Francis X. O'Neill
Mr. Hamilton: How deep was the wound-?
Mr. O'Neill: Once again, I could not venture -- but he did not put his whole finger in by any way [sic]. He put in his smaller finger and it went in to about a quarter of the way in, maybe a half-way in.
Mr. Hamilton: So about an inch, an inch and a half?
Mr. O'Neill: Something of that general vein -- I don't know whether they say that in their report or not. I don't say it in mine. But they could find no point of exit, absolutely none, at that particular time. That's what caused everybody to be concerned.
Let me just go back a bit too. When we first started the autopsy, the investigator, Jim Sibert and myself, Roy, eh, Kellerman and Bill Greer, wanted a full autopsy. The, eh, General [sic] Burkley who was the president's physician said, "Mrs. Kennedy has only given her permission for a partial autopsy." Well, to me, that's defective because you'd like to get the full autopsy to find out what happened. An autopsy has to be a complete autopsy. I had no authority to tell that to these navy personnel. We spoke to General, eh, Admiral Galloway who was the commanding officer of the Naval Medical Center-advised him-and then with the concurrence of the doctors and of the Bureau personnel and Secret Service, he directed, him, he-who was the head of the Naval Medical Center-that a full autopsy be performed.
Alright now -- we're in the autopsy. We finally got this little bullet wound in back of the neck, or the back of the-back strap muscle.
Mr. Hamilton: Excuse me, how many inches would you estimate from the neck?
Mr. O'Neill: I would not estimate at all. Whatever it is, is in our report on page 40, see it there, a short distance, ah over to the right-hand side here (Fig. 8).
Figure 8. "...over to the right-hand side here."
And eh...all of a sudden we're starting to say, "Is it a magic bullet? Is it an ice bullet? Is there some type of a particular bullet which could occur -- go in and melt? What happened to it?" Don't know! Jim Sibert leaves at that time and says, "I'll go out and make a telephone call to our laboratory and find out what the situation was [sic]." Jim goes out, makes the call, comes back in and he says, "They just told me when I called our laboratory that they found a bullet on a stretcher in Dallas." Now, he didn't say whose stretcher it was. And we don't know that in Bethesda whether it was Governor Connally's or whether it's the, eh, stretcher that the, eh, president was on. And to this day-to this day-nobody knows if it was Governor Connally's or if it was the stretcher that the president was on. So, Jim comes back in and tells the autopsy surgeons, who are now standing there saying, "What...happened...where could it be?"
Mr. Hamilton: You had the X-rays, right? So that there was no-
Mr. O'Neill: We had the X-rays at that time����������. The X-rays were taken [two] and we observed them. Ah, from the X-rays that we saw, there was no point where that bullet went in. You couldn't see, as a matter of fact, where the, where the, ah, entry was. It was -- there are X-rays �������������������and there are X-rays, you know what I mean? Alright?
So, we're looking at this situation -- Jim comes back in and the doctors say, "Whoa -- now we know what happened!" They knew that external cardiac massage had been performed in Dallas. They knew that for a fact. And the doctor said, Dr. Humes, "That explains it." He said, "That bullet worked its way out through external cardiac massage." There is no other explanation for it. None. Absolutely none. The bullet did not go in any further. That was it.
Then they completed the autopsy itself and at the very end he says, "Well now we know exactly what occurred. There was a bullet which was fired which went into the back and worked its way out. There was another bullet which was fired -- we all know what happened to that and..." I don't what happened to that -- I have a good conjecture what happened to that -- "...and the last bullet hit the president's head and wham, away she blows." A little bit later, during the autopsy, later stages of the autopsy, they bring in -- "they" being the Secret Service bring in [two] of a skull, which was found in Dallas in the car. And it turns out that it could be matched perfectly with part of the missing, part of the missing skull in the head -- and there's bevelling on that which coincides with the bevelling on the eh, the eh, �on the back of the president's head here (Fig. 9).
Figure 9. "...on the back of the president's head here."
The morticians come in. They drain the body. They powder the body. They shave the body. They fixed it so that you would think he had eyes. They closed his eyes. They went ahead and, eh…prepared the body for burial. They had sent back to the White House to get the underwear to put on the president. There was nothing further done. Quite frankly there was nothing further that could be done, at that time, for the president. The autopsy was over. The autopsy was completed. And the doctors, three of them, all stated what I just told you. That was the way it was.
Now, the next morning -- oh, by the way, we took our breakfast, I guess, some time around 1:30 or 2:00, in that general area. I'm not certain when it was. To me, that day, time was irrelevant. I hadn't even called my wife. She knew where I was. Somebody said, "He's with the president." "Oh my God, which one" We, eh, took it out -- went out to Andrews Air Force Base, picked up our cars, went back home [four] at the time. Early in the morning of the 23rd, Dr. Humes called down to Dr. Perry in Dallas, Texas, and hearsay has it -- hearsay has it -- that, at that time, the doctor was explaining what he found up at Bethesda and Perry says, "Well, what about the wound in the throat?" And Humes says, "Well it was a tracheotomy." He says, "Yes, we performed a tracheotomy over a wound in the throat."
Now, put yourself in the shoes of the autopsy surgeons. The body's gone. The body's back in the White House or the rotunda in the Capital, and you have to make an autopsy report with no body. It's gone! You have to explain a wound in the throat. Now, going to certain aspects of the Warren Report, the doctors said that, after a while, they reviewed certain things and they determined -- they thought there was -- a bullet wound in the back and it worked its way through particular strap muscles and it went into the throat and came out the throat, alright? At this time, nobody knows anything about a single-bullet theory. They don't know if it was one, two, three -- most probably three -- bullets. They don't know what bullet, if any, went into Connally -- that's the way it was at that particular time. Months later, I wrote my report-. By the way, we have a rule in the FBI -- and still is, and a good one -- that anything has to be reported within five days so that the information will not be stale and you can use your nose, which I used at the end of the five days, to complete a report with Jim Sibert. Both of us put it down, we both signed the report [three] and sent it in. That became part of the larger report of the eh, the news from Dallas -- Dallas was the office of origin in that particular situation -- incorporating our report.