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Inventory of the Los Angeles Police Department Records of the Robert F. Kennedy Assassination Investigation, ca. 1968-1978
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Series Description

 

Records of Special Unit Senator

Scope and Content Note

Special Unit Senator (SUS), the LAPD task force that carried out all aspects of the investigation, was created on June 11, 1968 under the direction of Chief of Detectives Robert Houghton. The need for an independent, special task force arose from the Department's realization that the nature of the investigation would overtax resources normally available to the Detectives Division. Accordingly, the case received top priority and SUS staff were handpicked from throughout the Department based on the quality of their previous work and particular skills, including investigative experience, knowledge of foreign languages and scientific applications, and records-keeping systems. Initially, staff included Task Force Commander, Captain Hugh Brown, three lieutenants, 18 detective sergeants, and two clerical personnel. Within one week, 37 additional officers and seven civilians were added to the work force.
The investigation itself was divided into three basic areas: case preparation, in cooperation with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office; Sirhan's background; and conspiracy leads. The scope and size of the investigation necessitated a close coordination not only with other LAPD divisions, but also with the FBI, U.S. Attorney General's office, Los Angeles County Sheriff's office, and the U.S. Secret Service.
Special Unit Senator was disbanded in July 1969.
All juvenile and school records throughout the collection have been withheld from disclosure pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code, sections 389, 781, 827, and 828, and Education Code, sections 49076(b) (2), 49061(b), and 49073.
Microfilm Roll Nos. 1-3

Series 1 Card Index 1968-1969

Physical Description: Approximately 8,250 cards

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by surname or topic.

Scope and Content Note

A master card index of all individuals interviewed or contacted during the investigation. Each card may contain name and address of individual, dates and time of interview, summary of interview, interview number, and name(s) of interviewer(s). Some cards may also contain reference to FBI reports (see series #8) and occupation of individual. An alphabetical card index to audio tapes may be found at the end of the series containing names of individuals interviewed by Special Unit Senator. Logs that summarize much of this information are found at the end of roll number 3.
Microfilm Roll No. 4

Series 2 Office Files 1968-1969

Physical Description: 25 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged topically by record type.

Scope and Content Note

Records created and received by Special Unit Senator (SUS) during its investigation. These include: a roster of SUS personnel containing a description of individual assignments and a biographical summary with photograph of each officer involved in the case; intradepartmental correspondence; correspondence outside of SUS; evaluation of investigation prepared by SUS staff, including a summary evaluation by Lt. Roy Keene; daily summaries of activities, a chronological report of case progress, status of current areas of investigation, administrative activities, meetings attended, and liaison with other agencies, relating to four major SUS officers --Capt. Hugh Brown and Lts. Roy Keene, Manuel Pena, and Charles Higbie; outline of final report; indices of tape recorded interviews, progress reports, and Kassab investigation (see series #27, Conspiracy Investigation Files); manual of SUS records and operations; memoranda and special orders from Chief of Police; monthly overtime assignment sheets and reports; personal expense statements; personnel complaints; expenditures and requisitions, telephone logs; traffic accident reports; vehicle assignment sheets; miscellaneous reports; and SUS forms.
Microfilm Roll No. 5

Series 3 Arrest Reports1968

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by report number.

Scope and Content Note

Reports created at time of Sirhan Sirhan's arrest or, later, during his booking or investigation. File includes arrest reports, booking slips, and investigator's final reports. Information contained in reports includes booking number, location where booked, type of offense, arrestee's name, sex, ethnicity, age, social security number, hair and eye color, height and weight, birth date and place, time arrested and booked, address, clothing, victim's name, names of witnesses, circumstances of arrest, name(s) of reporting officer(s), arrestee's occupation and place of employment, credit references, names and addresses of relatives and associates, action taken, right thumb print, and list of arrestee's property.
Index included at beginning of series.
Microfilm Roll No. 5

Series 4 Broadcasts and Teletypes1968-1969

Physical Description: 4 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by document number.

