The Full Story of the Sirhan Sirhan Parole Hearing

Letter from RFK Jr. Supports New Investigation

RFK, Paul Schrade
Robert F. Kennedy and Paul Schrade Photo credit: MALDEF / YouTube

The ban on video and audio recordings at Sirhan Sirhan’s parole hearing on February 9 meant the world depended on the one reporter allowed inside the hearing to tell us what happened. He had to condense “more than three hours of intense testimony” into 854 words.

Elliot Spagat’s lively account of the proceeding for the Associated Press omitted one very important document that shooting victim and Kennedy family friend Paul Schrade presented to the parole board. This was a letter from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to US Attorney General Eric Holder, dated September 25, 2012, supporting Schrade’s request for a new investigation of his father’s murder:

Paul was a close friend and advisor to my father. He was standing beside my father when Daddy was killed and Paul was himself wounded by a bullet. With boundless energy and clear mind, Paul continues to pursue my father’s ideas, an endeavor to which he has devoted his life. He organized with the support of my mother and my family the building of the new Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools on the former Ambassador Hotel site. Paul and his team…strongly believe this new evidence is conclusive and requires a new investigation. I agree and support his request for a new investigation.

RFK, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Photo credit: Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The request for a new investigation was partly based on a new analysis of the Pruszynski recording, the only known audio recording of the shooting. After studying the tape, forensic audio expert Phil Van Praag concluded 13 shots and 2 guns were fired in the Ambassador Hotel pantry on the night of the shooting.

At Holder’s direction, the FBI Laboratory conducted a very limited and deeply flawed examination of the Pruszynski recording and reportedly “could not confirm the number of shots or determine the identification of specific weapons.”

The FBI refused to accept the papers Van Praag had written detailing his methodologies and discoveries. In fact, the Bureau refused to communicate with him in any way.

The FBI’s examination report, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows the FBI used outdated methodologies and failed to provide their own analyst with critical background materials about the shooting scene.  These included witness statements, the autopsy report and movements of key people, including Stanislaw Pruszynski himself, at the time of the shooting.

The analyst describes searching for videos of Van Praag’s work on Youtube and working from low-resolution screen grabs of my film on Van Praag’s discoveries in an effort to find out precisely where to look, how to look, and what to look for. These are details he could have discovered by simply picking up the phone and calling Van Praag or inviting him to the FBI’s Quantico laboratory  for a briefing.

RFK, Philip Van Praag, Pruszynski Recording

Philip Van Praag from Epilogue to “RFK Must Die”: Pruszynski Recording Reveals Second Gun Photo credit: E2 Films

When he agreed to release the 2012 letter to the parole board at Sirhan’s hearing,  Robert Kennedy Jr. signaled publicly, for the first time, his support for a new investigation of his father’s murder. “You’re doing the right thing,” he told Schrade, days before the hearing.

Three years ago, Kennedy Jr. told Charlie Rose that the evidence was “very, very convincing” that his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was not killed by a lone gunman, and that his father had been privately dismissive of the Warren Commission findings.

As federal authorities have no criminal jurisdiction over Robert Kennedy’s 1968 murder, at the end of Sirhan’s hearing, Paul Schrade formally requested the Los Angeles County District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, open a new investigation into the case:

I am requesting a new investigation so that after nearly 50 years, justice finally can be served for me as a shooting victim; for the four other shooting victims who also survived their wounds; for Bob Kennedy; for the people of the United States who Bob loved so much and had hoped to lead; just as his brother, President John F. Kennedy, had led only a few years before; and of course for justice, to which Bob Kennedy devoted his life.

RFK, Paul Schrade

Paul Schrade Photo credit: Interesting Stuff Entertainment

Schrade addressed his remarks to David Dahle, a retired prosecutor representing the district attorney’s office. Dahle had earlier said Sirhan was guilty of “an attack on the American political process…[and] has still not come to grips with what he has done.”

Schrade reportedly chastised Dahle for the “venomous” statement from the D.A.’s office opposing Sirhan’s release, and asked Dahle to inform District Attorney Lacey of his request for a new investigation. Schrade, who firmly believes a second gunman — not Sirhan — killed Kennedy, plans to make the same request to Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

*****

As AP reported, Sirhan again stuck to his story that he didn’t remember shooting Robert Kennedy. He felt remorse for the victims but couldn’t take full responsibility for the crime: “If you want a confession, I can’t make it now…I just wish this whole thing had never taken place.”

At first, Sirhan didn’t want to attend this week’s hearing. According to one of his attorneys, Laurie Dusek, he was physically sick for hours after his mistreatment at the last hearing in 2011, but his brother Munir and Dusek urged him to reconsider. At the end of the hearing, he said, “This is such a traumatic…horrendous experience, that for me, to keep dwelling on it is harmful to me…”

AP noted that, if released, Sirhan hoped he would be deported to Jordan or could move in with his brother in Pasadena, “to live out my life peacefully, in harmony with my fellow man…”

*****
Victims of a crime have the right to make a statement at the end of parole hearing. They can say what they want and have as much time as they want, so Paul Schrade’s appearance Wednesday “provided much of the drama”, according to the AP report.

Meeting Sirhan for the first time since the 1969 trial, Schrade apologized to Sirhan for not attending his previous parole hearings or doing more to win his release: “I should have been here long ago and that’s why I feel guilty for not being here to help you and to help me.”

AP reported that “Schrade’s voice cracked with emotion during an hour of testimony” but what did he actually say? We won’t have a transcript for 30 days, so drawing on the full text of his prepared remarks, here’s a summary of his testimony below:

“While Sirhan was standing in front of Bob Kennedy and his shots were creating a distraction, the other shooter secretly fired at the senator from behind…”

I am here to speak for myself, a shooting victim, and to bear witness for my friend, Bob Kennedy.
 Kennedy was a man of justice. But, so far, justice has not been served in this case. And I feel obliged as both a shooting victim and as an American to speak out about this — and to honor the memory of the greatest American I’ve ever known, Robert Francis Kennedy. In order for you to make an accurate determination of Sirhan Sirhan’s parole, you need to know my feelings on this case and the full picture of what actually happened.

When Schrade turned to address Sirhan, he “angrily ignored” the commissioner’s instructions not to speak or make eye contact with the prisoner. He said he believed Sirhan did not know where he was or what he was doing and therefore was not responsible for his actions at the Ambassador Hotel:

Sirhan, I forgive you. The evidence clearly shows you were not the gunman who shot Robert Kennedy. There is clear evidence of a second gunman in that kitchen pantry who shot Robert Kennedy…The fatal bullet struck Bob in the back of the head…You were never behind Bob, nor was Bob’s back ever exposed to you…the evidence not only shows that you did not shoot Robert Kennedy but it shows that you could not have shot Robert Kennedy.

RFK, Sirhan Sirhan

Sirhan Sirhan June 5, 1968 Photo credit: California State Archives

Sirhan nodded politely and seemed appreciative as Schrade told him he wasn’t guilty and that Robert Kennedy would be appalled, not only by the parole board’s unjust treatment of Sirhan, but by the fact that he was not being given parole based on his rights under law.

Schrade then directed the panel’s attention to documents submitted in advance of the hearing, which proved “Sirhan Sirhan did not shoot — and could not have shot — Robert Kennedy”:

A copy of the autopsy report describing the fatal shot fired from an inch behind Kennedy’s right ear; Phil Van Praag’s declaration showing evidence of 13 shots and 2 guns on the Pruszynski recording; and witness statements from Ambassador Hotel maître d’s Karl Uecker and Edward Minasian confirming Sirhan’s firing position several feet in front of Kennedy. Together, he said, these documents proved:

Sirhan only had full control of his gun at the beginning, when he fired his first two shots, one of which hit me. Sirhan had no opportunity to fire four precisely placed, point-blank bullets into the back of Bob Kennedy’s head or body while he was pinned against that steam table and while he and Bob were facing each other.

After an hour, commissioner Brian Roberts reportedly asked Schrade to wrap up. “Quite frankly, you’re losing us,” he said. “I think you’ve been lost for a long time,” Schrade replied, before concluding:

What I am saying to you is that Sirhan himself was a victim. Obviously, there was someone else there in that pantry also firing a gun. While Sirhan was standing in front of Bob Kennedy and his shots were creating a distraction, the other shooter secretly fired at the senator from behind and fatally wounded him…I hope you will consider all of the accurate details of this crime that I have presented in order for you to accurately determine Sirhan Sirhan’s eligibility for parole. If you do this the right way and the just way, I believe you will come to the same conclusion I have: that Sirhan should be released. If justice is not your aim, then of course you will not. Gentlemen, I believe you should grant Sirhan Sirhan parole…And I ask you to do that today in the name of Robert F. Kennedy and in the name of justice. Thank you.

As Sirhan got up to leave, Schrade reportedly shouted, “Sirhan, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. It’s my fault.” AP reported that Sirhan tried to shake hands with Schrade but a guard blocked him.

Schrade refused to shake hands with the commissioner. Addressing him directly, Schrade told Roberts, “What you’ve done to this man is appalling and Robert Kennedy would find what you did appalling” before turning away.

Schrade found the hearing “very abusive” and upsetting. He later told reporters waiting outside that “Sirhan was being tortured in there.” In a radio interview, he said the parole board was “cold and ruthless about keeping this guy in jail, knowing there’s evidence [of his innocence] in the files”. He found the panel’s treatment of Sirhan “despicable,” destroying his dignity with petty questions that made the commissioners “look like amateur psychiatrists.”

Sirhan was again denied for five years because he “did not show adequate remorse or understand the enormity of his crime” – a statement which the transcripts of Sirhan’s previous parole hearings show is just not true.

*****

Another important document submitted to the parole board two days before the hearing was a new declaration by Dr. Daniel Brown, a psychologist from Harvard Medical School. Since May 2008, Dr. Brown has spent over 100 hours with Sirhan, including a two-day visit last September.

The aim of these sessions was threefold: to “conduct a detailed forensic psychological assessment” of Sirhan’s mental status; to allow Sirhan “to develop a more complete memory…for the events leading up to and of the night of the assassination”; and to determine whether or not Sirhan was the “subject of coercive suggestive influence” at the time of the shooting and if this accounted for his amnesia.

The declaration states that, in Dr. Brown’s expert opinion, Sirhan is normal, does not have a psychiatric condition or personality disorder and shows no evidence of any violence risk if released (the primary consideration for any parole panel).

In his sessions with Sirhan, Dr. Brown found “a variety of personality factors that are associated with high vulnerability to coercive suggestive influence: an extreme dissociative coping style; hypnotically-induced altered personality states; extremely high hypnotizability; and high social compliance”:

Mr. Sirhan is one of the most hypnotizable individuals I have ever met, and the magnitude of his amnesia for actions not under his voluntary [control] in hypnosis is extreme. This unusual combination of personality factors makes Mr. Sirhan the type of individual extremely vulnerable to coercive social influence [and accounts for his] uncharacteristic behavior and strong amnesia for that behavior on the night of Senator Kennedy’s assassination…

Dr. Brown’s declaration traces the seeds of this “coercive suggestive influence” back to his experiences at a local race track, where “Mr. Sirhan regularly practiced self-hypnosis with fellow stable boys…Mr. Sirhan was observed to quickly enter a very deep state of hypnotic trance…and to then respond compulsively and uncritically to suggestions he behave in certain ways for which he subsequently became amnesic.”

“Mr. Sirhan recalls being in the hospital for several weeks. Sometime thereafter he was taken to a military firing range and trained to shoot upon command at vital human organs while in an hypnotic state.”

After a fall from a horse at a ranch in Corona in 1966, Sirhan was briefly hospitalized but, as Dr. Brown notes, “his mother and best friend both state that he was missing for two full weeks. Mr. Sirhan recalls being in the hospital for several weeks. Sometime thereafter he was taken to a military firing range and trained to shoot upon command at vital human organs while in an hypnotic state.”

Dr. Brown notes that Sirhan’s “dissociative vulnerability” causes him “on rare occasions to shift self-states”:

On more than one occasion, I was able to find the cue to induce ‘range mode’, wherein upon hypnotic cue, Mr. Sirhan takes his firing stance, hypnotically hallucinates that he is shooting at circle targets at a firing range, automatically starts shooting, and subsequently is completely amnesic for the hypnotically induced behavior.

This altered personality state only occurs while Mr. Sirhan is in a hypnotic or self-hypnotic state, and only in response to certain cues. This state never spontaneously manifests. While in this altered personality state, Mr. Sirhan shows both a loss of executive control and complete amnesia…This distinctive self-state is cue-specific and state-dependent…and is likely the product of coercive suggestive influence and hypnosis.

On the night of the assassination, Sirhan recalls being led in the Ambassador Hotel pantry by a girl in a polka-dot dress. As Robert Kennedy was approaching him, Dr. Brown writes, “this same woman tapped him on the elbow twice (a common hypnotic cue) [and] he immediately went into ‘range mode’, and believed he was shooting at circle targets at a local firing range.”

Given the new evidence of a second gunman found on the Pruszynski recording, it is Dr. Brown’s expert opinion “that Mr. Sirhan was trained through a variety of coercive persuasion techniques to serve as a distractor on the night of the assassination, so that a second professional shooter could render the fatal shot…”

Sirhan fired his gun on cue, carrying out an involuntary post-hypnotic suggestion and his “strong dissociative coping style…would cause him to be ‘out of it’ and be confused and amnesic for such actions”:

Given the likelihood that Mr. Sirhan was in such a state at the time of the assassination, it should not be assumed at the parole hearing that he should manifest either knowledge of, remorse for, or clear memory for an event wherein his behavior was likely compulsively induced, involuntary, and for which he still has little memory.

Sirhan Sirhan, Notebook, RFK

Portion of the most famous page of Sirhan Sirhan’s notebook Photo credit: California State Archives

The self-incriminating writing in Sirhan’s notebooks has always been cited as primary evidence of premeditated murder. The most famous page begins: “May 18 9.45 AM – 68 My determination to eliminate R.F.K. is becoming more the more of an unshakable obsession.” Underneath it are a series of concentric circles that bear a strong resemblance to targets at a firing range.

After exploring Sirhan’s “responsiveness to automatic writing in hypnosis,” Dr. Brown concluded that the automatic writing in his notebooks was “a product of coercive persuasion by a third party”:

Mr. Sirhan was an avid enthusiast of short wave radios. He had a short wave radio in his bedroom, and spent most nights before the assassination communicating on his short wave radio to third parties. Mr. Sirhan frequently entered a hypnotic state while communicating with other parties on the short wave radio. While in trance, Mr. Sirhan would automatically write down what was communicated to him, and subsequently was amnesic for the content of his automatic writing in the spiral notebooks.

Dr. Brown compares the notebooks to “a coerced internalized false confession” and claims they should have been ruled inadmissible at trial. He concludes:

Mr. Sirhan has been in prison for over four decades for a crime that in all likelihood he never committed…Extensive psychological testing by me and others shows no evidence for any clinically significant psychiatric condition and low evidence for violence risk, combined with the new evidence that raises reasonable doubt that Mr. Sirhan was the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, and also reasonable doubt about his previous written and verbal self-incriminating statements being voluntary and reliable, there is, in my opinion, no justifiable reason to deny his parole.

Since he has spent all of his adult life in prison for a crime that he may not have committed, nor has volition about, knowledge of, nor memory for, the compassionate response would be to let Mr. Sirhan live the remainder of his life free. There is little risk here.

*****
On Thursday, after 16 days, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) finally responded to my request seeking the legal justification for the ban on televising parole hearings: “It is at the Executive Officer’s discretion to decide which, if any, media members or other observers to allow into a parole hearing.”

This non-answer is clearly at odds with the relevant title code of CDCR regulations, which states:

2032. (b) Television and radio coverage of Board of Prison Terms’ parole hearings will be authorized, unless such coverage would create a risk to the security of an institution, obstruct the hearing process, pose a risk to the personal safety of any person, or have the potential for prejudicing judicial proceedings…

Without such access, several TV reports on Wednesday ran misleading footage from Sirhan’s 2011 hearing, uncaptioned, and none ran any quotes of what Sirhan said at his own hearing.

Five years ago, the CDCR suddenly stopped allowing televised parole hearings. My question — which they still refuse to answer is —  why?
*****

RFK, Sirhan, District Attorney, Jackie Lacey

L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey Photo credit: Constitutional Rights Foundation / YouTube (Creative Commons)

With the support of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Paul Schrade has now formally requested a new investigation from the L.A. County District Attorney. Sirhan’s attorneys will take his case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Sirhan will continue to work with Dr. Brown to solve the mystery of what happened to him nearly 48 years ago.

2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s death and 50 years of Sirhan’s confinement. The release of the remaining JFK assassination records next year may give some insight into Robert Kennedy’s private skepticism regarding the Warren Report. It may also lead to growing public acceptance that the Kennedy assassinations were more complex than they seemed, and that one of the victims is still being held in prison in San Diego.

Shane O’Sullivan is an author, filmmaker and researcher at Kingston University, London. His work includes the documentary RFK Must Die (2007) and the book Who Killed Bobby? (2008). He blogs on the Sirhan case at http://www.sirhanbsirhan.com


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Robert F. Kennedy (JFK Presidential Library and Museum)

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75 responses to “The Full Story of the Sirhan Sirhan Parole Hearing”

  1. RedsLoveChild says:

    Obviously, it was a massive conspiracy.

    It`s a well established fact that all parties met in advance to coordinate their activities.

    The various co-conspirators included….the LAPD, the LA District Attorney`s Office, the trial judge {Judge E. Walker}, the 76 eyewitnesses inside the pantry, the mainstream media, RFK`s widow/sister/brother-in-law present that night {Ethel/Jean & Stephen Smith}, etc.

    It was all designed for one purpose….to insure that one small, insignificant, poor, unemployed, 24 year old “nobody” be put behind bars for life!

    Give them all credit…they pulled it off!!!

  2. Antony Wong says:

    strange

  3. 0040 says:

    I was in somewhere northwest Vietnam when word got out that RFK had been assassinated. I don’t recall any big reaction to the announcement as compared to the sporadic race riots mostly in the base camps when MLK was gunned down earlier that year. Although F*.cking Johnson was on many of our lips, after the TET victory had been frittered away. The fact that Mr. Sirhan is a Palestinian messes up todays progressive Democratic narrative. “Palestinians oppressed but peaceful”, absolving him of the murder would make the story better? Since the ’70s I’ve believed that the security guard behind RFK a poorly trained and paid Filipino guy pulled his gun, stumbled and discharged it into RFKs head. That Mr. Sirhan could not shoot straight does not absolve him.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      The private part-time security guard Thane Eugene Cesar is not Filipino. His third wife, Eleanor, is Filipino and there have been unconfirmed reports over the years that Cesar has been living in the Philippines (although it’s certainly possible that he has moved back to California). The notion that Cesar simply stumbled and accidentally discharged a bullet into the back of Kennedy’s head at point-blank, powder-burn range is preposterous. Did Cesar likewise stumble three other times and accidentally discharge the other three Kennedy bullets that also had been fired from behind the Senator at point-blank, powder-burn range? Of course not. So if Sirhan, who you say could not shoot straight, did not discharge any bullets into Kennedy, then who did, hmmmmmmmm? Gee, maybe Cesar was not such a stumble-bum after all. In any case, you are correct that Sirhan is not absolved by having missed Kennedy, due to vicarious liability in California. Rather what absolves Sirhan is Dr. Daniel Brown’s evidence that Sirhan had been hypno-programmed into falsely believing he was firing gunshots at paper targets on a shooting range instead of firing shots at Kennedy and others in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen pantry. Sirhan was a victim. His shots were designed to cause a distraction so a second shooter could secretly shoot Kennedy from behind. Was Cesar the second shooter? He was certainly in position to administer the three bullets that hit RFK in the back of his head and body and the fourth bullet that passed, back to front, through the right upper seat of Kennedy’s jacket. Either Cesar was the second shooter or he abetted the second shooter, who would have been positioned right next to him, by using his 6-foot frame to shield RFK’s real killer from being seen in the act by bystanders. Those are the only two possibilities here.

