Author Topic: Program Transcript: Sherry Fiester  (Read 5146 times)

Alan Dale

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Program Transcript: Sherry Fiester
« on: May 25, 2014, 03:02:45 pm »
Courtesy of Mary Constantine

JFK LANCER: CONVERSATIONS WITH ALAN DALE

Welcome to JFK Lancer Conversations, an on-line interview program featuring discussions with prominent authors, historical researchers and notable personalities associated with the study of President Kennedy's assassination.

NAME: SHERRY P FIESTER (PRONOUNCED FEE-STER)

DATE: APRIL, 2013

DURATION: 00:58:00


ALAN DALE: Welcome to Conversations; my name is Alan Dale. Our topic on this occasion is progress. Progress may be defined in several different ways: as evolution; as advancement; improvement; the gradual process by which we move from darkness to light, from ignorance to understanding; progress that is measureable in the form of computers and software programs: one version – 2.something – is followed by version 3.something; progress that is visible in terms of new technologies, new medicines, new scientific discoveries, and in the fields – the related fields - of forensic sciences, especially over the past two decades. What we used to think has been succeeded by what we now know, and that represents progress.

The progress which is the subject of our program today, I believe may be found within the pages of a challenging and illuminating new book written by Sherry P Fiester; the title of the book is 'Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination' and our guest today, I'm pleased to introduce Sherry Fiester. Thank you for being with us.

SHERRY FIESTER: Alan, thank you so much. I'm really proud and happy to be here with you on Conversations.

ALAN DALE: Very happy to have you join us. Could you tell me a little bit about your professional background?

SHERRY FIESTER: Yes, I went into police work in the very early 1980s, and a few years later moved to the forensic portion of that, and by 1993 was a certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst. I had testified many times in court as an expert, and at this time I have testified in Louisiana State Federal Court in 30 jurisdictions in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. I am published in my field and recognized as an instructor at both State, National and International levels. So I have an extensive background and experience in crime scene reconstruction and the various fields that fall under that.

ALAN DALE: And so now you're applying that training, that professional expertise, to the subject of President Kennedy's assassination.

SHERRY FIESTER: Yes.

ALAN DALE: Well, that's unique. That may be unprecedented. I'm not very familiar with anyone else with your background, with your training, with your qualifications, who's done so. I can tell you that I have read your book. I was very enthralled; I was intrigued; I was distressed: it's very challenging. I think before we proceed I would compliment you sincerely because of the style of your communication. You've been able to introduce some very complex, possibly very new, methodologies; new technologies; new terminologies: things which certainly I had never encountered, pertaining to head wound ballistics, radial concentric fracture sequencing studies; all kinds of things with lots of syllables that could have been a real turn-off, but I mean it sincerely when I tell you that you represented it, provided the context appropriate for me to get something out of it, and I thought you did a superb job.

SHERRY FIESTER: I appreciate that; thank you, and I was very aware that I was broaching subjects that ordinarily people may not be in contact with, but I believe that the general population today is educated; they're more sophisticated than a lot of people may want to give them credit for, and CSI is very very popular in books and movies and television today, and I think more and more people are familiar with the terms and how that might work. So it was easy for me to believe that I could write a book about forensic disciplines in a way that the American public could understand, and utilize on a personal level to make decisions about what they believe to be true, and what they believe to be false concerning the Kennedy assassination.

ALAN DALE: Oh, yes, the positioning of popular entertainment; the CSI theme in especially television, network television programs – that's a relatively recent development. It may be that this book is the right book at the right time: could not have been written prior to the emergence of the new technologies, the new standards of crime scene analysis and reconstruction, and happens to coincide with the period that you just described, where average people have been introduced to some of these ideas through popular entertainment, so isn't that interesting?

SHERRY FIESTER: Yes, I believe it is, I have been working on the book for some time, and of course my interest in the Kennedy assassination in a professional manner was in 1993, so obviously it’s not something that I just said: "Oh, wow! You know the 50th anniversary is coming up, let me see if I can do something." but the reason why I finally decided to publish the book is kinda multi-faceted, but certainly I believe that it’s taking advantage of an opportunity, because there are going to be a lot of people that are – maybe not have a strong interest in the Kennedy assassination, but because it's going to be the 50th year and we're commemorating his life and presidency in November at that time, that they may feel like they would like to know more, and so this is going to provide something that readers can rely on: it's not an opinion; it's based in something that truly provides information that they can rely upon, and that they can make informed decisions with.

ALAN DALE: And when you say it relies upon something, to what are you referring? Are you referring to the new understanding among criminologists and professionals in your field?

