countered with the argument that tests have proven that
it was not impossible for a bullet to remain in good
condition under such circumstances and that it was also
possible that there would be no evidence of blood or
tissue. As such, the debate has remained in stalemate
for nearly half a century. But in more recent times, a
far stronger case against the legitimacy of CE399 has
emerged. As we shall see, it also happens to be a
conclusive indictment of the integrity of J. Edgar
Our study begins at Parkland hospital with the discovery
of a bullet by orderly, Darrell Tomlinson. Tomlinson told
the Warren Commission that he returned Governor
Connally's stretcher from the second floor back to the
ground floor, and then parked it behind another
stretcher that was in front of the door to a rest room.
During his testimony, he illustrated the positions of
the two stretchers, producing the following diagram:
Tomlinson labelled the two stretchers, "A" and "B", in
response to Specter's request:
Mr. SPECTER. Will
you mark with a "B" the stretcher which was present at
the time you pushed stretcher "A" off of the elevator?
Specter also asked him to label the rest room in the
diagram as "C" and explain how he acquired the bullet,
Where is the men's room located on this diagram?
Mr. TOMLINSON. It
would be right there (indicating) beside the "B"
Would you draw in ink there the outline of that room
in a general way?
Well, I really don't know.
Mr. SPECTER. And
would you mark that with the letter "C"?
That's fine. What happened when that gentleman came to
use the men's room?
Well, he pushed the stretcher out from the wall to get
in, and then when he came out he just walked off and
didn't push the stretcher back up against the wall, so
I pushed it out of the way where we would have clear
area in front of the elevator.
Mr. SPECTER. And
where did you push it to?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I
pushed it back up against the wall.
What, if anything, happened then?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I
bumped the wall and a spent cartridge or bullet rolled
out that apparently had been lodged under the edge of
Mr. SPECTER. And
that was from which stretcher?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I
believe that it was "B".
Clearly, Tomlinson was stating that the bullet was on a
different stretcher than the one he brought down on the
elevator. Nonetheless, Specter repeatedly badgered him
to change his story, but could only manage to get his
inconvenient witness to say that he wasn't sure. But
Tomlinson further confirmed what happened, in this NOVA
documentary, narrated by Walter Cronkite. (move the timeline to
Tomlinson passed the bullet to his supervisor, Mr. O.P.
Wright who also examined it and in an interview with
Josiah Thompson, was adamant that it was shaped much
differently than CE-399. This is from Josiah Thompson's
classic book, Six
Seconds in Dallas,
Before any photos
were shown or he was asked for any description of #399
'That bullet had a pointed tip.' I said, 'Pointed
tip?' He said, 'Yeah, I'll show you.
It was like this one here,' he said, reaching into his
desk and pulling out the .30 caliber
bullet pictured in Six Seconds. After Thompson
showed Wright the various bullet photos
and finally #399, Wright asked, "Is that the bullet I
was supposed to have had?".
Wright's and Tomlinson's unanimous rejection of CE-399
was further confirmed by this top secret FBI airtel,
which was never shown to the Warren Commission.
Washington Field Office), neither DARRELL C.
who found bullet
at Parkland Hospital, Dallas, nor O. P. WRIGHT,
Hospital, who obtained bullet from TOMLINSON and gave
Service, at Dallas 11/22/63, can identify bullet.
Instead, the FBI told the commission that the two
civilians had been interviewed by special agent Bardwell
Odum, who was told by the men, that the stretcher bullet
"appears to be the same one". But when Josiah Thompson
and Dr. Gary Aguilar contacted the National Archives,
they found no record of such an interview, in spite of
the fact that the FBI was required to document
interviews like that. And when they contacted Bardwell
Odum in person, he denied ever conducting such an
interview and stated that he had never even seen CE399.
Wright gave the bullet to Secret Service agent, Richard
Johnson, who in turn, passed it on to his supervisor,
James Rowley. Not surprisingly, both of those men also
refused to corroborate CE399, a fact which even the FBI
had to admit, stating in Commission exhibit 2011, that
the two agents "could not identify" it. It is
interesting that the FBI never reported the reason why
the two agents refused to corroborate this dubious piece
of evidence. Like FBI agents, Secret Service agents were
required to initial forensic evidence, and it is hard to
imagine them being negligent in such an important case.
