Follow the Gun
I wish to assure the Reader that I did not rush to judgement in writing this Report. Indeed the opposite is true. Many years were spent searching through records for information on guns and their serial numbers in the Sirhan case. This Report begins with
L.A.P.D. Officer DeWayne Wolfer’s Log dated 6-5-68 records a gun with a different identification number was given to Officer Wolfer (Item # 22) as the crime scene gun. At first it appeared to be an innocent error.
After a lengthy research I detected an unmistakable pattern emerging which clearly pointed to repeated tampering with the evidence - including the gun.
This tells me Item # 22 cannot be dismissed as harmless error, and that Officer Wolfer used this substitute gun to test fire for comparison test bullets. And these fraudulent test bullets were used to compare with the substitute Kennedy neck bullet and the substitute Goldstein bullet.
There is no evidence to suggest Officer Wolfer was aware of this monumental fraud, and for that reason, I do not assign blame to him.
Let us start from the very beginning and follow this imposter gun
Former FBI agent William Barry was in charge of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s security on that fateful nght in the Pantry of the Ambassador Hotel.
Immediately after the shooting Sirhan was thrown onto a steam table with a number of angry men pouncing on him in a desperate effort to grab the gun from him.
In these chaotic moments Barry managed to wrench the gun out of Sirhan’s hand.
Oddly, after taking possession of the gun, Barry LAID THE GUN on the steam table and LEFT IT THERE - and then turned away to go to the aid of Senator Kennedy.
I have to ask why Barry didn’t put the gun in his jacket pocket instead of laying it on the steam table? (this is corroborated by several people who reported seeing a gun lying there.)
At some point in this chaotic scene photographer Boris Yarro briefly held the gun in his own hand and later worried about his fingerprints being on it. I have never been able to learn from SUS files how Yarro managed to get hold of the gun. Or how it left his hand. Unaccountably, SUS records skip past this important piece of information - sort of like a blind eye. Never-the-less, it is true, Yarro did hold the gun in his hands for a brief time.
Following the incident of Yarro briefly having posession of the gun, a gun was removed from Sirhan’s hand for the second time. This time it was the huge athlete Rosey Grier who wrested the gun out of Sirhan’s hand and promptly turned it over to Rafer Johnson. That of course allowed him to have a better grip of Sirhan..
Rafer tells me about taking the gun to his home
In the spring of 1973 while at the Drake Stadium at a track meet I was introduced to Rafer Johnson. I asked Rafer what he did with the Sirhan gun for the two hours he had possession of it. It was at that time that Rafer told me he put the gun in his jacket pocket and then went to his home where he wrote the serial number of the gun down in his diary. When I asked to examine his diary Johnson gave me his unlisted phone number telling me he would give me the gun’s serial number when I call. I telephoned many times only to have his very polite mother answer the phone and tell me Rafer would return my call. He never did. (I was aware Rafer had the gun for approximately two hours from examining the Sirhan Trial Transcript time line).
After leaving his home with the gun still in his jacket pocket Rafer tried to find out what he could about Senator Kennedy’s condition. Once he was satisfied that Kennedy was in surgery he turned the gun over to LAPD Officers Calkins and McGann at Ramparts Headquarters.
The transcribed interview of Johnson by McGann left much to be desired. I found the interview boarded on vagueness and did not contain a thorough and accurate description of the gun. I dismissed my concern by thinking everyone was hyper-excited and wasn’t at their best. After all, it had been a terrible day.
Gun # H-53725 was booked into evidence in the LAPD Property Report as Item # 11 with the eight shell casings booked as Item # 12. (6-5-68)
Here is where the story becomes interesting
On 6-5-68 Wolfer writes the following in his Log:
“1:45 p.m. - Central Property - Parker Center.
Item # 29 - Poss. 22 cal. slug (Stroll)
Item # 22 - Iver Johnson Rev.
Item # 12 - eight expended shells
Item # 1 - 22 cal. slug (Goldstein)
Item # 2 - Mt. slip
Item # 3 - Receipt
“2:00 p.m. - Laboratory.
Examined Iver Johnson to determine number of shots fired.
Type of ammunition used.
Working condition of weapon.” (see exhibit)
It will be noted Wolfer recorded the gun as Item # 22. That is incorrect. The correct Booking number for the gun in LAPD Property Report reads “Item # 11”
But there is another big surprise
In addition to the wrong Item number for the gun (Item # 22) we see the Goldstein bullet identified as Item # 1 is also wrong. Strangely, the Item number for the Goldstein bullet was re-numbered from Item # 1 to Item # 113 and stamped “Confidential” (see exhibits)
Re-numbering the ID number of the Goldstein bullet along with the re-numbering of the gun strongly suggested a tampering of the evidence.
