Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D. (1931-2024): Acclaimed Pathologist, Professor, Author, Civic Leader and Devoted Family Man



Dr. Cyril Wecht

“There was, and will only be, one Dr. Cyril H. Wecht.”
President Ken Gormley, J.D., Duquesne University.

By Glenda de Vaney, Chair, Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA) (Guest Column)

No one who came before him or who will come after him can be compared with Dr. Wecht (shown above in his laboratory). He stands alone in his accomplishments, whether they be connected to his skill as a forensic pathologist or as a truth-teller about the John F. Kennedy assassination.

That’s the view of virtually all those who knew the man, including the Board of CAPA, an organization he founded and chaired. He advanced to the post of Chairman Emeritus earlier this year and continued to provide active participation at all our board meetings this year until the most recent one.

We’ll describe below our experiences at CAPA working with this brave, honorable and civic-minded leader exploring such sensitive matters as jfk 1959 senate office lookmagcurrent research on the 1960s deaths of President John F. Kennedy, left, his brother Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

First, however, it’s both necessary and appropriate to describe how the world, his nation and his other varied communities benefited from his rare expertise and dedication.

Helping illustrate his scope and impact is, for example, the obituary published by the Associated Press via the Los Angeles Times on May 13 under the headline: Dr. Cyril Wecht, celebrity pathologist who argued more than 1 shooter killed JFK, dies at 93.

He became world famous as an expert broadcast commentator, author, and courtroom expert analyzing the true cause of deaths for such celebrities as JFK, RFK, MLK, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, JonBenet Ramsey, Brian Jones and many, many others.

But the essence of the man is reflected also in his service for 20 years as the elected part-time coroner of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County, the locale of Pittsburgh. His was a position of trust whereby he served as the indispensable independent expert providing judgment and sometimes accountability regarding the deaths of non-celebrities — including on occasion those who may have met their demise in ways not apparent to police or prosecutors — or even perhaps at the hands of rogue law enforcers, and then covered up.

His renown emanated also from his close collaborations and enduring friendships with other leading coroners and medical examiners, including thomas noguchisuch iconic figures as Dr. Henry Lee of New Haven, Dr. Michael Baden of New York City and Dr. Thomas Noguchi of Los Angeles, right, plus his prodigious output as an author and teacher. He authored or co-authored 45 professional books for doctors and lawyers, the five-volume set Forensic Sciences, plus other books for general readers, plus more than 500 expert articles in his field — or we should say “fields” because his wide-ranging expertise covered several.

Of particular pride was his long association with Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he taught forensic pathology to duquesne logomedical students for many years and founded The Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law, which provides a wide range of continuing learning opportunities on cutting-edge issues vital to medical, law enforcement, and other legal professionals. The programs, organized in significant part by Program Director Benjamin Wecht, his son, have long provided both in person and by remote video expert analysis of cause-of-death mysteries, sometimes using for teaching case history medical evidence that is confidential and so unlikely to be available for other purposes.

Some of these highlights are available in two recent books that reflect his prodigious energies even late in life, when he performed more than 500 cyril wecht life and deaths coverautopsies a year (double the average number for coroners) until just three years ago. One book is The JFK Assassination Dissected: An Analysis by Forensic Pathologist Cyril Wecht,” co-authored by Dawna Kaufmann and with a forward by Oliver Stone (Exposit/McFarland, 2022). The other book is his memoir, The Life and Deaths of Cyril Wecht: America’s Most Controversial Forensic Pathologist, right, coauthored with Jeff M. Sewald, (Exposit/McFarland, 2020).

He was well-known for his ability to fight effectively on some of the nation’s hottest and most-longstanding controversies. This includes the medical evidence regarding the JFK assassination, while also maintaining cordial relationships – up to a point – even with some of his major forensic adversaries.

arlen specterOne was the late U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, left, who as a Warren Commission staff member in 1964 successfully advocated to Commission members that they endorse the so-called “single-bullet theory” that pointed, erroneously in the analysis of Dr. Wecht’s analysis and a number of other experts. This was the concept that one bullet supposedly fired by Lee Harvey Oswald caused JFK’s death plus multiple other wounds in him and Texas Governor John Connally, a fellow presidential limo passenger, during the fateful motorcade through Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Connally himself maintained until his death that there must have been more than one shooter.