By far, the best explanation for their denial is that
not only did the stretcher bullet look much different
than the original, but their initials were nowhere to be
found on CE-399. And they were not the only ones whose
initials were missing.
The next step in the chain of possession took place when
Rowley passed the bullet to FBI agent, Elmer Todd. Todd
was adamant that he initialed the stretcher bullet, as
he was required to do. But when researcher, John Hunt
examined extreme closeup photos of CE-399, he was able
to identify initials that were written in later, but
could find no trace of Todd's. This is from his article
on the subject:
There is no
question but that only three sets of initials appear
There is likewise no question that they
have all been positively identified:
Robert Frazier, CK was Charles Killion, and JH was
(See Figure 5.) It can be stated
as a fact that SA Elmer Lee Todd's mark is not
historical CE-399 bullet.
The entire article can be found here:
The only logical conclusion which can be drawn from this
evidence is that the bullet Tomlinson found on the
stretcher in front of the rest room door had nothing to
do with the assassination. Parkland was (and is) the
largest hospital in Dallas and processes hundreds of
gunshot victims every year. Doctor McClelland testified
that Parkland, "receives all of the indigent patients of this county,
many of whom are involved frequently in shooting
altercations, so that we do see a large number of that
type patient almost daily".
But it appears that the FBI didn't think about that when
they received the stretcher bullet at their labs on
Friday night. And when they discovered that the bullet
didn't match Oswald's rifle, they panicked. It was quite
simple to fire a round from the alleged murder weapon
into water or cotton wadding and use that bullet to
replace the one that Tomlinson found. That would explain
the near pristine condition of the bullet, the absence
of blood and tissue, the missing initials of SA Todd,
and those of the two Secret Service agents, as well as
the adamant rejection of that bullet by Tomlinson and
But there is an even better reason why we can be quite
certain that CE399 was not the bullet that wounded
Governor Connally. The real bullet was found on the
second floor and recovered by a nurse, who then passed
it on to officer Bobby Nolan, who then delivered it to
the Dallas Police department. The confirmation of this
begins with Governor Connally. This is from his
autobiography entitled, "In History's shadow".
curious discovery of all took place when they rolled
me off the stretcher, and onto the examining table. A
metal object fell to the floor, with a click no louder
than a wedding band. The nurse picked it up and
slipped it into her pocket. It was the bullet from my
body, the one that passed though my back, chest and
wrist and worked itself loose from my thigh.
enormous significance to that scrap of metal, but I
can't be certain how many years later I understood the
importance of it. I have always believed that three
bullets found their mark. What happened in the
hospital demonstrated how easily a bullet could have
been swept aside and lost.."
What the governor obviously didn't realize however, is
that the bullet was not "swept aside". Certainly, the
nurse who recovered it would not have just discarded the
most important piece of forensic evidence she had ever
handled. As it turned out, the Dallas District attorney
arrived at the hospital, eager to find out how his old
friend, Governor Connally was doing. It seems that he
arrived at about the same time that the surgery on the
governor was completed, when he ran into that same nurse
who found the bullet. This is from an interview of
Dallas District attorney, Henry Wade, by the Dallas
I also went out
to see (Gov. John) Connally, but he was in the
operating room. Some nurse had
a bullet in her hand, and said this was on the gurney
that Connally was on. I talked with Nellie
Connally a while and then went on home.
Q: What did you
do with the bullet? Is this the famous pristine bullet
people have talked about?
A: I told her to
give it to the police, which she said she would. I
assume that's the pristine bullet.
The nurse promptly carried out the district attorney's
instructions, passing the bullet to the nearest
uniformed officer in sight, who happened to be Dallas
Hwy Patrolman, Bobby Nolan, who was standing in the
hallway talking to Connally aide, Bill Stinson. This is
from my interview of Nolan in 2010.
I was talking to
a man who was one of governor Connally's aides. His
was - I think it was either Stinton or Stimmons (Bill Stinson).
And he was an
aide to the Governor. And she came up and told him
that she had the bullet
that came off of the gurney.
Now I don't know
what gurney. I think they meant Governor Connally's
And she said, "What do you want me to do with it?" He
and I were just sitting
there in the hallway talking to me and said, "Give it
Q. Was it a
bullet fragment or a complete bullet?