Scope and Content Note

Messages sent and received by LAPD requesting or transmitting information concerning the investigation. In addition to broadcasts and teletypes, a log of data released to other agencies is included. Messages include the following information: date of message; names of parties receiving and sending message; and nature of message.
Index included at beginning of series.
Microfilm Roll No. 5

Series 5 Crime Reports1968.

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by report number.

Scope and Content Note

Reports relating to investigations made by LAPD concerning all victims at Kennedy assassination site and complaints of Sirhan's family and others in response to threats or criminal activities carried out against them. Information includes victim's name, weapon, force, or means used, type of crime, apparent motive, location of crime, number of suspects and their sex and ethnicity, dates and times occurred and reported, suspect's trademarks, type of premises, investigative division or unit notified and person contacted, vehicle used by suspect, related reports, victim's condition, occupation, sex, ethnicity, birth date, address, home and business phone numbers, suspect identification, reconstruction of crime and description, location found, and disposition of physical evidence.
Index included at beginning of series.
Microfilm Roll No. 5

Series 6 Rosters1968.

Physical Description: 3 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by record number.

Scope and Content Note

Rosters of Kennedy campaign workers and individuals present in the Colonial Room the night of the assassination. Campaign worker rosters include name of worker, address, and telephone number; Colonial Room rosters include name of individual present, affiliation, brief summary of their activities just prior to and at time of shooting, and, in some cases, interview number (see series #11, Interviews).
Index included at beginning of series.
Microfilm Roll No. 5

Series 7 Evidence Files1968.

Physical Description: 5 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by record number.

Scope and Content Note

Records created during investigation to document the receipt and evaluation of physical evidence. Files include evidence reports, property reports and receipts, search warrants, statements relating to a history of the gun used in the assassination, a copy of Sirhan's notebook and related papers, and materials relating to FBI investigation of items found in Sirhan's car and room. For physical evidence used in Sirhan's trial, see Trial Exhibits, series #35. For evidence not used in the trial, see Physical Evidence, series #33.
Index included at beginning of series. See Appendices A and H for a list and description of all physical evidence, whether used in Sirhan's trial or not.
 

Series 8 FBI Indexes and Report1968-1969

Physical Description: 4 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by report date.

Scope and Content Note

Eight indexes to reports prepared by the FBI during its investigation. Each index alphabetically lists the names of individuals and other topics that appear in the report with a corresponding page number. Copies of the actual reports received by Special Unit Senator were taken apart and interfiled with the interview or particular investigation to which they related. An intact copy of the eighth report is included with the last index.
These records are restricted.
Microfilm Roll No. 5

Series 9 Polygraph Reports and Charts1968-1969.

Physical Description: 3 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by report number.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of two record types: polygraph reports, which contain narrative summaries of polygraph examinations administered by Special Unit Senator, including dates of report and examination, names of examinee and examiner, and conclusions; and polygraph charts, containing a copy of the report, a list of questions asked, and the chart itself.
Index included at beginning of series.
Microfilm Roll No. 6

Series 10 Logs1968.

Physical Description: 14 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged by type of log and then chronologically by date of recording.

Scope and Content Note

Chronological summaries created by various divisions within LAPD concerning aspects of the investigation. Records relate to the following areas: LAPD activities at the Ambassador Hotel and Good Samaritan Hospital immediately after shooting; Kennedy itinerary; unusual occurrences surrounding the assassination, including arrest summaries and number and location where officers were assigned; sick or injury reports for officers assigned to investigation; employee reports prepared by officers prior to shooting or by officers assigned to investigation, including date of report and narrative summary of events; summaries of LAPD sergeants regarding events prior to or immediately after shooting; divisional watch lists; radio communications; press passes; Kennedy motorcade on 5-29-1968; activity reports of LAPD officers for 6-4/6-5-1968; and verbatim transcriptions of telephone and radio transmissions on 6-5-1968.
Index included at beginning of series.
Microfilm Roll Nos. 8-11

Series 11 Interviews1968-1969

Physical Description: 64 file folders.

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by interview number.

