Plain Talk Five


I open Plain Talk Five with a question: What if a passerby just happened to witness a terrible mugging? Should he/she look the other way and say nothing - or is there a moral obligation to cry out for help?  What would you do?


                     The Sirhan Bullet Casings


# 1 - Begins with  the bullet casings from the alleged Sirhan gun (ser # H53725)  which was  recorded as  Item #12 in LAPD Property Reports on 6-5-68 and was  therefore treated as  crime scene shell casings.


# 2 -  Next we move on to the Los Angeles County Grand Jury (6-7-68)  where  these eight expended shell casings  were received in evidence as  “Grand Jury  Exhibit 7-A  Envelope with 8 expended cartridges”  at which time LAPD Officer Calkins testified  to the following: “These cartridges were purposely not marked by myself in an effort to not contaminate them for possible fingerprint examination”


# 3 - These  LACGJ shell casings (7-A)  subsequently moved on to the Sirhan Trial and became   Peo. Exhibit 21 where they suffered the same fate as virtually all of  the other Sirhan ballistics evidence - they were stipulated into evidence by something resembling a self-anointing fiat.


# 4  -Click here   Then on to the Judge Wenke Court Order  (1975) which was granted  permitting re- examination of  Sirhan ballistics  evidence.  Court Order #1  lists  items  of evidence which were to be turned over to the seven  panel members  for their  examination  (9-18-75).  Then a few days later  Court Order #1 was  replaced by Court Order #2  (9-23-75)  at which time a number of evidentiary items  were inexplicably  removed.  Among the deleted items  of evidence  was  the gun  (Peo. Ex 6) and also the eight shell casings  (Peo Ex 21)!!!  But the gun magically appears in Ct. #2 test results - and not on the face-page list of exhibits !!


# 5  -  But there is more.  Equally  astounding was the removal of the two shell casings 

from within Peo Ex. 55 evidence envelope!!. Where on earth did that order  spring from?  

I emphasize, someone - I do not know on whose orders  - REMOVED -  those two shell casings from within the  Peo. Ex. 55 evidence envelope!!!  Thus we see the seven examiners never received any shell casings what-so-ever which might have been used for comparison purposes.   Therefore,  even if one of the examiners  became mildly curious and wanted to compare Peo. Ex. 21 eight shell casings  and the two expended shell casings from Peo. Ex. 55 Evidence envelope  with  their own  (1975)  eight test shell casings  from gun  H53725  -  they could not do so. This is an unbelievable and true fact.


#  6 -Click here Now let us move on to  yet  another  layer in  this tortured case.  We clearly see in  SUS/ LAPD Records:  “Appendix H: List and Description of Trial Exhibits”.  There is  NO RECORD  - no mention of the existence of the eight expended shell casings from the test firing of Sirhan gun by the seven examiners in  1975!!!! This is what I found:


# 7  -#ID No. F3906:128 --Special Hearing --24 (A-H) -- bullets fired from Sirhan’s gun on 9-27-75 (8)”.   It is important to bear in mind that all relevant  records  from the 1975 re-examination  were turned over to the  California State Archives - with the EXCEPTION of the 1975  eight test- fired bullets and the now missing  eight test - shell casings.  Someone  removed the  1975 eight test shell casings from that evidence list. I want to tell you what I really think took place:  No one wanted the examiners to compare the pin- strike markings on the test shell casings with  shell casings at the California State Archives  - (Peo. Ex. 21 - plus  the two shell casings in Peo. Ex. 55 Evidence envelope). No one could  take the risk  of having the ’75 test fired bullets and  shell casings under the same roof.  I suspect that is the reason those ’75 test bullets and shell casings  were never sent to the California State Archives. After all, there was no guarantee that at some future date a  court might grant a new examination of the evidence.


#  8   -  Where are those  missing eight shell casings from the 1975  test- firing  (using the  Sirhan gun ) ?   I have examined several copies of those records and they too do not have an entry for those missing eight test shell casings from the 1975 examination. There is also the matter of the unknown whereabouts of the eight 1975 test bullets.


#  9  - I would like to  add this thought- if I had been  present during the discussions  among the seven panel members  in 1975,  I would have alerted them to the wrong ID # (H18602 from the Jake Williams gun)  on Peo. Ex.55 Evidence Envelope.  Next, I would  ask  that the contents in  LAPD Officer Druly’s  evidence envelope of his test firing of the Jake Williams gun  (H18602) on March 18, 1967 be given to the examiners.  The next item of evidence I would ask for is Peo. Ex. 21 - the eight  crime scene shell casings from gun  ID #H53725.  And finally, I would include the  two shell casings in Peo. Ex. 55 Evidence Envelope from gun ID #H18602.   I would  then ask that a comparison of  all of the above  items of evidence  be made with the 1975 eight test bullets and  eight test  shell casings .   Clearly, that should have been done if you  truly wanted to learn the provenance of  the gun used in Peo. Ex. 55 .   Wouldn’t the seven  panel members want to know the  correct identity of the  gun used  for Peo. Ex. 55 ballistics tests ? That is especially true since we are dealing with two  different guns which were used for  two different sets of comparison test  bullets in the same case. The examiners did  receive the victim bullets as well as GJ5B; Peo. Ex. 55 test  bullets and  the two expended bullets from Sirhan’s car for examination/comparison purposes.  But no shell casings.


 #  10  - Harper’s sharing  of the LAPD leaks he received with me  was what kept me tied to this investigation for so many years.  I wanted to know what happened. And, as it turned out , years later when I was researching the Ten Volume SUS Investigation Reports  those leaks  essentially became my road map. He  was my  “teacher”  back then, and I was his frightened  pupil (that’s because he was  so grumpy most of the time).  Over the years many people have written about that most extraordinary man, but writer Lisa Pease described him best when she called him “Hero Harper”.