SHERRY FIESTER: Absolutely. There have been changes, as you said, There have been a lot of changes in different disciplines that would qualify as forensic disciplines, and some of that information is within the last few years; some of it is a few years more than that, but it doesn't mean that the general public is aware of that, because they don't work in that field, so they don't know, and researchers; historical researchers do not have that information, and so they – I saw people struggling, trying to understand what certain things meant that - in the Kennedy assassination - and trying to interpret physical evidence, and when the forensic community actually had the answer and has had the answer for several years, but the forensic community didn't necessarily know that they didn't know, or that there was a question. That it just didn't overlap, and so this allows – this book allows – me to bridge that gap between what is known in forensics and how we can apply it and the people that are assassination researchers utilize it.

ALAN DALE: Was there something in particular which you experienced in 1993 that brought this together for you in terms of applying your training to this distressing subject?

SHERRY FIESTER: Yes, there was a particular incident that happened and I guess I'll have to start out by saying it involved my sister, and my sister is Debra Conway; she's the president of JFK Lancer, and she has been interested in the Kennedy assassination for as many years as I can possibly remember. However I didn't share that with her, so she knew an awful lot about the assassination and I knew nothing. I just didn't know, and there was an opportunity that she was looking at frame 313 from the Zapruder film, and talking about blood in this photograph hanging in the air and what it could possibly mean. And of course I am an expert in blood-spatter interpretation, and I'm taught in that field, published in that field, and so that suddenly caught my interest, and I looked at it and said: "This is blood that is called back-spatter and it's from an entry wound. And of course she was stunned, and she said: "No-one knows this." and I was stunned because no-one knew that. You know, I just assumed, after 35 years – or I guess not 35 years at that point, but about 30 years – that everyone would know, and that the scientific community was staying on top of things, and I just had no idea that that would be so surprising to her. And next thing you know I'm at a conference in Washington and I'm speaking about the Kennedy assassination and the blood-spatter in it, and of course that was peer-reviewed before I spoke, and the person that looked at my work was Herbert MacDonell, who is to this date a leading blood-spatter expert, and the one that introduced this field, more or less, to modern police work in the 1970s. And he reviewed it, and he had the same – he of course said: "She's correct, and what she is saying is valid, but everybody already knows that." So he couldn't understand why it would be surprising, which was the same reaction that I had.

So it was significant in a personal way for me, because I realized that I did have something that I could offer and that people didn't already know. And then of course, professionally, it started me on the road, looking at the Kennedy assassination from the viewpoint of a Crime Scene Reconstructionist, and trying to determine exactly what could be proven and what could not be proven.

ALAN DALE: So you're applying the tools of your trade, which are crime scene investigation techniques in the modern era, which had never existed prior to their emergence some time within the last couple of decades, is that correct?

SHERRY FIESTER: That's correct.

ALAN DALE: The book is divided into eight chapters; each chapter is a topic unto itself, and I think you've made an interesting choice, because you refer to eight specific areas of controversy: eight specific issues which are in question, and then you subject each of these topics to a process by which we evaluate and then determine if what has entered into sort of the popular culture, in some cases maybe even taking on a life of their own, especially with regard to one area of your investigation in particular; whether or not these represent facts or mythologies. Is that correct?

SHERRY FIESTER: It is correct.

ALAN DALE: Can you talk to me a little bit about the individual chapters?

SHERRY FIESTER: Absolutely. I think that one of the first things that people started saying to me when I wanted to look at the Kennedy assassination, the very first step was, what did they do on the crime scene? How did Dallas Police Department investigate, and how was the evidence handled, and that type of thing. And I began to see that they did not follow their protocols, and they were not following national standards that were in place long before 1963. And many people would say: "You know, you have to cut 'em some slack because they didn't have all the high-tech things that we have today to find out things." and that's true: they didn't.

But surprisingly to me, they didn't do the job that I expected them to do, and it was really surprising because at that time Dallas was I think the 10th largest city, and they were one of the high-crime, high-homicide cities in the nation, so they had lots of practice, unfortunately, and it appears as if they had training, and they had the equipment of the day, so it was surprising to me to find that they did not do the kind of job that I would have anticipated. And so the myth is that Dallas PD followed the protocol that was in place, and so I address that in all the different ways by saying what the national standards were, and what they did and should have done.

Another chapter deals with ear witnesses, because there are so many people that say they heard shots coming from different directions, and sometimes the witnesses are standing basically next to each other, and contradicting each other. But there's reasons for that, and understanding how people hear, and what can distort our hearing, and understanding that it's not that someone's trying to be deceptive, I think is very important. And so I talk about that in one of the chapters.