Scope and Content Note

Interviews conducted by LAPD and FBI to obtain an eyewitness account of what occurred at the Ambassador Hotel and to gather information about Sirhan's background and activities prior to his arrest. Each interview has a statement and summary report. Among those interviewed were medical personnel who attended to the shooting victims; LAPD officers on duty that evening; media personnel, correspondents, reporters, and technicians covering the California primary election; campaign workers and volunteers; hotel guests and employees; Sirhan's friends, neighbors, former teachers, classmates, and employers; patrons of the San Gabriel Valley Gun Club; and civic-minded citizens who reported what they saw or heard that might be related to the case. Cross references are made to other interviews within the series.
All FBI interviews are restricted.
Although no separate index is available, the Card Index (see series #1) provides alphabetical access to individuals and topics to be found in the interviews.
Microfilm Roll Nos. 12-1

Series 12 Final Reports1969, 1985-1986

Physical Description: 70 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by date issued and then numerically by volume number.

Scope and Content Note

Final reports about the investigation prepared by Special Unit Senator. Three separate reports exist: a ten-volume, 1969 edition, for in-house use only, covering all facets of the investigation (two copies present in the files plus a "printer's copy"); a ten-volume edition used by LAPD to indicate expurgated portions of the 1969 report (three copies present in the files -- one is a "clean", duplicate copy of the 1969 report, one shows "highlighted" areas suggested for redaction, and one shows the "masked" portions of the report as the final stage in the redaction process); and a three-volume, 1986 redacted edition released to the public (one copy present in the files). Page 736 of the 1969 report was not microfilmed due to statutory restrictions.
All three reports cover the same general areas and include the following: events surrounding the assassination itself; information concerning Sirhan's activities and background; investigations of possible conspiracies; case preparation for trial; legal processes; related events occurring after the assassination; conclusions; appendices, principally relating to crime reports, physical evidence, coroner's autopsy, medical treatments, and interviews; an alphabetical index; and a supplemental report that concerns investigative activities concluded after the 1969 report had been issued. There is no index to the 1986 edition.
For a more comprehensive description of the 1969 report's contents, see Appendix B.
Microfilm Roll No. 6

Series 13 Investigative Field Notes1968

Physical Description: 4 file folders.

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by interview number.

Scope and Content Note

Records prepared by case preparation team during investigation to determine progress of Special Unit Senator's (SUS) activities and the relationship to Sirhan's impending trial. The field notes consist largely of rough, hand-written materials prepared by investigators during interviews (see series #11). A chart is included which shows a time-line of SUS activities from the time of shooting to trial date.
Microfilm Roll Nos. 6-7

Series 14 Letters1968-1972

Physical Description: 8 file folders.

Arrangement

Arranged numerically.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence from general public to LAPD concerning possible leads in the investigation (e.g. girl in the polka dot dress); nature of the investigation itself; threats directed at Sirhan, President Johnson, families of victims and witnesses, and Sirhan's attorney, Russell Parsons; and numerous other facets involving the case.
Microfilm Roll No. 7

Series 15 Medical Reports1968

Physical Description: 3 file folders.

Arrangement

Arranged into three sub-series relating to Kennedy, other shooting victims, and Sirhan respectively. Each sub-series is arranged numerically.

Scope and Content Note

Reports and interviews prepared by Special Unit Senator concerning the medical aspects of the investigation. Records include crime reports, interviews with physicians or nurses, and medical treatment reports. In addition, Kennedy's file has copies of the ambulance call record, Central Receiving Hospital ambulance call log, death certificate, and following investigation concerning procedures at Central Receiving and Good Samaritan hospitals. Other records in Sirhan's file include psychiatric test results, a proposal for a psychological study of Sirhan, interviews with physicians and officers assigned to Los Angeles County Jail, Felony Section, and an FBI report of Sirhan's treatment and quarters at the jail.
Index included at beginning of each file.
Microfilm Roll No. 15

Series 16 News Media Files1968-1969

Physical Description: 18 file folders.

Arrangement

Arranged into three sub-series: publications, arranged numerically by item number; newspaper clippings, arranged chronologically by date of publication and then alphabetically by name of newspaper; and a transcript of an NBC interview of Sirhan conducted on 5-23-1969.

