Secrets of a Homicide: Summary of Conclusions

1. There are three reactions to gunfire evident in the
movements of President John F. Kennedy (JFK) and
Texas Governor John B. Connally (JBC).


The movements of JFK and JBC during the assassination sequence reveal three instances of gunfire, two of which were apparent hits. These instances occur at the following points:

Zapruder frame 157

Zapruder frame 223-224

Zapruder frame 313

Zapruder frame 157 - This is the first occurence of movement that suggests a shot has been fired. Both JFK and JBC turn sharply to their right immediately after frame 157. (See motion sequence at right) Although JFK may be reacting to the passing crowd, JBC's movement's match his testimony concerning the first shot: "I heard this noise which I immediately took to be a rifle shot. I instinctively turned to my right because the sound appeared to come from over my right shoulder, so I turned to look back over my right shoulder, and I saw nothing unusual except just people in the crowd..." (4H132-33) Zapruder frame sequence 157-169

Connally's sharp turn to the right after Z-157 is the only such turn preceding his own wounding a few seconds later. This is also consistent with his testimony. (4H133) Zapruder frame 157 was selected as the likely time of this first shot based on Connally's reaction a quarter-second later. Since this first shot apparently missed, the exact frame is unknown.

Zapruder frame sequence 223-228 Zapruder frame 223-224 - This is the second occurence of movement that suggests gunfire. The reaction of JBC at Zapruder frame 224 indicates a shot fired in the 1/18th of a second interval of Z223-224. (See motion sequence at left) Connally's testimony closely mirrors the action preceding Z223: "So I looked, failing to see him, I was turning to look back over my left shoulder into the back seat, but I never got that far in my turn. I got about in the position I am now facing you, looking a little bit to the left of center, and then I felt like someone had hit me in the back." (4H133)

Although Connally's recollection varies slightly (he is rotated 37-degrees right, not "a little bit to the left of center"), there are a number of measurements that pinpoint the Z223-224 range as the moment of impact.

Computer analysis shows that JBC turned sharply to the right beginning at Z157. This right turn continues until Z193 where JBC's shoulders are rotated 48 degrees right, relative to the midline of the limousine. At this point, JBC begins a slow rotation leftward. This smooth leftward turn continues until frame 223. At this point JBC's shoulders are rotated 37 degrees right, relative to the limousine. JBC's sharp right turn of 48 degrees, and the subsequent leftward rotation of 11 degrees is the only such movement prior to the first impact. Both movements are consistent with Connally's testimony regarding his actions immediately after the first shot and prior to the second.
JBC torso rotation - top view

In the 1/18th of a second between Zapruder frames 223-224, a number of measurable events occur. JBC's torso pitches forward 7.5 degrees and begins a sharp rotation to the left, while his head pitches rearward 3.2 degrees. The right side of his suit coat also bulges outward, obscuring part of his shirt. These sudden movements are consistent with a bullet striking JBC in the upper-right back and exiting from his right-chest.

JBC torso changes, Z224-228 During the next quarter of a second (Zapruder frames 224-228), a number of dramatic changes occur. JBC's torso rotates another 19 degrees to the left, his shoulder line drops 2.3 inches, and his right forearm "flips" up toward his right chest.

These rapid rotational changes are consistent with the type of chest wound JBC suffered. Finally, this is the only time in the shooting sequence that such a dramatic shift in the torso position occurs. All of these facts are consistent with a bullet strike at Z223-224 which entered JBC's right rear shoulder, drove the shoulder down and to the left, and exited the right chest.
Zapruder frame 313 - This is the third occurence of movement and undeniably related to gunfire. At the moment of impact, JFK is leaning to his left. As the bullet strikes, his skull is driven forward, and then begins a backward recoil. (See motion sequence at right)

Governor Connally is reclining in the arms of his wife at the time of the head shot. As the bullet strikes, both Connally and his wife roll down and away from the line of fire. The beginning of this motion can be seen in the sequence at right.
Zapruder frame sequence 311-322

JFK Head Positions - Zapruder frames 312-313 In the 1/18th of a second interval between Zapruder frames 312-313, JFK's skull is driven forward 6.8 degrees by the impact of the bullet. During this same interval, the skull banks left 3 degrees. This may be due to the expulsion of debris from the right-top front of the skull. Although the backward recoil begins immediately (Z314), JFK's skull does not return to its original posture (Z312) until Zapruder frames Z315-316.

Since the change in position at Z312-313 is clearly due to the impact of a bullet, it can be inferred that the change in position at Z314-316 is due to some lesser force. The exact nature of that force is open to debate.

In conclusion, this computer study finds three instances of gunfire: a first shot miss at about Zapruder frame 157, a second shot hit that strikes JBC's chest between Zapruder frame 223-224 (see conclusion #2 for a trajectory analysis), and a third shot hit that strikes JFK in the head at Zapruder frame 313.

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Secrets of a Homicide: JFK Assassination © 1995-2008 Dale K. Myers. All Rights Reserved.
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