There's also a chapter on the limousine stop, because some witnesses believe that the limousine did come to a complete stop, and they are so convinced of that, and they have been so convincing in their statements, that some people believe that the Zapruder film may have been altered to take out the limousine stop, although there really is no evidence that the limousine did stop, and there are other films that confirm that it slowed but did not stop. So why do these people so strongly to this day believe that the limousine came to a complete stop? Well, it can be explained with forensics, and it has to do with the perception of time; how people – how the brain works to tell us how much time has passed, and so that I found was a very interesting subject, and it helps to explain some discrepancies in the witness testimony just like the hearing – understanding how hearing is done. I also talk about the blood in the Zapruder film, that I mentioned earlier.

ALAN DALE: Yes. Which you referred to as back-spatter.

SHERRY FIESTER: Back-spatter, and it goes – that's blood leaving the entry wound, going back towards the shooter, and many people look at this and they're – over the years they've said: "Well, that's exit blood." and some people believe that it's – the head moves, and the body moves backwards, because it's like a jet-effect from that blood that's being – it's pushing it backwards, and there's a - some people believe that it's faked; that it's just painted in, and they say that it's totally fabricated and there's not anything that we can scientifically use to explain it otherwise. And so I do talk about blood-spatter and how it works and how long it takes to be created and how long you could expect to see it in a film, and all of those things are discussed in the chapter titled 'Blood in the Zapruder film is faked'. So that's one of the other myths.

And then I talk about ballistics; the ballistics tests that have been done, the compositional analysis of bullet lead and how we can use that, or not use that, to confirm how many different types of ammunition may have been fired at the President. And then I address the myth of the Grassy Knoll as the location for the shooter of the headshot. And it is a myth, because trajectory analysis, modern trajectory analysis, shows that the headshot did not come from the Grassy Knoll.

ALAN DALE: That's a big one!

SHERRY FIESTER: Yes, it is, and it's really hard for people to accept until you actually look at the step-by-step process. And so that step-by-step process is actually spelled out in that chapter, and it allows anyone that has the book to do the analysis on their own and come to their own conclusion about where they think the shooter for the headshot was located.

And then I talk about whether or not there's two simultaneous or almost simultaneous headshots, because there's a slight forward movement of President Kennedy's head in the Zapruder film, and then the familiar and more pronounced back movement that we see in the Zapruder film. And there's been a lot of question and a lot of guessing going on as to why there's a forward movement and, some of it is: it's a blurring of the film; or the film has been altered; there's frames that have been removed; there were actually two shots that were very close together. But forensically we can explain those two head – those two movements, and determine whether or not it was from a single shot, and the direction that that shot's coming from.

And then lastly I talk about the single bullet theory, because the Warren Commission put forth that single bullet theory and there are many, many people that believe that the single bullet theory is correct, and they point to the Warren Commission and say: "We believe the Warren Commission." But the problem is, the Warren Commission didn't even believe in the single bullet theory, and they actually state that in their Warren Commission Report, on two different locations.

ALAN DALE: Really?

SHERRY FIESTER: Yah. It is just amazing that people would believe the single bullet theory, because they believe more than the Warren Commission did if they do.

ALAN DALE: Interesting.

SHERRY FIESTER: So that's the eight myths that I talk about, and each one of them deals with a different type of forensic discipline, and hopefully allows the reader to make a decision about what they believe really happened.

ALAN DALE: I was interested in a number of the photographs, illustrations that you've included. I note that you've referenced innumerable technical journals, publicized studies conducted by medical, and military, and professionals, and that the photographs in particular I think are compelling; there's a particular Figure number 15, on page 218 of your book, that defines what is included and what is excluded as possible origin for - possible origin of the location of the shooter with regard to frame 313 and the ultimate headshot. Can you talk to me a little bit about how you've arrived at that area that you've defined as within what is possible?

SHERRY FIESTER: Well, it is not the easiest thing to do without having some type of graphic that people can look at, but this is a part of the process of reconstructing the trajectory for the headshot, and you can do a straight line trajectory which represents a single point of entry of a entry wound, and you draw a line from that to a single point where an exit wound may be, and you extend that line out into the direction that the bullet came from, and that gives you a trajectory, and you know somewhere on that line the perpetrator was standing…

ALAN DALE: If you've got well-defined entry and exit wounds.

SHERRY FIESTER: Right, but if you don't then you have to develop what is called a trajectory cone, and a trajectory cone takes all possible and available single-line trajectories, from all extreme angles, and by doing so you create a wider angle, and you also have to consider the elevation, so what happens is you create a cone shape that goes back from where the entry area is back towards where the shooter may be located, and you can say somewhere within that cone the shooter was located.

