1426 (30)
February 21, 1969 and February 22, 1969
ROBERT A. FRAZIER, a witness for the Defense, after first being duly sworn by The Minute Clerk, was examined and testified as follows:
Your Honor, we would like to announce to The Court that we intend to proceed to qualify Mr. Frazier to testify as an expert in the field of ballistics.
THE COURT: Very well.
Q: Mr. Frazier, for the record would you please state your full name.
A: Robert A. Frazier.
Q: And what is your employment, Mr. Frazier?
A: I am a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory in Washington, D.C.
Q: Now do you have any specialized duties in connection with your work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation?
A: I am presently employed as the Chief of the Firearms & Tools Marks in the Physics and Chemistry Section.
Q: Mr. Frazier, have you had any specialized training in the field of ballistics?
A: Yes, sir, I have.
Q: Would you kindly give us a resume of this training which you have had?
A: Following a science degree which I received in 1940 from the University of Idaho I entered the F.B.I. Laboratory and received the specialized training given by the firearms identification specialist in the laboratory working towards the position of firearms identification specialist. This training lasted approximately one year and involved all aspects of firearms work, that is comparing bullets with firearms; comparing cartridge cases with firearms to determine whether or not the bullet or cartridge case were fired in a particular weapon. It included examining ammunition components to determine their manufacturer and caliber and the type of weapon from which they may have been fired based on rifling characteristics impressed for instance in a fired bullet. It included making gun pattern tests, shot pattern tests, noting the effect of projectiles such as bullets fired against glass, the type of break, the type of bullet holes produced.
This course involved comparing thousands of specimens, examining firearms of a great variety of types, both rifles, pistols, shotguns, submachine guns and so forth. I completed that training period, the specialized training course, in approximately one year and since that time have been assigned to the work of making firearms identification and tool marks identification.
Q: Mr. Frazier, have you had any published works in the field of ballistics?
A: Only one which consisted of a pamphlet published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation which was printed in the law enforcement bulletins and reprinted for citizens and law enforcement agencies.
Q: Were you the author?
A: I wrote the pamphlet but Mr. Hoover was the author as published.
Q: Have you been qualified as an expert in the field, sir, of ballistics in any court?
A: Yes, sir, I have.
Q: If so, what courts?
A: I have testified in all of the States except Vermont, including Alaska and Hawaii, but I have not testified in all federal courts but in all state courts.
MR. DYMOND: If The Court please, we submit Mr. Frazier as an expert in the field.
MR. OSER: No questions.
THE COURT: It's submitted? I will rule that the witness, Mr. Frazier, has been qualified as an expert in the field of ballistics and can give his opinion in that field.
Q: Mr. Frazier, at any time after November 22, 1963 did you have occasion to examine the vehicle in which President Kennedy was riding at the time of his assassination?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: Where and when, sir, did this examination take place?
A: It took place in the United States Secret Service Garage in Washington, D.C. My examination began at approximately 1:00 o'clock on the morning of November 23 and ended about 4:30 that same morning.
Q: Yes, sir, I see. In connection with your examination of this vehicle did you have occasion to particularly examine the windshield of the automobile?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you find anything unusual about the windshield and if so, please describe that condition?
A: The windshield was partially broken in a star-shaped fashion, that is there was a crack in the windshield. I made a specific examination of it to determine what caused the crack. I found on the inside surface of the windshield a deposit of lead which had been forced against the glass and had splattered and as a result determined the glass had been broken by the impact of a projectile striking the inside surface of the glass and fracturing the windshield in the outer layer.
Q: Upon what did you base your determination that the glass had been hit by a projectile hitting the inside rather than the outside?
A: As a result of having examined hundreds of pieces of glass which have been broken in a known fashion, that is by a blow delivered in a known way, it is possible by studying the radial cracks or fractures emanating from the point of force to determine the side of the glass on which the force was applied.
Using the stress lines left on this glass at the time the glass was broken and caused by the object which broke the glass it is possible to determine the direction the force was applied. This examination of the cracks showed that the pressure had been applied on the inside surface.
