The Single Bullet Strikes John Connally

Conspiracy books insist that John Connally was not hit by any shot until Zapurder frame 234 or 235. This would be too late to be consistent with the Single Bullet Theory, since John Kennedy appears to be hit when he emerges from behind the Stemmons Freeway sign at Zapruder frame 225.

But a close examination of the film shows otherwise.

Frames 223/224 — Clicking on the photo at right will display an animated gif image that alternates between Zapruder frames 223 and 224. Connally's lapel flips outward at 224.
Connally's lapel flaps, perhaps in reaction to a shot at Zapruder frame 223
Frames 224/225 — Click on the image at right to see an animated gif image that alternates between frames 224 and 225. You be the judge: is Connally reacting here?
Connally shows a distinct hunching reaction between 224 and 225
Frames 225/226/228/229/230 — Note how Connally's hat -- held in his right hand -- flips up in front of his face. Frame 227 is omitted from the sequence, since it is badly blurred. The blur may well indicate that the sound of the shot had reached Zapruder, causing him to jiggle the camera.
Connally's hat and hand fly up

Itek Analysis

In 1976 the Itek Corporation, specialists in photographic analysis, looked at the issue of exactly when Connally was showing a reaction to being hit. The following is their report.
By frame 232-234 there is strong evidence that the Governor is reacting to a significant effect on his body; or from other data, to a bullet wound. He placed the time of his reaction at 234. We studied the film in this area to determine if there were any striking changes in his physical appearance which could be interpreted as the onset of a reaction. Five photo analysts studied the original film from frames 222-240. They all concluded independently that somewhere between 223-226 there are signs of the beginning of a significant change in the governor's position and appearance. Some of their comments are paraphrased below.
— As Connally first clears the obscuring sign on frame 221, his facial features are not discernable or distinct. Frames 222 and 223 show no unusual action and Connally's face and features remain frozen (normal). With frame 224, I observe a slight grimace, a minor body twist, a slight arching of the back and a rearward head motion. These reactions continue on frame 225 which includes a slight hiking up in the seat. By frame 226 Connally's head is turned forward which I judged to be a rapid reaction. Frame 227 yields no information due to the high amount of smear, but the following frames 228, 9 and 30 indicate a rapid reaction of the hand holding the Stetson which was flicked up and down quickly.

— I observe a rotation of the Governor's body from right to left beginning at frame 223. It isn't obvious that this is significant relative to the study objective, however I also observe what I would consider an involuntary and unusual motion of his right hand and arm at 225. Before 225, his hand is hidden from Zapruder's view, down below the edge of the door. At 225-226 it can be seen to travel rapidly upward until it is about level with his chin in 228. From 228-230 he flips his hat rapidly. At 229 it appears upside down in his hand with the thin edge of the brim extending toward Zapruder. By 230 the hat has flipped so that one can now see into it. This all takes place within less than 1/3 of a second so it would appear to be somewhat unusual.

— At frame #223 he is turned in the jump seat sitting well into the car. I noticed a facial expression changing between #223 and 224 to a grimacing look. His body has moved forward (toward the edge of the car) with his right shoulder twisting to his left and downward. Between frames #225 and 226 a rapid motion of the Governor's right hand begins, i.e. #225 - his hand inside of car, #226 - his Stetson hat appears over the edge of the car, #228 - the hat is up in front of his chin concealing it. At #229 and 230 he flips his hat from edge on to a view of looking at the inside of it.

Source: "John Kennedy Assassination Film Analysis" — Itek Corporation, May 2, 1976, pp. 36-39 Emphasis in original.

A Dissent

Most lone assassin theorists see John Connally's movements in these frames as showing that he was hit by a bullet at Zapruder frame 223. Many conspiracy theorists agree that Connally was hit here, but insist that Kennedy was not hit at 223. And some doubt the significance of some of these movements. For example, this article from Greg Jaynes former "Scene of the Crime" website insists that the hole in Connally's jacket is too low for an exiting bullet to have caused the lapel flap.

A Different Opinion

Traditionally, conspiracists have claimed that Connally was not hit until the Zapruder frame 234-236 range, well after Kennedy was hit. But one conspiracist has analyzed the film, and concludes that two separate shots hit Connally, and that both hit him after the head shot at Zapruder frame 313. Ron Hepler's essay "The Wounding of Governor John Connally" may tell you more about the different ways one can interpret the film than about when Connally was hit.

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