ALAN DALE: So the cone we're defining both vertically and horizontally, is that correct?

SHERRY FIESTER: That's correct.

ALAN DALE: I see.

So in the book, in the steps, you look first to the horizontal and then you look to the vertical. As you go further back, depending upon the angle, it requires more elevation – it may require more elevation, so it becomes important, especially in the case of President Kennedy; there were other people in the vehicle and there's a portion of the limousine that could possibly be an obstruction, though you have to consider that you need not only the correct angle on a horizontal plane, but you also need correct elevation, so that you can have access to President Kennedy without injuring anyone else.

ALAN DALE: I see. We're going to take a brief intermission. We're speaking with Sherry Fiester, who is the author of 'Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination'; new book, possibly breaking new ground, which is available where, Sherry? Where can people find this?

SHERRY FIESTER: You can purchase the book at JFKLancer dot com on their book and catalog page; you can get it at Amazon dot com or any of the other bookstores that provide a purchasing place online, and you can also purchase the book on my website, which tells you a little more about me and the book, and that address is sherryfiester – all one word, no punctuation, dot com.

ALAN DALE: And that's s-h-e-r-r-y-f-i-e-s-t-e-r dot com.

SHERRY FIESTER: That's correct.

ALAN DALE: All right. We'll take a little break. We'll be right back.

**********************************************************************************
 ALAN DALE: We're speaking with Sherry Fiester, who is a certified crime scene analyst and a court-recognized expert in crime scene reconstruction, and we're discussing her book 'Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination', and we touched – before the break we touched upon the "trajectory cone" and I'm still a little bit fuzzy in terms of trying to define what is the source by which we can establish what you've defined as well within what's possible, and which correspondingly establishes what's outside of that cone which makes it impossible.

SHERRY FIESTER: Well in order to create a trajectory cone you have to determine where the entry and exit wounds are, and in the case of President Kennedy there is no real evidence that we can say absolutely has not been compromised and – there's so many questions; wounds have been moved by governmental reports and – in different interpretations by people, so…

ALAN DALE: Or misrepresented. There's famous depictions, drawings of President Kennedy's posture, the disposition of his head, the angle of his head, which seemed to bear very very little resemblance to what we see when we freeze the Zapruder film at frame 312.

SHERRY FIESTER: But what we can do; I think it's very safe and I don' t think there would be very many people that would disagree, if you put forward that the entry wound was in the right front quadrant of the head. If you had a bird's-eye view of the skull, and you divided the head from front to back, that would be the median line, and then if you divided it across, basically from one ear to the other, if you took that right front portion, then you would be identifying the area of the head that almost everyone would agree the entry wound was located.

ALAN DALE: Mmm-hmm.

SHERRY FIESTER: And then if you take the right rear quadrant, most people readily agree that that's where the exit wound was, and if you use those areas instead of specific points as a point of entry and exit, then you can develop that wide range of trajectories that I spoke about earlier, and therefore develop that trajectory cone, and that's what I did, and that's what I help the reader to do as they read the book, so that they can come to some conclusion about where that cone is located.

ALAN DALE: But the parameters – the parameters that you're defining are right front and right rear.

SHERRY FIESTER: Correct.

ALAN DALE: And what's missing from that is any indication that any gunshot traversed the midline, from right hemisphere to the left hemisphere, of the president's skull. Is that right?

SHERRY FIESTER: Right. Because there is no documented evidence of damage to the left side of the head. So once you have that cone developed, the next step would be place President Kennedy in the direction that he is looking within Dealey Plaza, and luckily for us we have several studies that have done that, beginning with the House Select Committee, and they – most of the studies are just within a few degrees of each other, or less than one degree from each other, and those studies say that President Kennedy was approximately 25º beyond profile relative to Zapruder, who was filming the Zapruder film.

ALAN DALE: So our frame of reference, our familiar frame of reference, is from Abraham Zapruder's perspective, which is almost exactly 90º in relation to President Kennedy, and then his head is turned an additional 25º from that point.

SHERRY FIESTER: That's right. So if you can imagine that if you're looking straight ahead, to your right shoulder would be where Zapruder is, and then if you turn your head an additional 25º to the left, now you're in the position that President Kennedy was in when he suffered the fatal head wound. And when you take that position and you put it in Dealey Plaza, which anyone can do if they have a protractor and a map of Dealey Plaza, then you can draw a line where President Kennedy is looking out into Dealey Plaza. And then once you have the trajectory cone angle then you can also use that same angle with the protractor, and then you can determine the shooter has to be somewhere within that angle.

ALAN DALE: To the front of his head; we're defining what the real front means. What does 'front' mean?

