Metro Detroit pathologist reflects on JFK's assassination as records are released

Posted at 9:55 PM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-27 11:24:41-04

Dr. Werner Spitz has examined more than 60,000 autopsies during his career as a forensic pathologist, but he often thinks about one of them over and over - JFK. 

"It's hard to relive it," Dr. Spitz said. 

After growing speculation and controversy surrounding JFK's assassination, Congress, in 1975, invited Dr. Spitz to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. to examine hundreds of autopsy photos, which were made classified until 50 years after his death on November 22, 1963. 

"I was in a room and they had the autopsy photos projected on the wall," Dr. Spitz explained. "A cold bead of sweat ran down my back, seeing the President in that way."

Dr. Spitz said he spent the entire day examining the pictures of the two bullet wounds on JFK's shoulder and neck. 

Controversy began to surface after the initial autopsy suggested the two wounds found on the President's body were both entrance wounds. Dr. Spitz believes that assessment was incorrect.

"I looked at photos and clothing. A bullet entering the body would leave scrape marks in the appearance of a black circle after a gunshot victim dies," Spitz explained.

Dr. Spitz stated the autopsy photos suggest a single bullet entered the back of JFK's shoulder and exited the front of his neck, even though there was in fact dark circular mark left on the outside of the his neck, which would normally indicate an entry wound. A second bullet struck JFK in the back of the head. 

"This is obviously an exception," Dr. Spitz explained. 

The clothing held key information. 

"I examined the clothing and the fiber of the clothing indicate it was in fact an exit wound. The fibers of the clothing worn in the front were pointed outwards," He explained. 

The initial autopsy stating Kennedy had two entry wounds, has prompted much speculation over the years that there were perhaps two shooters because ultimately, two entry wounds on opposite sides of the body would indicate the bullets came from two different locations. 

As far as the documents being released, Dr. Spitz believes they should end much of the speculation that's surrounded JFK's death over the years. 

"They (the public) needs to see them, so they can remember what happened and understand."