Nolan: I don't
know. It was a - they told me that it was a
And I don't know
if it was a fragment of a bullet or a whole bullet
because it was
in a little, small brown envelope. And it was sealed
and it was about, I'd say 2 by 3
inches. And it was in that envelope when I got it and
I never did look at it or anything."
Q. Now when the
nurse gave it to you, did she describe it as a bullet
fragment or as
Nolan: Uh no. She
just said it was a bullet. That's all.
Nolan delivered the bullet to the Dallas Police
department that evening, and the next morning, was
interviewed by the FBI, who reported (emphasis is mine),
Bobby M. Nolan,
Texas highway patrolman, Tyler district, was
to a bullet
fragment removed from the left thigh of Governor Connally, which
turned over to
him at Parkland Hospital in Dallas for delivery to the
Nolan stated his instructions were apparently not
clear at the outset and that following
contact with his superior officers while at the Dallas
Police Department, he turned the
bullet fragment over to Captain Will Fritz [Dallas
Police Department.] at approximately
7:50 p.m. He stated he had no further information
concerning the matter and that his
only participation in this series of events was the
acceptance of the fragment and delivery
of same to Captain Fritz.
Obviously, Nolan told the FBI, exactly what the nurse
told him - that the envelope contained a bullet from
Governor Connally's gurney, which as the Governor
himself stated, had fallen out from the wound in his
So, by Saturday, the FBI had already received the bullet
that Tomlinson found and had plenty of time to analyze
it and confirm that it was not from Oswald's rifle. A
second Connally bullet would provide indisputable proof
of multiple snipers.
At roughly the same time that this nurse was passing the
bullet from Connally's leg to Nolan, nursing supervisor,
Audrey M. Bell was processing four tiny fragments that
were removed from the governor's wrist by Dr. Gregory.
She told the HSCA and later, the ARRB that she removed
the fragments from a container on the scrub nurse's desk
and placed them into an envelope, which she filled out
and then gave to two plain clothed agents who came into
her office. She was unsure whether they were from the
Secret Service or the FBI, but was certain they were not
in uniform. She said that both she and one of the
agents, initialed the envelope and that the two of them
then signed a receipt. All of this was standard
operating procedure at Parkland, which Bell had carried
out hundreds of times in the past.
Audrey Bell was interviewed the next day (11/23/63) by
the FBI, as she herself confirmed in her ARRB interview.
But when she was shown a copy of the associated FBI
report, she was adamant that the FBI was wrong. This is
from ARRB document MD184, which summarized her
When shown an FBI
FD-302 dated November 23,1963 (Agency File Number
000919, Record # 180-l 0090-10270), she felt it was inaccurate in two
respects: it quotes her as turning over “the metal fragment (singular),” whereas she is
positive it was multiple fragments - it says she
turned over the fragment to a Texas State Trooper,
whereas she recalls turning it over to plainclothes Federal agents who were either FBI or
To corroborate her denial, Bell suggested that they look
at the receipt she was required to fill out, which she
had passed on to Parkland administrator, Jack Price. Of
course, that receipt had to have been confiscated by the
FBI, since it was critical to confirming the chain of
custody. This is more from MD184,
She independently recalled filling out a receipt on 1l/22/63 for the
fragments, on half-page sized paper with red lettering in the letterhead,
which was signed for by one of two men in civilian clothes (whom she thought were Federal agents) who
accepted the fragments. She said she personally delivered the original of this receipt to Parkland
Hospital Administrator Jack Price. (ARRB staff promised to try to locate this document, and promised
that if located, we would mail her a photocopy for verification purposes.)
But according to the National Archives, there is no
record of the ARRB ever finding that receipt and the
Archives were not able to find it either. So Bell's
receipt, which would have confirmed the name of at least
one of the men she gave the envelope to, and which had
to have been taken by the FBI, seems to have evaporated.
This is the FBI report, allegedly from their interview
dated, 11/23/63 with Audrey Bell.
One thing that is beyond dispute is that the FBI's
references to a single fragment, could not be true. It
makes no sense that Bell told them that. Even if we
speculate that she was hopelessly confused, the envelope
which the FBI tells us was filled out by Bell, clearly
states that it contained "Bullet fragments"
from Connally's "Right arm"
And we can easily see that the clear plastic container
that was in the envelope, contained four tiny particles.