SHERRY FIESTER: Right. Actually, the Grassy Knoll is excluded, because the Grassy Knoll is to the side of the President, it's not to the front, so a projectile coming from the Grassy Knoll would have hit in the side of the head and would have traveled out, exiting on the left side of the head, because from one side of the head to the other; that half of the head is only about two-and-a-half or three inches. If you have a projectile that's traveling 3,000 feet per second, it's impossible to believe that it would enter and then go to the right and left, and not continue forward into the left side of the head. It's kind of like a common sense thing at one point, but in a forensic sense to do a shooting reconstruction, the Grassy Knoll is absolutely excluded.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 04:54:27 am by Alan Dale »
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Alan Dale

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Re: Program Transcript: Sherry Fiester
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2014, 03:04:02 pm »
ALAN DALE: Wow. How has this news been received?

SHERRY FIESTER: Well, first time I decided in 2003 I had not really done a whole lot with the Kennedy assassination beyond the blood-spatter until 2003, and then I was just inundated with people saying: "Please continue, do something more, what else can you do?" and so I thought well, if I had been assigned this as a homicide one of the next steps that I would probably look at would be placing the perpetrator in the scene, and so I'd want to do a trajectory analysis, and when I found out that the Grassy Knoll was excluded, I made a phone call to my sister and said: "I've just completed the trajectory analysis" and of course she was absolutely thrilled to hear that, until I said: "And it excludes the Grassy Knoll", and she said…

ALAN DALE: And then she was less thrilled!

SHERRY FIESTER: Very much. She said: "Are you crazy?" That was her words.

ALAN DALE: Great! And that's your sister. Oh my!

SHERRY FIESTER: That's my sister! "Are you crazy?" She said: "People have been looking at this for 35 years: I'm sure that for 35 years they've not been wrong. All kind of people", you know, and she starts telling me all the reasons why it has to be the Grassy Knoll. And I'm like: "OK. I don't know how to say this. How do we change the laws of trigonometry? What can we possibly do here? There's nothing. We have to accept it." And eventually not only did she accept it, but many people have accepted it, and the real people that become proponents of this are those that actually do it themselves. You know, they work it out themselves; they put pencil and paper and they come up with the same result, and then they say: "Oh wow! OK, what else can you do but accept it? It's true."

ALAN DALE: Among that number of people there must include some psychological predisposition towards being open-minded; you remember the Schopenhauer quote – I don't know if he actually said it, but it's attributed to him: "All truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed; second it is violently opposed; third it is accepted as being self-evident, of course." So where are we?

SHERRY FIESTER: I think we're at all stages.

ALAN DALE: We're at all stages. Right.

SHERRY FIESTER: I think there are people that are in every stage, and of course there's people that haven't even heard that I'm saying this yet, which is one of the reasons why 'Enemy of the Truth' is so important; that we are getting information out to people so that they can utilize it in trying to determine what happened. But I can certainly remember the very first time that I spoke to an organization at a conference, and told them this, and…

ALAN DALE: What sort of organization?

SHERRY FIESTER: I was at a JFK Lancer November in Dallas conference, and I was used to speaking, but I usually spoke about blood-spatter and that kind of thing. And so I went in and I – they had no idea that I was going to talk about trajectory and I introduced this to them, and I had 300 people just looking at me like I had lost my mind, and I asked if there were any questions and everyone just sat there.

ALAN DALE: Dead silence.

SHERRY FIESTER: Dead silence. And I'm thinking to myself: "They're going to tar and feather me." I was like really worried. But then one person stood up, and as soon as that one person stood up half the room got up, got in line to stand at the mike and ask questions, and that was a big moment for me. That was a turning point for me, in more than one way but specifically that's when I quit preaching to the choir. That's when I became a historical researcher in the Kennedy assassination, and that's when I decided there's more to this case than even I know, and I owe it to myself and to everyone else that wants to know the truth to find out everything that I can.

And so I started working at that, and I started putting things together in articles and the very slow process of writing, and not to say that the book was ten years in the making, but the information that's in the book, most certainly, over the years I've had to change because forensics has changed, and we know more and more. In 2008 we had a big breakthrough as far as the case for Kennedy assassination is concerned and, you know, if I had written the book then we would not have had this information. So I think it's just the timing worked out well.

ALAN DALE: What was the break in 2008?

SHERRY FIESTER: That is the wound ballistics that we came to find explains the forward and then rear movement of the head.

ALAN DALE: And when you say: "We"?

SHERRY FIESTER: Well, I'm talking about the forensic community. I feel like I sit on the fence sometimes. You know, I'm interested in the Kennedy assassination but I'm…

ALAN DALE: Most identify with your professional colleagues and all that?