    • 0040 says:

      I was never a fan of RFK. I did see the documentary that offers the theory of the incompetent security guard killing RFK accidentally. The same theory was posited as one of the possible ways JFK was killed an Incompetent FBI security guy standing in a car with an M-16 behind JFKS limo swerved or hit a bump and squeezed off a couple of rounds. Rubbish! I’m convince both men were killed by CIA at the behest of competing forces within the US elite power structure. I know to a certainty that Oswald did not shoot JFK. Who shot RFK ? Don’t care.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      I’m aware of no reputable documentary that has seriously offered the theory of Thane Eugene Cesar or anyone else **accidentally** killing Robert Kennedy. Any third-rate producer pursuing such an idea would quickly realize from the simplest possible review of the evidence how ludicrous and insupportable such a storyline would be. You’ll have to prove such a documentary was ever released for anyone of common sense to take your claim even half seriously. What’s the title and where can it be viewed online? Or, at the very least, where online is it mentioned? I suspect your “Since the ’70s I’ve believed” comment in your first note reveals the answer: You saw the Charach documentary in the 1970s, which was the first to ever mention part-time private security guard Cesar, and somehow you got it into your head that Charach’s evidence pointed to an ** accidental** RFK killing when in fact that ’70s film does no such thing. Rather, rightly or wrongly, it premiered the theory that the guard **deliberately** shot the Senator from behind while Sirhan Sirhan’s shots from the front distracted everyone. There’s no question RFK was indeed killed by a second shooter and not by Sirhan and there’s no question Cesar was involved in that effort either as the second shooter himself or as a sight-line shield for the second shooter.

    • 0040 says:

      It’s on Google as a simple search will show. After CIA got away with killing JFK , all bets were off and the question of who killed RFK became moot.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      What is the title of this amazing documentary you have said shows how RFK could have killed **accidentally** Since you say it’s so easily found through a simple Google search, I’m sure it will take you less than a minute or two to Google it and report back to us its title, so we can all view it.

    • 0040 says:

      If you are genuinely interested which I doubt, simply Google “RFK assassination theories”, hundreds if not thousands of pages of theories on that subject will appear . “There’s truth that lives, and truth that dies, I don’t know which , so never mind. ” Leonard Cohen.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Just as I suspected. Despite your claim about seeing a documentary that shows how RFK could have been killed **accidentally**, you cannot provide us with the program’s title because it doesn’t exist and never has existed. There is not a single documentary one can find through Google or through any other means that offers an RFK-accidentally-killed theory. It’s impossible to successfully advance such a theory since the four bullets Senator Kennedy received (three into his body and one that passed harmlessly through his clothing) all were precisely-placed from behind, all four at upward trajectories from right-to-left and all at powder-burn range and point-blank distance. No one in the long history of the world could have fired all four of those hits accidentally. Therefore, taken together those four Kennedy entrance wounds alone are sufficient proof that the Senator’s real killer — not Sirhan Sirhan — was not some incompetent stumble-bum but an experienced shooter who shot RFK deliberately, taking advantage of the distraction caused by the hypno-programmed Sirhan’s first two shots.

  4. JCLincoln says:

    Sirhan, you are innocent. But those who have guilt will each pay ten times more the price you paid…………….and you shall have treasure in heaven.
    J.

  5. Mel Ayton says:

    It is clear that Sirhan’s apologists have misdirected the issue I first raised. I repeat – my initial complaint was to ask why Shane O’Sullivan did not make reference to an acoustics study which found Phil Van Praag’s Pruszynski Tape research to be in error. In the interests of fairness this should have been covered by this website. O’Sullivan refused to answer.

    Although this issue was not addressed I continued to offer answers to questions raised by other readers pointing out that I was not an acoustics expert nor a ballistics expert (although I relied on both types of expertise for my book The Forgotten Terrorist) I offered readers the opportunity to access court records which covered the ballistics issues.

    Additionally, I am not an apologist for the LAPD therefore I am in no position to answer the question which Ms Mangan raised as to the purported ‘switching’ of bullets . However, the courts have answered these charges – “Petitioner objects to the Report’s treatment of the ballistics evidence; yet Petitioner does not provide evidence to support his theory of bullet substitution. Petitioner theorizes that the bullets introduced at trial as the Kennedy neck bullet and the Goldstein bullet were substitutes for the actual bullets”. (Dkt. No. 218 at 28.) (SIRHAN v. GALAZA, Case No. CV 00-05686 BRO (AJWx)., BEVERLY REID O’CONNELL, District Judge. United States District Court, C.D. California. Signed January 5, 2015.) I once again refer readers to these documents.

    • Rose Mangan says:

      You err in stating that the courts have answered the charge of switched bullets as PROVEN by the seven examiners in their Special Hearing Exhibit 10 Report when they reproduced Wolfer’s 6-6-68 Special Exhibit 10 photomicrograph.
      The fact is the court did NOT address the switched bullets charge made by the exacting 1975 Special Hearing Exhibit 10 photomicrograph nor the 1968 Special Exhibit 10 photomicrograph made by LAPD Officer DeWayne Wolfer.
      The official documentation of the above charge is found in the AFTE Journal, volume 8, Number 3 dated October 1976, Special Edition.
      Another point I wish to make for the record.
      Dr. Thomas Noguchi did in fact give the photomicrograph, known as Special Exhibit 10 to Robert Joling at the Drake Hotel in February 1969 to “Hold on to for safekeeping, we may need it some day”
      Dr. Noguchi’s very brave action saved Special Exhibit 10 from being burned in the hospital incinerator along with thousands of other photographs by the LAPD.
      Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10 are not now nor ever were my theory of substitute bullets. They are PROOF of switched bullets (Peo. 47 and Peo. 52) That is a proven fact as recreated by the seven examiners in 1975.
      And before I forget, there is the matter of the MISSING 1975 test shell casings. Can you tell me that is also my theory and not a fact?
      I will not permit your misinformation to dismiss my charge of the switching of bullets in 1975 as theory when this was proven to be true by the 1975 examiners.
      Rose Lynn Mangan

    • Mel Ayton says:

      You gave all this information to William Pepper and he ignored it?

      If he did use the information please indicate how Mr Pepper dealt with it.

      Additionally, can you please post the contents of Sirhan’s second letter.

    • Rose Mangan says:

      I can only surmise that both Pepper and Dusek were not happy with me when I made it public that they erred when they told the court that the Kennedy neck bullet was switched at trial. I openly challenged them by stating that there is no documentation which tells us exactly which Kennedy neck bullet was presented at the trial. Was it “DW””TN” or was it “TN31”?
      We can not know for certain. The records are silent on that information.
      It is my opinion, and I find it most unfortunate that P/D ego must have been seriously damaged over that very public matter. And, personally I feel they have distanced themselves from me. I think it is me who is the pariah and not my research.
      It was not my intention to explain how that fallout has affected my research. But, I feel it apparently it has.
      Now, to answer your question about Sirhan’s disturbing letter.
      I did post it – I believe in the Nina Rhodes time frame which would have made it almost four years ago.
      I never knew of the existence of that letter until shortly after Adel Sirhan’s death. Then, not long after reading it I became an independent researcher. (I suspect this meant I was no longer trusted in the Sirhan camp).
      I suspect P/D failed to bring Special Exhibit 10/Special Hearing Exhibit 10 to the court’s attention must be my publicly embarrassing the Sirhan defense camp.
      Does this mean I am an independent researcher, I take no sides? Let the record answer that.
      Rose Lynn Mangan

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Thank you for your very civil response to my questions. I will access your website and look into your claims. I wish you well.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Readers, note: Mel Ayton was kind enough to post, elsewhere in this comments section, the full acoustics study report that he is referencing in the first paragraph of his note above. It’s a report that was written in 2006 by U.K. acoustics expert Philip Harrison of J.P. French Associates in York, England.

      As you will be able to see for yourself, a reading of the entire Harrison report reveals that it actually never said anything at all about having found Philip Van Praag’s Pruszynski Tape research to be in error.

      That’s despite Mr. Ayton’s claim, in his posted-note above, that the Harrison acoustics study found Mr. Van Praag’s research to be in error – something Mr. Ayton’s posting appeared to cite as a reason for his believing Shane O’Sullivan should have referenced the Harrison study in his current WhoWhatWhy article.

      In fact, J.P. French’s Harrison acoustics report – now available to readers in an earlier Ayton posting nearer to the bottom of this section – never so much as even mentioned Philip Van Praag himself, let alone Mr. Van Praag’s Pruszynski recording findings (an audio analysis which, unlike Mr. Harrison’s study, said that it had confirmed at least 13 gunshots fired in the kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel during the 5 June 1968 assassination of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy).

      Mr. Van Praag’s analysis has long been an irritant to Mr. Ayton because it concludes that a second gun was fired in the pantry by an unidentified second shooter. Note the significance of Mr. Van Praag’s 13-shot conclusion: The one and only gun that was used in the pantry by the long-presumed lone gunman Sirhan Sirhan, the only person ever arrested and convicted in the Kennedy case, actually could fire no more than 8 shots at a time – and Sirhan Sirhan had no opportunity to reload that firearm at the crime scene since he was subdued while still in the process of emptying the 8-bullet chamber – meaning, of course, that the other 5 shots in the Van Praag findings would have had to come from a second gun fired by someone else in the pantry other than Sirhan Sirhan.

      We thank Mr. Ayton for making Mr. Harrison’s report available to this WhoWhatWhy comments section, as it helps us to very carefully weigh Mr. Ayton’s various claims.

      Readers, further note: You can quickly go right now to the earlier 18 February Ayton posting that features the full Harrison report by simply doing a “Find” search, within this long web page, for the following four-word phrase: “Here’s Harrison’s full report”. If you’re unsuccessful with that initially, it probably just means you need to press the “Load more comments” bar at the bottom of this page and then try your “Find” search once again.

  6. Joseph Frank Keaton says:

    Mr. Ayton, thank you for posting today (18 February) Philip Harrison’s Pruszynski recording report in response to my first reply-note nearer to the bottom of this comments section.

    I, too, was able to find Mr. Harrison’s report online, tucked away in Appendix B on Page 280 of your book, “The Forgotten Terrorist” (see Google’s books section).

    So the following would appear to be the essential Harrison findings from Page 280:

    “There are seven impulse sounds with very similar characteristics [and] it is fair to conclude that these are the sounds of Sirhan’s gun being fired . . . There are three candidate locations for [an eighth] shot; the first is between the shots marked 6 and 7 . . . The second is 0.19 seconds after shot 7 [requiring] the trigger to be pulled in a very short space of time following shot 7. The third and final candidate is simultaneous with the scream that follows the shots . . . There are several other impulse sounds surrounding the shots . . .”

    This means the article I earlier mentioned finding (it was a 2012 CNN website article) appears to be almost pinpoint-accurate in summarizing the Harrison report’s conclusions thusly:

    “In a published analysis, Harrison described locating within the Pruszynski tape more than ten ‘impulse sounds’ occurring inside the pantry: seven that he attributed to gunshots, three that he considered candidates for an eighth shot and several other impulse sounds that he said he could not identify.”

    May I be frank? I must say to you that I cannot see how this acoustical report by Philip Harrison can be taken seriously.

    Three impulse sounds all qualifying as so-called “candidates” for an eighth shot?

    Mr. Ayton, if all three of those impulse sounds can be equally regarded in that way, then why cherry-pick one of them as the eighth shot and ignore the other two (as you clearly did when you proceeded to interpret Mr. Harrison’s Pruszynski analysis and/or his actual report in your book’s main chapters)?

    Why not refer to these three as possibly being the eighth, ninth and tenth shots?

    And what about the several other impulse sounds that the Harrison report also could not conclusively identify? Perhaps these are Philip Van Praag’s 11th, 12th and 13th shots?

    Then there’s the “candidate” shot that comes only 0.19 seconds after the so-called “shot 7”, which would require the gun trigger to be pulled in a very short space of time following “shot 7”. It seems to me Mr. Harrison’s report is verifying one of Mr. Van Praag’s double-shot discoveries, referenced in the video of Mr. O’Sullivan’s interview of Mr. Van Praag.

    I should add that the CNN article from 2012 also presents a very different picture of Nina Rhodes than you have here. After all, CNN actually went to the trouble of speaking with the woman personally – something I’m assuming you did not do.

    So wouldn’t it be fair to say, Mr. Ayton, that your battle is not only with Mr. O’Sullivan, Mr. Van Praag, Mr. Dooley and Ms. Rhodes but also with the acoustics report of your own so-called “real expert” Philip Harrison?

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Your comments – “Three impulse sounds all qualifying as so-called “candidates” for an eighth shot?”
      “Why not refer to these three as the eighth, ninth and tenth shots?”
      As you are not an acoustics expert how can you assume anything? This is simply guesswork on your part. Harrison read Van Praag’s findings and found them to be in error. As a non-expert in acoustics I can only direct you to J.P. French Associates, York, England (google, the website provides email addresses) and you will be able to contact Mr Harrison about the issues you raise.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Mr. Ayton, according to Google’s books section, on Page 137 of your book “The Forgotten Terrorist” you write that Philip Harrison concludes “there could be no more than eight shots on the [Pruszynski] tape” and you repeat this same claim nearer to the bottom of this very comments section, telling WhoWhatWhy readers that the Harrison conclusion is “no more than 8 shots fired.”

      What, may I ask, are you basing these assertions on, Mr. Ayton? Or are you yourself engaging in what you earlier called “guesswork”?

      Please back up these assertions now by pinpointing for us exactly where in Mr. Harrison’s report you are seeing him state a conclusion that no more than 8 shots were fired.

      Also, Mr. Ayton, where in his report does Mr. Harrison state that he had read Mr. Van Praag’s findings and found them to be in error?

      Readers, as we await Mr. Ayton’s reply: for those of you who do not happen to have his book, in which the Harrison report is tucked far away into the very back as Appendix B – or for those of you who may experience difficulty locating the report in the book’s online version at Google – Mr. Ayton kindly posted the full text of Mr. Harrison’s report earlier in this comments section as a reply to my first note. You might find it rather interesting to refer back to the actual Harrison report as you read Mr. Ayton’s upcoming post.

    • Mel Ayton says:

      The maximum amount of bullets Sirhan’s gun could hold is 8. The gun was empty when it was retrieved. Therefore it is logical to say Sirhan had put 8 bullets in the gun. Mr Harrison states, “There are seven impulse sounds…… it is fair to conclude that these are the sounds of Sirhan’s gun being fired…. It is generally accepted that Sirhan’s gun held eight bullets and that all eight of them were fired. This leaves the sound of an eighth shot unaccounted for”. He does, however, leave open the possibility of an eighth shot. He makes it perfectly clear that he does not believe more than 8 shots were fired – in conversations with me and his appearance on the Discovery Channel documentary. Therefore we can say with some certainty that “no more than 8 shots were fired”. If you wish to pursue further information about Mr Harrison’s report please contact him using the link I provided.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Mel Ayton is providing the answer to his own question posed earlier to Shane O’Sullivan in one of Mr. Ayton’s very first comments posted in this section. It’s an answer that now gives Mr. O’Sullivan ample justification for never mentioning Philip Harrison’s acoustical findings – and never mentioning Mr. Ayton or his book – in anything further Mr. O’Sullivan presents concerning the Robert F. Kennedy assassination.

      The reason there’s no need for Mr. O’Sullivan to ever mention these Harrison findings – the official report of which Mr. Ayton has shared with us in full, here in this comments section – is that the findings were inconclusive.

      Absolutely inconclusive. In his acoustics report on the Stanislaw Pruszynski audiotape, Mr. Harrison confessed that he was not able to isolate a single sound in Mr. Pruszynski’s recording in such a way as to confirm it with certainty as an actual gunshot. He admitted he could only ASSUME that certain sounds were shots given that it’s generally accepted Mr. Pruszynski’s cassette tape did indeed capture sounds of the Robert Kennedy shooting from a relatively close proximity. Since Mr. Harrison’s report could not say with certainty which of the recorded sounds were truly shots and which were not, he decided instead to offer its readers his guesswork (which I will go through in a moment).

      And it is upon this Harrison guesswork that Mr. Ayton clearly stands.

      In fact, the only statements affirming that a Harrison conclusion ever existed have come not from Mr. Harrison’s report but from what virtually everyone should be able to clearly see were misinterpretations of the Harrison report asserted in, among other places, the 2007 Ayton book’s Pruszynski chapter and Mr. Ayton’s countless online postings over subsequent years, found through a simple Google search.

      In my last posting here, I made a very simple request of Mr. Ayton: I asked him to please back up his assertions by pinpointing for us exactly where in the Harrison report he sees a conclusion that no more than 8 gunshots were fired in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen pantry on 5 June 1968.

      While Mr. Ayton’s posted reply to my request makes references to various passages in the Harrison report, he never pinpoints for us such a Harrison 8-shot conclusion within Mr. Harrison’s report.

      And we clearly see why he can never do this. A simple read-through of Philip Harrison’s report – which on 18 February Mr. Ayton reprinted in full for readers of this section – reveals that it contained no such 8-shot conclusion at all and that it contained not a single conclusion whatsoever concerning the number of shots ultimately fired in the kitchen pantry shooting or the number of pantry shots captured in Mr. Pruszynski’s recording.

      What the Harrison report said were found in the recording were a number of impulse sounds occurring at a time when the shooting must have been taking place but the report freely admitted that, were it not for Mr. Harrison already knowing this to be a recording of the Robert Kennedy shooting, any attempt he might have made to consider these impulse sounds in isolation would not have led to a certain conclusion that even a single one of them was a gunshot.

      Yet, at the same time, Mr. Harrison’s report could not – and did not – rule out at least ten of these impulse sounds as possible shots. Ten, his report counted. Not eight. Ten. In fact, the Harrison report took a serious step farther than merely not ruling this out. His report referred to these ten impulse sounds in language that made it clear Mr. Harrison did indeed regard these sounds as ten possible gunshots.

      Now had the Harrison report stated it exactly that way, using the number “ten” – as most scientists would have stated it – then it likely would have reversed the course that the Ayton book’s Pruszynski chapter ended up taking concerning the recording. Because making such a clear statement referencing “ten” substantiates – not confirms but at least substantiates – Mr. Van Praag’s own Pruszynski finding that the audiotape indeed reveals more than eight shots being fired in the pantry.

      What Mr. Harrison ultimately decided to do about this 10-possible-shots problem conveniently allowed the Ayton book’s Pruszynski chapter to remain on the course Mr. Ayton preferred that it take. In his report, Mr. Harrison chose to divide these ten possible shots into odd groupings of seven and three, strangely deciding to refer to the three as “candidates” for a possible eighth shot instead of much more simply presenting these three as quite possibly being the 8th, 9th and 10th shots he had located.

      I asked Mr. Ayton about this by posing the following question: if all three of these impulse sounds equally qualified as so-called “candidate” shots then why did your expert, Mr. Harrison, believe one of them could be cherry-picked as the eighth shot and the other two simply ignored as if they no longer existed? In his reply post, Mr. Ayton said he could not answer the question because he’s not an expert in the field, and promptly threw his so-called “real” acoustics expert outside to face the wolves:

      “As a non-expert in acoustics I can only direct you to [Philip] Harrison about the issues you raise.”

      Methinks thou knowest who thy cherry-picker really is.

      It was Mr. Ayton, this same admitted non-expert, who had taken it upon himself to do the actual cherry-picking of one of these three “candidate” shots as the eighth shot, ignore the other two shots in this quaint Harrison grouping, and declare on Page 137 of his book that it was Mr. Harrison – as opposed to Mr. Ayton himself – who had concluded “there could be no more than eight shots on the tape”. An alleged Harrison conclusion that appears nowhere in Mr. Harrison’s report.

      Mr. Ayton then proceeded, in the decade that followed, to repeat all over the Internet, including in this very comments section, the very same 8-shot “conclusion” – always making sure to attribute it to his expert even though Mr. Harrison had never really reached such a conclusion in his inconclusive Pruszynski report.

      As for all the other impulse sounds Philip Harrison also found in that same crucial section of the Pruszynski recording, his report claimed that determining their identities was simply “not viable.” So could there be possible 11th, 12th and 13th shots in the recording as Philip Van Praag’s analysis has found? Mr. Harrison’s report either could not or simply would not say. The Harrison guesswork could only go so far.