Scope and Content Note

News items and publications collected by Special Unit Senator to develop leads for the investigation. Major subjects focus on Kennedy's shooting and death, conspiracy theories, Sirhan and his trial, and Sirhan's family.
 

Series 17 Motion Picture Films1968

Physical Description: 14 films

Arrangement

Arranged into two sub-series: films concerned with events immediately prior to or after the shooting; other events associated with the Kennedy campaign.

Scope and Content Note

Contains 16mm motion picture film collected or created by Special Unit Senator (SUS) for use during the investigation. SUS created one composite film that covers the assassination and its aftermath and was developed using portions of other films found in the series. Another item, now available only as a VHS videotape, is a reproduction of a 16mm film showing a reinactment of the assassination, witnesses reviewing polka-dot dresses, and other segments produced by SUS. Researcher Greg Stone received these tapes in 1987 from the LA County District Attorney's Office. Stone in turn gave them to Dr. Phil Melanson who transferred them to the State Archives in September 1992. It is believed the original film has been lost or destroyed. The other films were produced by television networks, local affiliates, and private organizations.
For public access and use, the films (except the reinactment film) were transferred to one videotape (VHS cassette format) by the State Archives over a period ending on 1-22-1988.
For a listing of the films, see Appendix C.
Microfilm Roll No. 7

Series 18 Phone Call Summaries1968

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by date and time of call.

Scope and Content Note

Summaries of telephone calls received by Rampart Detective Division, LAPD, 6-5/6-11-1968, relating to the Kennedy shooting. Information includes date and time of call, who received call, identity, address, and telephone number of caller, and summary of conversation.
Microfilm Roll Nos. 16-17

Series 19 Photographs1968-1969

Physical Description: 2,876 photographs, 1,189 negatives

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by item number. Photographs have been placed in albums and negatives are stored separately.

Scope and Content Note

Photographs taken by Special Unit Senator and LAPD during the course of their investigation and by amateur and professional photographers who were present at the crime scene. Images depict key figures in the investigation; evidence, the crime scene before, during, and after the assassination; investigative activities such as trajectory studies and walk-throughs of the crime scene by officials; and Kennedy campaign activities. Two groups of photographs, "Case prep. notebook" (Q101-102) and "Complete set of photos taken by the FBI" (Q85), offer a good overview of the investigation.
Copy negatives are available for all prints except photographs of documents which can be obtained from the microfilm. Access to copy and original negatives is restricted. Reference prints for all negatives which were not previously printed by LAPD are also available at the end of the series. These prints were not microfilmed.
Autopsy and post-operative photographs are restricted per California Code of Civil Procedure, section 129.
Index included at the beginning of each photograph album. A listing and description of photographs may be found in Appendix F.
 

Series 20 Record and Background Check Files1968-1969

Physical Description: 33 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by worksheet number.

Scope and Content Note

Records prepared or received by Special Unit Senator (SUS) during the investigation to determine criminal background, if any, of witnesses or individuals interviewed. Each individual was subject to a background check initiated by the following agencies: Records and Identification Division (LAPD); Intelligence Division (LAPD); Bureau of Identification and Investigation (California Dept. of Justice); and the FBI. Results were utilized to evaluate credibility of individuals and to determine their previous involvement with militant or subversive groups.
Files contain worksheets which include subject's name, address, sex, race, hair and eye color, height and weight, SUS file number, and birth date, action taken, and notice of record checks completed by which agency; and the background record itself, including name of agency, name and aliases of subject, dates arrested or received, identification number, charges, and disposition. Several numbers are missing.
Restricted per provisions of the California Penal Code, sections 11105, 11140, and 11143.
Microfilm Roll No. 7

Series 21 Progress Reports1968-1969

Physical Description: 3 file folders.

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by report number.

Scope and Content Note

Reports prepared by Special Unit Senator (SUS) on the status of various aspects of the investigation. Reports were developed by the following SUS sub-units: case preparation team; background/conspiracy team; record section; and San Gabriel Valley Gun Club team. Reports include name of reporting sub-unit, date of report, subject, to whom addressed, narrative summary of activities, period covered by report, and name(s) of reporting officer(s). Of special interest is the last report regarding dissemination of information to the public.
Index included at beginning of series.
Microfilm Roll No. 18

Series 22 Transcripts1968-1969

Physical Description: 73 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by transcript number.

