Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world’s foremost forensics experts, says he is still “keeping an open mind” regarding the 40-year old controversy as to whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President John F. Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas.
Dr. Lee, addressed a standing-room only audience of more than 150 people in Quinnipiac University’s Lender School of Business Mancheski Executive Seminar Room last Wednesday evening, October 29.
Dr. Lee announced that he has been invited to participate in a program, “The JFK Assassination Revisited” on the November 22, the 40th anniversary of the murder. The event will take place in Pittsburgh and other participants include Sen.
Arlen Specter (R-PA), who was on the staff of the Warren Commission, and supports its conclusion that Oswald acted alone and that a single bullet killed JFK and wounded Texas Governor John Connally.
Another of the world’s best-known forensic experts, former Allegheny County (PA) coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht, will also participate. He was a member of the Commission’s forensic pathology panel and still disagrees with the “single bullet” conclusion, based on examination of the autopsy data.
“Computers can be manipulated,” Dr. Lee responded, when asked to comment on ABC-TV News’ use of a computer-generated reconstruction of the assassination by author/animator Dale Myers.
According to ABC, the “digital reconstruction” is based on new imaging technology beginning to be introduced as evidence in courts.
The ten-years of work by Myers that went into creating the three-dimensional video reportedly confirms the theory that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. ABC will air its findings November 20 at 9 p.m. in a two-hour special, “Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination -Beyond Conspiracy.” ABC, in a news release, says Myers’ work “has been independently evaluated and given the highest marks by the foremost practitioners of this type of forensic analysis.”
Dr. Lee said he has been asked by ABC News to “endorse” its findings, but he said he has not had the time to review the materials they sent him.
He re-affirmed that he still believes examination of physical evidence is the best way to solve crimes.
Noting that the “single bullet” referred to in the government’s official conclusion, has disappeared, along with what was left of the President’s autopsied brain matter,
Dr. Lee explained, “If we had the bullet, now we could see if the DNA on it matches Kennedy’s and Connally’s.”
If there were DNA from each, he said that would confirm the “single bullet” theory, and that if not, that would disprove the theory.
Among those in attendance for Dr. Lee’s presentation, “Technology Advances in Forensic Science” were students from this semester’s JRN 261 course, “Computer Assisted Reporting.
They have been extensively researching the JFK assassination using the Internet and conducting interviews (some via e-mail) with experts from various fields such as law enforcement, history, political science, and media law.
In addition, they have been conducting interviews with their parents and other relatives and family friends who lived through the events of November 22, 1963.
(Two students, Chronicle Editor in Chief Kellie Gleeson and Chronicle Op-Ed Editor Jamie DeLoma, were scheduled to be in Dallas this week for a college student media convention.
They planned to take some time out from the four-day event to conduct further research on the JFK assassination, in places such as the Sixth Floor Museum of the Texas School Book Depository at Dealey Plaza.)
Thus far, the JRN 261 students have found most of the people they have interviewed do not believe Oswald acted alone.
That is consistent with what ABC News reports: “Forty years after he was fatally shot, more than 80% of Americans still believe there was a conspiracy to kill the President and that the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, did not act alone.”
Dr. Lee said all of his major files, including what he has amassed on the JFK assassination, are in his laptop computer -his constant companion.
He said that when he dies, “The laptop goes with me.” Dr. Lee noted that he has “retired three times” and, somehow, is now busier than ever.
Next semester, Dr. Lee, chief emeritus of the Connecticut State Police Crime Laboratory, is scheduled to teach a course about law and forensic science in the Quinnipiac University School of Law. It will be somewhat of a “homecoming” as he received the Law School’s Raymond E. Baldwin Public Service Award in 1999.
That award is in memory of another very busy, legendary, inspirational Connecticut public servant – the only person ever to serve as Governor, U.S. Senator, and finally, Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.
—-Kenn Venit is an adjunct professor of communications at Quinnipiac University.