kennedy Was Shot, Dies at 85

By DOUGLAS MARTIN

The New York Times

May 2, 2012

Earl Rose, who as the Dallas County medical examiner when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated insisted that he should do the autopsy, only to be overruled in a confrontation with presidential aides, died on Tuesday in Iowa City. He was 85.

The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, said his wife, Marilyn.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Dr. Rose was thrust into the thick of a 20th-century American nightmare. He performed an autopsy on J. D. Tippit, the police officer who was believed to have been killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, the lone suspect in the assassination. Two days later, he performed an autopsy on Oswald himself after the nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot him in the basement of Dallas police headquarters. Four years later, Dr. Rose performed an autopsy on Ruby, determining that he had died of a blood clot in a lung.

But it was the autopsy he did not do that has become the most historic. After demanding to conduct an autopsy on the president, as he was legally required to do in any murder, Dr. Rose reluctantly stepped aside to allow the president’s body to be returned to Washington, as the president’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy, and his aides insisted.

The autopsy was later performed at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center in Maryland. The pathologists there did not know that a doctor at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where the stricken president had been taken, had performed a tracheotomy on Kennedy that obscured a gunshot wound in his neck. Nor did they have access to the clothing the president was wearing.

A forensic panel commissioned by Congress determined in 1978 that the Bethesda doctors had failed to dissect a wound in Kennedy’s upper back and had only probed it with a finger. The same year, pathologists involved in the autopsy admitted that they had been in “hurry up” mode. Conspiracy theorists have questioned whether high-ranking civilian and military officials who were present during the autopsy may have influenced its results.

Dr. Rose said in 1992 that an autopsy performed in Dallas “would have been free of any perceptions of outside influence.”

His confrontation with the president’s party occurred outside Trauma Room 1 at Parkland. Dr. Rose, a physician and lawyer who had become county medical examiner less than six months earlier, informed the Secret Service and other aides traveling with Kennedy that state law required that an autopsy in a murder be performed in the county where the crime had taken place.

He said that it would take no more than 45 minutes, and that the doctors who had treated the president were there to advise. Critical evidence could be gathered at a time when the assassin or assassins were still at large. “You can’t break the chain of evidence,” Dr. Rose was quoted as telling them.

Dr. George Burkley, Kennedy’s physician, reminded Dr. Rose that the country was dealing with the president and said he must waive local laws. At the time, however, there was no federal law expressly addressing assassinations. Any suspect would have been tried in a Texas state court.

But historians have said that Mrs. Kennedy insisted on returning to Washington as soon as possible and that she would not leave without her husband’s body. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was to be shortly sworn in as the 36th president aboard Air Force One, supported the first lady’s decision.

As Mrs. Kennedy emerged from the trauma room beside a gurney carrying the casket, tension mounted. Roy Kellerman, head of the White House Secret Service detail, squared off against Dr. Rose. Obscenities were shouted. Unconfirmed accounts said Mr. Kellerman had pointed a gun at Dr. Rose. Years later, Dr. Rose said that might have happened but that he was not sure.

“Finally, without saying any more, I simply stood aside,” Dr. Rose said.

Earl Forrest Rose was born on Sept. 23, 1926, in Eagle Butte, S.D. His father worked on a ranch, and Earl rode his horse five miles to school. He dropped out of high school in 1944 to join the Navy, where he served on a submarine in the South Pacific.

He graduated from Yankton College, now closed, in 1949, and went on to study medicine at the University of South Dakota for two years before finishing his medical studies at the University of Nebraska. He earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University while working as medical examiner in Dallas.

After working in private medical practice in Lemmon, S.D., in the mid-1950s, Dr. Rose continued his medical education, completing residencies in surgical pathology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, in clinical pathology at DePaul Hospital in St. Louis, and in forensic pathology at the University of Virginia.

He moved to Dallas in June 1963 at the age of 36, hired by the county to establish a scientifically valid medical examiner’s system to replace its existing system of elected lay coroners.

Dr. Rose taught pathology at the University of Iowa from 1968 until his retirement in the early 1990s. He took writing courses, carved sculptures from cow bones and, with his wife, was a mediator in small claims court. Each Nov. 22, he could count on hearing from assassination buffs. He personally rejected conspiracy theories, however, believing that the Warren Commission had rightly concluded that three shots were fired by a single assassin and that Kennedy was struck from the rear by two of them.

In addition to his wife, the former Marilyn Preheim, Dr. Rose is survived by his daughters Elise, Cecile, Karen, Miriam and Carol Rose, and 12 grandchildren. His son, Forrest, died in 2005.

After witnessing several executions, Dr. Rose became an outspoken opponent of capital punishment. Several years ago he wrote that the most poignant tragedies usually do not involve important people. “Rather,” he wrote, “the most tragic deaths involve the people who have no reserve of emotional support, many of whom are poor.”

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Guest Tom Scully

I merged the two threads on the passing of Earl Rose since the threads cover the same topic and were started just one day apart.

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