FURTHER TESTIMONY OF SGT. CECIL KIRK, DIRECTOR, MOBILE CRIME LABORATORY, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - Sergeant Kirk, I would ask you to refer to what has been marked as JFK Exhibit F-166, which is the enlargement showing Lee Harvey Oswald on the left, and I would like to ask you, what issue did this photograph present to the photographic evidence panel?
Sergeant KIRK - Yes, sir. This is the photograph that was taken by the U.S. Marine Corps induction center at the time Lee Harvey Oswald was inducted into the Marine Corps. And the photographic panel was asked to examine the photograph to see if. (1) It could be determined whether it was a faked or composite photograph; and (2) to make a determination of whether the apparent disparity in the height chart and the head length, could be explained.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - I would ask you at this time. Sergeant Kirk, to refer to what has been marked as JFK F-564, which is the exhibit on the right, and I would ask you to explain how the photographic evidence panel addressed the issue of Oswald's purported 13-inch head.
Sergeant KIRK - Well, the exhibit on the right is a demonstration conducted at Metropolitan Police Headquarters. It depicts a Metropolitan Police officer, W.W. Lee. The photograph on the extreme left of the three photos shows Officer Lee with his back against a height chart. It indicates that he is a little over 69 inches tall. The second photograph shows Officer Lee, who has walked away from the wall, a mere 7 inches. The height scale to Officer Lee's right, your left as you look at it, shows that Officer Lee still stays 69 inches tall but the height scale in the background, which is 7 inches away from the gentleman, shows he is starting to grow in height. Indeed, in this photograph he has a 13-inch head, if you count the inches in the background, but when you count the inches that are next to his head, his head size stays the same. The photograph on the right of the exhibit, Officer Lee has now moved out 14 inches away from the height scale, he has grown considerably taller, if you look at the height scale in the background, and his head has also increased in length, but as the height scale that has moved out with Officer Lee shows he remains at 69 inches tall and his head size has not changed.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - I realize you have indicated that the subject in the photographs has moved away from the height chart. Are you able to explain in more detail what factors account for the Apparent 13-inch head in one of these photographs and also for the disparity in his indicated height?
Sergeant KIRK - Yes, sir. It was determined that at the time these photographs were taken, an ID camera, much used in the military as well as other types of the Government, was a type of camera that was mounted on a dolly, with the lights and the camera and the numbering chart affixed where it could be pushed out of the way when not in use. So if Mr. Oswald was brought into the induction center to be photographed and told to stand next to the height chart, it didn't really make any difference to the photographer whether or not Mr. Oswald was standing next to the height chart or not, because he could move the camera up or away from Oswald to get the photograph that he wanted. This chart on the right demonstrates the fact that unless Mr. Oswald was standing directly with his back against the wall and the camera was at the correct distance, it would not be an accurate recording of his true height.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - I am sorry, I did not catch your last sentence.
Sergeant KIRK - It is unreasonable to assume that this photograph is the actual recording of his true height. I should add if it is an actual recording of his true height, then it would be an inaccurate recording of his head size.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - How common is the use of height charts in pictures today, mug shots today?
Sergeant KIRK - It is very uncommon, mainly because law forcement plus industrial security work, where they take these types of photographs, they have found very often the photographer, rather than the following the rules and making sure the subject is standing in the right place, that the camera is at the right height, the photographer either tilts the camera to compensate for the person not standing in the right place or changes focus, and so forth.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - Did the photographic evidence panel find any evidence of composition with regard to the photograph of Oswald?
Sergeant KIRK - No; we did not.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - Sergeant Kirk, you work for the Metropolitan Police Department in its crime lab section; is that correct?
Sergeant KIRK - Yes.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - And as part of your work you are associated with the records identification division of the police department'?
Sergeant KIRK - Yes, sir.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - Let me ask you this, then: Is it unusual official records to report disparate heights for any particular individual?
Sergeant KIRK - No; it is not.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - Why not?
Sergeant KIRK - We have found--and the Air Force has conducted studies to bear out the same point--that people are almost an inch taller in the daytime, in the morning, than they are in the afternoon. Also, studies conducted both by the Air Force and by law enforcement people, when they would ask people to describe their height, roughly one-third of those interviewed said they were 2 inches taller than they actually are, and the other two-thirds said that they were at least 1 inch taller than they actually are. In other words, the American male sees himself as being from 1 to 2 inches taller than his actual height if he is asked.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - I have one final question, Sergeant. In a mug shot, is it possible for the length of the head to appear to be the same and yet for there to be a significant difference in the indicated height as reflected in the height chart? I am positing now a situation where you have a series of photographs.
Sergeant KIRK - Certainly. We don't know if the subject is barefooted, wearing l-inch or 2-inch heels, we don't know if he has some type of back condition that makes him stand in a slouchy position. Certainly this wouldn't change the head size itself. Certainly his stature, the skeleton, the way he is standing would make it appear he is shorter or taller than he actually is.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - Are you willing to provide this committee with an exhibit demonstrating that the head size can remain the same in the photograph while the length of the body is different?
Sergeant KIRK - Yes; I am.
Mr. GOLDSMITH - Thank you, Sergeant. I have no further questions.
Chairman STOKES. Thank you, counsel. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Fithian, for such time as he may consume.
Mr. FITHIAN - Sergeant, I would like to just ask, reask, a similar question to that of counsel. Is it my understanding that you said that because of these variations in most cases in industry and law enforcement agencies and others have gotten away from the photo with the height chart?
Sergeant KIRK - Yes, sir.
Mr. FITHIAN - Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions of this witness.
Chairman STOKES. The time of the gentleman has expired, The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Preyer.
Mr. PREYER - I would only say that we have always heard that statistics don't always lie but they seldom voluntarily tell the truth, and I think we can add photographs to that now also. Thank you, Sergeant, for your testimony.
Chairman STOKES. The time of the gentleman has expired. The gentleman from Connecticut.
Mr. MCKINNEY - No questions.
Chairman STOKES. The gentleman from Pennsylvania.
Mr. EDGAR - No questions.
Chairman STOKES. Sergeant Kirk, I believe this now concludes your testimony before our committee. finder our rules, as a witness, we can now extend to you the 5 minutes if you so desire to make any comment upon your testimony before our committee. I extend to you that time if you so desire.
Sergeant KIRK - Thank you. i would just like to acknowledge the input of the 19 other members of the photographic panel and to express the feelings of the photographic panel to thank you for your confidence that you expressed in us, and we hope we have served you well.
Chairman STOKES. You certainly have, and on behalf of the committee we certainly appreciate the time and energy and expertse provided this committee by both you and the other members of this distinguished panel of photographic experts with which you served. So we thank you very much for the help you have given us.
Sergeant KIRK. Thank you.