Dr. Burkley and The Bullet

October 8, 2017

Dr. George Burkley was the personal physician for President John F. Kennedy, and attended his autopsy after Kennedy’s assassination. I wrote about Burkley as part of the article “My Interviews With David Slawson Of The Warren Commission”, back in June 2015. Slawson and I wrangled over the fact that Dr. Burkley claimed to have evidence that there was more than one assassin shooting at Kennedy, and the fact that I had spoken to a family member of Burkley who revealed some very interesting information about the case. Here is the link to the Slawson interviews:


Dr. Burkley it seems, had a very important piece of evidence from the assassination that was stolen from him on a plane flight to Denver. At the time, I speculated that the evidence was most likely concerning the autopsy conclusions which Burkley did not agree with, or possibly a bullet. Here is an excerpt of a transcript from October 1967:


“McHUGH: I see. Do your conclusions differ at all with the Warren report of the circumstances or cause of death?

BURKLEY: My conclusion in regard to the cause of death was the bullet wound which involved the skull. The discussion as to whether a previous bullet also enters into it, but as far as the cause of death the immediate cause was unquestionably the bullet which shattered the brain and the calvariurm.

McHUGH: I see. The brain and the what?

BURKLEY: And the skull, calvarium.

MCHUGH: I see. Do you agree with the Warren Report on the number of bullets that entered the President’s body?

BURKLEY: I would not care to be quoted on that.


Burkley placed the gunshot wound in Kennedy’s back at the third thoracic vertabra, near the shoulder. The Warren Commission, specifically Gerald Ford moved the wound to the sixth cervical vertebra, which is on the neck. Ford did this to make the wound compatible with “The single bullet theory” that allegedly accounts for multiple wounds in both Kennedy and governor Connolly. See “Gerald Ford’s Big Kennedy Assassination Lie”:


As it turns out, I may have been correct about Burkley having information about a bullet that was never acknowledged by The Warren Commission. There is a possibility that the bullet or materials relating to it may have been the evidence of conspiracy that was stolen from Burkley in transit between airports.

An excellent article in Who.What.Why By Milicent Cranor describes just such a bullet, and Dr. Burkley’s involvement:

Navy Doctor: Bullet Found in JFK’s Limousine, and Never Reported



“Today, a majority of Americans assume the government lied about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. New evidence seems to prove they are right.

This is the story of a bullet — a spent, misshapen, but otherwise intact, bullet — that James Young, a Navy doctor, said was found late at night, on the floor, in the back of Kennedy’s limousine. He inspected it himself.

The bullet was found by two chief petty officers who, during the autopsy, were sent to retrieve any skull fragments they could find in the limousine. They came back with three pieces of bone, and the bullet. The skull fragments were reported — but not the bullet.”

“Recently, Dr. Randy Robertson, a board member of the Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) came upon Young’s papers at a Navy website. This was an exciting discovery.”

“Letter From James Young to Gerald Ford (Excerpted)

Dear President Ford,

I was active-duty Navy and assigned to the White House as White House Physician in 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated…

Knowing that you were on the Warren Commission at that time, I am writing to you confidentially, to see if you have any knowledge about an issue which has puzzled me for years…

My particular problem is a description of what occurred at the autopsy. During the autopsy examination, Dr. Jim Humes, then the Chief of Pathology at Bethesda Naval Hospital, and two other pathologists stated that some pieces of President Kennedy’s skull bones were missing. In order to reconstruct the President’s head for burial, Dr. Humes wanted to find those pieces which were missing. Dr. Burkley and I requested two of our corpsmen who were assigned to our White House medical unit, to go to the Executive Office Building where the Secret Service had placed the “Queen Mary,” the open convertible in which President Kennedy had been shot, for bone fragments.

Two of the corpsmen left and returned sometime later with three varying sized pieces of President Kennedy’s skull bones. In addition, they brought back in an envelope a spent misshapen bullet which they had found on the back floor of the “Queen Mary” where they had found the pieces of skull bones. The bullet and pieces of skull were given to Dr. Jim Humes.

I have never seen anything written about that spent bullet in the Warren Report or elsewhere. Do you recall any testimony or comments which would clarify my concerns?

Please go to the link above for Gerald Ford’s reply and more details abut how this information was found.

So we can now say that Dr. Burkley was indeed aware of the extra spent bullet, and that would change the entire cover-story created around the single bullet theory. For that matter, it may not have even been the same caliber as CE 399, the so-called “magic bullet”. Was the bullet or materials relating to it what was stolen from Burkley in the airport?

