Dealey Plaza Headwound Witnesses
By David Stahl

Modified and Adapted by John McAdams


Name Vantage Point Location of Wound Reference Quotations & Remarks
James W. Altgens Grass, S. side of Elm St., to Kennedy's left front Left or right side CE 1407, 7H517-522 See comment below.
Comment: Altgens first told the FBI that the bullet struck President Kennedy on the right side of his head and that particles of flesh, blood and bones appeared to fly from the right side of Kennedy's head and "pass in front of Mrs. Kennedy" to the left of the limo. But then in Warren Commission testimony he said "There was flesh particles that flew out of the side of his head in my direction . . . so much so that it indicated to me that the shot came out of the left side of his head."

Interpretation: Altgens may have seen the right side of Kennedy's head explode, and then come to doubt his own perceptions when he inferred (wrongly) that brain matter flying toward him must indicate the left side of the head exploding. Or he may have meant that from his perspective it was the left side that exploded.

Hugh W. Betzner, Jr. Near corner, S. side of Elm Presumably top. See Remarks 19H467 Betzner saw a "flash of pink" and "fragments going up in the air" from the presidential limo.
Charles F. Brehm S. side of Elm St. Right side 22H837-838 See Comment.
Comment: Brehm stated that he saw JFK's hair fly up. From his position behind and to the left of the president, he could have clearly seen an explosion of the back of Kennedy's head, if there were such. In interview with Mark Lane, Brehm's hand motion described right side wound. See photo below.
Jack Franzen S. side of Elm Street, across from Knoll Top and side 22H840  
Mrs. Jack Franzen Near plaza, S. side of Elm St. side 24H525 Like her husband, Mrs. Franzen stated that she observed blood appearing on the side of JFK's head.
Ruby Henderson N. of Houston, E. side of Elm St.   24H524 Mrs. Henderson stated that she heard a shot and what "was probably flesh" fly out of the presidential limo.
Jean Hill S. side of Elm St. Upper right side. See remarks. 6H209 From her position to JFK's left rear, Hill testified that she saw JFK's hair "ripple up."
Harry D. Holmes 5th Floor Office, 2 blks. away Presumably top, since brain matter went "upward" 7H291 Holmes testified that he saw--through his binoculars-- "dust" burst upward into the air off of JFK's head.
Jackie Kennedy In limo with husband Top - above the forehead Theodore White, In Search of History (Warner Books, 1978), pp. 521-522. See Comments
Comment: Jackie told Theodore White (in White's words):
She remembered, as I sat paralyzed, the pink-rose ridges on the inside of the skull, and how from here on down (she made a gesture just above her forhead) "his head was so beautiful. I tried to hold the top of his head down, maybe I could keep it in . . . but I knew he was dead."
Interpretation: Clear implication is that above the forhead, Kennedy's head was a mess. Jackie was apparently trying to hold the flap of skull (seen in the Zapruder film) down to keep her husband's brains in.
William E. Newman Halfway to underpass, N. side of Elm St. Right side 22H842; 24H219; Mark Oakes video; Six Seconds in Dallas, p. 103 Said he "was looking directly at [JFK] when he was hit in the side of the head." Described the right side of Kennedy's head exploding to Josiah Thompson, saying "the ear went." In Oakes video, his hand motion showed explosion of right side of head.
Gayle Newman Halfway to underpass, N. side of Elm St. Right side 22H842; 24H219, Mark Oakes video Stated in signed FBI affidavit that she saw JFK hit in the head and blood flowing from his body. In Mark Oakes video, her hand motion describes right side of head exploded.
Mark Oakes, in an important piece of historical documentation, interviewed both Bill and Gayle Newman, and videotaped the interviews. He explicitly asked both about the location of the head wound.

At right are still frames from Oakes video. Clicking on either still will download a video clip showing the witness describing the wound. To play the clip, you will need Real Player.

Video clips on this site are of too high a resolution to "stream." Rather, they should download to your hard drive, and you can play them from there.

Cleck here to e-mail Mark Oakes and ask for information on purchasing the video, which has numerous witnessess in addition to the Newmans.