      In addition to substantiating Mr. Van Praag’s finding that the Pruszynski recording captured more than the eight shots Sirhan Sirhan fired, Mr. Harrison’s report also managed to accidentally substantiate at least one of Mr. Van Praag’s so-called “double-shots” (i.e. two gunshots fired so close together in time that they could not both have come from the Sirhan revolver). Mr. Harrison accomplished this feat when his report pointed out that one of the ten possible shots he found – which he referred to as the second of his three “candidate” shots – would have required the Sirhan trigger to be pulled “in a very short space of time” immediately following a previous sound he also identified as one of these ten possible shots. Yes it would have required that unless of course one of these overlapping shots was fired from a second gun, as Mr. Van Praag has concluded was indeed the case.

      Another thing we can also clearly see in the Harrison acoustical report is that despite the Ayton claim Mr. Harrison found Mr. Van Praag’s findings to be in error, at no point in his report did Mr. Harrison claim any such thing. His report never mentioned, either directly or indirectly, Mr. Van Praag or Mr. Van Praag’s Pruszynski findings. Yet it substantiated key Van Praag findings nonetheless.

      In his previous reply-post to me, Mr. Ayton said that Mr. Harrison had “made it perfectly clear” in a Discovery Channel documentary that “he does not believe more than 8 shots were fired”.

      Not so.

      Contrary to what Mr. Ayton claimed in that previous posting, a simple review of this documentary that aired on one of the Discovery television networks reveals that nowhere in the program does Mr. Harrison ever state, imply or make “perfectly clear” that he believes no more than 8 shots were fired in the Robert Kennedy assassination; but, more to the point, nowhere in the documentary does Mr. Harrison ever state, imply or make “perfectly clear” that he believes no more than 8 shots were captured in the Pruszynski recording – nor does the program’s narrator attribute such conclusions to Mr. Ayton.

      This TV documentary that Mr. Ayton referenced was “Conspiracy Test: The RFK Assassination” which had premiered in early June 2007 on the network then known as Discovery Times Channel (today known as the Investigation Discovery Channel). To view video of this documentary yourself, go to the YouTube web-site and enter these four search words: Discovery Times Channel Pruszynski.

      At no time in this documentary does Mr. Harrison speak – unlike the way Mr. Ayton likes to speak – in terms that suggest he can somehow know with certainty the total number of gunshots that were fired in that assassination. Being a scientist – as opposed to being a lone-shooter propagandist – Mr. Harrison must confine himself only to what he has been able to observe taking place within the Pruszynski recording. When it comes to the Kennedy shooting, Mr. Harrison must not speak to anything beyond what he has examined or found in the recording itself. Thus it’s unlikely you’re ever going to hear Mr. Harrison – as a reasonable, responsible acoustics expert – say something like “I don’t believe any more than X number of shots were fired in the Bobby Kennedy shooting.” Mr. Ayton, on the other hand, always seems quite comfortable expressing himself in such unscientific terms whenever it suits him. Mr. Harrison, as a serious examiner, simply cannot partake of such wild commentary.

      Here now is the totality of what Philip Harrison said during the entire TV program Mr. Ayton referenced (the Harrison section of this one-hour documentary lasts for only one minute and Mr. Harrison doesn’t say very much):

      “Given the context of what occurred that evening and the surrounding material on the tape, I think it’s safe to conclude that there are seven shots from Sirhan’s gun. There is a possibility of an eighth shot within there but its exact location isn’t clear.” And, moments later, the only other Harrison comment heard in the program is this: “Any information relating to where Mr. Pruszynski was standing at the time, or any movements he made during the sequence of shots, would to some degree have been of assistance.”

      Notice Mr. Harrison’s careful qualifications: “Given the context . . . the surrounding material on the tape, I think it’s safe . . . any [additional] information [on something specific] . . . would to some degree have been of assistance.”

      But qualifications or no qualifications, and contrary to Mr. Ayton’s claim, never in the documentary does Mr. Harrison ever say that he believes no more than eight shots were fired in the Kennedy shooting or that he believes no more than eight shots were captured in the Pruszynski recording.

      Notice also, when you view this TV program for yourself, that although the documentary aired the Harrison comment about the “possibility of an eighth shot”, neither Mr. Harrison nor the program’s narrator is ever heard mentioning the Harrison report’s bizarre reference to three – count ’em, three! – possible shots that he had located and regarded as so-called “candidates” for an eighth shot (making for a grand total of 10 the possible shots the Harrison report reveals he found in the recording).

      You will also note that in addition to neither Mr. Harrison nor the documentary’s narrator mentioning the Harrison report’s ten possible shots, there is also no mention of the other impulse sounds his acoustics report referenced but did not fully identify. Perhaps some day Mr. Harrison will be willing to re-examine the Pruszynski recording to see if he can get a better fix not only on those ten impulse sounds his report revealed as possible shots but also on those additional impulse sounds that might include what Mr. Van Praag has referred to as the recording’s 11th, 12th and 13th shots.

      So what does Philip Harrison really think of Philip Van Praag’s Pruszynski findings? We certainly know what Mr. Ayton claims Mr. Harrison thinks. But what would happen if Mr. Harrison were to freely speak out for himself? Would the two Philips find themselves in complete agreement?

      Perhaps the U.K. news media should do exactly as Mr. Ayton earlier advised: “contact Mr. Harrison” about the issues raised.

      I will end on a lighter note – and a rather revealing one at that. It concerns how Mr. Ayton reasons mathematically. He was kind enough to demonstrate this when he laid out the following in his last note to me:

      “The maximum amount of bullets Sirhan’s gun could hold is 8. The gun was empty when it was retrieved. Therefore it is logical to say Sirhan had put 8 bullets in the gun.”

      Hmmmm. And on that rather unique arithmetical deduction, I rest my case.

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Mr Harrison, together with others who have examined the Pruszynski tape – Michael O’Dell, Steve Barber and Chad Zimmerman – believe the other ‘thump-like sounds’ were the result of noises made during the shooting when the Ambassador Hotel pantry was in a state of chaos. Their conclusions were validated by Professor Peter French, another acoustics expert. All participants in this study have stated there were no more than eight sounds of gunshots in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Actually, what Mr. Keaton would rather do at present, Mr. Ayton, is resist your attempts to misdirect his attention, along with that of other Who.What.Why. readers, and try to keep you on point – by challenging you to back up your assertions and to show us all the things you’ve promised can be seen through the alleged bluster in my last post.

      Will you accept this challenge, Mr. Ayton, or will you duck it?

      Readers, I predict he will duck it.

      Mr. Ayton will duck my challenge because he knows he cannot successfully refute anything that I presented in my previous note. He knows that I am speaking the truth and that he cannot stand against it. So when you see that he has posted his next reply to me, grab some popcorn, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the entertainment that is about to unfold.

      Watch as Mr. Ayton ducks my challenge by coming up with a rather creative excuse for refusing to argue against the points I made in my last post – or as he refuses to argue against them with anything substantive that truly supports his side of the argument.

      In other words, watch and enjoy as Mr. Ayton offers us nothing but bluster.

      Cold and lonely bluster, unaccompanied by anything of value – this is what Mr. Ayton is always so quick to accuse others of and it’s what he himself is so widely known for, as a quick Google search will confirm.

      Let me give you two of the most recent examples of his bluster.

      First, his recent lecture to us from Mount Olympus, when he bellowed down to us from on high that we will always be able to tell how many bullets were fired from a gun simply by noting its bullet capacity and how many bullets still remain in the weapon. Because, after all, it’s widely known that all guns are always loaded to their maximum bullet capacity before they’re fired.

      And then there was his last note to me, in which Mr. Ayton spoke of “other thump-like sounds”. He made sure to use the “thump” terminology and to place quotation marks around it so as to create the misimpression in your mind that there were several or even many sounds captured by the Pruszynski audiotape that have been described with this same “thump” terminology by all the various examiners who have analyzed the recording thus far. But, as Mr. Ayton knows very well, that was simply not the case at all.

      No less than Mr. Ayton’s own book refers to one so-called “thump” or “thumping” sound – or two of them, at the most – during the Pruszynski recording’s capture of the Robert Kennedy shooting. His book mentions no more thump-like sounds than these.

      Why is this important to know, the reader rightly asks.

      Because in using this “thump” terminology and in misapplying it here with his broad brush, Mr. Ayton is trying to get you to believe that acoustics expert Philip Harrison and a colleague of his, Professor Peter French, found on the Pruszynski recording no more than Sirhan Sirhan’s eight gunshots and that any other sounds of interest occurring during the Kennedy shooting were simply “thump-like sounds” that were not created by guns.

      But this is not what Mr. Harrison and Professor French found.

      With full concurrence from Professor French, Mr. Harrison wrote in his Pruszynski report that he found ten possible gunshots in the recording – not eight, as Mr. Ayton wants you to believe, but ten! Mr. Harrison also wrote that the audiotape captured other impulse sounds as well, although Mr. Harrison did not identify any of those. You can read the entire Harrison report for yourself in this comments section, since Mr. Ayton so kindly made it available to us in response to my very first note to him just the other day.

      At no point in his report did Mr. Harrison ever say, or imply, that he found no more than eight shots in the Pruszynski recording. At no point did the Harrison report ever say, or imply, that no more than eight shots were found AND that any other sounds of interest occurring during the Kennedy shooting were simply “thump” sounds, or the like, that were not created by guns.

      Here’s exactly what Mr. Harrison’s report stated, with which Professor French fully agreed:

      “There are seven impulse sounds with very similar characteristics [and] it is fair to conclude that these are the sounds of Sirhan’s gun being fired . . . There are three candidate locations for [an eighth] shot; the first is between the shots marked 6 and 7 . . . The second is 0.19 seconds after shot 7 [requiring] the trigger to be pulled in a very short space of time following shot 7. The third and final candidate is simultaneous with the scream that follows the shots . . . There are several other impulse sounds surrounding the shots . . . Determining the actual source of these [several other] sounds is not viable.”

      So while Mr. Harrison and Professor French did not report that they had determined the actual source of the “several other impulse sounds” – which they never described as “thump-like” sounds – they did report determining possible gunshots as the actual source of their previously-mentioned ten impulse sounds (which they oddly grouped into sets of seven and three, perhaps to satisfy their client Mr. Ayton, but all of which – all ten of them – they clearly considered to be possible shots).

      Mr. Ayton calls what I’m doing here “simple speculation and guesswork” and an “attempt to interpret Philip Harrison’s report” – when of course, as you can see for yourself after you view the entire Harrison report, what I’m really doing here is nothing more than simply reading the report and fully understanding it.

      It is actually Mr. Ayton who has been engaging in simple speculation and guesswork when it comes to Mr. Harrison’s report. It is Mr. Ayton who has been interpreting it – actually, misinterpreting it – rather than simply reading and fully understanding it.

      In 2007, when Mr. Ayton authored a book that included a chapter dealing with the Pruszynski recording, he put his misinterpretation of the Harrison report into print for the first time (unfortunately, it would not be for the last time). Despite the Harrison report’s clear finding of ten possible shots, Mr. Ayton used Mr. Harrison’s strange seven-and-three grouping of those ten possible shots to declare on Page 137 that Mr. Harrison had concluded “there could be no more than eight shots on the tape” – something the Harrison report actually does not ever state or even imply, as you can read for yourself.

      So you can see how Mr. Ayton’s assertions about the Pruszynski recording and his assertions about Mr. Harrison and Professor French do not match up with the Pruszynski report that Mr. Harrison wrote and that Professor French agreed with.

      But what about the other men Mr. Ayton also mentioned in his last note to me: Michael O’Dell, Steve Barber and Chad Zimmerman? Do their reports match up with Mr. Ayton’s assertions or, like Mr. Harrison’s report, do their reports also totally refute Mr. Ayton’s claims?

      Interesting enough – perhaps conveniently enough – Mr. Ayton did not include their reports in his book. Why not? Why only tuck far away into the back of his book Mr. Harrison’s report as Appendix B and not include these other men’s reports there? Do these men really exist? If so, did they actually write Pruszynski reports or do these alleged experts just attack other people’s work, just as our self-confessed-non-expert friend Mr. Ayton always does?

      Back to Mr. Harrison’s Pruszynski report – Mr. Ayton submitted it to us in this comments section but I would ask him this: has he, or has Mr. Harrison or anyone else, ever submitted the Harrison report, in its entirety, to a court of law?

      Keep in mind Mr. Ayton has revealed to us that he helped California’s current Attorney General, Kamala Harris, prepare a court brief challenging Sirhan Sirhan in a recent federal case. Surely, in that capacity, Mr. Ayton must have provided the state attorney general with a copy of Mr. Harrison’s entire report for her to submit to the federal court, right? If he did – then, wonderful. If he did not – then, why not?

      I, for one, believe the Pruszynski report written by Philip Harrison, in accordance with Professor French, definitely should be submitted to a court of law, if it has not been so submitted already. After all, despite the fact the Harrison report is inconclusive, its finding of ten possible gunshots in the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy is important if only because the report does not rule out more shots being fired than Sirhan’s gun could shoot and doesn’t rule out at least one instance of overlapping shots (or “double-shots”) being fired in opposite directions by two different guns.

      If indeed Mr. Ayton did make sure to have Mr. Harrison’s entire report submitted to federal court (and I do mean the ENTIRE Harrison report as opposed to only Ayton-selected parts of it), then did he do the very same thing with any other Pruszynski reports possibly written by Mr. O’Dell, Mr. Barber or Mr. Zimmerman? If not – then, why not?

      Let me tell you about someone who wrote a report on the Pruszynski recording and most definitely did submit it to federal court. You’ve heard his name before – Philip Van Praag. As a witness for the side opposing the side occupied by the California attorney general and Mr. Ayton, Mr. Van Praag was willing to submit his report as a declaration for the court under penalty of perjury. To read Mr. Van Praag’s Pruszynski report, simply Google “Declaration of Philip Van Praag”.

      Philip Van Praag found more gunshots in the Pruszynski recording than the eight shots fired by Sirhan Sirhan – a discovery substantiated by (that is, not confirmed but certainly substantiated by) Philip Harrison’s report detailing his own discovery of ten possible shots.

      What Mr. Van Praag found was a total of 13 gunshots being fired during the Robert Kennedy shooting (that is, 13 actual gunshots not 13 possible gunshots: eight shots fired by Sirhan from east to west and the other five shots fired by a second shooter from west to east, with Kennedy caught in the crossfire).

      Mr. Van Praag and Mr. Harrison are experts. Mr. Ayton is not one, as he has admitted in this comments section. He is also not a very good author. This is because Mr. Ayton asked at least one “real” expert to write a Pruszynski recording report for his book, only to tuck the report far away to the back of his book and misinterpret its findings in one of his book’s chapters (where he also misattributed to the report’s author Mr. Ayton’s own misinterpretation of the author’s findings). Then Mr. Ayton repeated this same misinterpretation and misattribution over and over again publicly for a decade.

      If you were an expert, would you really want your work treated this way?

      And if you wanted to know what actually happened on June 5, 1968, would you really want to rely on Mel Ayton to explain it to you?

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Actually, what Mr. Keaton would rather do at present, Mr. Ayton, is resist your attempts to misdirect his attention, along with that of other Who.What.Why. readers, and try to keep you on point – by challenging you to back up your assertions and to show us all the things you have promised can be seen through the alleged bluster in my last post.

      Will you accept this challenge, Mr. Ayton, or will you duck it?

      Readers, I predict he will duck it.

      Mr. Ayton will duck my challenge because he knows he cannot successfully refute anything that I presented in my previous note. He knows that I am speaking the truth and that he cannot stand against it. So when you see that he has posted his next reply to me, grab some popcorn, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the entertainment that is about to unfold.

      Watch as Mr. Ayton ducks my challenge by coming up with a rather creative excuse for refusing to argue against the points I made in my last post – or as he refuses to argue against them with anything substantive that truly supports his side of the argument.

      In other words, watch and enjoy as Mr. Ayton offers us nothing but bluster.

      Cold and lonely bluster, unaccompanied by anything of value – this is what Mr. Ayton is always so quick to accuse others of and it’s what he himself is so widely known for, as a quick Google search will confirm.

      Let me give you the most recent example of his bluster.

      In his last note to me, Mr. Ayton spoke of “other thump-like sounds”. He made sure to use the “thump” terminology and to place quotation marks around it so as to create the misimpression in your mind that there were several or even many sounds captured by the Pruszynski audiotape that have been described with this same “thump” terminology by the various examiners who thus far have analyzed the recording. But, as Mr. Ayton knows very well, that was simply not the case at all.

      No less than Mr. Ayton’s own book refers to one so-called “thump” or “thumping” sound – or two of them, at the most – during the Pruszynski recording’s capture of the Robert Kennedy shooting. His book mentions no more thump-like sounds than these.

      Why is this important to know, the reader rightly asks.

      Because in using this “thump” terminology and in misapplying it here with his broad brush, Mr. Ayton is trying to get you to believe that acoustics expert Philip Harrison and a colleague of his, Professor Peter French, found on the Pruszynski recording no more than Sirhan Sirhan’s eight gunshots and that any other sounds of interest occurring during the Kennedy shooting were simply “thump-like sounds” that were not created by guns.

      But this is not what Mr. Harrison and Professor French found.

      With full concurrence from Professor French, Mr. Harrison wrote in his Pruszynski report that he found ten possible gunshots in the recording – not eight, as Mr. Ayton wants you to believe, but ten! Mr. Harrison also wrote that the audiotape captured other impulse sounds as well, although Mr. Harrison did not identify any of those. You can read the entire Harrison report for yourself in this comments section, since Mr. Ayton so kindly made it available to us in response to my very first note to him just the other day.

      At no point in his report did Mr. Harrison ever say, or imply, that he found no more than eight shots in the Pruszynski recording. At no point did the Harrison report ever say, or imply, that no more than eight shots were found AND that any other sounds of interest occurring during the Kennedy shooting were simply “thump” sounds, or the like, that were not created by guns.

      Here’s exactly what Mr. Harrison’s report stated, with which Professor French fully agreed:

      “There are seven impulse sounds with very similar characteristics [and] it is fair to conclude that these are the sounds of Sirhan’s gun being fired . . . There are three candidate locations for [an eighth] shot; the first is between the shots marked 6 and 7 . . . The second is 0.19 seconds after shot 7 [requiring] the trigger to be pulled in a very short space of time following shot 7. The third and final candidate is simultaneous with the scream that follows the shots . . . There are several other impulse sounds surrounding the shots . . . Determining the actual source of these [several other] sounds is not viable.”

      So while Mr. Harrison and Professor French did not report that they had determined the actual source of the “several other impulse sounds” – which they never described as “thump-like” sounds – they did report determining possible gunshots as the actual source of their previously-mentioned ten impulse sounds (which they oddly grouped into sets of seven and three, perhaps to satisfy their client Mr. Ayton, but all of which – all ten of them – they clearly considered to be possible shots).

      Mr. Ayton calls what I’m doing here “simple speculation and guesswork” and an “attempt to interpret Philip Harrison’s report” – when of course, as you can see for yourself after you view the entire Harrison report, what I’m really doing here is nothing more than simply reading the report and fully understanding it.

      It is actually Mr. Ayton who has been engaging in simple speculation and guesswork when it comes to Mr. Harrison’s report. It is Mr. Ayton who has been interpreting it – actually, misinterpreting it – rather than simply reading and fully understanding it.

      In 2007, when Mr. Ayton authored a book that included a chapter dealing with the Pruszynski recording, he put his misinterpretation of the Harrison report into print for the first time (unfortunately, it would not be for the last time). Despite the Harrison report’s clear finding of ten possible shots, Mr. Ayton used Mr. Harrison’s strange seven-and-three grouping of those ten possible shots to declare on Page 137 that Mr. Harrison had concluded “there could be no more than eight shots on the tape” – something the Harrison report actually does not ever state or even imply, as you can read for yourself.

      So you can see how Mr. Ayton’s assertions about the Pruszynski recording and his assertions about Mr. Harrison and Professor French do not match up with the Pruszynski report that Mr. Harrison wrote and that Professor French agreed with.

      But what about the other men Mr. Ayton also mentioned in his last note to me: Michael O’Dell, Steve Barber and Chad Zimmerman? Do their reports match up with Mr. Ayton’s assertions or, like Mr. Harrison’s report, do their reports also totally refute Mr. Ayton’s claims?

      Interesting enough – perhaps conveniently enough – Mr. Ayton did not include their reports in his book. Why not? Why only tuck far away into the back of his book Mr. Harrison’s report as Appendix B and not include these other men’s reports there? Do these men really exist? If so, did they actually write Pruszynski reports or do these alleged experts just attack other people’s work, just as our self-confessed-non-expert friend Mr. Ayton always does?

