Science and Justice - Journal of the Forensic Science Society

Synchronization of the acoustic evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy

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We have revisited the acoustic evidence in the Kennedy assassination - recordings of the two Dallas police radio channels upon which our original NRC report (Ramsey NF et al., Report of the Committee on Ballistic Acoustics. National Research Council (US). Washington: National Academy Press, 1982. Posted at was based - in response to the assertion by DB Thomas (Echo correlation analysis and the acoustic evidence in the Kennedy assassination revisited. Science and Justice 2001; 41: 21-32) that alleged gunshot sounds (on Channel 1), apparently recorded from a motorcycle officer's stuck-open microphone, occur at the exact time of the assassination (as established by emergency communications on Channel 2). We have critically reviewed these two publications, and have performed additional analyses. In particular we have used recorded 60 Hz hum and correlation methods to obtain accurate speed calibrations for recordings made on both channels, cepstral analysis to seek instances of repeated segments during playback of Channel 2 (which could result from groove jumping), and spectrographic and correlation methods to analyze instances of putative crosstalk used to synchronize the two channels. This paper identifies serious errors in the Thomas paper and corrects errors in the NRC report. We reaffirm the earlier conclusion of the NRC report that the alleged "shot" sounds were recorded approximately one minute after the assassination. © The Forensic Science Society 2005.