Gayle Newman showing head wound
Bill Newman showing head wound
Linda Kay Willis Near corner, S. side of Elm Told father "His whole head blew up, and it looked like a red halo." 7H498 Testified that she was about 25 feet from JFK when he received the headshot.
J. M. Head Unknown "Right side of his face" Houston Post, Nov. 23, 1963 Head said ". . . I looked at the President. It seemed like the whole right side of his face had been hit with a red paint brush."
Marlyn Sitzman Standing on pedestal near Pergola, to Kennedy's right Right side Interview with Josiah Thompson, files of AARC. Said she "could see his brains come out, you know, his head opening. . . it exploded his head, more or less." Where? "Between the eye and the ear."
Abraham Zapruder Standing on pedestal near Pergola Upper right side 7H569-576 Zapruder testifed that he, "heard a second shot and then saw [JFK's] head opened up..." Demonstrated right side of Kennedy's head exploding in interview on WFAA-TV.
Sam Holland On Triple Underpass directly above Elm Street Right side Six Seconds in Dallas, p. 105 Told Josiah Thompson the "whole right side" of Kennedy's head "including part of his face" had been blown off.
Clemon Earl Johnson On Triple Underpass directly above Elm Street Top Larry Snead, No More Silence, p. 80 "You could tell that the whole top of his head was probably missing . . . . "
Witnesses in Motorcade
Glenn Bennett Motorcade, follow up car Upper right rear 18H760 From the follow up car, Bennett testifed that he observed that "a second shot followed immediately and hit the right rear high of the President's head."
George W. Hickey, Jr. Motorcade, follow up car Upper right rear 18H761-764 "It looked to me like the President was struck in the right upper rear of his head. The last shot seemed to hit his head...which made him fall forward and to his left again."
Samuel A. Kinney Motorcade, follow up car Right side 18H731 Stated that he "saw one shot strike the President in the right side of the head."
David F. Powers Motorcade, follow up car Top of head 7H473 "...and then there was a third shot which took off the top of the President's head and had the sickening sound of a grapefruit splattering against the side of a wall."
Kenneth O'Donnell Motorcade, follow up car Side of head Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, pp. 27-28 ". . . the third shot took the side of his head off. We saw pieces of bone and brain tissue and bits of his redish hair flying through the air."
Emory P. Roberts Motorcade, follow up car Right side 18H734 "I saw what appeared to be a small explosion on the right side of the President's head...at which time he fell further to his left."
Dallas Police
Bobby W. Hargis
Motorcade cycle, inboard left rear Right side 6H294-295, Interview with Tom Bethell and Al Oser, August 7, 1968. Told Oser and Bethell "All I saw was a splash come out on the other side."
B. J. Martin Motorcade cycle, outboard left rear   6H291-292 Martin testified that his uniform, cycle, and helmet was splattered with blood and brain matter. He did not comment on which side of the head the "explosion" took place.
Douglas Jackson Motorcade cycle, outboard right rear Right top Gary Savage, JFK First Day Evidence, p. 363 Wrote: "he appeared to have been hit just above the right ear. The top of his head flew off away from me."
Sheriff William Decker Motorcade, lead car   19H458 "I looked back over my shoulder and saw what appeared to me to be a spray of water come out of the rear seat of the President's car."
Problematic Dealey Plaza Witnesses
Interestingly, none of these witnesses was telling their present story in 1963-64.
Marilyn Willis Near Houston corner, S. side of Elm Back of Kennedy's head Video The Men Who Killed Kennedy, Reel 1, The Killing of a President, p. 87, 7H496 On 6/17/64, she told the FBI that she saw the top of Kennedy's head "blow off and ringed by a red halo."
Comment: Mrs. Willis described the wound in the 1988 video "The Men Who Killed Kennedy," and placed the wound on the posterior top of the head, with brain matter blown backward. Given her position directly behind JFK near the corner of Houston and Elm, she may have been correct about the location of the wound, and mistaken about the direction of the brain matter. If so, her 1964 statement and more recent ones are perfectly consistent.
Philip L. Willis Near corner, S. side of Elm Back of Kennedy's head Video The Men Who Killed Kennedy, The Killing of a President, p. 86, 7H496 Willis told Warren Commission that he did not see the headshot because he was looking in the direction of the TSBD during the third shot. He insisted that all shots came from the Depository.
Beverly Oliver S. side of Elm, near Brehm (claimed) Back of Kennedy's head Video The Case for Conspiracy, The Killing of a President, p. 86 Her story has massive credibility problems, and many researchers doubt that she was even in Dealey Plaza
Ed Hoffman On Stemmons, above entrance ramp from Elm Street. Varied Video The Case for Conspiracy, The Killing of a President, p. 87, Video Beyond JFK In Groden's video The Case for Conspiracy he insists the back of Kennedy's head was blown out, yet only a year earlier in Beyond JFK he showed the wound on the top of JFK's head. Doubtful he could see head wound with Jackie and Clint Hill draped over President.

Charles Brehm in Dealey Plaza

Charles Brehm, in Dealey Plaza shortly after the shooting, may be describing the head wound with the movement of this right hand. In a filmed interview with Mark Lane, an identical movement was used to describe the instant of the head shot. Note James Tague at far right.

Revised 8/10/01