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Tippit Motive and Rifle Chain of Evidence, looking for some guidance.


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57 minutes ago, James DiEugenio said:

Liebeler was of two minds on this case.  One is that he knew there were severe problems with the WR.  And he wanted to do his best to conceal them.  So there were witnesses he wanted to discard, like Markham.

But once it became open season on the WR, he went into all out cover up mode.  It was him and Slawson who really started the idea for the Clark Panel back in 1966. They wanted to do a limited hang out on the medical  evidence to stop an all out inquiry. Then he called that press conference when the Garrison inquiry opened and he used the FBI to say that Ferrie was not really a suspect.  (LOL ROTF)

Around this time, Ray Marcus called him up and said, look why don't you just say that the WC was not an adequate inquiry into the case: instead of saying the glass is half full just say its half empty.   There was a long pause and finally Liebeler said, "Mr. Marcus, sometimes people get involved in things that are bigger than they are."

 

Also, Tommy, the idea that the Walker bullet was a 6.5 WCC projectile is contradicted by both the newspaper and police reports that were originally submitted. The FBI did the alchemy and the WR followed along.  Also, look up the testimony of Kirk Coleman, the best witness.

Thanks Jim, that memo does make for confusing reading... in the space of a paragraph he seems to go from, "You realize this is complete malarkey, right?" to "We have to make sure everyone believes this malarkey... right!"

Kirk Coleman... I'll get right on that.

It seems kind of... counterproductive for the WC to put Oswald in the frame for Walker, when his ability with a rifle is one of the most concerning issues they would have to explain.
The notion that at night, with a solid fence to rest the gun, and a clear view of the stationary target inside an illuminated room, at an ideal range, with as much time to line the shot up as he needed... that the guy could miss the target, yet pull off a 3 second double tap on a moving target travelling tangentially and away from him... that's just silly.

Edited by Tommy Tomlinson
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On 8/4/2020 at 2:18 PM, Kishan Dandiker said:

Nice to see another Brit here. Some of the more shocking revelations for me as I’ve researched the case have been about the media stifling discussions on this manner as well as their inability to ask the most basic questions. Unfortunately our country isn’t much better.

Hope you’re enjoying the forum. I’m fairly new and the wealth of knowledge the posters have here is incredible. Best place to be if you want to learn more about the case.

Given my Scottish heritage that runs through Ireland, many here in the US I believe appreciate the efforts of those in the UK and beyond.  To see anyone younger interested is encouraging.  Keep seeking the Truth.  Thanks Uncle Malcom, howdy Bart.

Edited by Ron Bulman
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey guys, just been told something that I don't believe is accurate, but I would still like to make sure.

What I was told is that Paraffin Wax tests weren't used as evidence in Texas in 1963, as they were notoriously unreliable and just as likely to give a false positive as a real one.

I always believed that they were simply replaced over time by more advanced methods using advanced scientific equipment.

Can anyone fill me in on any details surrounding this.

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4 hours ago, Tommy Tomlinson said:

Hey guys, just been told something that I don't believe is accurate, but I would still like to make sure.

What I was told is that Paraffin Wax tests weren't used as evidence in Texas in 1963, as they were notoriously unreliable and just as likely to give a false positive as a real one.

I always believed that they were simply replaced over time by more advanced methods using advanced scientific equipment.

Can anyone fill me in on any details surrounding this.

From what I've read, the tests on the hands could give a false positive because the same chemicals could have gotten there from handling other materials like cardboard boxes. However, Mark Lane believed a lack of nitrates on the cheek would have been court admitted evidence that someone did not fire a rifle. That's my understanding of it anyway, it could be wrong or not apply to Texas laws at the time.

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1 hour ago, Denny Zartman said:

From what I've read, the tests on the hands could give a false positive because the same chemicals could have gotten there from handling other materials like cardboard boxes. However, Mark Lane believed a lack of nitrates on the cheek would have been court admitted evidence that someone did not fire a rifle. That's my understanding of it anyway, it could be wrong or not apply to Texas laws at the time.

Yeah, I've heard that the nitrates, barium, antimony etc can be picked up from sources other than GSR such as various types of printers ink.

But I've also read that the Wade led Dallas prosecutorial record of the time is littered with subsequent exonerations and guessed that they weren't too worried about False Positives.
The identification of nitrates would not automatically prove the presence of GSR, but a complete absence would strongly suggest that a gun had not been fired.