Scope and Content Note

Transcripts of recorded interviews prepared by LAPD. Only a small fraction of the interviews were transcribed. Principally, the transcripts focus on witnesses and victims at the Ambassador Hotel, Sirhan, and his family, and people that saw Sirhan prior to 6-5-1968.
Transcript #46 is a reporter's transcript of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury proceedings of 6-7-1968, The People of the State of California vs. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan (Case No. A233421). For related information, see series #29, Reporter's Daily Transcripts.
Transcript #71 is restricted as it contains FBI information relating to Sirhan's interviews.
See Appendix D for an alphabetical index to transcripts.
Microfilm Roll No. 7

Series 23 Tape Summaries1968

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by name of interviewee and numerically by summary number.

Scope and Content Note

Summaries of taped interviews prepared during the investigation. Only a portion of the interviews were recorded and only a small fraction of the recorded tapes were transcribed (see series #22, Transcripts). All the summaries also appear in series #11, Interviews, arranged by interview number. The summaries include interviewee's name, sex, race, hair and eye color, height and weight, birth date, residence and business address, home and business phone numbers, narrative summary of interview, file and tape numbers, date and time of interview, and name of interviewer. Some summaries do not have an assigned number.
Microfilm Roll No. 7

Series 24 Vehicle Reports1968

Physical Description: 1 file folder

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by report number.

Scope and Content Note

Contains records relating to automobiles owned by Sirhan and Robert Gindroz. File includes reports, vehicle impound notice and inventory, car registrations, investigation of Sirhan's driving record, and list of license numbers recorded by LAPD at Ambassador Hotel on 6-5-1968.
Index included at beginning of series.
Microfilm Roll No. 7

Series 25 Legal Files1968-1969

Physical Description: 2 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by document number.

Scope and Content Note

Records relating to legal proceedings involved in Sirhan's trial. Included are: FBI reports of legal action and discussion between Jordanian officials and U.S. State Dept. regarding assistance for Sirhan from Jordan; progress reports from lawyers and the court about the case; Sheriff's custody file; Sirhan's visitor list; list of reports given to the defense; list of chief prosecution witnesses; court summaries of trial proceedings; opening statements by prosecution and defense attorneys; and a court order limiting publicity.
Index included at beginning of series.
Microfilm Roll No. 19

Series 26 Case Preparation Files 1968-1969

Physical Description: 8 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged topically by type of record.

Scope and Content Note

Files compiled by Special Unit Senator's case preparation team to assist the District Attorney in the prosecution of Sirhan. Team duties consisted of interviewing potential witnesses, evaluating and preserving evidence, and investigating matters as directed by legal staff. The files include: interview reports; and related documentation, including crime, death, and arrest reports, autopsy summary, physical mock-ups of crime scene, LAPD logs and teletypes, case progress reports, information relating to ballistics, handwriting, fingerprints, and San Gabriel Valley Gun Club.
Various indices may be found throughout the series.
Microfilm Roll Nos. 19-20

Series 27 Conspiracy Investigation Files1968-1969

Physical Description: 36 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged topically by investigation.

Scope and Content Note

Records of separate investigations conducted by Special Unit Senator to examine possible conspiracy leads. Investigation topics include: Sandra Serrano and the polka dot dress; Cathy Sue Fulmer; The Fez restaurant; Khaibar Khan; Theodore Charach; John Fahey; Fernando Faura; Jonn Christian; Antoine Fouad Khoury; Jerry Owen; Walter Crowe, Jr.; Jose Duarte; John Khoury; Golden Garter Inn; Michael Vejvoda; San Gabriel Valley Gun Club; Michael Wayne and Keith Gilbert; Ahmed Rageh Namer; and Michael McGowan and David Kassab. Files consist mainly of police and FBI interviews, evidence reports, progress reports, and correspondence.
An index may be found at the beginning of each topic.
FBI interviews are restricted.
Microfilm Roll No. 20

Series 28 Sirhan Family Files1968-1969

Physical Description: 25 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged topically by subject or family member.

