The men who plotted and executed JFK’s murder thought they could forever bury the truth of their treachery by altering the medical evidence. How they attempted this is laid out in my novel, <i>The President’s Mortician</i>. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
November 23, 1963
Bethesda Hospital, Washington, D.C.
John Liggett needed a stiff drink to calm his nerves. He reached into his back pocket and removed a small, silver flask. He took a quick jolt of bourbon without trying to hide it from the mysterious men surrounding him and watching his every move. They were spooks, military brass and Secret-Service types, and they seemed dissatisfied with his work even though he had been at it, off and on, for more than seven hours now. He was tired, anxious and scared.
Normal jobs never made him this stressed, for Liggett was confident, almost smugly so,
in his abilities as a reconstruction artist. Reconstruction artist was just a fancy name for a skilled mortician, and Liggett was as skillful as anyone in his field. His fellow morticians at Restland Funeral Home in Dallas all agreed that John was the best they had ever seen.
He rebuilt eye sockets blasted away by gun shots. He rebuilt ears and noses demolished
in car accidents. He once reconstructed a wife’s skull which had been shattered by her
baseball bat-wielding husband. He even re-attached a head which had been severed by a
locomotive. The grieving families were always grateful and always raved about John’s talents. He never failed to please his clientele.
But this was no normal job. <i>Lying on the slab not two feet away was the slain body of the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy</i>. And Liggett was now on his third reconstruction attempt. The cabal of traitors assembled in this cramped, smoky room did not want him to make JFK “whole” again for a presentable casket viewing. They wanted to distort and disguise the dead president’s real wounds in order to hide the true source of the shots which killed him. Liggett knew the conspirators were trying to frame a “lone nut” killer. The problem was they kept changing their minds about how the lone nut did it. Liggett was on his third version of the head wound. The genuine wounds—a gunshot entry in the right temple area, an entry wound in the throat, and a fist-sized exit wound in the right rear of the head—had been obliterated earlier in the evening at Walter Reed Army Hospital, but the “government-approved” wounds were still a work-in-progress. Evidence of frontal entry meant more than one shooter and that meant a conspiracy. And the conspirators were determined there be no talk of a conspiracy that would lead back to them.
Regardless of the deceptive nature of his work, Liggett had no delusions about the true
nature of the crime. The CIA and the Joint Chiefs, and god knows who else, had been
behind it, and his job was to cover it up. The bastards had gone all the way this time, he thought. Though Liggett was apolitical and had never expressed any strong feelings about Kennedy, one way or the other, even he was stunned at the brazenness of such an act. And it rattled his composure. This was history, and Liggett was busy erasing any trace of it.
At the urging of his sponsor—Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay—Liggett got back
to work on JFK’s head. LeMay bit hard on his cigar and barked out an instruction, “You
have to fix the back of the head here so that it looks like there is no exit wound.”
Liggett knew he had to make it look good for the autopsy photographers who had already
taken hundreds of photos of his incomplete work. But he also knew that no forgery of
this nature would be perfect. The brain had already been carved up to remove the bullet
fragments which did not match the patsy’s gun. The macerated mess which was left
could hardly have been made by a bullet’s exit. The incompetent and/or corrupt autopsy
doctors even commented on it. Commander James J. Humes—who had no experience
performing autopsies of gunshot victims—blurted out that someone had performed
surgery on JFK’s head, namely in the top of the skull. Since no such surgery had been
performed by the Dallas Parkland doctors, Humes’ slip of the tongue became an
inadvertent admission that the president’s body had been highjacked and tinkered with by
parties unknown. Liggett, seated in the bleachers of the Bethesda autopsy room at the
time, stiffened when he heard Humes’ words. He was afraid the whole shell game would
unravel. But General LeMay immediately came to the rescue. He told Humes to get
back to work and stop making editorial comments about things he knew nothing of.