I'm just wondering if the tests were actually used in Texas court trials around 63 as evidence.

Edited by Tommy Tomlinson
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Henry Wade.

Within hours he is telling the national press he was certain "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Oswald was guilty of murdering the President and that he acted alone.

The most remarkably successful "two day" short DA criminal investigations ever!

Candy and cigarette machine break-ins take more time to solve.

Edited by Joe Bauer
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8 minutes ago, Joe Bauer said:

Henry Wade.

Within hours he is telling the national press he was certain "beyond any reasonable doubt" that Oswald was guilty of murdering the President and that he acted alone.

The most remarkably successful "two day" short DA criminal investigations ever!

Candy and cigarette machine break-ins take more time to solve.

I guess that's why CBS never made "CSI Dallas".
The episodes would last about 8 1/2 minutes, and 6 of those would be a montage of cops in cowboy hats fabricating evidence and intimidating witnesses while Kid Rock music plays in the background.

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1 minute ago, Tommy Tomlinson said:

I guess that's why CBS never made "CSI Dallas".
The episodes would last about 8 1/2 minutes, and 6 of those would be a montage of cops in cowboy hats fabricating evidence and intimidating witnesses while Kid Rock music plays in the background.

HA!

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12 minutes ago, Joe Bauer said:

Henry Wade.

Within hours he is telling the national press he was certain "beyond any reasonable doubt" that Oswald was guilty of murdering the President and that he acted alone.

The most remarkably successful "two day" short DA criminal investigations ever!

Candy and cigarette machine break-ins take more time to solve.

On a more serious note, I'm sure I'm not breaking new ground with this idea, but as far as I'm concerned it was THAT speech that nailed Oswald in the public eye, and the Warren Commission was never going to be able to shift public opinion after the media kind of accepted that the "accused" was automatically the "killer".

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5 hours ago, Tommy Tomlinson said:

Yeah, I've heard that the nitrates, barium, antimony etc can be picked up from sources other than GSR such as various types of printers ink.

But I've also read that the Wade led Dallas prosecutorial record of the time is littered with subsequent exonerations and guessed that they weren't too worried about False Positives.
The identification of nitrates would not automatically prove the presence of GSR, but a complete absence would strongly suggest that a gun had not been fired.

I'm just wondering if the tests were actually used in Texas court trials around 63 as evidence.

The tests were definitely used in Texas at that time.

Even the best GSR tests have their shortcomings and test accuracy can be impacted by a variety of factors. Two factors which are relevant considering Oswald is the passage of time between the alleged firing of shots and the time the test was taken, additionally it's more likely whatever traces were found on Oswald were a result of cross-contamination than was from him firing a gun.

From the FBI's Forensic Science Communications

Summary of the FBI LAbrotaory's Gunshot Residue Symposium May 31 - June 3, 2005

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All participants agreed that GSR sampling should be done at the scene, where permissible, and as expeditiously as possible. With respect to sampling and transfer concerns, it was unanimously agreed that it would be best to sample a subject’s hands before bagging the hands or placing the subject in a police vehicle. It was also agreed that armed law enforcement officers can transfer GSR particles to a subject through contact. Almost all participants agreed that if the subject’s hands cannot be sampled before placing the subject in a police vehicle, the subject’s hands should be bagged in order to prevent possible contamination. Another recommendation was that, to the extent possible, all used cartridge cases and/or firearms be kept away from the GSR sampling kits, the area where sampling will take place, and the area of the laboratory where GSR analyses are performed.

 

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Debra Kowal also provided data from a three-part study that attempted to determine the occurrence of GSR in the law enforcement environment (Kowal 2005). In the first part of the study, vehicles from half of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s substations were sampled for GSR in the backseat “cupping area,” a well or cutout in the lower portion of the seat where restrained individuals can rest their hands during transport. Two-component particles were detected on 45 of the 50 analyzed samples. Four of the 45 samples also contained three-component PbBaSb particles. Only 5 of the 50 samples were negative for the presence of GSR particles.

Kowal conducted a second study with respect to the secondary transfer of particles from the backseat of a patrol vehicle to a restrained individual’s hands. A handcuffed person known to have GSR on the hands was placed in the backseat of a patrol vehicle for approximately 10 minutes, followed by a restrained individual known to have hands free of GSR. Sampling of the second person’s hands indicated that 12 three-component and 10 two-component particles were transferred from the seat to the second individual’s previously GSR-free hands.

