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Dr Thomas Noguchi: LA coroner confidential
(tells all about the dark age of Hollywood homicide:
Marilyn Monroe, Robert Kennedy, Sharon Tate...)
by John Preston, Telegraph, Sep 10, 2009

Dr Thomas Noguchi, now 82, sits in his salmon pink mock Tudor house in Los Angeles.... As you talk to Noguchi, it's hard not to glance down at his hands. He has long, delicate fingers and as he talks he folds them together. When he closes his eyes, it looks as if he is in prayer. And what a strange, often terrible, story these hands have to tell....

After Marilyn Monroe’s death [August 4, 1962], Noguchi went on to become the Chief Medical Examiner for Los Angeles – a position he held from 1967 to 1982. He was also the inspiration for the hit television series Quincy. As the Chief Medical Examiner, Noguchi was to prove a controversial figure, frequently accused of being a keen – even slavish – publicity hound. In 1983 he published a biography, Coroner to the Stars. But what no one – not even his many detractors – can deny is that during his time at the top, Noguchi presided over a kind of Dark Age of Hollywood homicide.

Six years after Monroe’s death came the murder of her alleged lover, Robert F Kennedy. The moment when Noguchi heard the words 'Kennedy’s been shot!’ left him, he says, more shaken than at any other time in his career. But this time he was more experienced, more determined not to get anything wrong. 'I knew that all kinds of mistakes had been made with the autopsy on John F Kennedy and I wanted to make sure everything was absolutely right'.

At 8.30pm on June 5 1968, 22 hours after Kennedy had been shot, the phone rang in his office. When Noguchi picked it up, he was told, 'Senator Kennedy’s brain waves have gone flat'.

The first question Noguchi asked when he was shown Kennedy’s body was, 'Where are the hair shavings?' The surgeons who had operated on Kennedy had partially shaved his head and Noguchi knew, or suspected, these hair shavings could contain critical evidence.

When he came to start the autopsy, he did something he had never done before: he asked for Kennedy’s face to be covered with a towel. 'I had such admiration for him, such hope that he would become President, that I did not want to be influenced by my feelings.’

Noguchi discovered that one bullet passed through Kennedy's right armpit, another – which he recovered – had lodged in his spinal column, while a third – the one that killed him – had penetrated his skull just to the left of his right ear and subsequently shattered.

A day after he’d done the autopsy, Noguchi was called by a criminalist at the LAPD who said that soot had been found in the hair shavings. ‘I really sat up in my chair when I heard that. This was a very important discovery because all the witnesses had reported that the gunman [Sirhan Sirhan] had been at least a yard away from Kennedy when he shot him. But soot meant that a gun had been discharged from a much closer range.’

To the surprise of his colleagues, Noguchi asked if he could be provided with seven pigs’ ears. Once these had been fetched from a local butcher, he took them to the Police Academy for ballistics tests. The patterns of soot on the pigs’ ears suggested that the shot that killed Kennedy had been fired from just three inches away. Either all the witnesses had been wrong, or else there had been more than one gunman.

Even now, Noguchi is unsure what really happened. His professional instinct, he says, tells him that Sirhan Sirhan carried out the assassination on his own. ‘Based on the available information, I’m certain there was just one gunman, but I’m also aware that, like theories of the universe, things keep changing.’....

Dr Thomas Noguchi: LA coroner confidential, Telegraph, Sep 10, 2009




43.Winston Talks In Sleep (...All the while, with one part of his mind, he wondered how soon they would shoot him.... The one certain thing was that death never came at an expected moment. The tradition - the unspoken tradition: somehow you knew it, though you never heard it said - was that they shot you from behind: always in the back of the head, without warning, as you walked down a corridor...)


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com