SHERRY FIESTER: Right. Mostly I do identify with the forensics, and not so much with beyond the forensics, as far as the Kennedy assassination is concerned, so I have a very specific and narrow area of interest there.

ALAN DALE: Well, you're defining it as very specific and narrow, but I can tell you from having read the book that I find it very refreshing, and maybe even additionally persuasive, that you're not pushing a particular theory; you're not relying upon your educated conjecture, which of course is probably a very subjective process for each of us, but you're really defining these things; you're subjecting the particular subjects of each chapter to very clear methodology; specific sort of processes by which we can differentiate between what has validity and what does not. And that doesn't require sort of a philosophical leaning.

SHERRY FIESTER: Right, because truly, as an expert, when you testify in court, you give the facts. You give what you know to be true, and help the court or the jury, whichever there is, to understand how that can be applied in the particular case that you're looking at. And yes, as an expert you are able to give your opinion on how that should be interpreted, but the very best experts on the stand, by the time they help – they explain what they're doing and help the listener – what is actually happening is the listener comes to the conclusion themselves, and then when you say this is the correct conclusion, they're saying: "Uh-huh. I have it right." And so they are convinced because of your testimony, not because you say: "I'm an expert, so trust me."

ALAN DALE: I see.

SHERRY FIESTER: That is just absolutely the wrong way to go, and the very best people in any forensic field that testify are very, very skilled in helping people that are not forensic experts to understand the discipline that they are talking about.

ALAN DALE: Mmm. Well this is new; I mean this book is a first in a number of different respects, so far as I'm aware. How would you characterize the reception to the book so far? What kind of reactions are you getting?

SHERRY FIESTER: Absolutely excellent. I have found that people have said to me: "Why did you wait so long to write this book?" and that it is almost like a research book, and that they can go back to it, and that it - it's like turning on a light; suddenly everything makes sense. Another person said to me: "I've had all these pieces of the puzzle and I've been trying to force them into fitting, and so because they wouldn't fit I'd say pieces are missing. You know; something has happened to part of my puzzle and pieces are missing, but actually I just wasn't looking at it correctly and if I turn it a little bit based upon what you've said I've made all the pieces fit now. I have a good picture."

You know, people have talked about what it means to them to have this information in different ways, but the main thing is that because the book is so heavily researched – I'm not asking someone just to believe me, but there are other people in this field that are standing behind me saying the exact same thing, and that they can read that for themselves. It has empowered them to make decisions about what is correct and what's not correct.

ALAN DALE: Mmm-hmm. Well, that's really interesting, or distinguishes itself in a rather crowded field. I believe that – fairly recently I looked at the Amazon – what was available on the subject of President Kennedy's assassination. It's multiple thousands of publications: at least four or five thousand books. Are there any materials that you found particularly influential, or particularly important? Any kind of books or anything that you've been drawn to during this process?

SHERRY FIESTER: I was very careful to look for the most recent professional journal entries that dealt with any of the disciplines that I was addressing. I wanted to use the most reliable and the latest information; not necessarily something that is still being researched and that there's controversy concerning it, but something that we can really hang our hat on and say: "Yes, this is reproducible; this is something that could go to court." – you know, it's accepted by the forensic community in that particular discipline. And so every chapter, because it deals with a different discipline, of course is going to have different books and different publications and different researchers that are professionals and specialized in that discipline. So I don't know that I could put my finger on a particular book and say: "That is the one that really made a difference or really helped me." Because truthfully, any time you do something like this you stand on the back of the people that have come before you.

ALAN DALE: Of course.

SHERRY FIESTER: You know, there are many people under me; there are many people, so I couldn't say a particular person or a particular book or journal article made a difference; I think these people are the ones, because obviously my real area of expertise is blood-spatter analysis; that is my specific area. Not that I'm not familiar with other things, but crime scene reconstruction, that has to do with the trajectory analysis and the blood-spatter analysis. Something like the limousine stop and how the brain perceives time, that is not my area of expertise, but I certainly know enough about it to know who the leading people are and to go to them, and get that information and bring it back to the reader with something that they know is reliable and that they can – current - and that's exactly what I did.

ALAN DALE: We're speaking with Sherry Fiester, author of 'Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics and the Kennedy Assassination.' It's time for us to take a brief intermission and we'll return in just a moment.