      Back to Mr. Harrison’s Pruszynski report – Mr. Ayton submitted it to us in this comments section but I would ask Mr. Ayton: has he, or Mr. Harrison or anyone else, ever submitted the Harrison report, in its entirety, to a court of law?

      Keep in mind Mr. Ayton has revealed to us that he helped California’s current Attorney General, Kamala Harris, prepare a court brief challenging Sirhan Sirhan in a recent federal case. Surely, in that capacity, Mr. Ayton must have provided the state attorney general with a copy of Mr. Harrison’s entire report for her to submit to the federal court, right? If he did – then, wonderful. If he did not – then, why not?

      I, for one, believe the Pruszynski report written by Philip Harrison, in accordance with Professor French, definitely should be submitted to a court of law, if it has not been so submitted already. After all, despite the fact the Harrison report is inconclusive, its finding of ten possible gunshots in the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy is important if only because the report does not rule out more shots being fired than Sirhan’s gun could shoot and doesn’t rule out at least one instance of overlapping shots (or “double-shots”) being fired in opposite directions by two different guns.

      If indeed Mr. Ayton did make sure to have Mr. Harrison’s entire report submitted to federal court (and I do mean the ENTIRE Harrison report as opposed to only Ayton-selected parts of it), then did he do the very same thing concerning any Pruszynski reports possibly written by Mr. O’Dell, Mr. Barber or Mr. Zimmerman? If not – then, why not?

      Let me tell you about someone who wrote a report on the Pruszynski recording and most definitely did submit it to federal court all by himself. You’ve heard his name before – Philip Van Praag. As a witness for the side opposing the side occupied by the California attorney general and Mr. Ayton, Mr. Van Praag was willing to submit his report as a declaration for the court under penalty of perjury. To read Mr. Van Praag’s Pruszynski report, simply Google “Declaration of Philip Van Praag”.

      Philip Van Praag found more gunshots in the Pruszynski recording than the eight shots fired by Sirhan Sirhan – a discovery substantiated by (that is, not confirmed but certainly substantiated by) Philip Harrison’s report detailing his own discovery of ten possible shots.

      What Mr. Van Praag found was a total of 13 gunshots being fired during the Robert Kennedy shooting (that is, 13 actual gunshots not 13 possible gunshots: eight shots fired by Sirhan from east to west and the other five shots fired by a second shooter from west to east, with Kennedy caught in the crossfire).

      Mr. Van Praag and Mr. Harrison are experts. Mr. Ayton is not, as he has admitted in this comments section. And he is also not a very good author. This is because Mr. Ayton asked at least one “real” expert to write a Pruszynski recording report for his book, only to tuck the report far away to the back of his book, misinterpret its findings in one of his book’s chapters where he also misattributed to the report’s author his own misinterpretation of the author’s findings, and then repeated the same misinterpretation and misattribution over and over again publicly for a decade.

      If you were an expert, would you really want your work treated this way?

      And if you wanted to know what actually happened on June 5, 1968, would you really want to rely on Mel Ayton to explain it to you?

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Mr. Ayton speaks of “other thump-like sounds”. But the way he’s using this “thump” terminology, and his quotation marks around the term, can create the misimpression that there were several – or even many – sounds that have been described with this same “thump” terminology by all the various examiners who have analyzed the Pruszynski recording thus far. This simply is not the case.

      No less than Mr. Ayton’s own book refers to one so-called “thump” or “thumping” sound – two of them at most – during the Pruszynski recording’s capture of the Robert Kennedy shooting. His book mentions no more thump-like sounds than this/these.

      Given Mr. Ayton’s broad-brush misapplication of this “thump” terminology, you might believe that acoustics expert Philip Harrison and a colleague of his, Professor Peter French, found on the Pruszynski recording no more than Sirhan Sirhan’s eight gunshots and that any other sounds of interest occurring during the Kennedy shooting were simply “thump-like sounds” that were not created by guns.

      But this is not what Mr. Harrison and Professor French reported finding in the Harrison report on the Pruszynski recording.

      With full concurrence from Professor French, Mr. Harrison wrote in his Pruszynski report that he found ten possible gunshots in the recording – not eight, as Mr. Ayton claims he found, but ten! Mr. Harrison also wrote that the audiotape captured other impulse sounds as well, although Mr. Harrison’s report did not identify any of those. You can read the entire Harrison report for yourself in this comments section, since Mr. Ayton kindly made it available to us in response to my very first note to him just the other day.

      At no point in his report did Mr. Harrison ever say, or imply, that no more than eight shots were fired in Robert Kennedy’s assassination. And at no point did the Harrison report ever say, or imply, that no more than eight shots were found in the Pruszynski recording or that any other sounds of interest recorded during the Kennedy shooting were simply “thump” sounds, or the like, not created by guns.

      Here’s the most important part of what Mr. Harrison’s report stated, with which Professor French fully agreed:

      “There are seven impulse sounds with very similar characteristics [and] it is fair to conclude that these are the sounds of Sirhan’s gun being fired . . . There are three candidate locations for [an eighth] shot; the first is between the shots marked 6 and 7 . . . The second is 0.19 seconds after shot 7 [requiring] the trigger to be pulled in a very short space of time following shot 7. The third and final candidate is simultaneous with the scream that follows the shots . . . There are several other impulse sounds surrounding the shots . . . Determining the actual source of these [several other] sounds is not viable.”

      So while Mr. Harrison and Professor French did not report that they had determined the actual source of the “several other impulse sounds” – which they never described in the Harrison report as “thump-like” sounds – they did report their determining possible gunshots as the actual source of their previously-mentioned ten impulse sounds (which the report oddly grouped into sets of seven and three, perhaps to satisfy Mr. Harrison’s client Mr. Ayton, but all of which – all ten of them – the Harrison report clearly considered to be possible shots).

      Now what about these other men Mr. Ayton also mentioned in his last note to me: Michael O’Dell, Steve Barber and Chad Zimmerman? Do their reports match up with Mr. Ayton’s assertions or do they contradict Mr. Ayton’s claims as Mr. Harrison’s report contradicts his claims?

      Mr. Ayton did not include their reports in his book. Why not? Why only tuck far away into the back of his book Mr. Harrison’s report as Appendix B and not include these other men’s reports there too? Do these men really exist? If so, did they actually write their own Pruszynski reports?

      Back to Mr. Harrison’s Pruszynski report – Mr. Ayton submitted this report to us in this comments section but I would ask him this: has he, or has Mr. Harrison or anyone else for that matter, ever submitted the Harrison report, in its entirety, to a court of law?

      Keep in mind Mr. Ayton has revealed to us that he helped California’s current Attorney General, Kamala Harris, prepare a court brief challenging Sirhan Sirhan in a recent federal case. Surely, in that capacity, Mr. Ayton must have provided the state attorney general with a copy of Mr. Harrison’s entire report for her to submit to the federal court, right? If he did – then, wonderful. If he did not – then, why not?

      I, for one, believe the Pruszynski report written by Philip Harrison, in accordance with Professor French, definitely should be submitted to a court of law, if it has not been so submitted already. After all, despite the fact the Harrison report is inconclusive and features an odd grouping of ten “impulse sounds” that’s difficult to take seriously, its finding of ten possible gunshots in the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy is important if only because the report does not rule out more shots being fired than Sirhan Sirhan’s gun could shoot – additionally, it doesn’t rule out at least one instance of overlapping shots (or “double-shots”) being fired in opposite directions by two different guns.

      If indeed Mr. Ayton did make sure to have Mr. Harrison’s entire report submitted to federal court (and I do mean the ENTIRE Harrison report), then did he do the very same thing concerning any Pruszynski reports possibly written by Mr. O’Dell, Mr. Barber or Mr. Zimmerman? If not – then, why not?

      Let me tell you about someone who wrote a report on the Pruszynski recording and most definitely did submit it to federal court. You’ve heard his name before – Philip Van Praag. As a witness for the side opposing the side occupied by the California attorney general and Mr. Ayton, Mr. Van Praag was willing to submit his report as a declaration for the court under penalty of perjury. To read Mr. Van Praag’s Pruszynski report, simply Google “Declaration of Philip Van Praag”.

      Philip Van Praag reports he found more gunshots in the Pruszynski recording than the eight shots fired by Sirhan Sirhan – a discovery substantiated by (that is, not confirmed but certainly substantiated by) Philip Harrison’s report detailing his own discovery of ten possible shots.

      What Mr. Van Praag reported finding was a total of 13 gunshots being fired during the Robert Kennedy shooting (that is, 13 actual gunshots not 13 possible gunshots: eight shots that witnesses said were fired by Sirhan Sirhan from east to west and five other shots coming from a second gun firing from west to east, apparently with Senator Kennedy caught in the crossfire).

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Ear-witness testimony had never established a scenario in which 13 shots had been possible. FBI files show all the pantry witnesses, with the exception of only a few, never heard more than 8 shots and those few who guessed they heard further shots did not put the number beyond 10. The FBI files, furthermore, show that no one who had been in the pantry when Robert Kennedy was shot told the FBI or LAPD that anywhere near 13 shots had been fired. Only one witness gave this number, Nina Rhodes, but she never said this at the time she made her original statement in 1968. In 1968 she said she heard “eight distinct shots.” In 1992 Rhodes told conspiracy authors that she heard from 10-14 shots.

      According to the FBI files most of the estimated 77 witnesses in the pantry could not remember how many shots had been fired and described the gunshots in terms of ‘a number of shots,’ ‘a series of firecrackers,’ ‘several shots’ or ‘a number of shots in rapid succession.’ However, of those witnesses who ventured an opinion about how many shots had been fired all but a few put the number of shots at 8 or less, including: Harold Edward Hughes, Pete Hamill, Ralph Elmore, Jesse Unruh, Estelyn LaHive, Joseph A. LaHive, Richard Aubry, David Saul Barrett, Richard L. Cohen, David M. Esquith, Jacqueline Sullivan, James Cummings, Paul Green Houston, Richard Edward Drew, Bob Funk, Roosevelt Grier, Robert Anthony Toigo, Barbara Rubin, Freddy Plimpton, Lon Bruce Rubin, Dun Gifford, Charles Bailey, Jimmy Breslin, Stanley Kawalac, Robert Ray Breshears, Thomas Perez, Uno Timanson and Rafer Johnson.

      The following is a detailed list as to number of shots heard by the vast majority of ear-witnesses in the pantry or vicinity who ventured a guess at the number of shots fired.

      Irwin Stroll (another shooting victim), ‘thought there were 6 such (firecracker) noises’ before he was hit.

      Harold Edward Hughes said there were, ‘…two series of shots, possibly three or four in each…’

      Pete Hamill heard ‘5 shots…fired in rapid succession’

      Ralph Elmore ‘4 sounds in rapid succession’.

      Joseph A. LaHive heard ‘six or seven shots’.

      Richard Aubry heard ‘…one distinct blast, a pause, and then five or six other blasts in rapid succession…’

      David Saul Barrett heard ‘…a loud pop, it sounded just like a breaking balloon, there was a short pause and then three more pops in rapid succession…’

      Richard L. Cohen said, ‘I remember that a total of five shots were being fired.’

      David M. Esquith heard ‘5 (popping) noises’

      Jacqueline Sullivan heard ‘pop, pop, pop, pop’.

      James Cummings ‘….heard three gunshots with about a second interval between each shot and then a series of shots…’

      Paul Green Houston heard ‘…a rapid series of muffled pops, perhaps six.’

      Ira Goldstein (one of the shooting victims) heard ‘6 or 7 shots’.

      Richard Edward Drew heard ‘…two shots then a ( half second ) pause and then three more shots…(then) Kennedy started to fall back.’

      Roosevelt Grier heard ‘…two or three sounds which resembled the sounds of firecrackers.’

      Robert Anthony Toigo heard ‘…two noises which he described as ‘pops’…’

      Dolores Beilenson, wife of state senator Anthony C. Beilenson, ‘…observed three flashes emanating from a gun which appeared to be held at waist level….at this time she heard three popping noises.’

      Barbara Rubin – ‘3 shots followed by 5 quick shots’.

      Freddy Plimpton – ‘5 shots in rapid succession and 2 or 3 scattered shots after that’.

      Lon Bruce Rubin – ‘6 shots’.

      Dun Gifford – ‘one shot, a short delay, then heard five more shots’

      Charles Bailey – ‘5 shots’.

      Jimmy Breslin – ‘4 or 5 shots’.

      Stanley Kawalac – ‘4 distinct shots’.

      Robert Ray Breshears – ‘4 shots’.

      Thomas Perez – ‘7 shots in about 3 seconds’.

      Uno Timanson – ‘3 or 4 shots’.

      Rafer Johnson – ‘I don’t know how many shots, I couldn’t count them to tell you the truth, but I know it was like four or five.’

      Gloria Farr ‘four rapid and distinct cracks’

      Gabor Kadar ‘ 5 rapid explosions’

      Jesse Unruh heard ‘…two or four pops followed by four or five more…’

      Angelo DiPierro said, “Shortly after Senator Kennedy entered the pantry, while we were still in the hallway, two shots rang out. A few seconds later several shots rang out as in rapid fire.”

      Harold L Burba heard “…what sounded like three shots fairly close, followed by several more at random intervals. They sounded like they came from a cap pistol. I also saw what appeared to be flashes from the shots.”

      Philip Harrison, together with Professor Peter French, a lecturer in acoustics at the University of York examined the Pruszynski Tape and found no more than 8 shots recorded on it. In the United States, audio expert Steve Barber and Michael O’Dell and Dr Chad Zimmerman, who have a wealth of experience researching the scientific aspects of the JFK assassination, also examined the tape and found no more than 8 shots. Both teams had independently examined the tape then Barber and Harrison consulted with each other. Both teams then provided me with their professional opinion about the number of shots fired which led to the conclusions within the narrative of my book The Forgotten Terrorist (which Keaton makes reference to).

      We thus have three experts in the United States, Philip van Praag, Wes Dooley and his assistant, who examined the tape and who concluded there were 10 or 13 shots fired and five experts in the US and UK who found no more than the acoustic signatures of 8 shots fired. Philip Harrison provided a written report of his findings. Steve Barber was interviewed for my book and his comments about his research is included within the narrative of my book.

      Conspiracists like Mr Keaton (and another RFK conspiracist, John Hunt, who uses the same writing style of Keaton and his techniques of torturing the language to distort the record) does not understand the differences in the qualifications of the ‘experts’. Unlike Philip Van Praag and Wes Dooley, who are, essentially, audio engineers, Philip Harrison is a professional acoustics expert who works for a professional acoustics firm, JP French Associates. They are two totally different fields of science. In examining sounds acoustics evidence ALWAYS tops audio evidence. Harrison’s work was verified by another acoustics expert Peter French.

      In an email to me dated 21st April 2008 Steve Barber wrote: “Van Praag’s pulling 13 shots out of this recording is absurd, to say the least. I have studied this recording for 2 years. I received my copy of it in April 2006. I publicly presented my findings on the National Geographic Channel program, ‘CIA Secret Experiments’, which aired March 10, 2008, and I pointed to a computer graph that shows 8 spikes, one for each gunshot. The gunshots are distinct, once you use Dolby C setting on a tape deck. I counted 8 distinct gunshots, fired rapidly, one after the other. I have the same, exact source of the recording that Van Praag uses, and, in fact, Van Praag and I corresponded in 2006, and he sent me a CD copy of what he calls his “master” which he said he was given permission to record “digitally” while at the California State Archives. The two sounds which Van Praag describes as coming too close together to be fired by one gunman are not two gunshots fired close together. The second of the two sounds I firmly believe to be the bullet striking a solid object. It does not have the characteristics of a ‘pop’ sound at all, and that is why it doesn’t present a spike on the graph like the other gunshot sounds do. I am currently working directly with acoustics expert Phillip Harrison. Our findings differ drastically with what Van Praag claims to have found.”

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Before I proceed to discredit Mel Ayton’s so-called ear-witness testimony, let’s first understand why, in his last note to me, Mr. Ayton is desperately resorting to such unscientific and unreliable evidence.

      It’s because, after nearly a decade, Mr. Ayton is finally beginning to understand how shaky his position really is on issues related to the Stanislaw Pruszynski audiotape, the only known recording of the sounds of the 5 June 1968 shooting in the kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles – an attack which killed U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy and wounded Kennedy friend Paul Schrade and four others.

      Here is a brief overview of Mr. Ayton’s precarious position:

      AYTON’S MEDIA COMPLAINT WITHOUT MERIT

      In his first posting to this comments section, and in subsequent posts, Mr. Ayton made the same old complaint to Shane O’Sullivan that a quick Google search reveals Mr. Ayton has made countless times before to others in the news media. He complained that Mr. O’Sullivan’s latest WhoWhatWhy article failed to include the Pruszynski recording findings of Philip Harrison along with the article’s mention of Philip Van Praag’s Pruszynski analysis and its mention of a newly-revealed FBI review of the recording, begun at the request of Mr. Schrade but never completed by the Bureau (it’s interesting to note that the FBI’s incomplete and inconclusive audio analysis was described as a very limited and deeply flawed examination, so obviously it never fulfilled Mr. Schrade’s call for a full FBI investigation of the recording for which Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had expressed support in a 2012 letter he wrote to then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder).

      Normally an inconclusive FBI analysis would not merit mention in a news story but, in this case, the newsworthy elements in the O’Sullivan article are that, for the first time, a member of the Kennedy family had given his blessings to such an audio recording investigation and that it was actually his letter of support that had prompted Mr. Holder to order the Bureau’s yet-to-be-finished Pruszynski probe.

      By contrast, Mr. Harrison’s inconclusive Pruszynski report has no newsworthy elements going for it whatsoever. So Mr. O’Sullivan – and all other members of the news media – need not bother with such an inconclusive acoustics report.

      Likewise, when it comes to the Pruszynski recording, the media also need not bother with Mr. Ayton or with Mr. Ayton’s Sirhan Sirhan book that published Mr. Harrison’s inconclusive report, since Mr. Ayton has freely admitted in this very comments section that he himself is no acoustics expert.

      AYTON’S “EIGHT SHOTS” DISCREDITED BY HIS OWN EXPERT’S REPORT THAT REVEALS 10 POSSIBLE GUNSHOTS

      Nevertheless it appears one reputable news organization did extend charity to Mr. Harrison by actually reporting on his report’s inconclusive findings – however, it’s fair to say, not in the way Mr. Ayton would have preferred those Harrison findings reported.

      In a 2012 online article, CNN summarized the Harrison report’s findings along with several independent Pruszynski analyses that had all found an indication of a second pantry gun firing shots in addition to the maximum eight shots Sirhan Sirhan’s gun was capable of firing (Google these five search words to find this article: CNN Philip Harrison York England. The article’s headline is “RFK assassination witness willing to testify for Sirhan Sirhan’s lawyers).

      Here are four paragraphs from the CNN web-site article:

      “ . . . audio experts have reported finding more than eight gunshots in Stanislaw Pruszynski’s recording.

      In 2005, Spence Whitehead of Atlanta told CNN that he had located ‘at least 9, possibly 11 shot sounds’ captured by Pruszynski’s audiotape of the Kennedy shooting.

      A 2007 Investigation Discovery Channel television documentary reported that Wes Dooley and Paul Pegas of Pasadena, California, along with their colleague Eddy B. Brixen of Copenhagen, Denmark, had located ‘at least ten’ shots in Pruszynski’s recording of the kitchen pantry gunfire.

      Also appearing in the TV program was Philip Harrison of York, England. In a published analysis, Harrison described locating within the Pruszynski tape more than ten ‘impulse sounds’ occurring inside the pantry: seven that he attributed to gunshots, three that he considered candidates for an eighth shot and several other impulse sounds that he said he could not identify.’”

      The article at CNN’s web-site actually extended more charity to the Harrison report than it deserved. Because when it came to ten of these “impulse sounds” Mr. Harrison had found in the recording – which his acoustics report had oddly grouped into separate sets of seven and three apparently to satisfy the needs of the client, Mr. Ayton – CNN did not mention the fact that Mr. Harrison’s report had never actually concluded that any of these ten sounds was a definite gunshot. Rather the Harrison report had judged all ten as only possible gunshots.