The third part of the study described the transfer that took place when an individual with “clean” hands was handcuffed by an on-duty officer and placed in the backseat of a patrol vehicle for 10 minutes. Of the 41 samples collected from the hands of the previously “GSR-free” individuals, 20 had an average of 5 two-component particles transferred from the law enforcement environment (on-duty officer and/or patrol vehicle), 17 had no GSR-like particle transfer, and 4 contained PbBaSb particles. In 3 of those 4 cases, the officers had qualified with their service weapons during their shifts. The fourth transfer was noted on an individual who was handcuffed by an officer who had last drawn his firearm in the preceding 30 days.

In summary, the authors of the Kowal study demonstrated in the first part that GSR is in the environment of patrol car backseats. In part two, they demonstrated that transfer of GSR between a vehicle backseat and an individual is possible. And in part three, results indicated that GSR can be transferred from a law enforcement environment to an individual’s hands. However, there are not sufficient data to statistically calculate a rate of transfer.

 

Quote

Michael Martinez reported on a study of 100 handcuffed subjects who were sampled for the presence of GSR while in the custody of local law enforcement officers. Sampling took place after transport to magistrate court or jail while the subjects were awaiting arraignment. Two-component particles (either PbBa or PbSb) were located on 16 percent of the subjects on their dominant, unwashed hands. None of the subjects in this study had three-component particles on their hands. The authors concluded that the particles were transferred from a law enforcement officer, an inanimate object, or the back of the law enforcement vehicle in which the subjects had been transported (Martinez and Garcia 2005).

Another symposium participant offered information, which had been shared previously on the Forensic SEM listserv, describing a contamination study of different types of law enforcement vehicles, as well as table surfaces and restraining bars in interrogation rooms. No three-component (PbBaSb) particles were found in most of the sampled vehicles, although two PbBaSb particles were detected in vehicles with cloth seats. Table surfaces revealed a much higher rate of transferred PbBaSb particles, reinforcing the need for sample collection prior to leaving the scene. Thus, although the study determined that there is a chance of secondary transfer to subjects from transporting or detaining them, it was relatively low based on the collected data. That observation was corroborated by the majority of the symposium participants.

 

Quote

The majority of symposium participants overwhelmingly agreed that particles can transfer from one surface to another and that bystanders (e.g., a person present at the time of the shooting who does not come into direct physical contact with the shooter, firearm, or any other surface potentially contaminated with GSR) can test positive for GSR. Michael McVicar also shared the results of a study that sought to determine whether a bystander could be reasonably distinguished from a shooter. The conclusion was that the high degree of variability that exists in the deposition of GSR as a result of the ammunition-firearm combination and the number of shots fired produces an overlap between the GSR concentrations obtained from sampling either a shooter or bystander as quickly as 15 minutes postfiring. Therefore, the number of particles cannot be used as a basis for determining if someone fired, or was merely in the vicinity of, a recently discharged firearm (Lindsay and McVicar 2004).

https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/about-us/lab/forensic-science-communications/fsc/july2006/research/2006_07_research01.htm

Edited by Mark Stevens
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1 hour ago, Mark Stevens said:

Even the best GSR tests have their shortcomings and test accuracy can be impacted by a variety of factors. Two factors which are relevant considering Oswald is the passage of time between the alleged firing of shots and the time the test was taken, additionally it's more likely whatever traces were found on Oswald were a result of cross-contamination than was from him firing a gun.

I think people look at this the wrong way by looking at false positive rates.

It may be more interesting to look at false negative rates of tests for GSR.

As I understand it:

  • LHO's paraffin test results were negative for the presence of gunshot residue.
  • The FBI then ran chemical spectroscopy tests, a more sensitive test, on the paraffin which were also negative for the presence of GSR.
  • The FBI then took the paraffin, sent it to Oak Ridge Labs for Neutron Activation Analysis tests, an even more sensitive test. Again the results were negative.  At this point, the probability that LHO fired a rifle is very low.  
  • So, the FBI had 7 agents shoot the (or another) MC rifle.  Paraffin casts were taken and sent to Oak Ridge for NAA to discredit the test.  However, all 7 tests were positive for GSR.
  • The end result is that if we knew the false negative rate for NAA tests for GSR you would have estimates for the probabilities that LHO fired or did not fire a rifle.