This is not idle speculation, as it turned out the 1975 Patrick Garland Evidence Inventory revealed both the Kennedy neck bullet and the Goldstein bullet were substituted. And we learn from the Patrick Garland Evidence Inventory the Goldstein bullet was switched prior to its delivery to Officer Wolfer for him to conduct his examinations. (Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10 Report)
Fake Sirhan gun - fake Goldstein bullet - fake Kennedy neck bullet
This tells us Wolfer test fired gun (Item # 22) for comparison test bullets on 6-5/6-68.
Which can only mean Wolfer compared his fake comparison test bullets fired from the fake Sirhan gun (Item # 22) with the fake Kennedy neck bullet and with the fake Goldstein bullet
No, this is not a rush to judgement
Without the Garland Evidence Inventory, the Judge Wenke/Court Order # 2 Special Hearing Exhibit 10 Report, Wolfer’s surprise photomicrograph Special Exhibit 10, Wolfer’s Log (which does not record the serial number of the Item # 22 gun), the LACGJ Transcript which also does not record the serial number of the gun it received in evidence (6-7-68) - without these extraordinary records, I would not have made too much of Item # 22 .
Unquestionably, the Sirhan gun number was the elephant in the room
Here is what we know
GJ5B evidence envelope is dated 6-5-68 and contains four test bullets fired from an Iver Johnson rev, serial # H-53725 and we see these four test bullets in GJ5B envelope were proven to be substitute bullets. (source: Patrick Garland Evidence Inventory). Then there is this problem, at the time GJ5B envelope was received in evidence by the Grand Jury, for what ever reason, the serial number of the gun clearly WRITTEN on the envelope was NOT read into the record.
Think about this for a moment - the gun itself was received in evidence by the Grand Jury - but the serial number was NOT read into the record. And now we see the gun number written on GJ5B evidence envelope (# H-53725), containing Wolfer’s four test bullets, was also NOT read into the record! Goodnight!
The importance of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury Transcript not recording the serial number of the gun it received in evidence cannot not be lightly dismissed for these two reasons:
Reason # 1 - the gun number (H-53725) appearing on GJ5B evidence envelope (containing the four test bullets) WAS NOT read into the record .
# 2 - Those four test bullets were subsequently proven to have been SUBSTITUTE test bullets. (source: Patrick Garland Evidence Inventory - which is an attachment to the 1975 Judge Robert K. Wenke Court Order # 2 authorizing the re-testing of the Sirhan gun)
More bad news
Eight months after Officer Wolfer testified before the Grand Jury he testified in the Sirhan Trial to having matched Peo. 47 (Kennedy neck bullet) with his test bullets in Peo. 55. envelope. But that raises a serious problem because the serial number of the gun written on Peo. 55 evidence envelope (containing three test bullets) records the serial number of a Los Angeles Police Department gun from Property Division (#H-18602 instead of #H-53725). How to explain that?
The Sirhan gun which was booked in evidence on 6-5-68 in the Los Angeles Police Department Property Report was identified as Item # 11, serial # H-53725 Iver Johnson rev....
GJ5B is an LAPD Test Shot envelope dated 6-5-68 containing four test fired bullets which were subsequently proven to be substitute bullets. The Serial number of the gun written on envelope GJ5B is H-53725 but was NOT recorded in the Grand Jury Transcript ( 6-7-68)
A gun identified as Item # 22 was recorded in Officer Wolfer’s Log on 6-5-68.
Wolfer did NOT record the serial number of gun Item # 22 in his Log
The LAPD -owned gun # H-18602 was written on Sirhan evidence envelope Peo. 55 which contained the three test bullets fired by Officer Wolfer (6-5/6-68)
That gun number (H-18602) was not read into the Sirhan trial record. (2-24-69)
The two missing shell casings in Peo. 55 were removed from the evidence envelope prior to Wolfer’s testimony. (this is covered in earlier reports)
The LACGJ did NOT record the serial number of the gun (Grand Juy 7) which it received in evidence (6-7-68) .
Grand Jury 7A “evidence” envelope contains eight spent shell casings which were reported to have been removed from the Sirhan gun on 6-5-68 were unmarked.