      Nevertheless a simple reading of the full Harrison report, which Mr. Ayton kindly provided this comments section in one of his postings, clearly reveals to the reader that the confessed-non-expert, Mr. Ayton, his Sirhan Sirhan novel and his decade of online claims are all incorrect about Mr. Harrison and his colleague having located no more than eight shots in the Pruszynski recording. The report makes clear the two men actually found ten possible shots, none of which it dismissed as some kind of Ayton-suggested “thump” sound caused by something other than a gun.

      Mr. Harrison and Professor Peter French even mentioned other impulse sounds, also surrounding the Pruszynski recording’s capture of the Kennedy shooting, but which they failed to identify in Mr. Harrison’s report (could these additional impulse sounds include Philip Van Praag’s 11th, 12th and 13th shots?).

      But that’s not all. They also found evidence of an overlapping of two of their ten possible shots (often referred to by Mr. Van Praag as a “double-shot”) – yet another indication of a second gun firing shots in the pantry.

      As we can read for ourselves, Philip Harrison’s published findings, although inconclusive, actually substantiated – they did not confirm but they definitely did substantiate – the findings of Philip Van Praag. In fact, as we can also see for ourselves, nowhere in his report did Mr. Harrison ever state or imply that he had found Mr. Van Praag’s findings to be in error, contrary to yet another Ayton claim posted in this comments section.

      AYTON’S EAR-WITNESS TESTIMONY ALSO DISCREDITED

      So what does Mr. Ayton do when his scientific house of cards collapses? Elementary. He quickly shifts to his deck of unscientific cards of course.

      Enter the so-called ear-witness accounts.

      In his latest note to me, Mr. Ayton is parading a long list of people he calls ear-witnesses to the Robert Kennedy assassination (as if the length of that list alone is sure to impress – perhaps, even overwhelm – all of us and maybe even pound me into submission at long last).

      Sadly for Mr. Ayton, his list accomplishes entirely the opposite of its aim.

      Because whether you believe one gun was involved – or two – in that 1968 shooting, you must concede that the minimum number of shots fired in the pantry was eight, which exceeds by far most of the alleged FBI witness shot-counts that Ayton lists for us.

      If this weren’t such a serious murder case, it would be almost comical how the reliability of Mr. Ayton’s ear-witness list declines as he adds more names to it. The fact that so many people fell so short of counting the required minimum of eight shots – and that the counts varied as much as they did – speaks volumes about how unscientific and unreliable ear-witness testimony in this case really is.

      And it speaks to how desperate Mr. Ayton has become that he should now resort to it.

      Unfortunately that’s not all. As it turns out, at least some of Mr. Ayton’s ear-witness claims are just plain false. Let’s take a look.

      Mr. Ayton tells us that in 1968 Nina Rhodes told the FBI she had heard “eight distinct shots” and that later, in 1992, she told Ayton-branded “conspiracy authors” that she’d heard from 10 to 14 shots. Clearly, he wants us to believe that Ms. Rhodes changed her shot-count and that we should not believe whatever she says. But Mr. Ayton is leaving out some very important information about Ms. Rhodes of which he certainly would have been aware.

      Mr. Ayton is getting his 1992 information from “Shadow Play”, a book co-authored by William Klaber and the late Philip Melanson. What he’s not telling you is that the authors reported that when they located Ms. Rhodes in preparation for their book, they sent to her a copy of her FBI witness summary – and that she was shocked to finally see it for the first time because the summary had completely fabricated what she had actually told the FBI agents who had interviewed her at her home 24 years before. Mr. Klaber and Mr. Melanson further reported Ms. Rhodes as writing back to the authors the following: “I never said I heard 8 distinct shots. From the moment the tragedy began I knew that there were at least 10-14 shots and that there had to be more than one assailant. The shots were from the left and right from where I was.”

      To read the FBI Nina Rhodes summary for yourself, go to the Mary Ferrell Foundation web-site, click its home page picture of Robert Kennedy, then go to the search window appearing under SEARCH RFK DOCUMENTS near the top of the page and enter these five search words: Nina Rhodes “cossack type dress”. It’s important that you put single spaces between cossack and type and dress and that you also include those quotation marks. After you’ve entered that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (129 page hits).

      To see the copy of this same FBI Nina Rhodes summary that Ms. Rhodes sent back to the “Shadow Play” authors with her hand-written corrections included, along with other interesting Nina Rhodes items, go to the Mary Ferrell Foundation web-site, click ADV SEARCH near the top of its home page, then go to the search window near the top of the next page and enter these five search words: Featured RFK Assassination Witness Nina. After you’ve entered all that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Frontmatter Pages (458 results).

      So, according to Nina Rhodes, she never changed her shot-count. But clearly Mr. Ayton has made the decision to accept the FBI’s Rhodes summary and to totally ignore Ms. Rhodes’ denunciation of the summary as a work of fiction – a denunciation he couldn’t possibly have missed reading in “Shadow Play” since that book is not only the original source of Ms. Rhodes’ 1992 comments but is the reason she made those comments in the first place. So now you know more about Ms. Rhodes than you otherwise would have known by relying only on Mr. Ayton.

      But wait, there’s more.

      In 2012, CNN also tracked down Ms. Rhodes and interviewed her by phone as well as on camera. CNN posted two online articles about this Kennedy shooting witness who, since 1992, had re-married and changed her name to Nina Rhodes-Hughes (Google these four search words to find both CNN articles: CNN Nina Rhodes Hughes).

      After CNN broadcast its interviews with Nina Rhodes-Hughes, a number of other news organizations also conducted on-camera interviews with her. So did they break her down? Did her story about hearing 10 to 14 shots crumble? Not at all. But Mr. Ayton’s stories certainly are. Here are just two more of the Ayton ear-witness stories that are about to turn to dust:

      They concern Jesse Unruh and Estelyn LaHive.

      In his latest note to me, Mr. Ayton lists both these witnesses along with 26 others who he claims told the FBI they put the number of shots at 8 or less. Then, down the page, Mr. Ayton promptly contradicts himself about Jesse Unruh by quoting Mr. Unruh as telling the FBI he heard “two or four pops followed by four or five more,” which would actually remove Mr. Unruh from Mr. Ayton’s 8-shots-or-less FBI list and put him on a 9-shots-or-less FBI list. The difference is of course significant because, as Mr. Ayton knows full well, if at least 9 shots were indeed fired in the pantry, then there must have been a second gun involved in the Kennedy shooting.

      To read the FBI Jesse Unruh summary for yourself, go to the Mary Ferrell Foundation web-site, click its home page picture of Robert Kennedy, then go to the search window appearing under SEARCH RFK DOCUMENTS near the top of the page and enter these three search words: Jesse Unruh pops. After you’ve entered that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (922 page hits).

      As for Estelyn LaHive, her FBI witness summary actually reports that Ms. LaHive said “there were two or three shots, then a slight pause, then several more shots.” So, despite the Ayton claim, the official FBI shot-count for her is actually indeterminate but her real shot-count is very unlikely to be the “8 or less” that Mr. Ayton is asserting.

      The problem here is that Mr. Ayton seems to be defining the word “several” as no more than 5, so as to bring his FBI LaHive shot-count no higher than his magic number of 8. But his definition of “several” would likely seem absurd to most people. Given that most of us regard “several” in the same way the dictionaries define it – “more than two but less than many” – we would probably find it very strange to hear someone claim that 5 is “several” but 6 is “many”.

      So from Ms. LaHive’s FBI witness summary alone, we really can’t tell how many shots she heard, even though Mr. Ayton wants us to believe she heard 8 shots or less. But hold on, because the correct number of shots Estelyn LaHive heard is coming soon. Here’s a hint: Mr. Ayton probably isn’t going to like it.

      To read the FBI Estelyn LaHive summary for yourself, go to the Mary Ferrell Foundation web-site, click its home page picture of Robert Kennedy, then go to the search window appearing under SEARCH RFK DOCUMENTS near the top of the page and enter these four search words: Estelyn “La Hive” popping. It’s important that you put a single space between La and Hive and that you also include those quotation marks. After you’ve entered all that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (244 page hits).

      Now Mr. Ayton of course is using only FBI witness summaries. But you and I are going to also check the LAPD’s witness summaries because many Kennedy shooting witnesses were interviewed by both the Bureau and the Los Angeles Police Department. To find out how the LAPD reported the number of shots heard by Jesse Unruh and Estelyn LaHive, let’s turn once again to those two 2012 CNN online articles that had also reported on the Nina Rhodes-Hughes story. Here’s what CNN said about Mr. Unruh:

      “Jesse Unruh, who was speaker of the California Assembly at the time, told police that he was within 20 to 30 feet behind Kennedy when suddenly he heard a ‘crackle’ of what he initially thought were exploding firecrackers. ‘I don’t really quite remember how many reports there were,’ Unruh told the LAPD. ‘It sounded to me like somewhere between 5 and 10.’”

      So our new LAPD Jesse Unruh shot-count is 5 to 10 shots, a slightly higher range than the earlier FBI Unruh shot-count of 6 to 9 shots. Both Unruh shot-counts, from the Bureau and the police, remove Jesse Unruh from Mr. Ayton’s list of ear-witnesses who heard 8 shots or less.

      And here’s what CNN said about Estelyn LaHive:

      “Estelyn Duffy LaHive, who had been a Kennedy supporter, told police that she was standing just outside the kitchen pantry’s west entrance when the shooting erupted. ‘I thought I heard at least about 10 shots,’ she told the LAPD.”

      So our new LAPD Estelyn LaHive shot-count is 10 or more shots, now giving us a better fix on how Ms. LaHive defined the word “several” in that earlier FBI LaHive shot-count. With the possible exception of Mr. Ayton, she like most of us certainly wasn’t defining “several” as no more than 5. To her, “several” in this case meant 7 or more. Both LaHive shot-counts, from the Bureau and the police, remove Estelyn LaHive from Mr. Ayton’s list of ear-witnesses who heard 8 shots or less.

      Now feast your eyes on what the CNN article reported two more witnesses told the LAPD:

      “Frank Mankiewicz, who had been Kennedy’s campaign press secretary, told police that he was trying to catch up to the senator when he suddenly heard sounds that also seemed to him to be ‘a popping of firecrackers.’ When an LAPD detective asked Mankiewicz how many of the sounds he’d heard, he answered: ‘It seemed to me I heard a lot. If indeed it had turned out to have been firecrackers, I probably would have said 10. But I’m sure it was less than that.’”

      “Booker Griffin, another Kennedy supporter, told police that he had just entered the pantry through its east entrance and suddenly heard ‘two quick’ shots followed by a slight pause and then what ‘sounded like it could have been 10 or 12’ additional shots.”

      Funny, but I don’t see Mr. Mankiewicz and Mr. Griffin on Mr. Ayton’s ear-witness list. Oh, that’s right, he isn’t interested in LAPD witness summaries.

      Or is he?

      While most of Mr. Ayton’s last posted-reply to me was focused on the FBI witness reports, there was a brief moment when his note actually made reference to LAPD witness reports too. That was when he stated this:

      “No one who had been in the pantry when Robert Kennedy was shot told the FBI or LAPD that anywhere near 13 shots had been fired.”

      Well, Mr. Ayton, Booker Griffin is proving you wrong. As we just read in the CNN article, Mr. Griffin told the LAPD he heard 2 quick shots, then a slight pause, and then what could have been 10 or 12 more shots. That puts the Griffin range of possible shots between 12 and 14 altogether. So, contrary to what you posted Mr. Ayton, there indeed was at least one LAPD witness who not only told police he heard “near 13 shots” but told them he possibly heard more than 13.

      Here are other LAPD witnesses who told police they either heard or might have heard more than 8 shots: Jeff Brent, Carol Ann Breshears, Susanne Locke and Roy Mills.

      To read the LAPD summaries of these four police witnesses for yourself, go to the Mary Ferrell Foundation web-site, click its home page picture of Robert Kennedy, then go to the search window appearing under SEARCH RFK DOCUMENTS near the top of the page and enter the following:

      For Brent, enter these eight search words: Jeff Alan Brent “heard more than eight shots”. It’s important that you include those quotation marks. After you’ve entered all that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (388 page hits).

      For Breshears, enter these nine search words: Carol Ann Breshears “at least 8 or 10 shots”. It’s important that you include those quotation marks. After you’ve entered all that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (734 page hits).

      For Locke, enter these eight search words: Susanne Locke “eight to ten of these shots”. It’s important that you include those quotation marks. After you’ve entered all that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (62 page hits).

      For Mills, enter these six search words: Roy Mills “8 or 9 shots”. It’s important that you include those quotation marks. After you’ve entered all that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (297 page hits).

      Two of these four police witnesses were also reported by the FBI as possibly hearing more than eight shots. The Bureau quoted Breshears as hearing 10 shots and quoted Locke as hearing 8 to 10 shots.

      To read the FBI summaries of these two witnesses for yourself, go to the Mary Ferrell Foundation web-site, click its home page picture of Robert Kennedy, then go to the search window appearing under SEARCH RFK DOCUMENTS near the top of the page and enter the following:

      For Breshears, enter these nine search words: Carol Breshears “the first two sounded like popping balloons”. It’s important that you include those quotation marks. After you’ve entered all that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (319 page hits).

      For Locke, enter these ten search words: Susanne Locke “a total of about eight or ten shots”. It’s important that you include those quotation marks. After you’ve entered all that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (62 page hits).

      Now let’s go back to Mr. Ayton’s lengthy list of alleged 8-shots-or-less FBI ear-witnesses to see what other hijinks he pulled.

      Mr. Ayton quotes Robert Anthony Toigo as telling the FBI he heard “two noises which [Toigo] described as ‘pops’” and that is true — however what Mr. Ayton is not telling you is those were only the first shots Toigo heard. Toigo also told the FBI that he immediately turned to his left, observed a “blur of figures” and then heard more shots fired. So, as you can see, Mr. Ayton was only telling you part of the story because he wanted you to falsely believe Toigo heard no more than two shots.

      To read the FBI Robert Anthony Toigo summary for yourself, go to the Mary Ferrell Foundation web-site, click its home page picture of Robert Kennedy, then go to the search window appearing under SEARCH RFK DOCUMENTS near the top of the page and enter these three search words: Robert Anthony Toigo. After you’ve entered that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (7373 page hits).

      Mr. Ayton plays the very same game with Dolores Beilenson. He correctly tells us about the first three shots she witnessed but then he stops right there and doesn’t bother to tell us that she also informed the FBI that “upon hearing additional shots she immediately left the area.”

      To read the FBI Dolores Beilenson summary for yourself, go to the Mary Ferrell Foundation web-site, click its home page picture of Robert Kennedy, then go to the search window appearing under SEARCH RFK DOCUMENTS near the top of the page and enter these three search words: Dolores Beilenson emanating. After you’ve entered that as your search, click on the first item that you see appearing under Documents (96 page hits).

      While I don’t have time right now to go through Mr. Ayton’s entire laundry list of FBI ear-witnesses, I’ve at least started you off with several examples from his list, as well as two that didn’t make his list, that should tell you – along with everything else you’ve been learning about Mr. Ayton – that you should never take any of Mr. Ayton’s claims at face value. Always question. Always investigate.

      And always keep in mind that even if Mr. Ayton wholeheartedly accepts whatever the FBI claimed certain witnesses heard, that doesn’t mean you have to mindlessly embrace it. Remember the case of Nina Rhodes-Hughes. How many witnesses never received the chance that she got to check their FBI witness summaries for the possibility of key inaccuracies?

      In any case, this matter of ear-witnesses is entirely unscientific and unreliable. As I alluded to earlier, the truth is that ear-witness testimony, especially in the case of the Robert Kennedy shooting, takes us absolutely nowhere. You only play that unscientific card when you no longer have any scientific cards to play. And that’s exactly where Mr. Ayton finally realizes he is when it comes to the Pruszynski recording.

      Also remember something very important about the recording. Mr. Van Praag said he found on the tape not only 13 gunshots but two sets of “double-shots”. This would mean that four of the shots sounded to ear-witnesses like only two shots. Also, as the shooting was reaching its conclusion, the recording features a woman letting out an extremely loud scream from either inside, or just outside, the pantry. So, if indeed there were 13 shots fired, then with the masking effect of the double-shots and the scream, there’s reason enough for even the most attentive witnesses nearest the shooting scene to have heard no more than 9 or 10 of those 13 shots.

      But this simply cannot be settled on the unscientific basis of what so-called ear-witnesses think they remember hearing at the hotel or what some dude with a tape deck, a pair of headphones and an over-sized opinion of his abilities imagines he’s hearing on the Pruszynski recording. Proper audio analysis involves much more than just listening. Most people don’t realize that, including even some so-called experts.

      Since we were just talking about lists and the number of people on them, here are two other Ayton lists you shouldn’t take at face value. Mr. Ayton claims there are only 3 experts who said they found the acoustic signatures of more than eight gunshots in the Pruszynski recording (Philip Van Praag, Wes Dooley and Paul Pegas) and he claims there are 5 experts who said they found no more than eight (Philip Harrison, Peter French, Steve Barber, Michael O’Dell and Chad Zimmerman).

      Absolutely untrue because Mr. Ayton is leaving out Spence Whitehead and Eddy Brixen, both mentioned in that CNN article, and he’s placing Philip Harrison and Peter French on the wrong list. As you already know by now, according to their report, Mr. Harrison and Professor French actually found the acoustic signatures of ten possible shots. So let’s update those two Ayton lists:

      There are actually 7 experts who have reported finding the acoustic signatures of more than eight gunshots in the Pruszynski recording (Philip Van Praag, Wes Dooley, Paul Pegas, Eddie Brixen, Spence Whitehead, Philip Harrison and Peter French) and only 3 experts who apparently have reported finding no more than eight (Steve Barber, Michael O’Dell and Chad Zimmerman).

      Very interesting that we still haven’t heard back from Mr. Ayton about whether a sworn court document from Philip Harrison or Peter French was ever filed, despite the fact Mr. Ayton says he provided assistance to the California attorney general in a recent Sirhan Sirhan federal court case that dealt in part with the Pruszynski recording.

      And, in addition to court documents, we also haven’t yet seen scientific reports from Mr. Barber, Mr. O’Dell and Mr. Zimmerman. Instead Mr. Ayton has trotted out something quite unscientific – what he claims is an email he received from Mr. Barber. Please. Stop. Insulting. Our. Intelligence. Mr. Ayton.

      As I think you may have noticed by now, Mel Ayton is fond of resorting to name-calling when he realizes he can’t defeat you. So he’s now taken to calling me a “conspiracist” which I can assure you I’m not. But of course I won’t lower myself to respond in kind because, for one thing, it’s completely unnecessary to do that – there’s simply no need for me to call Mr. Ayton any names since he’s already revealed to us exactly what he is.

    • Mel Ayton says:

      I believe readers by now will have taken the full measure of Mr Keaton from his multiple postings. He has clearly, and repeatedly, abused and contorted the conclusions of the two teams who examined the acoustics evidence for my book The Forgotten Terrorist.

      For example Keaton wrote: “……Mr. Harrison had never actually concluded that any of these ten sounds was definitely a gunshot. Rather Mr. Harrison had judged all ten as only possible gunshots….. The two men actually found ten possible shots, none of which they dismissed as some kind of Ayton-suggested “thump” sound caused by something other than a gun ….Mr. Harrison and Mr. French actually found the acoustic signatures of ten possible shots”. This is a typical example of how Keaton has lied about the statements made by Mr Harrison, as anyone who has read The Forgotten Terrorist will agree.

      Additionally, Mr Harrison’s report was in ADDITION to multiple exchanges between the two teams following their independent analyses of the Pruszynski tape. Their exchanges led to my conclusions about the acoustics evidence which can be found within the narrative of the book.

      All the participants in the acoustics study agree that there is NO evidence that more than eight shots were fired in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel. That is made quite clear in my book. And, quite contrary to the claims made by Keaton, Mr Harrison does not indicate in his report that 9, 10 or more shots were reproduced on the audio tape.