Here is a brief excerpt about Dr. Burkley from the Mary Ferrell website:


“In 1976, Burkley’s lawyer William Illig contacted Richard Sprague of the HSCA, saying that his client had information that “others besides Oswald must have participated.” Sprague was ousted days later, and the reconstituted HSCA and its medical panel never took Burkley’s testimony. Instead, a short phone contact the following year was followed up yet months later, when the HSCA was done with all its public medical presentations, with an strange affidavit signed by Burkley. The affidavit, in which Burkley attested to his constant presence with Kennedy’s body from Parkland Hospital on, seemed almost solely devoted to refuting David Lifton’s as yet-unpublished Best Evidence.
The ARRB in the mid 1990s contacted the family of the now-deceased Burkley, and initially received verbal permission to obtain the lawyer Illig’s files. But Burkley’s daughter subsequently changed her mind and in the end declined to sign the necessary waiver.”

And here is the document from Burkley’s lawyer to the HSCA:

We will probably never know exactly what evidence about conspiracy was stolen from Dr. Burkley. But here’s an interesting note; The family member I spoke with told me that every year until Burkley’s death he was paid a visit by government agents, presumably Secret Service. Apparently they wanted to keep a grip on Burkley, the man who could possibly bring down the entire assassination cover-up.

-John Titus

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4 Responses to Dr. Burkley and The Bullet

  1. Fayez Abedaziz on October 11, 2017 at 4:50 am

    Well, there is Dr. Charles Crenshaw who was in the emergency room at Parkland Hospital in Dallas who was one of those attending to the President on that November 22, 1963 day.
    I read his book years ago, that would be in addition to others on the JFK murder.
    The book is- JFK:Conspiracy of Silence.
    He said that the President appeared to have wounds that were consistent with entry wounds from the front.
    This Doctor had always been respected and I don’t believe for one second that he cared about publicity. He wasn’t looking for money.
    He was a serious and honest man and he saw what many of us knew from reports, photos and so on.
    For example, that throat wound was rather small.
    That shows an entry wound.
    The portion of the Presidents head from the back that was struck away, was large-that’s an exit wound.
    If the Zapruder film is real, then you can see the President suddenly jerk back and up and a quick stream of blood goes right up in the air-yeah that looks exactly like a bullet struck JFK in from the front.
    My main point here is really what I began with: Dr. Crenshaw’s book.
    I recommend it.
    One more thing, if I may. I may..? Okay, thanks.
    It is that Oswald continued to say, including yelling to reporters in the police hallway-I didn’t shoot anyone…and …I did not shoot the President or Officer Tippet.
    Why would he continue to deny it?
    Why did he say, I was just a patsy.
    And,ask yourself: who hated President Kennedy and his policies, and/or his probable future policies?
    A couple of hints here-
    Cuba after the Bay of Pigs beach party. Some people in intelligence, current( at the time) and former ones, angry…
    Vietnam-keep going or not.
    Detente, open diplomacy with Russia, and to ‘ease the stupid cold war.’ (my words in the quotes.)
    There’s more, but to what I began, please find and read the book by the brave Dr. Crenshaw.

    Then you too may say man you know there really is something to it
    Then you will probably say I can dig it

  2. Tex on October 28, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I have personally witnessed a screening of one of the original copies of the Zapruder film in the living room of Penn Jones, Jr. in Midlothian, TX in or around 1967 or 68…there is no question that Kennedy was struck in the head by a bullet that was fired from a location in front of the motorcade. The impact blew out the back of his skull and sent bone fragments and brain matter flying in the direction of the Secret Service agent was climbing onto the trunk of the car at the point when the bullet hit Kennedy.

  3. Randolph Robertson M.D. on November 16, 2022 at 5:12 pm

    To elborate. Jim Bishop stated that the Secret Service agents were using envelopes to collect the materials from the limo. The Day Kennedy Was Shot p.514-515. WH physician James Young, who was the first to receive the materials from Mills and Martinell at the autopsy stated that the materials including a bullet were in envelopes.Young also said that it was given to the autopsy team. In a 4/13/80 interview with Lifton, Captain Stover stated that he saw an intact bullet in an envelope which was different than the two small fragments given to the FBI. The notorious receipt for A missile may be referring to this. Note should be made that Stover claimed in a 1/20/78 HSCA OCR report that he hadn’t seen a whole bullet. In this same interview Stover said that Burkley was to get all the materials from the autopsy. RIF #180-10102-10407. Mills/ Martinell to Dr. Young to Dr.Humes to Stover to Burkley. Neither Stover or Young appear to have noticed the significance of the bullet and may have confused it with CE399. Interestingly during Dr. Young’s interview sessions, Navy BUMED historian Jan Herman contacted Mills about the bullet. While Mills supported Young’s recollections when Young had earlier reached out to verify. Mills couldn’t lie to Young because they both knew it was true. He did not want to go into specifics. One might have expected him to deny involvement in a coverup if someone was accusing him of such unjustly.

    • JT on November 16, 2022 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks for confirming the chain-of-custody to Burkley.
      Will study this

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