Scope and Content Note

Contains information relating to various aspects of Sirhan and his family's life. Records on Sirhan concern his early years in Jerusalem, education, employment, financial status, medical history, criminal background, social, religious, and political activities, and philosophical leanings. Information was also gathered about his father, Bishara; his mother, Mary; deceased sister, Aida; and brothers, Sharif, Saidallah, Adel, and Munir. Included in the files are police and FBI interviews and reports, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service records, school records, correspondence, and newspaper clippings.
An index may be found at the beginning of each subject.
Contains some FBI records which are restricted.
Microfilm Roll No. 21

Series 29 Reporter's Daily Transcripts1968-1969

Physical Description: 29 volumes

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by volume number.

Scope and Content Note

Court transcripts prepared during the trial of Sirhan -- Los Angeles County Superior Court No. A233421, The People of the State of California vs. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan. The transcripts cover testimony taken in the trail from December 18, 1968 through February 4, 1969.
For a complete record of the case file, contact the Clerk of the Superior Court, Los Angeles County.
 

Series 30 Tape Recorded Interviews1968-1969

Physical Description: 193 items

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by tape number.

Scope and Content Note

Consists of reel-to-reel and cassette tape recordings of selected interviews. Only a handful of interviews were tape recorded. For related information, see series #11, Interviews; #22, Transcripts; and #23, Tape Summaries.
The audio tapes have been reproduced in cassette format by the State Archives. A summary and index to all audio tapes (except the Wolfer Board tapes) may be found in Appendix E.
 

Series 31 Stenotype Notes1968-1969

Physical Description: 22 bundles

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by surname.

Scope and Content Note

Shorthand notes prepared from a stenotype machine as an intermediate step in developing a transcript from a tape recorded interview. Notes are not available for all transcripts (see series #22, Transcripts). Several sets of notes were not transcribed, including Virginia Teresi (tape #29244), Evan Freed (tape #29241), George Erhard, Jr. (tape #29260), and Frank Mankiewicz (tape #29203).
 

Series 32 Magnetic Tapes1968

Physical Description: 5 reels

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content Note

Recorded telephone and radio logs of LAPD for the dates 5-15-1968 and 6-4/6-5-1968. The tapes cover all telephone and radio messages. Some information relating to the Kennedy assassination or campaign was extracted by LAPD and created as evidence item #116 (see series #7, Evidence Files and #33, Physical Evidence).
Because the Archives does not have the specialized equipment necessary to playback the magnetic tapes, access is currently unavailable.
 

Series 33 Physical Evidence1968

Physical Description: 73 items

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by item number.

Scope and Content Note

Physical evidence collected by Special Unit Senator (SUS) during the investigation.
Items #55, 116, and 143 (all reel-to-reel audio tapes) were transferred to two cassette audio tapes by the State Archives on February 9 and 11, 1988 to improve access. The first cassette tape contains an interview with Jerry Owen conducted by Jonn Christian. The second cassette tape consists of three items in the following order: a tape recording by Andy West of Kennedy's speech and shooting on 6-5-1968; an LAPD composite tape of radio and telephone calls on 6-5-1968; and a KHJ radio interview with Harold Weisberg on 6-19-1968.
See Appendix A for a complete list of all physical evidence.
 

Records Relating To Re-Investigations of The Kennedy Assassination

Scope and Content Note

Following Sirhan's trial, numerous questions were raised by various organizations and individuals concerning LAPD's investigation of the Kennedy assassination. In response to such questions and other requests, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles Superior Court, and LAPD initiated a series of re-investigations into the case. These investigations, conducted during the period 1974-1978, primarily focused on ballistic and bullet trajectory studies.
These records were received by LAPD and stored with the Special Unit Senator records until their transfer to the State Archives in August 1987.
Microfilm Roll No. 22

Series 35 Re-investigative Files1974-1978

Physical Description: 22 file folders, 6 videotapes, 3 audio tapes

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by date of investigation.