      Mr Keaton also puts excess faith in the findings of the audio engineers, Van Praag et al . According to Van Praag’s assistant, Wes Dooley, “What Eddy Brixen did in Denmark, and Paul (Pragus) and I did here in Pasadena, was to look for wideband impulses. We looked at spectral plots such as you might find in voice ID work. Eddy overlaid a number of band limited amplitude plots and looked for the correlations that indicate sudden impulse noise……NEITHER OF US COULD WITH ANY ABSOLUTE PRECISION TELL YOU HOW MANY SHOTS WERE FIRED (emphasis added). However, we both agreed that we saw and perceived more than eight points that looked likely. This level of correlation is enough that we felt it would be worth the effort of people with better tools in the future to revisit the project.”

      Mr Harrison responded to these statements by writing, “…… effectively we’re in agreement that there are more than 8 wideband impulses but…. IT IS DANGEROUS TO ASSUME THAT THEY ARE ALL SHOTS (emphasis added).”

      And there we have it. Mr Harrison, along with all the members of the two teams AGREED that no more than eight shots could be identified with any degree of certainty.

      Keaton’s comments about earwitness statements are not worth answering as I believe most readers will conclude he ‘protests too much’.

      Please stop insulting our intelligence, Mr. Keaton. I am confident readers will conclude you have deliberately contorted the evidence in the case.

      If Keaton is not hiding behind a cowardly cloak of anonymity he should be able to allow readers the chance to assess his qualifications and expertise by providing some kind of short biography. He will also convince readers that his lying about the two teams’ acoustics findings does not have an alternative ‘conspiracy nut’ type of agenda.

      Additionally, I am sure readers will be asking why on earth a guy who clearly has a desire to prove a second gun was in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel does not take it a step further and hire his own acoustics people.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      I am publishing here, in this comments section of WhoWhatWhy, the following open letter to Philip Harrison:

      Dr. Philip Harrison
      J.P. French Associates
      86 The Mount
      York
      YO24 1AR
      England

      Dear Dr. Harrison:

      I wish to accept Mel Ayton’s public challenge to me at the WhoWhatWhy web-site, urging that I hire an acoustics analyst to thoroughly examine the Pruszynski audio recording and to report his findings – and my choice for this analyst is you.

      While I realize that you already analyzed this recording in 2006, the news media have reported new and seemingly significant Pruszynski findings made since then by others – and so I would like to invite you to personally supervise a J.P. French Associates project that will conduct a new comprehensive Pruszynski analysis which will include a full examination of – and a full published report on – all these new findings.

      Dr. Harrison, I pledge to you that, when you write your report on this project’s results, this time your client will not request that you revise your report’s wording.

      For example, this time your client will not ask you to alter your report’s wording should you propose that it announce your having found in the recording “more than 8 wide-band impulse sounds that possibly could be gunshots but which cannot all be confirmed as such at this time”.

      As another example, should you target a specific number of possible gunshots in the recording – say perhaps 10 – then this time your client will not ask you to do something preposterous in your report such as divide the 10 into groups of 7 and 3 so as to help keep your client’s pre-set agenda on track as he proceeds to write a rather creative narrative that will bear no resemblance whatsoever to your report safely tucked away in the very back of his Sirhan Sirhan novel.

      I also pledge to you that this time your client will not attempt in any public forum or publication to interpret or misinterpret anything you have stated concerning the Pruszynski recording, whether such statements appear in your report or are part of any communications you have had with your client or with others. This time your client will confine his public comments concerning your Pruszynski work to only the precise wording which appears in your report.

      This time you and J.P. French Associates will not be treated as pawns but with utmost consideration and respect.

      It would be an honor and a privilege for me if you would please accept my invitation.

      Yours Very Truly,

      Joseph Frank Keaton

    • Mel Ayton says:

      The statement made by you, repeatedly, that I asked Mr Harrison AT ANY TIME to alter any words he used in his report (and also his additional comments about the acoustics evidence I used for my book) is an outright lie. Yes, an unadulterated, malicious lie. In due course Mr Harrison will testify to this fact.

      Additionally, to accuse J.P. French Associates as ‘pawns’ is beneath contempt. I will be requesting the editors to review this slanderous posting and, if they have any integrity whatsoever, comment about it.

      I will pass your letter on to Mr Harrison if you haven’t already done so.

      It will be clear to readers by now you are continuing to hide under a cloak of anonymity, despite numerous requests to allow them to assess your qualifications. It will only encourage them to wonder why.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      I’ve already sent my letter to Dr. Harrison and await his reply.

      As for the editors, who you are trying to bully through force of habit and whose integrity you are questioning, I myself have the utmost faith in them.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Mr. Ayton,

      It may be fair to say we each know how to push the other’s buttons – which of course is not the purpose of this comments page.

      Intelligent discussion with a shared interest in a particular topic certainly is an aim of this forum – and, as everyone here would agree, you Sir are an extremely intelligent and interesting gentleman; so I have deeply appreciated this rare privilege of interacting with you – and I thank you for the time you’ve been willing to make available to me.

      Mr. Ayton, earlier, you brought up a very interesting discussion that took place between Philip Harrison and Wes Dooley. I hope you won’t mind telling all of us more about it.

      You mentioned Mr. Dooley had told Mr. Harrison the following: “What Eddy Brixen did in Denmark, and Paul (Pegas) and I did here in Pasadena, was to look for wideband impulses. We looked at spectral plots such as you might find in voice ID work. Eddy overlaid a number of band limited amplitude plots and looked for the correlations that indicate sudden impulse noise.”

      You seemed to indicate that, at some point after that, Mr. Dooley said: “Neither of us could with any absolute precision tell you how many shots were fired. However, we both agreed that we saw and perceived more than eight points that looked likely. This level of correlation is enough that we felt it would be worth the effort of people with better tools in the future to revisit the project.”

      Then, as you said in your post, Mr. Harrison responded at some point to Mr. Dooley by writing something that included the following: “Effectively we’re in agreement that there are more than 8 wideband impulses but….”

      Apparently not long after that, Mr. Harrison also said: “It is dangerous to assume that they are all shots.”

      You finished by mentioning to us something about a number of gentlemen agreeing that no more than eight shots could be identified with any degree of certainty.

      Questions:

      Mr. Ayton, what, may I ask, was the reaction to Mr. Harrison’s statement that “it is dangerous to assume that they are all shots”? This would seem to be a rather obvious concern that any responsible experts would certainly agree with (generally speaking, such experts are by definition not interested in making wild or dangerous assumptions about anything, as I’m sure you’ll agree) but did Mr. Harrison’s statement elicit any particular responses?

      And can you relay to us any specific quotes from these gentlemen concerning their agreement that no more than eight shots could be identified with any degree of certainty? Do you have any more details?

      Of course it seems fairly obvious that you would know the names of the individual experts from the “groups” who were all party to this agreement. Would you mind listing these gentlemen for us?

      Thank you once again for your time and consideration, Mr. Ayton.

      Best regards

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Mr Keaton,

      The points of agreement that I have quoted were relayed to me after a series of correspondence back in 2006/7/8 between Steve Barber (Team: Steve Barber, Chad Zimmerman, and Michael O’Dell) and Philip Harrison, (Team: Philip Harrison and Peter French). Barber and Harrison also engaged in correspondence with Philip Van Praag and Wes Dooley (Team: Philip Van Praag, Wes Dooley, Paul Pragus together with Eddie Brixen in Denmark)

      You will need to ask Mr Harrison the questions you posed (e.g Mr. Ayton, what, may I ask, was the reaction to Mr. Harrison’s statement that “it is dangerous to assume that they are all shots”? – “And can you relay to us any specific quotes from these gentlemen concerning their agreement that no more than eight shots could be identified with any degree of certainty?”) Only Mr Harrison will know the answers to those questions.

      You are also in a position to ask Van Praag and Dooley what their responses were to Harrison’s statement. You can contact them by asking Shane O’Sullivan to provide you with an address and telephone number.

      Please contact Mr Harrison by hardcopy letter. This way he will be able to verify whether or not you are the person you say you are as you will be obliged to send him your address and telephone number.

      As I stated in an earlier post, I believe you have limited the effect of your comments by repeatedly failing to give readers background information about your qualifications and experience. I may be wrong but your writing style and vocabulary are certainly reminiscent of RFK researcher John Hunt who used multiple false identities in forums and whose crackpot theories about RFK’s wounds were eventually demolished by world famous ballistics expert Larry Sturdivan – readers may be interested in reading Mr Sturdivan’s response to that critic – see below.

      As you will appreciate I have given over a lot of my time to engage with readers on this issue. However, I am presently busy working with my publisher’s editors for a forthcoming book which will be published in the Fall. I will, though, respond to your emails once you have received any response from Mr Harrison.

      REPORT ON RFK’S WOUNDS BY BALLISTICS EXPERT LARRY STURIDVAN

      Larry Sturdivan is an acclaimed and recognized expert on wound ballistics. He has a B.S. in physics from Oklahoma State University and an M.S. in statistics from the University of Delaware. He worked at the U.S. Army’s Ballistics Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, from 1964 to 1972, and then at the Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, from 1972 through 1995. In 1964, he observed ballistics tests conducted at the Biophysics Laboratory of Edgewood Arsenal in support of the Warren Commission’s investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He held levels of responsibility from bench-level research to management, including Associate Technical Director for Technology at Edgewood. He wrote the majority of the casualty criteria for bullets, fragments etc. used by the U.S. and NATO, and has had contracts to update them. In 1978, as a senior researcher, he was made the U.S. Army’s contact in helping the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) as it re-investigated the JFK assassination. He is currently a consultant in mathematical and statistical modelling for LMS Scientific Applications. He has written a book entitled The JFK Myths: A Scientific Investigation of the Kennedy Assassination, which was published in 2005.

      (Author’s Note: Larry Sturdivan wrote the following report dated 16 May 2006 for the author in response to conspiracy writer John Hunt’s article in JFK Lancer magazine in which he claimed the RFK autopsy report proved that the gun shot wounds were too large to have been caused by Sirhan’s .22 caliber pistol, so a second gunman had to have been involved in the shooting.)

      Expanding bullets are usually designed to open up in soft tissue, but not to fragment. The extent of expansion is somewhat variable in soft tissue and unpredictable in bone. The back pressure from the solid bone may, under some circumstances, restrict expansion. Under other circumstances, the strength and density of the bone may cause the bullet to fracture into two or more pieces. The expanded bullet tends to travel in a nearly straight line while the bullet fragments will travel in different, and unpredictable, directions. In rare cases, the trajectory of a fragment will curve so dramatically that it will exit back out of the surface penetrated initially. In most cases, the paths will diverge in a “cone” of variable size.

      The penetration of a bullet into a person does not cause an injury like that which would result from a cork-borer. It does not remove (or destroy, or any other word of your choice) an amount of tissue the size of the bullet’s diameter or expanded diameter. It pushes the tissue rapidly aside, stretching and disrupting the soft tissue or fracturing the bone. The diameter of the damaged area surrounding the bullet’s path depends on the shape, size, orientation, and velocity of the bullet and the elasticity and strength of the tissue. For instance, the entry wound in the skin is often smaller than the diameter of the bullet because the skin is strong and elastic and the bullet is in a low-drag orientation as it penetrates skin and some of the pressure that would otherwise move the skin aside may be relieved by surface effects (think of the skin bulging outward). Muscle and other tissue lying beyond the “surface effect depth” will usually be damaged to a diameter larger than the diameter of the projectile – sometimes much larger for a high-velocity, high-drag yawing bullet or fragment. Bone has much greater strength than soft tissue, but no elasticity, so the entry hole in the front table (hard surface layer) must be as large or larger than the size of the bullet as it penetrates, including expanded diameter (from penetrating skin) or change in orientation (no longer point first). In addition, the bone will be “cratered” on the exit side, as the projectile perforates. The cratering again depends on the size, shape, and velocity of the projectile and anatomical and physical properties of the bone. Sometimes the crater can be less than twice the diameter of the penetrating projectile and sometimes large chunks can be “scabbed” off the exit side of the bone. Thus, the size of the crater is inherently unpredictable.

      So let us go through the sequence of events in the (RFK) head injury in question. First, the bullet probably started to expand as it penetrated the scalp, leaving a hole in the surface slightly smaller than the diameter of the unexpanded bullet (it did not instantaneously expand on impact). As it penetrated the skull, it probably continued to expand and may have started to fracture. It left a crater that widened from the entry hole toward the inner table of the skull. The crater likely was irregular and as large or larger than twice the diameter of the expanded bullet. If the bullet was still relatively intact, it probably was irregularly deformed by penetrating the skull, so that it would have curved off in the path dictated by its shape and orientation, creating an unpredictable amount of “lift” that would curve the path. If it were broken, pieces would have traveled in an unpredictable manner. Though unlikely, one could have curved sharply to return to strike the skull at some point near the entry hole. It would probably have stopped on the inner table of the skull. More likely, the pieces would have penetrated in random directions through the brain until they stopped.

      The brain is very inelastic and weak, so the area of injury about the trajectory (or trajectories) would be larger than the projectile that caused them. Because it is contained in a rigid container, the skull, the outward motion of the tissue from the bullet’s trajectory can cause motion at locations remote from the bullet or trajectory sufficient to cause damage in the fragile brain tissue. In blunt injury, this remote damage is termed “contra-coup” injury. The largest amount of damage, however, would have been at the location where the bullet/fragment(s) passed through the skull, where the velocity was highest. In the fragile brain tissue, this area of damage would have been much larger than the “diameter” of the deformed bullet (the point I was trying to make in my initial comment). If the target were a gelatin block, this would be the end of the damage cycle. As soon as this initial damage was inflicted, the dynamic, still-living brain continued the physical and physiological processes that could have contributed to further damage. The damaged tissue immediately began to swell, as blood leaked through ruptured capillaries, like the puffiness that surrounds a bruise. This swelling could have pushed the damaged, already-swollen tissue into the crater and entry hole of the bone, causing further damage (called “herniation” in Noguchi’s autopsy). If so, the size of the crater is already much larger than the deformed bullet. Or, if the hole were already occluded by a bone chip and/or other debris, no herniation damage would have been produced.

      The physician at the scene (of the RFK shooting), noting no bleeding, tried to clear the obstruction to keep the back pressure from the arteries that supply the brain from slowing and eventually stopping the flow altogether. The inserted finger could have pushed a bone chip or metallic fragment into intact tissue, causing further damage. This was unlikely, but possible. At surgery, the entry hole in the scalp and skull were enlarged enough to attempt repair. Even with due care, this could have caused further damage. Once opened wider, even momentary pressure could have caused further herniation damage in the enlarged hole (if the blood pressure were still high enough). Or not.

      During all of the above, medical personnel were trying to keep blood flow going so that back pressure would not deprive the undamaged brain of oxygen. The flow was undoubtedly flushing debris from the wound, including detached brain tissue, bone fragments, and possibly bullet fragments. Even those bone and bullet fragments that were not carried out were probably moved from their original position by the massive amount of blood flowing from the disrupted transverse sinus and arteries all along the wound track. Bullet fragments and even whole bullets have sometimes been pushed into veins and ended up in remote parts of the body. Local movement of at least some fragments is almost certain.

      At autopsy, Noguchi only saw the aftermath of all of the above. He could not peer into the past to determine if any given bit of damage was caused by one of the above and not by another. Initial damage alone is sufficient to have produced a swollen area of the size he described, without requiring any herniation damage. On the other hand, there is nothing to preclude the additional herniation damage he reported, but it could have resulted from herniation into the crater and entry hole in the skull. The caliber of the undeformed bullet cannot be determined by the evidence contained in the autopsy report. Even the entry hole in the skull was likely produced by an expanded bullet that bore little or no indication of the original diameter of the undeformed bullet. The damage described, indeed, could have been caused by any number of different bullets, but I saw nothing in John (Hunt’s) essay that would constitute proof that it was not a bullet from Sirhan’s gun that caused the injury. In fact, I saw nothing that indicates that the damage was even more likely to have been caused by a different bullet.

      (Some critics) continue to speak of a .22 caliber bullet as though it were never expanded. I cannot know…what the expanded diameter of the bullet was when it exited the inner table of the skull to enter the brain, but it was larger than .22 inches. The crater in the inner table was larger than the diameter of the expanded bullet, as cratered entry holes always are. Again we have no way of determining the size of the base of the crater. As the crater is made by cracking off pieces of the inner table of skull, it is irregular. The dura does not remain intact at the site of the entry wound. It, too, is torn by an expanded bullet and the bone chips. Damage 1 centimeter in radius from the track of the bullet, a reasonable amount of damage in the fragile brain from the penetration of an expanded bullet, would indeed be a 2-centimeter diameter. Again, that damage would be all along the track, largest at the highest velocity (the entry) and diminishing to about the size of the bullet or fragment of a broken bullet where it stopped. The brain would swell around the wound track whether confined or not. The bullet did not enter the brain tissue by magic; the entry point was injured and would swell, just as is would all along the track. We cannot know how much damage was done by penetrating bone fragments, but any such damage would also contribute to surface swelling. In short, I still see no physical evidence that would prove a conspiracy in the Robert Kennedy killing.”

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Mr. Ayton,

      Most grateful to you – thank you, Sir.

      Since, as you seemed to indicate, all of the points of agreement were relayed to you, I hope you won’t mind providing us, here, with each and every one of those agreed-upon points in their fullest and directly-quoted detail as you had received them at the time. In fact, if you wouldn’t mind my saying, may I suggest that all these agreement points – posted to this comments section in their entire and original wording – be provided here as an essential post-script, or companion piece, to Mr. Harrison’s 2006 acoustics report, which you had kindly posted in this section a few days ago?

      I do hope that suggestion appeals to you as constructive.

      Your courtesy in providing, in your last note to me, the names of some – or perhaps all – of the gentlemen who at various points were engaged in particular correspondence is most appreciated.

      And, if I may also ask you for purposes of clarification: were each and every one of these gentlemen you named in that previous posting (Steve Barber, Chad Zimmerman, Michael O’Dell, Philip Harrison, Peter French, Philip Van Praag, Wes Dooley, Paul Pegas and Eddy Brixen) in full accord with all these points of agreement that were relayed to you – and would you happen to know why another gentleman whose name has come up, Spence Whitehead, was apparently not included in this correspondence, etc.?

      You’ve been very kind, Mr. Ayton, in presenting to this exceptional forum this additional information that indeed may prove well worthy of everyone’s consideration.

      Thank you, Sir.

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Mr Harrison will be replying to you in due course. I believe he is awaiting a hard copy letter from you before he proceeds.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Mr. Ayton,

      Very glad to see that you and Dr. Harrison appear to be back in touch.

      Would you mind asking him to please post here himself this very intention of his (i.e. that he is intending to wait for a hard copy letter from me before he proceeds to reply publicly to my posted questions)? Hope you don’t mind doing that, Sir, thank you.

      Also, Mr. Ayton, would you mind confirming here that you do indeed possess ALL points of the agreement we discussed here earlier, as well as the names of everyone who had agreed to each and every one of those points?

      In the meantime, I believe I have a few more questions for you that I would like to post here later today. As you have indicated, you are quite busy at the moment with your forthcoming book and so please know that even the smallest amount of time you can devote here is most appreciated.

