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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

The Wecht Conclusion that Dare Not Speak Its Name, Part Two

Cyril Wecht's memoir discusses his visit to the National Archives in 1972 to examine the autopsy materials, but doesn't mention his conclusion that the head shot came from behind.


Here is an excerpt from The Life and Deaths of Cyril Wecht: (page 131 - 132 of the Kindle edition)


The executor of the Kennedy trust was a man named Burke Marshall, who had been Deputy Attorney General under Robert Kennedy. It was he who had the authority to determine who would be granted access, and who wouldn’t. So, I wrote to Marshall several times but received no replies. Fortuitously, Fred P. Graham, a stellar reporter for the New York Times, learned of my frustrations with this matter through the grapevine and called me to see if he could help.


Using the auspicious power of the press (or at least that of the vaunted New York Times), Graham succeeded in getting to Marshall and, as a result, I finally received a response to my missives. Marshall still tried to play games and delay but, in the end, he agreed to speak with me, but only if I would travel to New Haven, Connecticut, to discuss the matter with him in person. (Marshall was a professor at Yale Law School at the time.)


I’m sure he figured that I wouldn’t make the trip, and that would have been that. Marshall, of course, did not know of my long history with that New England town or my summer connections to nearby Woodmont, where I had relatives and friends on whom I would have been happy to pay a visit on the way to and from New Haven. So, I made the trip, spoke with Burke Marshall, and was granted permission to inspect the JFK autopsy materials, thus becoming the first non-government-related forensic pathologist to be given the privilege. That was in August of 1972, nine months after I had first applied for permission, and it gave me chills to see and touch those pieces of American history.


When reviewing the materials, I compared the itemized list set forth in the April 1965 executive order with the October 1966 inventory. Lo and behold, that’s when I discovered that certain materials were no longer listed. They had been in the government’s possession, so nobody else could have touched them, but now the metal container which had held John Kennedy’s brain in formalin was no longer on the list of contents. In addition, various photographs and microscopic tissue slides were also no longer listed. As a reward for his assistance, I gave this information to Fred Graham, who wrote an exclusive article that was published, page-one on August 24, 1972, in the New York Times. The President’s brain was missing! Top-level professionals on U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s 1968 panel knew about this, but never said a word.


There is not one word about his conclusion, based upon the autopsy materials, that JFK's fatal head shot came from behind.



Previous Relevant Blog Posts on Dr. Cyril Wecht


James DiEugenio's obituary of Dr. Wecht leaves out his conclusion that the fatal head shot came from behind.


Dr. Cyril Wecht (1931 - 2024) זיכרונו לברכה

My obituary for Dr. Cyril Wecht.


Wecht fights with Posner over Connally's coat bulge.


A letter from Dr. Wecht to Thomas Stamm on the head shot.


A letter from Dr. Wecht to Sylvia Meagher on the head shot.


Dr. Wecht exchanges letters with Sylvia Meagher.


Wecht writes Harold Weisberg about Garrison.


A ridiculous claim from Wecht's book.


Wecht revisits an old controversy.


Dr. Wecht believes that JFK's throat wound was one of exit.


Wecht believes that David Ferrie died of natural causes.


Wecht makes an error on Ruby's nightclubs.


He wears it like a badge of honor.


Dr. Wecht writes that Cherami was not killed by a gunshot.




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