Note:  This is a completely different statistical analysis from the discredited NAA on the composition of the bullets. In that case there is a statistical variance (spread) on the proportions of the chemical composition of the bullets.  That variance makes it impossible to determine whether fragments are from the same bullet as composition proportions not only vary widely from bullet to bullet but within samples from the same bullet.

Here, the test is only whether GSR chemicals are present or absent.

If I remember correctly, the NAA is sensitive enough that washing your face and hands would not affect the test and that in fact NAA on paraffin from LHO's hands was positive for GSR indicating that he may have handled a pistol -- however, this could be due to contamination from handling the books and cartons, etc.  as discussed above in the false positive case.

In summary, the tests are evidence that LHO did not fire a rifle.  

This is discussed in Head Shot: the Science Behind the JFK Assassination by G Paul Chambers.

Edited by Bill Fite
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16 hours ago, Bill Fite said:

I think people look at this the wrong way by looking at false positive rates.

It may be more interesting to look at false negative rates of tests for GSR.

As I understand it:

  • LHO's paraffin test results were negative for the presence of gunshot residue.
  • The FBI then ran chemical spectroscopy tests, a more sensitive test, on the paraffin which were also negative for the presence of GSR.
  • The FBI then took the paraffin, sent it to Oak Ridge Labs for Neutron Activation Analysis tests, an even more sensitive test. Again the results were negative.  At this point, the probability that LHO fired a rifle is very low.  
  • So, the FBI had 7 agents shoot the (or another) MC rifle.  Paraffin casts were taken and sent to Oak Ridge for NAA to discredit the test.  However, all 7 tests were positive for GSR.
  • The end result is that if we knew the false negative rate for NAA tests for GSR you would have estimates for the probabilities that LHO fired or did not fire a rifle.

Note:  This is a completely different statistical analysis from the discredited NAA on the composition of the bullets. In that case there is a statistical variance (spread) on the proportions of the chemical composition of the bullets.  That variance makes it impossible to determine whether fragments are from the same bullet as composition proportions not only vary widely from bullet to bullet but within samples from the same bullet.

Here, the test is only whether GSR chemicals are present or absent.

If I remember correctly, the NAA is sensitive enough that washing your face and hands would not affect the test and that in fact NAA on paraffin from LHO's hands was positive for GSR indicating that he may have handled a pistol -- however, this could be due to contamination from handling the books and cartons, etc.  as discussed above in the false positive case.

In summary, the tests are evidence that LHO did not fire a rifle.  

This is discussed in Head Shot: the Science Behind the JFK Assassination by G Paul Chambers.

I thought that the paraffin hand casts tested positive at DPD?
The way I understood it, that was one of the things that gave them so much confidence in proclaiming Oswald the killer? It was one of the most oft repeated inaccuracies in the News reports in the following days and weeks, (thereby cementing his guilt in the minds of the public) NBC, CBS and WaPo were repeatedly saying that the paraffin wax tests on his hands came back positive on both hands, "proving" that he had fired a rifle that day.
Ignoring the obvious points a) that there was no such evidence on his face, and b) that at the time he was well and truly in the frame for Tippit, and if that were true he had every reason to have GSR on BOTH hands since the witnesses reported him emptying and reloading his revolver. And while I'm certain Arlen Specter could have come up with an interesting story to show how he could have done that one-handed, I don't think anyone would buy it for a second.

Again, from what I gathered, they couldn't find anything on his face at DPD. And the subsequent NAA on the face cast had issues of contamination?

That may all just be misinterpreting the material I've been reading... I've read so much that I wasn't previously aware of since starting this thread, my brain might be having... "filing issues".

Edited by Tommy Tomlinson
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2 hours ago, Tommy Tomlinson said:

And the subsequent NAA on the face cast had issues of contamination?

No -- the paraffin test from his cheek, chemical spectroscopy and NAA tests on the paraffin were all negative.  Evidence for not firing a rifle.... leading to the FBI 7 agent NAA test  firings ... their NAA tests on their paraffin samples were all were positive.  The issue here is whether or not a false negative result for GSR has a high probability.  From what I've read it doesn't although I've never found

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Separately, the false positives are on the hand paraffin. 

The NAA on the paraffin from his hands was positive which could have been a result of working with the print in the books, or just handling a handgun (which we know he did).  The NAA on the paraffin tests from his hands could have been false positives.

The internal WC memo summarizing the FBI NAA results stated something to the effect that at best all they could say was that LHO had handled a handgun that day.