      Deeply grateful to you, Sir.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Mr. Ayton,
      It might be fair to say that we both know how to push the other’s buttons – which of course is not at all the purpose of this comments page.
      Intelligent discussion among persons with a shared interest in a particular topic certainly is one of the aims of this forum – and, as everyone here would most certainly attest, you Sir are an extremely intelligent and very interesting gentleman. And so, I would like to tell you that I have deeply appreciated this rare privilege of interacting with you – I thank you for the time you have been so willing to make available to me.
      Mr. Ayton, earlier, you brought up a very interesting discussion that had taken place between Philip Harrison and Wes Dooley. I hope you will not mind telling all of us more about it.
      You mentioned that Mr. Dooley had told Mr. Harrison the following: “What Eddy Brixen did in Denmark, and Paul (Pegas) and I did here in Pasadena, was to look for wideband impulses. We looked at spectral plots such as you might find in voice ID work. Eddy overlaid a number of band limited amplitude plots and looked for the correlations that indicate sudden impulse noise.”
      You then seemed to indicate that, at some point after that, Mr. Dooley said: “Neither of us could with any absolute precision tell you how many shots were fired. However, we both agreed that we saw and perceived more than eight points that looked likely. This level of correlation is enough that we felt it would be worth the effort of people with better tools in the future to revisit the project.”
      Then, as you further said in your post, Mr. Harrison responded at some point to Mr. Dooley by writing something that included the following: “Effectively we’re in agreement that there are more than 8 wideband impulses but….”
      And apparently not long after that, Mr. Harrison also said: “It is dangerous to assume that they are all shots.”
      You finished this account by mentioning to us something about a number of gentlemen agreeing that no more than eight shots could be identified with any degree of certainty.
      Questions:
      Mr. Ayton, what, may I ask, was the reaction to Mr. Harrison’s statement that “it is dangerous to assume that they are all shots”? This would seem to be a rather obvious concern that any responsible experts would certainly agree with (generally speaking, such experts are by definition not interested in making wild or dangerous assumptions about anything, as I’m sure you’ll agree — but did Mr. Harrison’s statement elicit any particular responses?).
      And can you relay to us any specific quotes from these gentlemen concerning their agreement that no more than eight shots could be identified with any degree of certainty? Do you have any more details?
      Of course it seems fairly obvious that you would know the names of the individual experts from the “groups” who were all party to this agreement. Would you mind listing these gentlemen for us?
      Thank you, Mr. Ayton.
      Best regards

  7. Rose Mangan says:

    To Mel Ayton,
    First, I expected an answer to my question about Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10. I did not get it.
    Second, I am not a messenger nor am I a spokesperson for Shane O’Sullivan. I am certain he can answer your questions about acoustics, etc.
    Third, surely you cannot be serious. Do you actually think I should be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist? On what grounds do you dismiss my research? Specifically – Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10.?
    My research concerns the many, many ballistics problems I uncovered.
    As for Sirhan’s actual role in the killing of RFK – I cannot speculate beyond saying that I do believe he was a hypnotized patsy.
    As for Sirhan saying terrible things to Mike McCowan – he must answer that for himself. I was not present.
    For the last fifteen or so years I have been an independent researcher and I assure you that I take no sides.
    I found the prosecution’s conduct was deplorable and the defense – they should have been ashamed to call themselves defense attorneys.
    Please, I ask again, what do you have to say about Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10? I really would like to hear your answer.
    Rose Lynn Mangan

    • Mel Ayton says:

      The courts have considered the exhibits you cite – see below. Unlike world famous expert Larry Sturdivan you are NOT a ballistics expert but have simply posited an unscientific theory that bullets in the case were switched. This is not science nor is it historical research. It is conspiracy mongering.

      The following court documents address all your charges as to the alleged innocence of Sirhan. See specific references to the ballistics evidence.

      SIRHAN BISHARA SIRHAN, Petitioner, v. GEORGE GALAZA, WARDEN, et al., Respondent. KAMALA D. HARRIS Attorney General of California – IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA ( Relevant Sections – 3. Ballistics evidence.8 a. Bullets 9 b. Second revolver11 c. The ballistics evidence allegations do not show actual innocence 15)

      SIRHAN v. GALAZA Case No. CV 00-05686 BRO (AJWx).BEVERLY REID O’CONNELL, District Judge. United States District Court, C.D. California.
      Signed January 5, 2015.

      As to your belief that Sirhan was a hypnotized patsy – McCowan disproves this. Please read my article on John McAdams website “The Kennedy Assassination The JFK and RFK Assassinations and the “Manchurian Candidate” Theory”. – and – Washington Decoded’s – “Still Guilty After All These Years – Sirhan Sirhan” – and to show you how conspiracy theorists really work – “Mark Lane – Original Shyster” on the same website.

    • Rose Mangan says:

      The courts have NOT considered Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10. You are not only mistaken, but you allow your ignorance to show when you declared that I am”… NOT a ballistics expert but have posited an unscientific theory that the bullets are switched.”
      The fact is I have never said that I am a ballistics expert. And I stand by my charge that the bullets (Peo. 47 and Peo. 52) were IN FACT switched in both the 1968 comparison photograph and in the eximaners’ 1975 photograph and Report.
      Clearly you do not know what you are talking about when you call my Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10 Report a theory.
      The 1975 examiners themselves reported substituted bullets.
      I would very much like ballistics expert Larry Sturdivan to please take the time from his busy schedule to read my ballistics Reports. He is eminently qualified and I do believe him to be honest .
      Your response demonstrates that you simply do not know what Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10 mean – but you resort to insulting me.
      Again, if you read this, Larry Sturdivan, please take the time from your busy schedule to telephone me and I will tell you which of my Reports to examine.
      Your evaluation would very much be appreciated.
      Rose Lynn Mangan

    • Mel Ayton says:

      If you are not a ballistics expert why do you pretend otherwise? If the courts have not considered Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10 then how do you explain this omission in defense lawyer William Pepper’s brief to the courts?

      LAPD made numerous errors during its investigation and my job is not to defend its mistakes which is why I am allowing readers to learn how the courts have explained the mistakes about the ballistics evidence.

      Dan Moldea has also covered this issue in his book on pages 157-158, and in a footnote on 175, and on 176.

      As a friend and apologist for RFK’s assassin, what is your opinion of this letter written by Sirhan?

      Below is the undated letter from Sirhan Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Senator Robert Kennedy, to his attorney, Grant Cooper, regarding Robert Blair Kaiser, aka “R.B.K.,” an investigator on Sirhan’s defense team who studied for the priesthood and wrote the important 1970 book, “R.F.K. Must Die!”: A history of the Robert Kennedy assassination and its aftermath (Dutton).

      The letter reads:

      Hey Punk

      Tell your friend Robert Kaiser to keep mouthing off about me like he has been doing on radio and television. If he gets his brains splattered he will have asked for it like Bobby Kennedy did. Kennedy didn’t scare me; don’t think that you or Kaiser will: neither of you is beyond my reach. [A]nd if you don’t believe me–just tell your ex-monk to show up on the news media again–I dare him.

      R.B.K. must shut his trap, or die.

      Dan Moldea tells me you have an even more incriminating letter Sirhan wrote in your possession. Are you going to engage in full disclosure and release that second letter?

    • Rose Mangan says:

      Mel Ayton,
      I have never given the impression that I am a ballistics expert. In fact, I have always been truthful, I am a homegrown researcher – a housewife.
      The fact of the matter is I am not charging anyone with making ballistics errors. I am talking about the knowing falsification of the ballistics evidence. Period.
      And as for my having possession of a damaging letter from Sirhan. That was true and I did make it available on my web site for all to see.
      Sirhan still has much to answer for. What makes you think I should answer for him?
      And I always ask since when is it a sin to ask questions?
      Do you know what I think about your unwarranted attacks on me? I think you must have an agenda which has blinded you. And you owe me an apology for trying to insult and belittle me when in fact you don’t know the facts.
      I wish you were man enough to respond to Special Exhibit 10 and Special Hearing Exhibit 10 and not wrongly attack the messenger.
      Rose Lynn Mangan

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Did you or did you not work with William Pepper and provided him with your purported evidence that the bullets had been switched?

      I ask you, therefore – why do you say Pepper ignored this evidence? Of course he didn’t. Please read again – SIRHAN v. GALAZA Case No. CV 00-05686 BRO (AJWx).BEVERLY REID O’CONNELL, District Judge. United States District Court, C.D. California.Signed January 5, 2015.

    • Rose Mangan says:

      I would like to first address my letter to Moldea’s publisher. You will note I asked Dan for a written copy of McCowan’s quote. I did not receive that. Instead Mr. Moldea telephoned me that he received a letter from Mike McCowan (confirming the quote).
      But I did not request a telephonic verification – I made it quite clear – I wanted a copy , and as I recall, I asked for a notarised copy of McCowan’s confirmation letter.
      As a matter of fact, my letter to Dan’s publisher made my position very clear. Dan well knew he did not comply with my request (a notorised copy of McCowan’s letter).
      Certainly that was a most unfortunate business, still, Dan’s telephoning me was after all – still another hearsay quote and not a notarised letter from the author of that hearsay quote.
      I did not invite that ugly business, my concern was over a hearsay quote. Then too, Dan sent me a fax in which he agreed to remove that quote from his book. Does another hearsay quote suffice ? (a telephone call as opposed to my request for a written statement from McCowan).
      As to the court not addressing Special Exhibit 10/Special Hearing Exhibit 10. I repeat, the court did NOT address the Special Exhibit 10/Special Hearing Exhibit 10 matter.
      About your demeaning expressions toward me – I do not apologize for being a housewife/researcher. And I try to think out of the box.
      Rose Lynn Mangan

    • Mel Ayton says:

      The responsibility for putting forward your ‘switching theory’ lies with your friend William Pepper.

      Insults? Try this attack on me – “I think you must have an agenda which has blinded you…”

      Why do I suggest you are a conspiracy theorist? Because you, like O’Sullivan, posited a theory without any real evidence – “But I suspect when the hired Ace Security Guard man, Thane Eugene Cesar dropped to the floor – there was another rent-a-uniform killer, who did the actual professional killing..”

    • Mel Ayton says:

      As you know full well, your attacks on Dan Moldea were most certainly unwarranted. Please read “Dan E. Moldea: On the continuing false charges by Rose Lynn Mangan, “Sirhan’s researcher” January 7, 2007″

      I expect yo will apologise to Mr Moldea.

    • Comments editor says:

      Sir: your discourteous, dismissive, and accusatory tone does not comport with the standards of expression required on this site.

      Please behave in a more civilized manner.

    • Mel Ayton says:

      “you allow your ignorance to show” is NOT discourteous? Please refrain from showing such incredible bias – you are ‘journalists’!

    • Mel Ayton says:

      “…you allow your ignorance to show” is NOT discourteous? Please refrain from showing bias in your selection of what is – and what is not – discourteous.

  8. Deaf Guy says:

    Nothing new here. The Kennedy brothers were hated by the powers-that-be. John Kennedy was not even supposed to be President – they all thought it was going to be Dick Nixon, who most probably would have sent in the military during the Bay of Pigs, causing WWIII or the end of the world. John Kennedy showed restraint, refusing to send in the military. This was the trigger that caused a huge scare among the government, and the “final straw” was when he refused, once again, to use military force during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After getting rid of him, these same powers-that-be knew Bob Kennedy had to be kept from being elected in 1968. And it was a November and June redux – Krazy Kids with guns killing our “beloved” Kennedys – five years apart.

  9. Bob Dinitto says:

    The conspiracy theory doesn’t diminish the fact Sirhan Sirhan walked into a room full of innocent people and started shooting. He belongs in prison.

  10. Rose Mangan says:

    I respectfully wish to comment on Mel Ayton’s statement that he too has investigated Special Unit Documents.
    May I have your answer to the fact that LAPD criminalist DeWayne Wolfer examined and compared both the Kennedy neck bullet (Peo. 47) and the Goldstein bullet (Peo. 52) – this photomicrograph is known as Special Exhibit 10 – and these bullets were in fact switched bullets.
    I ask that you please be specific in your response. How does one justify such action? How does one give an adequate explanation?
    Of course there are many more ballistics problems, but to keep it manageable I have selected Special Exhibit 10 for your special response.
    Thank you,
    Rose Lynn Mangan

    • Tom O'Neill says:

      I’d like to hear Mel Ayton’s response to Ms. Mangan’s question. Will keep checking back for it…

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Hi Tom,
      While I await Lynn Mangan’s reply you can look at these court documents – I can’t provide website links on this site but if you google my name and go to my website you’ll find SIRHAN BISHARA SIRHAN, Petitioner, v. GEORGE GALAZA, WARDEN, et al., Respondent. KAMALA D. HARRIS Attorney General of California – IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA ( Relevant Sections – 3. Ballistics evidence.8 a. Bullets 9 b. Second revolver11 c. The ballistics evidence allegations do not show actual innocence 15)

      The second court document can be found by googling
      SIRHAN v. GALAZA Case No. CV 00-05686 BRO (AJWx).BEVERLY REID O’CONNELL, District Judge. United States District Court, C.D. California.
      Signed January 5, 2015.

    • Mel Ayton says:

      As usual – and following the modus operandi of all conspiracy theorists – you misdirect the discussion without addressing issues that have been presented. You know I can address the issues you raise.

      First, ask O’Sullivan why he did not include in his article the work by acoustics experts J.P. French Associates and the work of one of America’s most famous ballistics experts, Larry Sturdivan (RFK’s wounds). His report is on the news page on my website
      .
      Secondly, address the issue of how Sirhan told his defense investigator Michael McCowan that he did not shoot RFK between the eyes because the Senator turned his head at the last second (I have a copy of McCowan’s original notes) This issue puts the lie to Sirhan’s claim that he did not remember shooting RFK. It also debunks conspiracists favorite ploy that Sirhan was a hypnotized assassin programmed to forget.

    • Shane O'Sullivan says:

      That Ayton’s case rests on a hearsay quote from a man convicted of mail fraud and giving kickbacks for a security contract speaks volumes. Sirhan flatly denies it, Robert Kaiser didn’t believe it and Lynn Mangan has documented how unethical it was of Dan Moldea to ever publish it.

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Hearsay? You know full well that issue has been dealt with. Go to Dan Moldea’s website and read – “Dan E. Moldea: On the continuing false charges by Rose Lynn Mangan, ‘Sirhan’s researcher’ January 7, 2007

    • Shane O'Sullivan says:

      Hearsay, noun. The report of another person’s words by a witness, which is usually disallowed as evidence in a court of law. Synonyms: rumour, gossip, tittle-tattle

    • Mel Ayton says:

      You mean just like the tittle tattle you assembled to make shameful charges against former CIA agents?

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Ah, but the work by acoustics experts J.P. French Associates was included in a CNN article published in 2012.

      Posted at the CNN web-site, the story listed the J.P. French acoustics report authored by Dr. Philip Harrison as among several independent audio analyses all indicating a second gun had fired shots in the Robert Kennedy assassination (Google these five search words to find this article: CNN Philip Harrison York England. The article’s headline is “RFK assassination witness willing to testify for Sirhan Sirhan’s lawyers).

      Here are four paragraphs from the CNN article:

      “Audio expert Philip Van Praag told CNN that his analysis establishes the Pruszynski recording as authentic and the 13 sounds [he] electronically detected on the tape as gunshots . . . other audio experts [also] have reported finding more than eight gunshots in Stanislaw Pruszynski’s recording.

      In 2005, Spence Whitehead of Atlanta told CNN that he had located ‘at least 9, possibly 11 shot sounds’ captured by Pruszynski’s audiotape of the Kennedy shooting.

      A 2007 Investigation Discovery Channel television documentary reported that Wes Dooley and Paul Pegas of Pasadena, California, along with their colleague Eddy B. Brixen of Copenhagen, Denmark, had located ‘at least ten’ shots in Pruszynski’s recording of the kitchen pantry gunfire.

      Also appearing in the TV program was Philip Harrison of York, England. In a published analysis, Harrison described locating within the Pruszynski tape more than ten ‘impulse sounds’ occurring inside the pantry: seven that he attributed to gunshots, three that he considered candidates for an eighth shot and several other impulse sounds that he said he could not identify.’”

  11. Joyous John says:

    In my opinion, this all relates back to the 1963 killing of JFK. Robert Kennedy, when he was killed, was campaigning to be the next president in 1968. So what would be the first thing he would do if elected? He would go after the people who killed his brother. So they killed him first, using the same methods they used to kill JFK. Of course there’s alot more to the story, but the info is available. By the way, Moldea’s book is a letdown, but still worth reading to get the various facts as they were related by the author.

  12. artemis6 says:

    Wow. There is SO much evidence for his release…. why? Might he remember or accidentally reveal something incriminating to someone else? What is the big deal? Why jump through so many hoops to prevent his release? 50 years is not long enough to feel safe ? There must be some other reason to keep him locked up, because this does not make any sense.

  13. Mel Ayton says:

    I, too, have investigated the Special Unit Senator documents and there are no ‘smoking guns’ within the files that would indicate either more than 8 shots fired or the presence of a second shooter.

    Acoustics experts in the UK (Philip Harrison and Peter French of J.P. French Associates) have examined the Pruszynski tape and have concluded no more than 8 shots fired. It should be noted these experts are ACOUSTICS scientists – the named ‘expert’, Van Praag, is an audio engineer – they are totally different areas of science. Evidence supplied by electronic engineers (in this case Phil Van Praag) is ALWAYS topped by ACOUSTICS Research – a fact that is always missing when stories about the Pruszynski tape are publicized. (Note: Contrary to the claims of conspiracists, nothing is lost when digitized material is copied)

    Additionally, earwitness testimony had never established a scenario in which 13 shots had been possible. FBI files show that the majority of Ambassador Hotel pantry witnesses never heard such a large number of shots fired. The FBI files, furthermore, show that no one who had been in the pantry when Robert Kennedy was shot told the FBI or LAPD that 13 shots had been fired. Only one witness gave this number but she never said this at the time she made her original statement in 1968. In 1992 Nina Rhodes told conspiracy authors that she heard from 10-14 shots.

    It is also clear from eyewitness testimony that, incredibly, no one saw this purported ‘second shooter’. The pantry was small and the positioning of the people around RFK was well established by the investigations. Therefore, O’Sullivan’s claim that Sirhan did not shoot the fatal RFK bullet, which was fired at point blank range, leaves only one suspect for the second gun – Thane Cesar who was positioned behind the Senator. RFK assassination expert, Dan Moldea, has established Cesar was telling the truth.

    One of the enduring myths of the RFK assassination, repeated endlessly by conspiracy writers and documentary makers alike, is the allegation that Sirhan was never less than 3 feet away from the Senator thus the assassin was unable to fire the point blank fatal shot to RFK’s head. Conspiracists are clearly in error as the ‘Kensalt’ files prove. (Kensalt was the codename for the FBI investigation.)

    Many of the 12 eyewitnesses who were close to RFK when he was shot stated that Sirhan was anywhere from 3 to 12 feet away from RFK. However, Dan Moldea established the majority of the 12 witnesses gave estimates of muzzle distance based only on the first shot and did not see Sirhan lunging at the Senator.

    Witness Vincent DiPierro clearly saw this happen as he has often stated. “It would be impossible for there to be a second gun,” Di Pierro told reporter Ron Kessler in 1974, “I saw the first shot. Kennedy fell at my feet. His blood splattered on me. I had a clear view of Kennedy and Sirhan.” DiPierro also stated, “…Sirhan… was three feet away but the muzzle of the gun (in his outstretched arm) couldn’t be more than 3 to 5 inches away from his head.” According to DiPierro, Sirhan managed to stretch his arm around Karl Uecker who was escorting Kennedy through the pantry. Uecker was facing away from RFK when Sirhan reached around him to place the gun at RFK’s head.

    This is supported by other witness statements, particularly those of Boris Yaro and Juan Romero who had been very close to RFK during the shooting. Boris Yaro stated RFK was shot at ‘point blank range.’ Romero, who had been shaking hands with RFK when the shots rang out initially said the gun was a ‘yard away’ but in a 2003 LA Times interview he said, “(Sirhan) put out his hand to the Senator’s head. . . . Then I see the guy put a bullet in the senator’s head.…”

    The statements of Yaro, Romero and DiPierro are supported by the wife of writer George Plimpton. Freddy Plimpton “….saw an arm go up towards Senator Kennedy’s head, but did not see a gun, heard shots and it was obvious to her that Senator Kennedy had been shot….She saw Sirhan very clearly. She saw his arm up toward Senator Kennedy’s head ….”

    Sirhan also lied about not remembering the shooting. During the 1969 trial, his defence investigator, Michael McCowan, asked Sirhan why he did not shoot RFK between the eyes Sirhan said RFK, ‘turned his head at the last second’.

    The editors of ‘Who,What, Why’ should have investigated Shane O’Sullivan’s background before they published. O’Sullivan appeared with me on the BBC’s Newsnight and admitted he had wrongly named former CIA agents as RFK’s killers. This totally discredited the filmmaker in the eyes of many.

    The editors should also have investigated the psychologist cited by O’Sullivan . In a 2007 trial, Daniel Brown had made “numerous misrepresentations” regarding the hypothesis of “repressed memory” or “dissociative amnesia”. Among other things Brown had misused “studies addressing the ‘accuracy’ of recovered memories to provide an error rate for the hypothesis of dissociative amnesia or repressed memory.” (If the editors of this website allow, I can provide ALL sources for these claims)

    In the interest of balance I urge the editors and readers to access RFK assassination expert Dan Moldea’s website (the editors can supply it if they want to) and my own – google search my name – instead of relying solely on books written by conspiracy theorists like O’Sullivan.

