June 5, the 27th anniversary of the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, is the publication date of a book by Dan E. Moldea, "The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy: An Investigation of Motive, Means and Opportunity" (W.W. Norton & Company. 342 pages. $27.50). Publicity material for the book proclaims, "Here is the definitive book on Robert F. Kennedy's assassination allowing this tragic chapter in our history to be put to rest at last."
Mr. Moldea ends his book, "Sirhan Bishara Sirhan consciously and knowingly murdered Senator Robert Kennedy, and he acted alone." It is a conclussion refuted by the data in his own book.
The autopsy of Robert Kennedy by Coroner Thomas Noguchi shows, as Mr. Moldea must concede, that Sen. Kennedy was hit by four bullets, all of them from the rear and at contact range. The fatal shot was approximately one-half inch behind the mastoid bone of the skull, adjacent to Sen. Kennedy's right ear.
The convicted assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, at the moment of firing, was four feet away, directly in front of Sen. Kennedy. Karl Uecker was standing between Sirhan and Sen. Kennedy. As the first shots rang out, Mr. Uecker jumped Sirhan, placing him in a head-lock and holding his gun-hand down. Sirhan could not have shot Robert Kennedy from the rear.
Five other people were wounded by the wild and random firing of Sirhan's .22-caliber Iver Johnson pistol. Bullets also entered three ceiling tiles. Other bullets lodged in the door frame and center-piece of the swinging-doors leading from the pantry.
These facts alone require more than one assailant.
Sirhan Sirhan's weapon only held eight bullets. In addition to the wounds to five people and the bullets lodged in the woodwork, there were the four that struck Sen. Kennedy from behind.
Meticulous examination of the bullets by distinguished criminologist William Harper, by Dr. Robert J. Poling, then president of the American Academy of Forensic Science, and by Herbert L. MacDonell of the Corning Laboratory, refutes Mr. Moldea, demonstrating that the bullets in the five frontal victims do not match a bullet removed from Sen. Kennedy.
Auditory, oscillographic and spectographic analyses of recordings of the shots led Dr. Michael Hecker, a leading authority, to conclude that no fewer than 10 gunshots occurred. Evidence exists for 12.
Why was Sirhan convicted?
Sirhan's lawyer, Grant Cooper, cut off Mr. Noguchi's testimony, which would have exculpated his client, with the remark, "Spare us the gory details," and proceeded to stipulate to Sirhan's sole guilt in the death of Sen. Kennedy.
Los Angeles Police Department criminologist De Wayne Wolfers presented what purported falsely to be test results from Sirhan's weapon. In fact, the police surreptitiously used someone else's weapon. Sirhan was sentenced to death on the basis of tests done on a weapon that was neither his nor was used by anyone on June 5, 1968.
The California State Court of Appeals, in passing upon his practice as LAPD chief criminologist, declared: "Wolfers gave false testimony bordering on perjury. . . . His testimony on acoustics and anatomy was negligently false." Mr. Moldea, however, must uphold Mr. Wolfers' work to sustain his thesis of a lone assassin.
The LAPD destroyed 2,400 photographs, negatives and X-rays of vital evidence. It confiscated the door panels containing bullet holes and embedded bullets and ceiling tiles with bullet holes destroying everything, even the analysis and records of this evidence.
Special Unit Senator (SUS) was set up by the Los Angeles authorities to control the investigation. It was under the control of Manuel Pena and Enrique "Hank" Hernandez. Months before returning to The LAPD, Mr. Pena ran a clandestine program for the CIA, training what amounted to government death squads in Asia and Latin America. ("The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy," by William Turner and John Christian, Random House, 1978.)
Mr. Hernandez, a polygraph operator, was a central figure in the CIA's "Unified Police Command" in Latin America, interrogating opponents of brutal regimes. These two directors of SUS literally terrorized all witnesses in the Robert Kennedy assassination who saw or heard evidence conflicting with the thesis of Sirhan's sole guilt. Mr. Hernandez instructed people to change their testimony or suffer dire consequences.
Lies about guns
Who fired the shots that killed Robert Kennedy? The only person whose position is compatible is Thane Eugene Cesar, standing directly behind Sen. Kennedy and witnessed wielding and firing a weapon.
Cesar, although claiming to carry a .38-caliber revolver, possessed an Iver Johnson .22-caliber pistol, as did Sirhan, which Cesar claimed falsely to have sold six months before the assassination. It was, as even Cesar now concedes, disposed of three months after Kennedy's death. This Mr. Moldea brushes aside.