Q: Now the opinion which you formed as to which side of the windshield had been hit, Mr. Frazier, was that a definite opinion or was there any doubt in your mind as an expert?
A: It is a definite conclusion.
Q: Now, Mr. Frazier, other than the windshield of the automobile, could you tell us what particular examinations were conducted with other parts of this vehicle?
A: Yes, sir. The first examination which was made was of the exterior portions of the vehicle. We examined the outer surface of the hood, the grille area, both front fender areas, all the metal work on the outside of the automobile. The examination was for two purposes, to determine whether there were any bullets or other projectile impact areas on the outside of the car and also to note the presence of the foreign material deposited on it. We found blood and tissue all over the outside areas of the vehicle from the hood ornament, over the complete area of the hood, on the outside of the windshield, also on the inside surface of the windshield, and all over the entire exterior portion of the car, that is, the side rails down both sides of the car, and of course considerable quantities inside the car and on the trunk lid area. We found however, no bullet holes or projectile marks.
Q: Did you find any impact areas on this automobile?
A: Nothing which could be identified as a bullet impact area except the one on the inside of the windshield.
Q: Now, Mr. Frazier, in connection with your examination of this vehicle did you find any portions of projectiles, bullet projectiles?
A: I can say that we found fragments of lead which may have originated from a bullet.
Q: How many did you find?
A: There were three fragments found on the carpet in the rear or passenger compartment.
Q: Now when you say rear or passenger compartment, that included the area of the jump seats?
A: Yes, sir, these fragments were in fact found under the area on the left-hand jump seat.
Q: And you say three?
A: Yes.
Q: If you remember, or if you have in your notes the necessary information would you tell us the size of the three particles you found?
A: They weighed 9/10ths of a grain, 7/10ths of a grain, and 7/10ths of a grain, each being less than 1 grain in weight. A grain I may or should say is 1/7,000ths of a pound and is a unit of measurement in weighing bullets, comparing one bullet weight with another.
Q: Now, did you have occasion to work with Mr. Lyndal Shaneyfelt, also an F.B.I. Agent in the reenactment of the assassination scene?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: Did this take place in Dallas?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Could you tell us when that took place?
A: On May 24, 1964.
Q: Now, Mr. Frazier, what was the purpose of this examination and reenactment, what were you seeking to learn from it?
A: I was involved in this reenactment as an adviser or consultant to the Warren Commission in an effort to reconstruct the testimony of various witnesses according to the Commission's records, to determine whether or not this testimony was feasible and possible and to determine whether it could have, that is the assassination could have occurred as these witnesses have advised.
Q: Could you tell us the mechanics of the reenactment that was conducted by you and Mr. Shaneyfelt and others?
A: In the first place the presidential limousine in which the President was shot was not available so therefore a Cadillac limousine was substituted and individuals were placed in this car as stand-ins for the President and Governor John Connally. The position of the people in the car were adjusted by the Commission according to information that developed from studying various movie films and still films, particularly one taken by Abraham Zapruder. The relative elevation of the President was adjusted by having him sit on blankets so that his position with reference to Governor Connally at the time of the assassination would be duplicated in the stand-ins. The position left and right, that is from side to side, was also positioned as nearly as possible as could be duplicated. The automobile itself was placed on the street as nearly as possible as could be duplicated from studying various films and also driven down this street as movies were taken. Then it was driven down the street and stopped at various places so additional photographs could be taken and certain measurements made and then finally a photograph was made of the entire process with the, with a movie camera attached to a rifle on which a telescopic sight was fixed, that is a movie was taken through a telescopic sight.
Q: What was your particular function in this reenactment, Mr. Frazier?
A: I was stationed in the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository Building on the sixth floor in a partially, at a partially open window and directed the position of the car with reference to a large tree which exists in front of this building, advising the men on the street when they should stop the car, at what time the President's stand-in was visible through the foliage and had cleared the foliage and so forth.
Q: And you say you were in the window of the Book Depository?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: On the sixth floor?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Now in connection with this reenactment, Mr. Frazier, did you use the Zapruder films?
A: Yes, sir, we did.