Scope and Content Note

Records relating to re-investigations of the Kennedy assassination. The following materials are included:
A 1974 hearing of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors relating to Herbert MacDonell's contention that not all bullets recovered at the crime scene came from one gun. Included are memoranda and correspondence about jurisdiction in the matter, transcript of a Supervisor's meeting, diagrams of bullet trajectories, correspondence with the FBI, and District Attorney Busch's comments regarding the hearing;
A 1974 Los Angeles County Superior Court investigation into the storage of evidence by the Clerk of the Court;
A 1974 inquiry by Allard Lowenstein concerning a "second gun" theory;
A 1975 request from Paul Schrade to LAPD regarding a personal injury suit he wished to file against Sirhan;
A 1975 series of articles by Ralph Blumenfield that appeared in the New York Post;
A 1975 investigation of the bullets ordered by the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Includes reports and worksheets filed by seven LAPD firearms examiners;
A 1975 LAPD investigation of the trajectory issue involving the removal of wood facings and related materials from the pantry area of the Ambassador Hotel. Included are a search warrant, lists of items removed from the hotel, evidence reports, field notes, photographs, interviews, and videotapes. The investigation was based on statements attributed to two LAPD officers and hotel staff who observed apparent or actual bullet holes at the crime scene. Note: the six U-matic videotapes were transferred by the State Archives to six VHS videotapes on February 10, 1988;
1975-1977 correspondence with Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, and Los Angeles City Attorney's office regarding public access to the final report;
An October 1975 LAPD tape recording of an interview with Don Schulman concerning statements attributed to him;
A 1976 statement by LAPD in response to Art Kevin's 6-7-1976 editorial, "RFK Report", for KMC News;
A 1976 inquiry to LAPD from Valley Publications, Inc. concerning access to assassination records;
A 1977 report by Special Counsel Thomas Kranz on the assassination investigation. Kranz was appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to conduct an independent investigation;
A June 1977 allegation, on audio tape, by Betty Mishell that her ex-husband Beryle Mick, an LAPD officer, was involved in Kennedy's assassination;
A 1977-1978 inquiry into the storage of the model of the Ambassador Hotel pantry;
A 1978 investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives, Select Committee on Assassinations;
An 11-21-1978 interview of Allen Globerson;
Miscellaneous court documents relating to inspection of court exhibits; and
An audio tape of a 12-19-1975 interview of Wesley Harrington.
 

Exhibits From Sirhan's Trial, Case No. A233421

 

Series 36 Trial Exhibits1968-1969, 1975

Physical Description: 152 file folders, 655 photographs, 67 items

Arrangement

Arranged by category (e.g. Grand Jury, Trial, Special Hearing), then by litigant (People or Defense), and then numerically or alphabetically by exhibit designation.

Scope and Content Note

Physical evidence collected by Special Unit Senator during the investigation and later used as exhibits during the Grand Jury and Superior Court proceedings against Sirhan (No. A233421). Also included are items of evidence not used as exhibits and materials used during the Special Hearing undertaken by Los Angeles County authorities in 1975.
The exhibits include a wide range of materials: Sirhan's gun; crime scene evidence such as .22 cartridges; bullet fragments taken from victims; Sirhan's wallet and car keys; newspapers; books and notebooks found in Sirhan's room; psychiatric tests given to Sirhan; audio tapes of interviews with Sirhan; ballistic studies; recording tapes from Sirhan's trial; Sirhan's clothing; a wooden mock-up of the Embassy ballroom and foyer at the Ambassador Hotel; and a wide variety of photographs.
Physical evidence not used in court proceedings may also be found in series #33 (Physical Evidence). Many of the photographs used as exhibits were originally part of series #19 (Photographs) -- see Appendix F for missing "Q" numbers.
For a listing and description of exhibits, see Appendix H.
All autopsy photographs are restricted by provisions of the California Code of Civil Procedure, section 129.
 