The writing on envelope Grand Jury 7A, does not contain the serial number of the gun from which the spent bullets were removed - nor does GJ7A contain Officer names or badge numbers
Ah, I almost forgot. Item # 11 and Item # 12 were transferred to SUS on 8-24-68 and marked Confidential. (this was covered in earlier reports).
I strongly suspect the gun identified as Item # 22 and the LAPD gun (serial number H-18602) on Peo. 55 evidence envelope is one and the same gun.
And of course - there is the matter of all of the bullets (including the gun) being stipulated into evidence at the Sirhan trial by the seriously compromised defense attorney Grant Cooper. And what about the defense attorneys being put on notice by DDA David Fitts that the bullets did not have adequate foundation? Nothing, absolutely nothing was proven up.
Inexplicably - the defense did not hire their own ballistics expert. It couldn’t have been to save money because Cooper paid five hundred dollars out of the defense fund for a professional photo/portrait of himself !
When Sirhan learned the monies from the defense expense account were used to pay for Cooper’s portrait - Sirhan asked me “Why didn’t Cooper use the 500 dollars to hire a ballistics expert for me?” Good question
Then too, Attorney Abdeen Jabar flew into Los Angeles from Detroit, Mich. carrying a one hundred twenty five thousand dollar check and gave it to the defense attorneys for expenses. Additionally, there were monies coming in from various news agencies. There was no excuse to not hire a ballistics expert in the face of the Prosecution putting the Defense on notice that there wasn’t adequate foundation for the bullets.
Now let’s turn our attention to the little fakes
Clearly Item # 22 is not the Sirhan gun (Item # 11) and this substitute gun was given to Wolfer on 6-5-68. It therefore follows that Wolfer’s test bullets from Item # 22 gun were also substitute test bullets. And these little fakes were then compared with a substitute Kennedy neck bullet and also with a substitute Goldstein bullet.
What does that do to Wolfer’s Court testimony wherein he testified to matching his test bullets with the Kennedy neck bullet and with the Goldstein bullet?
(sources Patrick Garland Evidence Inventory dated 1975; Judge Wenke/Court Order # 2 Special Hearing Exhibit 10 Report (1975); Wolfer’s Log dated 6-5-68 re Item # 22; Wolfer’s Log re Item # 1 same date; Dr. Thomas Noguchi Autopsy Report; SUS Records re Dr.Finkel ID mark “X” on the Goldstein bullet base; LAPD Property Report dated 6-5-68 re crime scene gun identified as Item # 11; Grand Jury Transcript, 6-7-68; Wolfer’s Grand Jury testimony 6-7-68; Wolfer’s Sirhan trial testimony 2-24-69)
Considering all of the above
Item # 22 must be seen for what it is - an unknown - a substitute gun.
It is well worth going over these facts again
Wolfer did not record the serial number of gun Item # 22. in his Log.
# H-18602 gun number on Peo. 55 envelope was an LAPD-owned gun. - the serial number was not read into the Sirhan trial record.
The serial number of the Grand Jury gun (GJ7) was not read into the record (6-7-68)
Kennedy neck bullet was switched
Goldstein bullet was switched
Baby steps in the world of research
From the start I believed , as did every one else, that Sirhan fatally shot Senator Robert F. Kennedy in the Ambassador Hotel. Then, after the trial ended I asked Appellate Attorney Luke McKissack for the Sirhan Trial Transcripts - Aside from my interest in research, I wanted to examine the legal process at work. - and I admit to being a little suspicious.
Volume Fifteen changed everything. In the very early stages of my innocent research project I wrote off LAPD criminalist DeWayne Wolfer as a Klutz. There were just too many ballistics problems.
That low opinion of him didn’t change until my research ripened at which time I saw how the evidence was switched, altered, moved around, burned, fabricated and covered up. And I knew, without the slightest doubt, that wasn’t Wolfer’s doing .
Without the help of honest and courageous men like crusty, cranky criminalist William Harper; tenacious investigator Ted Charach (who always drove me crazy); Sirhan’s loyal older brother Adel Sirhan; the dedicated Attorney Lawrence Teeter; the very brave and honest Dr. Thomas Noguchi and so many other dedicated researchers this case would never have seen the light of day.
I want to close this report with a fond remembrance of Sirhan’s older brother, the late Adel Sirhan
One day on our long drive up to the prison to visit with Sirhan I asked Adel what his name (Adel) meant in Arabic. “Justice” that was his answer.
Rose Lynn Mangan February, 2014