Here's a link that discusses it: http://22november1963.org.uk/jfk-assassination-neutron-activation-analysis

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8 minutes ago, Bill Fite said:

No -- the paraffin test from his cheek, chemical spectroscopy and NAA tests on the paraffin were all negative.  Evidence for not firing a rifle.... leading to the FBI 7 agent NAA test  firings ... their NAA tests on their paraffin samples were all were positive.  The issue here is whether or not a false negative result for GSR has a high probability.  From what I've read it doesn't although I've never found

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Separately, the false positives are on the hand paraffin. 

The NAA on the paraffin from his hands was positive which could have been a result of working with the print in the books, or just handling a handgun (which we know he did).  The NAA on the paraffin tests from his hands could have been false positives.

The internal WC memo summarizing the FBI NAA results stated something to the effect that at best all they could say was that LHO had handled a handgun that day.

Here's a link that discusses it: http://22november1963.org.uk/jfk-assassination-neutron-activation-analysis

That's where I got the notion that there was a contamination issue.

http://22november1963.org.uk/oswald-rifle-and-paraffin-tests

Note 5. Near the bottom of the page.

"The presence of almost identical, small quantities of barium and antimony both on the inside of the cast, which had touched Oswald’s cheek, and the outside, which had not, suggests that the cast had become contaminated. The results were complicated by the fact that they were conducted later than the spectrographic tests, which involved applying chemicals to the casts, then washing the casts. This has the effect of removing substantial amounts of barium and small amounts of antimony. The apparent contamination of the paraffin cast of Oswald’s right cheek allowed the Warren Report unjustifiably to discard the evidence of the neutron activation analysis; see Warren Report, p.562, which incorrectly states that both of Oswald’s hands tested negative."

I understood that to mean that there WAS contamination on the cheek cast, and they unjustifiably used that to scrap ALL the NAA testing rather than they unjustifiably suggested there was contamination of the cheek cast in order to discard the NAA stuff...

Blimey... I forget how easy it is to misinterpret this stuff.

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13 minutes ago, Bill Fite said:

No -- the paraffin test from his cheek, chemical spectroscopy and NAA tests on the paraffin were all negative.  Evidence for not firing a rifle.... leading to the FBI 7 agent NAA test  firings ... their NAA tests on their paraffin samples were all were positive.  The issue here is whether or not a false negative result for GSR has a high probability.  From what I've read it doesn't although I've never found

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Separately, the false positives are on the hand paraffin. 

The NAA on the paraffin from his hands was positive which could have been a result of working with the print in the books, or just handling a handgun (which we know he did).  The NAA on the paraffin tests from his hands could have been false positives.

The internal WC memo summarizing the FBI NAA results stated something to the effect that at best all they could say was that LHO had handled a handgun that day.

Here's a link that discusses it: http://22november1963.org.uk/jfk-assassination-neutron-activation-analysis

It's been some time since I was familiar with what all was done as far as rifle testing. I do recall that the FBI did test fire the weapon and did not find any nitrates on the person firing the gun. This included hands and face and included multiple firings.

Considering that, and the overall facts regarding gas ejection when firing a bolt action rifle, what you've stated is not actually "evidence for not firing a rifle." It fits with the characteristics of bolt action rifles and with that particular rifle. It really isn't evidence in either direction.

The false positives were on the cheek, depending on what you are referring to as false positives. The cheek was not negative but since the outside of the test was contaminated it was I believe either thrown out or considered a false positive.

Again, positive GSR tests for Oswald do not in any way indicate he handled, fired, or possessed a gun that day. All this indicates is that he came into contact with those substances at some point before he was tested. Since he was tested hours after being placed in at least 5 situations where cross-contamination from law enforcement was likely, any test in my mind is invalid and inaccurate.

Additionally, the NAA is not infallible and a judge would not allow an expert to state a person had definitely handled or fired a gun, only that they might have based on what the test indicates.

Quote

A number of courts have admitted GSR testimony based on NAA. 21 In one case, however, the court criticized the expert for overstating the conclusions that can be drawn from the test:

We are concerned . . . about the sweeping and unqualified manner in which [the expert's] testimony was offered .... An expert witness could be permitted to testify that in his opinion the chemicals pres ent on defendant's hand may have resulted from the firing of a gun. He should not have been permitted to state, as he did, that this defendant had definitely fired a gun. 22

 

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