Q: Now with respect to frame 313 of the Zapruder film, which is the frame in which it is obvious from the film that the President was shot in the head, at the time when the reenactment vehicle was in the same spot as was the presidential vehicle according to the Zapruder film, at the time of frame 313, was there a clear shot from the sixth-floor depository window to the head of the stand-in for the president?
A: Yes, there was.
Q: Now by studying the Zapruder film are you able to tell with any certainty in what frame the President had been hit for the first time?
A: That could not be definitely established in my opinion for two reasons: One, it is not known what the reaction time of the President was after he was shot and it is not clear in the picture as to which frame he begins to show reaction and therefore you cannot determine exactly, you may be able to approximate the frame number.
Q: Let me ask you if prior to frame 313, that is the position the vehicle was in at that time, had there been any other clear shots established at the presidential stand-in?
A: From the sixth floor depository window, yes, sir, I would say that from frame 207 on the car had cleared the tree.
Q: Now, Mr. Frazier, did you have occasion to examine the rifle which was found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: What type of rifle was that?
A: It is a 6.5 millimeter Italian military rifle and it is referred to as a Mannlicher- Carcano rifle in this country.
Q: Did it have a telescopic sight?
A: Yes, it did.
Q: What power?
A: A four-power telescopic sight.
Q: Mr. Frazier, I show you a weapon introduced in evidence and marked State-18 and ask you whether that is the same type of rifle which you examined?
A: Generally, this is the same rifle. The color of the stock is different. This rifle is polished and blued whereas the other had a rough finish. I cannot read all the inscription on here.
THE COURT: Would you get that magnifying glass out of my desk drawer.
THE WITNESS: I would say this rifle is similar and has some different markings on it, namely there is no inscription of "made in Italy" as there was in the other and the telescopic sight is mounted in a different position and in a different manner.
Q: Would you say the rifle is similar to the one found on the sixth floor of the Depository Building?
MR. OSER: I object, Your Honor, because there is no testimony where the other rifle was found.
THE COURT: What he wants to know is whether this rifle is similar to the one he examined.
MR. OSER: My objection is that this agent was not on the sixth floor Depository when the rifle was found.
THE COURT: Will you rephrase your question?
MR. DYMOND: I will rephrase it.
Q: Is it similar to the one he examined?
MR. OSER: I object, Your Honor.
MR. DYMOND: With respect to this objection, if it is a good objection it has come very late. This witness already testified, and it is in the record, that he examined the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Book Depository.
MR. OSER: There has been no chain set up as to how the agent got the rifle and we don't know which rifle.
THE COURT: I will overrule the objection. The testimony is this rifle has been introduced as being similar to the rifle allegedly used and I believe Mr. Dymond's question is that is the rifle in court similar to the rifle he examined.
MR. OSER: I have no quarrel with that if it was similar to the rifle this agent examined.
Q: What was your answer to that?
A: I would say it is generally similar, yes.
Q: With respect to the telescopic sight on this rifle is it similar to the one on the rifle you examined?
A: Yes, it appears to be an identical telescopic sight too, but however the mount, the way it is mounted is different.
Q: I see. Now, Mr. Frazier, the rifle which you examined, is that a clip-fed rifle?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How many cartridges?
A: Seven, six in the clip and one in the rifle.
Q: Now, from your reenactment of the assassination scene, and your work with the Zapruder film, were you able to determine with any degree of accuracy what the space in time was between the first shot and the last shot that was fired at the President?
MR. OSER: Your Honor, he hasn't established when the first and last shot was fired.
MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, if he doesn't know he can say.
THE COURT: I thought he answered your question a few moments ago but I can't comment on the evidence. Go ahead and ask your question.
Q: Were you able to determine with any degree of accuracy the time span between the first and the last shots fired at President Kennedy?
A: No, sir, not within even several seconds.
Q: Now, did you conduct any firing speed tests and accuracy tests with the rifle which you examined?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: Where were these tests conducted?
A: In the indoor range in the F.B.I. Building, Washington, D.C. and the outdoor range, the F.B.I. range at Quantico, Virginia.
Q: Tell us the mechanics and extent of the tests and give us the result of the tests.
