Was Rose Cherami Murdered?
Penn Jones was the first conspiracy theorist to promote so-called mysterious deaths, and he wrote a series of books (Forgive My Grief) on that theme. Argosy magazine, in March 1977, published a major article on that theme and they started with Rose Cherami:
Many conspiracy books (Crossfire by Jim Marrs; High Treason by Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone; and Cover-Up by Gary Shaw) have claimed that Rose Cherami was killed as a result of a hit and run. Jim Garrison also claimed she was the victim of a hit and run driver, despite the fact that he had a copy of Francis Fruge's report from April 4, 1967:
Rose Cherami's son, Dr. Michael Marcades, has come out with a new book about his mother - Rose Cherami: Gathering Fallen Petals.
Cherami's death is no longer a hit and run. The new story is that she was shot. Conspiracy theorist Gary Shaw has written the introduction: (page 2)
"Rose died at age 41, her death sinisterly shrouded in mystery. Many believe she had to be silenced because she knew too much and therefore was a threat to the real killers of our President."
and: (page 11)
"She could actually identify some of the people who were participants in the President's murder. To an astute and honest person, her death was no accident -- Rose was murdered!"
And, Joan Mellen, in her book A Farewell To Justice, writes: (page 207)
"Rose Cheramie's death certificate reads "bullet hole in head," although hospital records mention no bullet hole. Her death was ruled, "accidental." Fruge could uncover no record of the driver who killed Rose at the address he had provided. Jim Garrison requested that Rose Cherami's body be exhumed, but Texas authorities refused to comply."
Here is Rose Cherami's death certificate:
As you can see the death certificate does not state "bullet hole in head." It states the cause of death was a "Traumatic Head wound with Subdural subarachnoid & Petechial Hemorrhage to the brain caused by being struck by auto." You can also see that there was a nine-hour interval between being struck and death.
Here is an article from the Tyler Morning Telegraph of September 6, 1965:
The medical examiner said that she died of a "massive cerebral hemorrhage." There is no evidence of a gunshot.
Michael Marcades' book contains some additional documents from the Gladewater Municipal Hospital. Here are the comments from the hospital report: (page 376)
"This is an adult WF who was brought to the ER of the hospital comatose and unresponsive. She has deep punctate stellate type laceration noted over the right side of the forehead. There is a deep extensive 15+ cm. laceration extending completely around the left posterior scalp area, extending down to the underlying cranium and effectively lifting the scalp from the underlying skull. The external auditory canal on the left is filled with blood and the entire left ear is swollen and contused in appearance. The pupils are large and unresponsive to light. There is blood in the pharynx and mouth. There is the odor of alcohol to the breath. The pt.'s breathing is regular and essentially normal. She is swollen and contused over the entire left side of the face. The neck is supple, but each time the pt.'s head is turned toward the right side she apparently has occlusion of her airway and becomes slightly cyanotic and has vomiting. She has open airway and normal respiratory exchange and no vomiting occurs when she is lying with her head to the left side. She is contused over the left shoulder and there is crepitation of bones in the left forearm with deformity. There are scattering rales over both lung fields and markedly impaired breathing sounds. The skin is cold and clammy to palpation. The abdomen is soft and flaccid and no specific organomegaly or evidence of internal injury to the abdomen is noted. There are contusions over both lower extremities, but there are no deformities noted. The lacerations of the scalp were cleansed and sutured and dressings applied. There was closed reduction of the left forearm with application of a cast, and there was a cutdown with a venous catheter applied to the left leg, and the pt. is being transferred to her room in very poor condition."
The second note reads: (pages 378-379)
"This 41 yr. old WF was admitted on 9/4/65 from the ER. The history obtained from the ambulance driver was that the pt. was apparently run over by an automobile near Hawkins and she was taken to a Hawkins doctor. He examined her and had the ambulance bring her on to our hospital in Gladewater. When she was seen in our ER she was comatose and unresponsive. She had a deep punctate stellate laceration over the right side of the forehead and a deep long laceration extending completely around the left posterior scalp, extending down to the underlying cranium. The left external auditory canal was filled with blood and the left side of the face was swollen and contused in appearance. The pupils were large and unresponsive to light. There was blood in the nose and mouth. She was swollen and contused over the entire left side of the face. The neck was supple, but each time the head was turned to the right side the pt. apparently had occlusion of her airway, because she would become cyanotic and begin to vomit. She had crepitation over the left forearm and evidence of a fracture of this. BP was 90/70 and she was clinically in shock. In the ER a cutdown was performed on the left leg and fluids were started. The laceration of her scalp was sutured and dressing were applied and then she was taken to her room. She remained cold and clammy and unresponsive for the next several hours and then suddenly had an elevation of BP to an extremely high level and the BP suddenly dropped and the pt. expired. Due to the nature of the accident, which apparently was responsible for the pt.'s condition. A coroners autopsy was requested. Dr. Jones performed the gross examination at postmortem and I spoke to him over the telephone. Although I have no official report on it, he stated that at the time of his gross examination, examination of the brain revealed marked gross areas of contusion but no specific lacerations or specific bleeding points were noted. No specific reason for bleeding from the right ear other than the contusions of the cerebrum were observed by him. The lungs were markedly edematous and heavy and boggy he stated. The abdominal organs did not appear to be lacerated and no specific internal difficulty of that nature was observed by him. These organs were sent to the headquarters in Austin for microscopic evaluation. The impression as to the cause of death was that the pt. was apparently struck by an automobile. She had clinical shock with extensive cerebral contusions and intracranial hemorrhage, lacerations of the forehead and scalp, and a fracture of the left forearm and contusion of the chest with marked pulmonary edema."
Now, I am not a medical expert, but it doesn't sound like she was shot. The doctors actually sutured her scalp lacerations and dressed the wounds. She was then transferred to her room, albeit in very poor condition. I sent the hospital description to one of my best friends, who is a doctor, and he agreed that she was not shot.
Some conspiracy theorists focus on the phrase, "deep punctate stellate type laceration," as proof that she was shot. But even Dr. Cyril Wecht disagrees:
Dr. Cyril Wecht, the longtime coroner of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and a prominent, national expert in forensic pathology (and vociferous Warren Commission critic), studied the hospital records of Cherami's death and, while he found the description of her wounds (specifically, the notation of “deep punctate stellate type lacerations posted over the right side of her forehead”) somewhat confusing, concluded, "There is nothing to suggest a gunshot wound or any other kind of penetrating injury.” (Cyril Wecht, August 29, 2001, letter to Robert Dorff, quoted in Dorff's presentation at the JFK Lancer November in Dallas Conference 2003, DVD, JFK Lancer Co.)
The idea that Rose Cherami was murdered because of her foreknowledge of the assassination was always ridiculous. Why would conspirators let her live almost two years after the assassination? And, why did the supposed conspirators in the car near Eunice in November 1963, just toss her out while she was still alive? Wouldn't it have been dangerous for them to have her out there - ready to speak, as she supposedly did?
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