********************************************************************************

ALAN DALE: I'd like to continue with Sherry Fiester, author of 'Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics and the Kennedy Assassination', which is available from sherryfiester dot com, available JFK Lancer dot com, available at Amazon dot com, and probably some other dot coms for all I know. I noted that in something of a departure from some of the preceding chapters there is something that you included, the title of which is 'The Witnesses' and you make specific reference to a number of people that you've encountered; have described some of your personal experiences, and I wondered if I could ask you to describe a little of that; to touch upon that. I found that area of the book to be full of humanity and compassion and decency and very warm recollection. I wonder if we could touch upon that?

SHERRY FIESTER: Absolutely. It is a stark contrast I think to the rest of the book because the first portion; the first eight chapters of the book are just very cut and dry: this is the information, because there's, you know, a forensic and scientific legal viewpoint there. But I know that there were people that were deeply influenced by the death of President Kennedy; their lives have changed; they were not outside looking in, as I am right now, but they were actually there, and a participant in what went on, in some way. And those people throughout the research community have become known as 'The Witnesses', and I had met many of them, but I just took a handful of people that I wanted to write about because there was something special and specific about them, and so I wanted to include them in the book and... I could write a book just on the witnesses, because they are such a special, special group of people, and I respect them very much for wanting to share such a terrible time of their life with total strangers.

ALAN DALE: Some probably reluctantly.

SHERRY FIESTER: Yes, I'm sure that it's not easy for them. I can't imagine that it would be.

ALAN DALE: Oh, yes, we've probably all seen the extraordinarily poignant encounter between Mike Wallace and Clint Hill back around 1975: absolutely devastating interview where basically Clint Hill spoke publicly for the first time about his experience and accepted full responsibility, which was so difficult to watch; it was so poignant; it was so touching. And I think it was revealing about how someone who was in a position to be involved in it, in a way which was not vicarious, to experience it in a way that is absolutely apart from anybody else on the outside, and yet honestly and truly, there's nothing anyone could have done. No human being can move faster than a speeding bullet.

SHERRY FIESTER: That's correct.

ALAN DALE: Tell me about Officer Bobby Hargis. Describe the meeting with the students.

SHERRY FIESTER: I've met Bobby Hargis and his wife several times.

ALAN DALE: And who was he?

SHERRY FIESTER: I was excited to meet him because he was one of the motorcycle police officers that were assigned to President Kennedy's motorcade.

ALAN DALE: So he was escorting the limousine?

SHERRY FIESTER: Right, and he was to the left and rear of the limousine. And because I was a police officer I was, you know, interested in meeting him, and so I had a couple of different opportunities that I did that, and he is a wonderful person. He's a big guy; you can see in conversation with him he's very principled, and even though he was retired when I met him, he still carried himself like a police officer. And, you know, we had several conversations, but not anything that was really intense. Of course I asked him at one point to describe the blood-spatter, you know, because I was writing at that time about that and even then, so many years later, when he talked to me about it it brought tears to his eyes: he was just, you know, still deeply affected by what had happened that particular day, and he shared that with him, and I put a little bit about that in there.

But you asked particularly about a point when he was presenting information to some students at a educational conference, and I was there and I was going to be following him as a speaker, and he talked about, you know, what happened that day, and gave his thoughts, and then some of the people in the audience very thoughtlessly – and maybe they didn't intend it to be like that - but it sounded very accusatory, and they were saying things like: "Why didn't you do something to stop the President from being killed?"

ALAN DALE: Oh my!

SHERRY FIESTER: Hargis immediately started tearing up, and kinda stammered and said that he'd done everything that he could. Well immediately the question and answer segment was stopped by the person that was running the conference and I went to the front, because I was the next person, and I just couldn't even wait to be introduced, and I just looked at the audience and said, you know: "How could you do this? Because if you have ever been in the same room and your child hurt themself, or they fell or spilt milk or whatever, why didn't you stop it? Why didn't you do something about it?" And of course they were very silent. And I said: "Look, wearing a uniform doesn't make you able to stop a speeding bullet, and neither Bobby Hargis or anyone else in that motorcade could have stopped that bullet." It's very hard for us to imagine how someone who's committed their life to the protection and service of someone else is to have that happen in front of them. And our nation was changed when the President was murdered, and so was the life of Bobby Hargis and all of those other men who were there that day, who were doing everything that they could to do the best job that they could to protect the people to whom they were assigned.

ALAN DALE: Yes.

SHERRY FIESTER: So it was a very - it was a very mixed day for me. Of course I was thrilled to have spent time with him, but I was heartbroken that he had been treated so thoughtlessly. And afterwards I had a chance to speak with him and his wife very briefly, and I told him that I felt privileged to know him.

ALAN DALE: Very nice.

SHERRY FIESTER: He thanked me for my comments and I thanked him for a lifetime of dedication to others. I haven't spoken to him since then.