Records of The Wolfer Board of Inquiry

Scope and Content Note

In 1971, LAPD Chief of Police E.M. Davis appointed a board of inquiry to investigate allegations made against officer DeWayne Wolfer who was being considered for the chief forensic chemist position within the department. In the course of the investigation, the board examined three cases in which Wolfer had been involved, including the Kennedy assassination. Wolfer had been a witness at Sirhan's trial and had conducted the primary ballistic and bullet trajectory studies related to the case. The board focused on an examination into the techniques and procedures used by Wolfer, transcripts and evidence from the cases, and statements of outside authorities.
Although only a portion of these records relate directly to the Kennedy assassination, they were stored by LAPD with the Special Unit Senator materials until their transfer to the State Archives in August 1987.
Microfilm Roll Nos. 23-24

Series 37 Wolfer Board Files1969, 1971, 1974

Physical Description: 32 file folders, 5 audio tapes, 9 photographs

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by addendum which corresponds to the case under investigation: Doyle Terry, one file folder; Jack Kirschke, 12 file folders; and Sirhan Sirhan, 19 file folders.

Scope and Content Note

Records relating to an investigation of allegations against LAPD forensic expert, DeWayne Wolfer. Much of the information centers on presentations of technical ballistics procedures used by Wolfer in the three cases and whether his actions conformed to acceptable forensic principles. Types of materials include court transcripts and briefs, letters, memoranda, declarations, affidavits, newspaper clippings, job announcements, exhibit and property lists, reports, and publications. The audio tapes, summarized below, include interviews with Jack Merritt, Thomas Noguchi, Don Schulman, and Baxter Ward(2). The following photographs, all prints, are available: two of Barbara Blehr, the attorney who initiated the investigation; four of Sirhan's gun; one of the pantry mock-up; and two of the bullet trajectory study in the pantry area. Almost all of the materials date from 1971.
A table of contents is included at the beginning of each addendum which serves as an index to records included in the file.
Some records within the Wolfer Board files are not open for research. Included in this group are records originating with the FBI; criminal rap sheets; school records containing information about individual students; records containing information about the arrest or conviction of juveniles; and information not related to the Sirhan case which is entirely of a personal nature or not germane to the Kennedy assassination.
 

Summary of Wolfer Audio Tapes

 

Jack Merritt: July 26, 1971

Scope and Content Note

Security guard, Ace Guard Service. Describes entering pantry, drawing gun upon hearing RFK had been shot. Saw a woman and two men exiting pantry. Woman said either, "We got him." or "He got him.". Woman appeared happy, waving signs and displaying a victory sign. Other guards were in pantry, but did not draw their guns to his knowledge. Merritt believes there was a conspiracy.
 

Dr. Thomas Noguchi: July 28, 1971

Scope and Content Note

LA County Coroner. Noguchi describes RFK's wounds and concludes that muzzle distance of gun likely one inch from RFK's right ear. Says assailant was not face to face.
 

Donald Schulman: July 23, 1971

Scope and Content Note

KNXT News employee. He describes assisting television camera crew and being in pantry at time of shooting. Says he saw a security guard pull his gun. Not absolutely sure the guard fired the gun. Investigators suggest Schulman did not see what he thought he saw.
 

Baxter Ward: July 28, 1971

Scope and Content Note

Broadcast of television or radio program where Ward is questioning why LAPD used a second gun for test firing while they had access to Sirhan's gun and why LAPD denied having access to the actual gun.
 

Baxter Ward: July 28-29, 1971

 

Part I:

Scope and Content Note

Ward describes discrepancy between marking on bullet envelope by Coroner Noguchi and DeWayne Wolfer's comments on the number of grooves on test bullet. Noguchi wrote "five grooves" and said Wolfer checked bullets. Wolfer later said "six grooves".
 

Part II:

Scope and Content Note

Duplicate of July 28, 1971 tape described above.
 

Part III:

Scope and Content Note

Ted Charach responding to Wolfer's attorney who charged there was a conspiracy against Wolfer. Charach among those charging that Wolfer had concealed evidence. Charach wants Wolfer to explain why the test bullets didn't match bullets taken from RFK and shooting victim William Weisel.