A: The first test performed was performed primarily, primarily for accuracy but also for maintaining a rapid rate of fire. These tests were performed at 45 feet in the indoor range with artificial light firing at a target with the rifle and with the four-power telescopic sight mounted on it. The tests which I fired at that 45-foot distance consisted of three shots fired in a span of 5.9 seconds, that is from the time the first shot was fired until the third shot was fired. The tests consisted of firing, reloading and firing, reloading and firing the third time so that a total of three shots were fired. The tests conducted at the 75-foot distance consisted of two three-shot groups also fired for accuracy and speed. These consisted of a group fired in approximately a 2 inch circle at 75 feet in a period of 4.8 seconds, and a series of shots fired in a group which would be all-encompassed in a 5 inch circle which was fired in a time of 4.6 seconds.
I believe I left out the accuracy measurement for the first 45 foot target. In that target the three shots fired could be covered by a quarter. The third set of tests consisted of four targets situated at 300 feet in the outdoor range in daylight. In those four targets, first I'll give you the time interval and then the size of the pattern formed by the three shots that were fired in each of those tests. These three shots in the first test were fired in 5.9 seconds and they landed in a 3 1/2 inch circle; the second test was fired in 6.2 seconds, the three shots landed in a 4 inch circle and -- I should say 4 1/2 to 5 inch circle. The third test was fired in 5.6 seconds, the three shots landed in a 3 inch circle and these shots landed in a 3 1/2 inch circle. This test also was conducted both for accuracy and for speed.
Q: Now, Mr. Frazier, what was the reason for choosing those particular distances for these tests?
A: The first distances were chosen by me mainly to determine whether the weapon was accurate and were the two distances available in the F.B.I. indoor range, that is, 45 feet and 75 feet and artificial light for targets. The outdoor distance was chosen as 100 yards or 300 feet as being longer than any distance at which President Kennedy could have been fired upon from a person firing from the Texas School Book Depository Building.
Q: Now in feet, what was the distance from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository Building and the spot on Elm Street where the reconstruction vehicle was in frame 313 of the Zapruder film?
A: 265 feet.
Q: Now, you have told us you recovered three bullet particles from the presidential limousine --
MR. OSER: I object, Your Honor, as he didn't say anything about cartridges being fired --
THE COURT: Finding cartridges in the car?
MR. DYMOND: I didn't say cartridges, Your Honor.
Q: Were any other projectiles or pieces of projectiles made available to you in connection with your tests?
MR. DYMOND: Tests.
THE WITNESS: Yes, sir, I had them in the laboratory.
Q: What other projectiles or portions of the projectiles did you have?
A: In addition to those there were two bullet fragments, the nose section and base section, recovered by the secret police and delivered to me at the laboratory. Then there were additional other fragments, another two fragments from the President's head and one fragment from the arm of Governor Connally.
Q: Did you have made available to you any intact or almost intact bullet projectiles?
A: Yes, sir, I did. That one was submitted to me --
MR. OSER: I'm going to object unless the officer found it.
MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, one thing which The Court is empowered to take judicial cognizance is, is the fact of history. I am trying to say this in such a way that it can be properly said before the Jury.
MR. OSER: Then I ask that the Jury be taken out.
THE COURT: Let me first hear the objection and then your reply.
MR. OSER: My objection is merely that the officer can testify to what he examined in this case but he cannot testify where these particular things were found. I know what Mr. Dymond is leading up to and that is the cartridges found in the sixth floor of the Depository.
THE COURT: What is your reply, Mr. Dymond?
MR. DYMOND: First of all I didn't have reference to cartridge cases found on the sixth floor of the Depository but I have reference to an almost intact projectile which was found on the stretcher of President Connally, rather Governor Connally at the Parkland Hospital in Dallas. I said before, as I said before, one thing The Court does have the power to do and that is to take judicial cognizance of the facts of history. It is a fact of history that a projectile was found on this stretcher in the Parkland Hospital and I think this witness does have the right to say that this projectile was turned over to him for examination. That is what we are asking.
MR. OSER: It is not my objection about the officer testifying that he made an examination on Commission Exhibit 399 which was turned over to him but my objection was where it was found. That is my objection.
MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, that is a fact of history.
MR. ALCOCK: Your Honor, the Warren Report is also a fact of history and Mr. Dymond is asking this Court to take judicial cognizance of the Warren Report and all its findings and conclusions and this is naturally in the Warren Report, Exhibit 399 and this in effect would be doing that.
MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, I am not asking Your Honor to take judicial cognizance of the Warren Report.
THE COURT: I would suggest, Mr. Dymond, I think Mr. Oser's objection bears to the identity of the object itself. He would have no objection if you would ask Mr. Frazier to give his expert opinion as to what was handed to him and the examination he conducted and if you want you can call it "Exhibit 399 of the Warren Report" if you wish and he can identify the object as either a spent bullet intact unmarked and he could give you his opinion as to what he found out and how it compared with the fragments but I agree with Mr. Oser you cannot say that it was found on the stretcher because he wasn't there and either you would have to have the person that found it to testify to its position, the link of possession to prove it's the exact bullet. However, I would let him give an expert opinion as to what was given to him and then let the Jury draw its own inference.
MR. DYMOND: Very well, we will proceed that way.
Q: Mr. Frazier --
THE COURT: You may proceed.
Q: Mr. Frazier, was an intact or almost intact bullet projectile turned over to you for examination in the course of your tests?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Would that be Exhibit 399 of the Warren Report?
A: Yes, sir, it was.
Q: Now, did you conduct any test or tests in connection with this intact or almost intact projectile as to what if any gun it had been fired from?
A: I did.
Q: Would you tell us what those tests were and the results of those tests?
A: The tests consisted of firing test bullets from the rifle which I had received and making microscopic comparisons of the barrel markings with the markings on the bullet referred to as 399. This was a comparison microscope type of examination in which I compared those marks which are peculiar to each individual gun and not duplicated in any two rifles. That comparison resulted in identification of the bullet 399 as having been fired in the Italian military 6.5 millimeter rifle which I received for examination.
Q: Mr. Frazier, is that a conclusive test, that is, does it prove it was fired from that rifle or a rifle to the exclusion of any other firearms?
A: Yes, sir, it does.
Q: Did you have occasion to conduct any similar tests on the fragments which you had recovered and which had been turned over to you?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: Would you kindly describe those tests?
A: These tests also were conducted with a comparison microscope and consisted of comparing the microscopic marks left on the test bullets fired from the rifle with the microscopic marks left on the fired jacket portion which was submitted to me and, and the base of the bullet jacket which was also submitted. These two jackets fragments were compared separately with the test bullets and then compared with each other.
As a result it was determined that the two bullet jacket fragments, both the nose portion and the base portion of the bullets were fired from the 6.5 millimeter rifle. The examination however did not prove whether or not these two bullet fragments actually represented two separate bullets or whether they were in fact the nose portion or base portion from a single bullet.
Q: Was this a conclusive test?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: As an expert could you testify that they were fired from the same rifle turned over to you from the exclusion of all firearms?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Where had you obtained this nose fragment and base fragment, Mr. Frazier, that is the two fragments on which you did conduct the tests on which you formed an opinion?
A: These two fragments were turned over to me by Special Agent Todd of the Washington Field Office in Washington on November 22, 1963.
Q: Now in the course of your examination of the interior of the Presidential vehicle, did you find any pellets or portions of projectiles which could be tested so as to determine that they came from any other gun other than the one from which you conducted your examination?
A: No, sir, there were no such fragments.
Q: Now did you have made available to you during the course of this examination any empty cartridge cases?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How many, sir?
A: Three.
Q: Did you make any tests with these cartridge cases in connection with the gun turned over to you?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: Would you please describe these tests and the results of them?
A: The tests I conducted consisted of firing test cartridge cases in the 6.5 millimeter Italian military rifle and comparing the firing pin markings left in these fired cartridge cases with the firing pin markings in the three fired 6.5 millimeter cartridge cases which I had received for comparison.