The only logical explanation for why the FBI would have
deliberately misrepresented Bell by claiming she
reported only a single fragment is that the interviewer
was not really concerned about the envelope that she
actually handled. They were much more concerned about
another envelope which did indeed, contain a single
bullet or fragment (very likely, a badly mangled bullet)
from Governor Connally's thigh. In order to make that
inconvenient bullet and envelope go away, they only
needed to claim that the envelope Bell gave to one of
their agents, was the one that Nolan received. All that
was missing was the three capital letters from Nolan's
initials, which could be easily forged and copied onto
The other FBI claim that Bell denied, was that she
passed the envelope to the fully uniformed officer
Nolan. If we believe the FBI, then we must believe that
Bell not only forgot that she gave her envelope to Nolan
on 11/22, but that she also forgot that she told the FBI
that, the next day. She also would have to have suffered
the delusion that she gave the envelope to plain clothed
officers who came into her office.
All of these discrepancies have to have been the result
of either deliberate deception by the FBI or a
hopelessly incompetent and forgetful Audrey Bell. If
Bell was the problem, then she not only forgot virtually
every aspect of how she processed those bullet fragments
on 11/22/63, but during the minutes between filling out
that envelope and her encounters with DA Wade and
officer Nolan, she forgot that she had just written "bullet fragments"
from the "Right
and told both of those men that it
contained a single bullet from Governor Connally's
gurney, that originated in his left thigh. And then
Nolan somehow didn't notice that the envelope he carried
around the rest of the day and turned in to the DPD, was
clearly labelled as containing multiple fragments from
the right arm.
As we ponder the possibility that this was a scam on the
part of the FBI, we might think that the people who
worked with nurse Bell would provide an answer for us.
Surely, if she had really told the FBI that she gave the
fragments to Nolan, others would have known about it.
But as I looked at the statements by those who should
have known, I found absolutely no one who claimed either
first hand knowledge, one way or the other, or even a
second hand claim that Bell told them who she gave them
too. This is what Dr. Charles Gregory told the Warren
Mr. SPECTER -
What did you do, Dr. Gregory, with the missile
you removed from his wrists?
Dr. GREGORY -
Those were turned over to the operating room nurse in
with instructions that they should be presented to the
appropriate authorities present,
probably a member of the Texas Rangers, but that is as
far as I went with it myself.
And this is the HSCA's report of what Dr. Gregory told
Gregory) stated he did not on his own knowledge know,
however, but he
had been advised [that] Miss Bell obtained a receipt
from State Trooper Bob Nolan
[a State of Texas highway patrol officer] and
transferred the metal fragment to him in
accordance with instructions from the Governor's
office at Parkland Hospital.
As a full time emergency room physician, at Parkland, it
seems strange that he could never provide a straight
answer, regarding this nurse who worked with him every
day. Why is it that he could only answer that he "had been advised"
And why was the source of his advice, unnamed?
At the request of Dr. Burkley, the President's
physician, Parkland Doctor, Kemp Clark researched and
prepared a report on 11/23/1963, describing events at
the hospital related to the treatment of Connally and
President Kennedy. For many years, it was filed away as
"Top Secret". In this section, he describes what Drs.
Shires and Duke, who assisted Gregory, told him. In the
first sentence of the cited segment, "he" refers to
It seems that Shires' initial statement, which was later
altered, was that officer Nolan was given a single
fragment from the "thigh", since the word was later
crossed out and replaced by "wrist". But look at the
oblique description of how Dr. Clark and Dr. Duke, came
to the politically correct conclusion that Nolan was
given wrist fragments,
"I called Dr. Duke, the resident
who was present when I talked with Dr.
had heard our conversation, and had assisted
Dr. Shires with
this part of
the surgery. Two of us conferred, and together
agreed to release
to Mrs. Wright
the information that according to Dr. Shires, only
was involved in
Governor Connally's injury and that the fragment of
was removed by Dr. Gregory from the wrist was in the
The wording here is fascinating and much more
informative for what it doesn't say than what it does.
Notice that there is no straightforward declaration that
Bell passed the wrist fragments to Nolan - only that the
to release to Mrs. Wright the information that.."