ALAN DALE: One of the other extraordinary people you describe meeting – I'm not going to ask you to go into detail about it, but it is – it strikes me as – I'm curious to know if, without regard to the content of your experience with Marina Oswald – Marina Oswald Porter – I'm curious to know if there was ever a moment during that – afternoon was it? I believe it was a full afternoon?

SHERRY FIESTER: Yes, I spent a full day with her.

ALAN DALE: Was there a moment where you looked at it from outside of yourself and thought: "This is truly surreal"?

SHERRY FIESTER: Absolutely, it was. You know, we did get to spend the day together and it was a fascinating day to say the least, but the reason that I was there was to talk to her about my forensic work, and I got to watch the Zapruder film with her…

ALAN DALE: My goodness!

SHERRY FIESTER: …and as we were watching the Zapruder film – I mean, on the outside I was calmly sitting there, but on the inside I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

ALAN DALE: Oh, yeah, yes! I can only imagine.

SHERRY FIESTER: I was like: "Oh my gosh! What am I doing here? I cannot believe I am here and doing this" and I was so worried about was I being insensitive, and – you know, it was just surreal for me. And even as I think back about it today it's just astounding that I was, you know, able to do that, and that we talked about something so personal when I didn't really know her well enough to do that. I didn't know her at all to speak about personal things, and how much more personal can you be than to talk about whether or not your husband killed the President of the United States, and how you feel about it. So yeah, it was, it was quite a complicated and – interesting is not – I just can't convey how that day was, although I did write about it, and talked about how much I enjoyed meeting her, because she is very fascinating and intelligent, and I really liked her; I did.

ALAN DALE: Mmm-hmm. Extraordinary episode, and I appreciate that you included it in the book. Were her daughters in attendance? Were they present or was she…?

SHERRY FIESTER: They were not, no. It was just Marina was there; no-one else in her family.

ALAN DALE: I've read a quote attributed to you; I believe you were asked about why you wrote the book, and you've touched upon some of that earlier during this interview – during this conversation I should say. I'm curious to know, you've used the phrase "historical narrative" as it applies to all of what has happened in the intervening decades since America and the world were confronted by this tragic and consequential event. Would you address that just for a moment?

SHERRY FIESTER: Absolutely. Our official version of what happened, I think most people believe, is that Oswald fired three shots and that he injured President Kennedy and Governor Connolly, there was a missed shot, and then he struck President Kennedy in the head and killed him. And that's what the official version is, and for many years that official version has been taught to our children in schools and that's what the mainstream media reports. Recently they've started to say "alleged" occasionally; not very often but occasionally you'll hear "alleged"; "Oswald allegedly killed the President", but although 90% of the country believes, according to a 2003 CBS poll, that there is a conspiracy, and I think that the American people, and especially those American people that have gone before us, and fought for our country and died for our country so that we would, you know, have truth here, and that it is a - there's a certain transparency that should be available to us as citizens. And especially after this time: I mean what possible security breach could there be at this point, 50 years later?

ALAN DALE: Yeah.

SHERRY FIESTER: I feel like that needs to be corrected, and I feel like there is a personal – a personal quest on my part; that I need to take that and do something with it. And I've told a lot of people, and lots of people that have conversed with me over the last ten years – I used to have a standard signature attached to all of my outgoing emails, that said: "I'm only one, but I am one, and even one can make a difference. So I will do what I can and hope others do their part, because together we are more than just one." And it really saddened me to know that the assassination of President Kennedy was so rife with distorted ideas and theories, and because of that not even the people that believe in conspiracy have it correct.

ALAN DALE: Yeah.

SHERRY FIESTER: And I could see that they were struggling to determine what was true and what wasn't, and I knew that I had some of that information that could help them answer the questions, and to not share that information would be wrong of me. So in late 2011 I began to seriously work on the book that would eventually be called 'Enemy of The Truth' and it was published in November of 2012.

ALAN DALE: Well, my sincere thanks to you for bringing us up to date. I always look upon these questions, this – the experience of concerning ourselves with what happened so many years ago - as a work in progress, as a journey; we may all be in this separately but it's to our mutual advantage to assist each other along the way. And I want to thank you sincerely for bringing us up to date, and assisting us on our journey. Your book is 'Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination', by Sherry Fiester. Miss Fiester, thank you so much for being with us: it was informative for me; it was beneficial, and I'm hopeful that others will feel the same.

SHERRY FIESTER: Thank you so much. I really do appreciate the opportunity to share, you know, my personal feelings about why I wrote the book, and also to have an opportunity to say to people: "If you really want to know the truth, it's out there."

ALAN DALE: Thank you. You've been listening to 'Conversations', a JFK Lancer production. Good evening.


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