This test also included comparing the marks from the bolt face of the weapon as left on the test cartridge cases. There was a microscopic examination, that is mounting the two portions, the test on one side of the microscope and the evidence on the other side, and comparing the microscopic marks found in the firing pin impressions and those microscopic markings left by the face of the bolt of the weapon in which they were fired.
As a result of these examinations I concluded that all three of the fired cartridge cases submitted to me for examination had been fired in the 6.5 millimeter Italian military rifle which had been also submitted for comparison.
Q: Mr. Frazier, is that a conclusive test you just described?
A: Yes, it is.
Q: As a result of having made that test are you able to testify that those three empty cartridge cases had been fired from the rifle submitted to you from the exclusion of all other firearms?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Did you conduct any firing pin tests?
A: Only those I just described, the firing pin impression tests.
Q: In the course of your reenactment of the assassination, Mr. Frazier, was there any indication or marking placed on the floor of the School Book Depository on the sixth floor to indicate where the empty cartridge cases had been found?
MR. OSER: I object as there is no testimony about that and he's merely trying to get it in front of the Jury.
MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, this is a question pertaining to what happened during the reenactment of the Presidential assassination.
THE COURT: Is that the question?
MR. DYMOND: That is correct.
THE COURT: Did he find some cartridges on the date of reenactment?
MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, I haven't asked that question yet.
THE COURT: Go ahead and ask your question.
Q: In the course of your reenactment, and don't answer until the Judge has a chance to rule, of the Presidential assassination scene, were any markings placed on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository to indicate where empty cartridge cases had been fired?
THE COURT: Let me understand the question. Your question is: During the reenactment -- I would assume they didn't fire live bullets but they fired blanks, I would assume that --
THE WITNESS: That is correct.
THE COURT: Your question is: Did the cartridges fall in a pattern that you would say they fell in originally?
MR. OSER: He wants to know in setting up the reenactment scene, were there any marks placed on the floor of the School Book Depository where empty cartridge cases were found?
THE COURT: Not found where those fell.
MR. OSER: That is my objection as to where they were found because that is hearsay.
THE COURT: Don't get excited about it.
MR. OSER: I have a right to object.
MR. DYMOND: This question is pertaining to the actual mechanics of the reenactment and have an important bearing to the next question.
THE COURT: I think I know what you are alluding to, Mr. Dymond, but you have to restate what happened the date of the reenactment but not where cartridge cases were found on November 22, 1963.
MR. DYMOND: I will change the form of the question.
Q: Mr. Frazier, during the reenactment of the Presidential assassination scene, were any marks placed on the floor of the School Book Depository?
A: No, sir.
Q: Were any ejection tests conducted with the rifle that had been submitted to you?
A: I had several ejection tests that were made in the F.B.I. Laboratory, but not outside the laboratory.
Q: What was the purpose of these tests, Mr. Frazier?
A: To determine the angle and distance this fired cartridge case would be extracted from this weapon in the process of firing -- excuse me, after the cartridge case had been fired.
Q: I see. Now, what did this test reveal, Mr. Frazier?
A: It revealed there was a great deal of variation in both the distance and the angle to which the cartridge cases would be ejected which depended on how much force and how fast the bolt of the weapon was thrown to the rear causing the cartridge case to flip out of the ejection port. Generally speaking, you could vary the distance and the direction by increasing or decreasing the speed at which the bolt was operated. All of them, however, when the muzzle of the rifle was held horizontally were ejected approximately 90 degrees to the right of the weapon. Now, when the muzzle was held depressed at approximately 45 degrees, the cartridge cases were ejected approximately 80 degrees to the right of a line drawn through the muzzle or barrel of the weapon.
MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, we are about to get into another area with this witness.
THE COURT: I then suggest that we stop at this moment. It is apparent the State has not even started its cross-examination and we could not wind up with the witness tonight, as it is 5:28, so I think it would be a good time to close the proceedings for the day.
You will be excused and will you be kind enough to report at 9:00 o'clock tomorrow morning and continue with your testimony. Gentlemen, again I must instruct you and admonish you not to discuss the case amongst yourselves or with anyone else until it has been submitted to you for your decision.

At the hour of 5:30 o'clock p.m., the Court recessed for the day. ...