And why was there, just one day after the assassination,
this concern that "only one bullet was involved in Governor
? That sounds much more like
something the FBI would be worried about than the
And why were they parroting the FBI's mistaken claim
that this was just a single fragment, rather that
multiple fragments, as was clearly written on the
envelope Bell was supposed to have filled out?
And why is there no mention anywhere in the report about
what supervisor, Audrey Bell had to say? She was on duty
that day and just a buzz on the intercom, away. Why
wasn't she asked? Had she actually said what the FBI
claimed she said, she would have been eager to confirm
that she gave the wrist fragments to Nolan.
It would not have been possible for the FBI to have
pulled this scam, without the help of a least a doctor
or two and probably, the nurse who actually recovered
the Connally bullet. Of course, the notion that Parkland
doctors or nurses were involved in a sinister coverup,
is absurd. What is not so absurd however, is that like
many others, they were told that if the investigation
proved that there was a conspiracy, it would point to
Fidel Castro and lead us into a crisis that could incite
a nuclear, world war. In 1963, nuclear war was a fear
that we all had to live with, every day of our lives. It
was powerful enough to make even the most honest person,
tell a little white lie if he was convinced that it was
for the benefit of humanity.
The notion that Bell handed over an envelope containing
Connally's wrist fragments to officer Nolan, fails in
pretty much every conceivable way. Not only does that
contradict what both Bell and Nolan told us, but there
is no statement on record by any of her coworkers that
she did such a thing, and no record of any of them even
claiming that she said
she did such a thing. But perhaps, what is stranger yet,
is that no one claims to have even asked her.
What is easily proven however, is that the FBI falsely
claimed that Bell was processing only a single fragment.
It is preposterous to think that she told them such a
thing. What makes infinitely more sense is, that they
needed to make an envelope go away, which really DID
single, large fragment or bullet. But they could not do
that if her envelope only contained tiny, almost
microscopic particles. And so they falsely quoted her,
saying that she dealt with a single, metal fragment. And
of course, their claim that she stated that she turned
her single fragment over to officer Nolan, is equally
Nolan's envelope was turned in at approximately 8:30PM
on 11/22/63. From then on, the FBI had unrestricted
access to the evidence and the right to open and inspect
it. Whatever was really in Nolan's envelope, had to have
been known to the FBI, prior to their interviews of
Nolan and Bell. If it had really contained tiny
particles, they certainly would have said so, instead of
referring to what could only have been, the singular
content of the envelope Nolan delivered.
The nurse who spoke to district attorney Wade and gave
an envelope to Nolan could not have been Audrey Bell.
Three men, Governor Connally, DA Henry Wade, and officer
Bobby Nolan, all confirmed that this nurse recovered a
bullet from Connally's gurney and then showed it to
Wade, before turning it over to officer Nolan. The
envelope Bell processed, was given to an FBI agent,
which is why it was never delivered to the Dallas police
department, or at least, why there is no surviving
record that it was.
In contrast to all of these very solid corroborations,
we have 100% denial by the four men who examined the
bullet that Tomlinson found, that it was CE399. Unlike
many other issues related to the case, this one is not a
tough call. It seems that J. Edgar Hoover agreed,
because in recordings of telephone conversations between
him and LBJ, he suggested that Connally was wounded
because he came between the President and an assassin,
and that if Connally had not come between them, JFK
would have taken his bullet.
LBJ: How did it
happen they hit Connally?
JEH: Connally turned
to the President, when the first shot was fired
and I think that in turning.. it was where he got hit.
LBJ: If he hadn't
turned he probably wouldn't have gotten hit?
JEH: I think that is
LBJ: Would the
President've gotten hit by the second one?
JEH: No, the
President wasn't hit with the second one.
LBJ: I say, if
Connally hadn't been in his way?
JEH: Oh, yes, yes.
The President would no doubt have been hit!
Today, we know that that scenario was not correct, but
it is hard to imagine Hoover believing that Connally was
hit by a different assassin, unless he had seen evidence
for such a thing. The bullet or large fragment that
Nolan turned in, was obviously, not from Oswald's rifle.
If it was, the FBI would have flaunted it as absolute
proof of the accused assassin's guilt. Instead, it
provided absolute proof that Connally was hit by a
bullet from a different assassin. Until recently, only
Hoover and a handful of others, were aware of that.
(with proofing and other assistance by Alan Dale.)