    Mel Ayton

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Hmmmm. Mr. Ayton, your remarks here about Mr. Harrison’s acoustical findings do not seem to present an honest or full picture of his actual report on the Pruszynski recording, as your comments appear to neglect some key information about the Harrison report’s results that I am seeing in an article. The article, by the way, also seems to shed more light on this woman Nina Rhodes than you seemed willing to share in your previous posting here (to locate this article, Google the paragraphs below I’ve quoted from it):

      “A 2007 Investigation Discovery Channel television documentary reported that Wes Dooley and Paul Pegas of Pasadena, California, along with their colleague Eddy B. Brixen of Copenhagen, Denmark, had located ‘at least ten’ shots in Pruszynski’s recording of the kitchen pantry gunfire.

      Also appearing in the TV program was Philip Harrison of York, England. In a published analysis, Harrison described locating within the Pruszynski tape more than ten ‘impulse sounds’ occurring inside the pantry: seven that he attributed to gunshots, three that he considered candidates for an eighth shot and several other impulse sounds that he said he could not identify.”

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Here’s Harrison’s full report – ANALYSIS OF THE PRUSZYNSKI TAPE BY ACOUSTICS EXPERT PHILIP HARRISON (JUNE 2006)

      Philip Harrison is a full-time consultant and director for J. P. French Associates, the United Kingdom’s longest established independent forensic speech and acoustics laboratory. The company prepares reports for the defense and prosecution in criminal cases on speaker identification, transcription, authentication and enhancement of recordings, acoustic investigation, and other related areas, including the analysis of recorded gun shots, and is regularly involved in some of the most important and high profile cases in the United Kingdom and around the world. Philip has worked on over eight hundred such cases. He has been involved in undertaking analysis in cases such as the United Kingdom’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” fraud, the United Nations’ prosecution of war criminals in the former Yugoslavia, the conviction of the Yorkshire Ripper Hoaxer John Humble, the shooting of Police Constable Ian Broadhurst on Boxing Day 2003, and the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. He holds a first-class honors degree (bachelor of engineering) in acoustic engineering from the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton, and a master of arts with distinction in phonetics and phonology from the Department of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York. He is an elected member of the Institute of Acoustics (MIOA) and the International Association of Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics. He is also involved in research in forensic speech analysis, the subject of his growing body of publications.

      (Author’s note: In 2006 the present author obtained a previously unreported tape recording of the gunshots in the pantry from the California State Archives. The recording was made by Stus Pruszynski, a journalist. Pruszynski informed the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) that he was in the pantry at the time of the assassination. He claimed his cassette recorder was running all through the shooting. It is the only recording in existence that was taken in the pantry, and it is a record of all the shots fired from beginning to end.)

      I have listened to and analyzed the CD copy of the Pruszynski recording within specialized audio analysis software. In doing so I have discussed my findings and conclusions with a colleague, Professor Peter French, who is in agreement with my interpretations. My comments and conclusions are as follows:

      There are seven impulse sounds with very similar characteristics both in terms of how they sound and their appearance within spectrograms (displays showing sound energy across frequency over time). If these sounds were considered in isolation outside of the context of the recording it would not be possible to conclude with any certainty that they are the sounds of a .22-caliber revolver being fired. However, taking into account the events of the early hours of June 5, 1968, and considering the entirety of the recording and the characteristics of the seven sounds, it is fair to conclude that these are the sounds of Sirhan’s gun being fired.

      It is generally accepted that Sirhan’s gun held eight bullets and that all eight of them were fired. This leaves the sound of an eighth shot unaccounted for. Assuming that the shot was fired and since the sound cannot be readily identified it must be masked to some extent by other sounds. There are three candidate locations for this shot; the first is between the shots marked 6 and 7, and is simultaneous with some unclear speech. If this were the location then the regular spacing of the shots would hold across all eight. There is a vertical bar visible within the spectrogram that is indicative of an impulse sound but the characteristic higher frequency features of the other seven shots cannot be seen and there is no auditory similarity. The second is 0.19 seconds after shot 7. Again, there is a vertical bar in the spectrogram but the higher frequency content is different and the auditory quality is not consistent with the shots. Also, it would require the trigger to be pulled in a very short space of time following shot 7. The third and final candidate is simultaneous with the scream that follows the shots. The potential location is not clear as there are the vestiges of several vertical bars and higher frequency areas that could be considered consistent with those of the other seven shots. However, the level of the scream is too high to allow any definitive conclusions to be reached.

      There are several other impulse sounds surrounding the shots and many others across the thirty-five minutes of recording. Determining the actual source of these sounds is not viable as the quality of the recording is not adequate and there are no reference sounds with which to compare them. It is, however, possible to state that there is no evidence to support the claim that there are shots from a .38-caliber gun in the recording. There is no trace of a sound that has the characteristics of such an acoustic event.

      The sounds preceding the shots do not bear any resemblance to a .38 shot or the other seven .22 shots. It is not possible to determine their source but this is not necessary as the important question is whether another gun was fired, not what is the source of all sounds in the recording.

      Another point that has been raised is the sound that occurs 0.14 seconds after the third shot. This is again an impulse sound as there is a vertical bar within the spectrogram, but the remaining structure and auditory quality is different from that of the seven shots. The impulse is simultaneous with speech apparently from a woman saying the words “come here.” The impulse is roughly contemporaneous with the /k/ of “come” but the level of energy here is greater than one might associate with the audible release of this plosive consonant. Whilst one cannot arrive at a definitive interpretation of what this sound is, one can state categorically what it is not, namely, the sound of a .38 revolver being fired in the room. The acoustic signature bears no resemblance whatsoever to that. Suggestions have been made that it could be either an echo from the previous shot or the bullet from the previous shot striking a solid object within the ceiling. If it were an echo, one would expect to find echoes of the other shots within the recording and one does not. Also, given the timing between the impulses and assuming a speed of sound of 340 meters per second, the sound-reflecting surface creating the echo would have to be over twenty-three meters away. The impulse could be the sound of the bullet striking something within the ceiling, but the amplitude and timing of the impulse relative to the gunshot cause me to doubt this interpretation.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Yes, thank you for posting that, Mr. Ayton. Please see my new reply just a bit higher up the page, somewhat nearer to the top of this comments section.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Readers, note: Several days after Mel Ayton posted the above comments featuring a brief reference to an audio analysis conducted by U.K. audio expert Philip Harrison, Mr. Ayton was kind enough to reveal what Mr. Harrison actually believes.

      In this same WhoWhatWhy comments section, Mr. Ayton posted that Mr. Harrison actually believes there are “more than 8 wideband impulse sounds” in the Stanislaw Pruszynski audiotape recording of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen pantry. Keep in mind that the single gun held at the time by pantry shooter Sirhan Sirhan – the only person arrested and convicted in this case – could discharge no more than eight bullets at a time and he had no opportunity to reload it at the crime scene.

      It was in a 23 February 2016 reply-post to me that Mr. Ayton kindly quoted Mr. Harrison as writing the following to U.S. audio expert Wes Dooley concerning the Pruszynski recording: “effectively we’re in agreement that there are more than 8 wideband impulses.”

      Now, by the time this Ayton-quoted Harrison statement would have been made to Mr. Dooley, both Mr. Harrison and Mr. Dooley would have just conducted their own separate examinations of the Pruszynski recording, the only known audio recording of that 5 June 1968 shooting that killed Senator Kennedy and wounded five other persons.

      Mr. Ayton’s posting of this information, here in this very comments section, does indeed appear to be the first time he has ever publicly revealed Mr. Harrison’s more-than-eight-wideband-impulses statement in the decade since the U.K. author published Mr. Harrison’s 2006 Pruszynski recording acoustics report as Appendix B in the 2007 Ayton book, “The Forgotten Terrorist”.

      All three gentlemen – Mr. Harrison, Mr. Dooley and Mr. Ayton – eventually appeared in a documentary about the Pruszynski recording that premiered on the U.S. television network “Investigation Discovery” in 2007 (to view video of the entire documentary, go to the YouTube web-site and enter these four search words: Discovery Times Channel Pruszynski).

      In 2012, both Mr. Harrison’s and Mr. Dooley’s separate Pruszynski recording analyses were reported in a CNN online article, along with the Pruszynski analyses that others had conducted by that time. Below are excerpts from the CNN web-site article (to read the entire article, Google these six search words: CNN Pruszynski Philip Harrison York England):

      “Audio expert Philip Van Praag told CNN that his analysis establishes the Pruszynski recording as authentic and the 13 sounds [he] electronically detected on the tape as gunshots . . . other audio experts [also] have reported finding more than eight gunshots in Stanislaw Pruszynski’s recording.

      In 2005, Spence Whitehead of Atlanta told CNN that he had located ‘at least 9, possibly 11 shot sounds’ captured by Pruszynski’s audiotape of the Kennedy shooting.

      A 2007 Investigation Discovery Channel television documentary reported that Wes Dooley and Paul Pegas of Pasadena, California, along with their colleague Eddy B. Brixen of Copenhagen, Denmark, had located ‘at least ten’ shots in Pruszynski’s recording of the kitchen pantry gunfire.

      Also appearing in the TV program was Philip Harrison of York, England. In a published analysis, Harrison described locating within the Pruszynski tape more than ten ‘impulse sounds’ occurring inside the pantry: seven that he attributed to gunshots, three that he considered candidates for an eighth shot and several other impulse sounds that he said he could not identify.”

      Here now is what Mr. Ayton posted in this same comments section on 23 February – describing it to WhoWhatWhy readers as excerpts from written communications some years ago between Mr. Dooley and Mr. Harrison:

      Wes Dooley: “What Eddy Brixen did in Denmark, and Paul and I did here in Pasadena, was to look for wideband impulses. We looked at spectral plots such as you might find in voice ID work. Eddy overlaid a number of band limited amplitude plots and looked for the correlations that indicate sudden impulse noise . . . neither of us could with any absolute precision tell you how many shots were fired. However, we both agreed that we saw and perceived more than eight points that looked likely. This level of correlation is enough that we felt it would be worth the effort of people with better tools in the future to revisit the project.”

      Philip Harrison: “. . . effectively we’re in agreement that there are more than 8 wideband impulses but . . . it is dangerous to assume that they are all shots.”
      It was very generous of Mr. Ayton to provide us with these Dooley-Harrison excerpts, so as to give us a wider context for my exchanges with him in this comments section. I thank him very much for sharing the above.

      Readers, further note: Following below is the first part of my exchanges with Mel Ayton that eventually led to his sharing with us the Harrison more-than-eight-wideband-impulses statement above. The second part of our exchanges can be found in another string of postings elsewhere in this same comments section.

  14. Rose Mangan says:

    For decades I have examined the SUS Reports. court records and actual bullets themselves and it is my very strong opinion that an investigation is fully warranted. I fully support the efforts of Paul Schrade and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to call for a full investigation.
    There were at least two guns firing in the pantry that night, let us have an investigation. Enough of years of secrecy.
    Good luck Paul, if anybody can get answers I believe it is you
    Rose Lynn Mangan

  15. FiuToYou says:

    It’s a fact that RFK was shot from behind. So that means two shooters. Let’s face facts. Somebody in the government or close to it wanted the Kennedys killed and they did it and got away with it.

  16. Clark says:

    There’s that word again. “Conspiracists”. Only bought experts are experts, especially if you question the official version.

    This expert business……… suddenly gives only one person or individual the right documentation the last word.
    I grew up in wilderness area and as a child became highly expert in juxtaposing and distinguishing noises from wilderness animals and especially rifle shots made at a distance by hunters or poachers. And this without a bit of formal training.

    As that child, I would have been considered correct 99% of the time and remember grandfather commenting, I had a real ear for sound and sources. I doubt in a lifetime, I would have considered myself expert or anyone else considered me expert, nevertheless, I always sourced the sound and distance and a couple of occasions the caliber.

    To find Mr. Sirhan innocent now would make Mr. Robert Kennedy’s murder unresolved and mean also his killer at large. Mmost of the simpletons who take our American media as the last word would upend their world and put at risk possibility of assigning blame to individuals that would prefer their names left unmentioned: especially in the FBI and Secret Service that had a hand in both Kennedy brothers’ murders.

    So, certain critics are often more Shills than rational voices for justice, because careers would be at stake should even a mention be made of the right person(s), or a question mark exist about them.

    Hence, Mystery Babylon’s fortuitous charade in innocence continues for a bit longer.

  17. Ronm1945 says:

    Idiocy doesn’t have an apostrophe.

  18. bobneil says:

    what’s with the missing apostrophe? Booo!

  19. Mel Ayton says:

    The incredible bias in this article is astounding.

    With regard to the acoustics evidence – Conspiracists do not understand the differences in the qualifications of the experts O’Sullivan quotes and the unmentioned real expert, Philip Harrison, who has studied the Pruszynski Tape. Philip Van Praag and Wes Dooleyare, essentially, audio engineers, Harrison is a professional acoustics expert who works for a professional acoustics firm, JP French Associates, York, England.

    I would suggest you also contact Dan Moldea whose research on this case is superb –

    • Shane O'Sullivan says:

      From Ayton’s website: “In December 2011 the California Attorney General requested Mel Ayton’s assistance in preparing a brief challenging Sirhan Sirhan’s claim that he is innocent of the 1968 murder of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The Attorney General was successful in preventing the release of the assassin.”

    • Mel Ayton says:

      I assisted the California Attorney General because Sirhan is knowingly and willfully guilty.
      Why didn’t you mention JP French Associates’ acoustics findings in your article? You could also have mentioned that Sirhan’s own defense investigator, Michael McCowan, proved Sirhan was lying when the assassin said he could not remember shooting RFK. When McCowan asked Sirhan why he did not shoot RFK between the eyes Sirhan said the Senator turned his head at the last second.

    • David Regan says:

      How woudl you explain that LA coroner Thomas Noguchi never said that Sirhan killed Kennedy?

    • David Regan says:

      LA coroner: I ‘never said that Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy’. Not a single witness ever placed Sirhan in a position to inflict wounds from behind the Senator.

    • Mel Ayton says:

      Investigative journalist Dan Moldea established the majority of the 12 shooting witnesses gave estimates of muzzle distance based only on the first shot and did not see Sirhan lunging at the Senator. Vincent DiPierro clearly saw this happen as he has often stated. “It would be impossible for there to be a second gun,” Di Pierro told reporter Ron Kessler in 1974, “I saw the first shot. Kennedy fell at my feet. His blood splattered on me. I had a clear view of Kennedy and Sirhan.”

      DiPierro also stated, “…Sirhan… was three feet away but the muzzle of the gun (in his outstretched arm) couldn’t be more than 3 to 5 inches away from his head.” According to DiPierro, Sirhan managed to stretch his arm around Karl Uecker who was escorting Kennedy through the pantry. Uecker was facing away from RFK when Sirhan reached around him to place the gun at RFK’s head. This is supported by other witness statements, particularly those of Boris Yaro and Juan Romero who had been very close to RFK during the shooting. Boris Yaro stated RFK was shot at ‘point blank range.’ Romero, who had been shaking hands with RFK when the shots rang out initially said the gun was a ‘yard away’ but in a 2003 LA Times interview he said, “(Sirhan) put out his hand to the Senator’s head. . . . Then I see the guy put a bullet in the senator’s head.…”

      The statements of Yaro, Romero and DiPierro are supported by a long overlooked statement to the FBI by the wife of writer George Plimpton. Freddy Plimpton “….saw an arm go up towards Senator Kennedy’s head, but did not see a gun, heard shots and it was obvious to her that Senator Kennedy had been shot….She saw Sirhan very clearly. She saw his arm up toward Senator Kennedy’s head ….”

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Investigative journalist Dan Moldea now dismisses second gun claims as kooky. Yet, back on 13 May 1990, Mr. Moldea declared the following in a Washington Post article he himself authored on the Robert Kennedy shooting:

      “… based upon the statements of those I interviewed, there are strong reasons to believe that more than eight bullets were fired that night. In fact, current available evidence suggests that 12 or more bullets may have been fired, which is consistent with the initial FBI report on this matter.”

      Evidence suggests 12 or more bullets, Mr. Moldea? Are you not aware that evidence of any number of shots above 8 is evidence of a second gun?

      Google these eight search words to find this Moldea article: Moldea “When Robert F. Kennedy was mortally wounded”. In your Google search, it’s important that you include those quotation marks around that phrase but not around the Moldea last name.

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Readers, note: The acoustics findings of J.P. French Associates were mentioned in a CNN online story published in 2012.

      The article, posted at the CNN web-site, listed Dr. Philip Harrison’s J.P. French acoustics report as among several independent audio analyses all indicating a second gun fired shots in the Robert Kennedy assassination (Google these five search words to find this article: CNN Philip Harrison York England. The article’s headline is “RFK assassination witness willing to testify for Sirhan Sirhan’s lawyers).

      Here are four paragraphs from the CNN article:

      “Audio expert Philip Van Praag told CNN that his analysis establishes the Pruszynski recording as authentic and the 13 sounds [he] electronically detected on the tape as gunshots . . . other audio experts [also] have reported finding more than eight gunshots in Stanislaw Pruszynski’s recording.

      In 2005, Spence Whitehead of Atlanta told CNN that he had located ‘at least 9, possibly 11 shot sounds’ captured by Pruszynski’s audiotape of the Kennedy shooting.

      A 2007 Investigation Discovery Channel television documentary reported that Wes Dooley and Paul Pegas of Pasadena, California, along with their colleague Eddy B. Brixen of Copenhagen, Denmark, had located ‘at least ten’ shots in Pruszynski’s recording of the kitchen pantry gunfire.

      Also appearing in the TV program was Philip Harrison of York, England. In a published analysis, Harrison described locating within the Pruszynski tape more than ten ‘impulse sounds’ occurring inside the pantry: seven that he attributed to gunshots, three that he considered candidates for an eighth shot and several other impulse sounds that he said he could not identify.’”

    • Joseph Frank Keaton says:

      Professional acoustics expert Philip Harrison of J.P. French Associates in York, England summarized his Pruszynski recording findings in a published report.

      Mr. Harrison’s report found within the audio recording a number of impulse sounds, 10 of which his report regarded as possible gunshots. Included among these ten possible shots, the Harrison report found two that had been fired so closely together (only 0.19 seconds separated them) that it would have required the Sirhan gun’s trigger to be pulled twice in a space of time too short for its capabilities.

      Mr. Harrison’s report substantiates the findings of Philip Van Praag and Wes Dooley who concluded that the Pruszynski recording indeed captured the sounds of at least 10 gunshots as well as at least one “double-shot” (i.e. an overlapping of two shots that could only have been created by the firing of two guns). Mr. Ayton was kind enough to post the entire Harrison report to this comments section ten days ago (on 18 February).

      So, as you may read for yourself in that Mr. Ayton posting placed elsewhere in this section, here are the essential findings appearing in Philip Harrison’s report (which you will note divided its ten possible shots into a quaint grouping of seven and three):

      “There are seven impulse sounds with very similar characteristics [and] it is fair to conclude that these are the sounds of Sirhan’s gun being fired . . . There are three candidate locations for [an eighth] shot; the first is between the shots marked 6 and 7 . . . The second is 0.19 seconds after shot 7 [requiring] the trigger to be pulled in a very short space of time following shot 7. The third and final candidate is simultaneous with the scream that follows the shots . . . There are several other impulse sounds surrounding the shots . . . Determining the actual source of these [several other] sounds is not viable.”

      Several years ago, according to a note Mr. Ayton posted in this section on 23 February, Mr. Harrison wrote the following to Mr. Dooley:

      “Effectively we’re in agreement that there are more than 8 wideband impulses [in the Pruszynski tape’s recording of the Robert Kennedy assassination].”

      But superb researcher Dan Moldea now dismisses any audio findings of a second gun as kooky. Yet, back on 13 May 1990, Mr. Moldea declared the following in a Washington Post article on the Kennedy shooting that Mr. Moldea himself had authored:

      “… based upon the statements of those I interviewed, there are strong reasons to believe that more than eight bullets were fired that night. In fact, current available evidence suggests that 12 or more bullets may have been fired, which is consistent with the initial FBI report on this matter.”

      Google these eight search words to find this Moldea article: Moldea “When Robert F. Kennedy was mortally wounded”. In your Google search, it’s important that you include those quotation marks around that phrase but not around the Moldea last name.