Forensic pathologist talks about investigating JFK's assassination

DETROIT (WXYZ) - As the nation marks the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination conspiracy theorists continue to capture attention.  Polls show most Americans believe there was a conspiracy, and that more than one person killed the beloved president.

One local doctor has a unique perspective.

Dr. Werner Spitz, M.D. is one of the nation's most respected forensic pathologists.  He used to work as a medical examiner in Macomb and Wayne Counties.  He also was called on to investigate the death of JFK twice.

He says seeing evidence that the public never saw impacted him.

"It creeped me out.  Sent shivers down my spine," said Dr. Spitz.

He showed 7 Action News evidence on the 50 th anniversary of the assassination, and described the many mistakes that opened the door to conspiracies.

He said Kennedy's driver didn't know they were shot and kept moving, opening questions as to the trajectory of the bullets.

He says the pathologist who performed the autopsy threw away his notes because they were covered in presidential blood.

The pathologist who performed the autopsy also was inexperienced in analyzing gunshot wounds.  He saw an abrasion around the wound on the front of Kennedy's neck, at the collar of his shirt.  The pathologist knew abrasions formed around entry wounds.  He didn't realize abrasions also form at exit wounds covered by fitted clothing.   His initial belief that there was an entry wound on both sides of Kennedy's body lead  people to believe shots were fired from two locations.

"There was only location from where shots were fired," said Spitz.  

Dr. Spitz says the path of lead left inside Kennedy's body from the bullet also indicates that both shots came from behind.

He also says the drawings of pictures of JFK's wounds that were released were not as clear as the color photographs he saw.  The artist was not a pathologist.  She did not draw details that are important to pathologists.

"The emotions of the moment impacted the drawing.  It was not accurate," said Dr. Spitz.

Dr. Spitz spent the anniversary of Kennedy's death lecturing students studying pathology at Wayne State University and speaking to reporters about the historic day.   It used to bother him as people accused the government of covering up what happened. He says people don't want to believe that a man like Lee Harvey Oswald could alone cause a nation so much grief. He wishes people believed the truth as he sees it after getting a look at confidential evidence.  

"This is nothing to do with conspiracies. This is a crazy guy who didn't like Kennedy," said Spitz.

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