(PART 564)


He [Joe O'Donnell] said he'd removed 10 feet from the original Zapruder film after screening it for her [Jackie Kennedy] at the White House. It's not that he was lying, I'm sure. His memory was the liar.


Oh, come now, Jean. If Joe O'Donnell wasn't "lying" through his teeth when he claimed to have removed/edited a large portion of Abraham Zapruder's original home movie (supposedly on "orders" from Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy herself), then what would you call it?

I'm afraid "faulty memory" doesn't cut it when talking about Joe O'Donnell and several of his nutty claims, including his hilarious assertion that he HIMSELF edited the Zapruder Film.

BTW, Vincent Bugliosi, in his book "Reclaiming History", has written a chunk of LOL-inducing text dealing with Mr. O'Donnell's crazy claims. Here it is:

"In addition to the aluminum probe story, Joe O’Donnell told the ARRB that [Robert] Knudsen showed him approximately 5 x 7 inch, black-and-white photographs taken at Kennedy’s autopsy, including some that showed a grapefruit-size hole in the back of the head, and a 3⁄8-inch hole in the president’s forehead, above the right eye.

A few days later, per O’Donnell, Knudsen reportedly showed him a second set of black-and-white prints—this time the back of the president’s head was intact and the hole above the right eye was gone! (ARRB MD 231, Call Report, Telephone Interview of Joe O’Donnell, on January 29, 1997, p.1)

Although critics have been quick to embrace O’Donnell’s claims (e.g., David W. Mantik, “Paradoxes of the JFK Assassination: The Medical Evidence Decoded,” in Fetzer, Murder in Dealey Plaza, p.245), O’Donnell is hardly a credible witness.

In addition to his tale about two sets of autopsy photographs, O’Donnell claimed to have been at Andrews Air Force Base when the president’s body arrived, DEMANDED to speak to Mrs. Kennedy (how likely is this?), and after being granted permission, told her (as she sat in the navy ambulance with the casket) that he had photographed the president at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day and heard him remark, “I could live up here forever.”

Mrs. Kennedy reportedly said, “Then that is where we will put him.” (This is, of course, utter nonsense. Television videotapes show Mrs. Kennedy entering the navy ambulance and its subsequent departure, all without a hint of the presence of O’Donnell. More importantly, by all other accounts, Mrs. Kennedy’s decision to bury the president at Arlington was made on the flight back from Dallas.)

As if that wasn’t enough to send most sensible people running, O’Donnell also claims he showed Mrs. Kennedy the graphic Zapruder film of her husband’s murder within a few weeks of the assassination. O’Donnell told the ARRB that no one was present at the screening except him and Mrs. Kennedy and that after seeing the head shot sequence, she told him, “I don’t ever want to see that again,” which O’Donnell took as an “order to alter the film” and remove the head shot sequence. O’Donnell stated he knew it was wrong but he subsequently removed ten feet of the film.

O’Donnell said he was sure he had projected and altered the original Zapruder film and that it was in a 16-millimeter format. (The original Zapruder film is in 8-millimeter format and the entire shooting sequence occupies just 4-and-one-third feet of film.)

O’Donnell also claimed that Mrs. Kennedy told him that she scrambled over the trunk of the limousine to retrieve a part of the president’s head. In fact, Mrs. Kennedy testified that she doesn’t remember crawling on the trunk, nor does she recall Secret Service agent Clint Hill coming to her aid. (ARRB MD 231, Call Report, Telephone Interview of Joe O’Donnell, February 28, 1997, pp.2–3;
5 H 180, WCT Mrs. John F. Kennedy)."
-- Vincent T. Bugliosi; Pages 271 and 272 of Endnotes in "Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy"

David Von Pein
May 30, 2009