Dr. Wecht served as a pallbearer at Specter’s funeral at the request of the deceased.

Those of us at CAPA came to know him from his pioneering work through the decades to expose, based on scientific evidence, the shortcomings of the Warren Report and conventional wisdom in most of mainstream media that parroted the Warren Report’s misleading narrative, much the same as misreporting or biased narratives on certain other cases, including the deaths of RFK and MLK.

Dr. Wecht has been a leader in forensic pathology. His career is best described by Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor and prolific commentator, who observed, “When Cyril Wecht started practicing, his profession was not highly regarded.…Forensic science is “in” today; however, in those days, when he was first practicing, Cyril was the lone ranger and he created the profession, professionalized it, and made it what it is today, which is central to the administration of justice.”

Dr. Cyril Wecht, shown at the National Press Club describing during the news media's annual Sunshine Week the extreme reluctance of the nation's national news media to report on the forensic medical evidence undercutting the Warren Report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Photo courtesy of Noel St. John).pc st john

Dr. Cyril Wecht is shown at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, describing during the news media's annual Sunshine Week the extreme reluctance of the nation's national news media to report on the forensic medical evidence undercutting the Warren Report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Photo courtesy of Noel St. John)

Peter Vaira is a former U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania who acts as special hearing master in the state. He has written an article about Dr. Wecht that states, "Dr. Wecht has shaped the law such that the use of forensic pathology is now de rigueur in death cases."


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Legacy Endures For Injustice Fighter William Pepper After April Death


MLK, RFK Supporter Dared Challenge Official Assassination Accounts

Dr. William (Bill) F. Pepper, an international civil and human rights attorney best known for defending the innocence of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s accused assassin, James Earl Ray, died at age 86 in New York City on April 7, 2024, after a long series of illnesses.

william pepper headshotPepper, shown at left in a file photo, had become a friend and close collaborator of King before King's 1968 assassination and then undertook Ray's defense post-conviction at the request of King Family members after Pepper's own independent investigation persuaded him that Ray had been framed to hide the guilt of King's actual killers. 

Pepper's investigation, three books on the topic (the first, Act of State, shown below right) and other advocacy proved controversial. But the controversies failed to deter him from similar legal representation of Sirhan Sirhan, advocating the innocence of the convicted murderer of 1968 Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, whom Pepper also had strongly supported william pepper act of statein 1960s politics.

Late in life, Pepper, who served as both a director and counsel of the Justice Integrity Project, brought this editor/attorney into his orbit on several of his projects, including legal representation of Sirhan's so-far unsuccessful effort to win parole.

As a result, Pepper's widow, Mina Nguyen-Pepper, invited me to undertake three readings at his funeral service in Harlem on April 27, 2024. Among the readings was that of a letter the family had received the previous day from Dr. Bernice A. King, the youngest daughter of the slain civil rights leader and his late widow, Coretta Scott King. The letter from Bernice King, now CEO of the King Center in Atlanta, GA, reproduced below, stated the daughter's belief that Pepper had exhibited the rarest combination of bravery, skill and effectiveness in researching the true cause of her father's death and identifying those responsible.

The materials below, which include this author's personal perspectives, seek to preserve Pepper's legacy and inspire others by recreating below elements of the service. The service was enhanced by a series of powerful speakers, including Pepper's widow, daughter and pastor, who described Pepper's is personal and civic qualities in the historical framework of the ongoing global struggle for human rights.

william pepper mlk

 William F. Pepper, left, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. confer at the headtable of the 1967 National Conference for New Politics civil rights and anti-war conference.


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Book Launch Exclusive: Lee Harvey Oswald Friend Debunks Norman Mailer's Epic 'Oswald's Tale'


Introduction: The Justice Integrity Project proudly presents the never-before-published recollections of Professor Ernst Titovets debunking his portrayal and that of his friend Lee Harvey Oswald in the late Norman Mailer's epic 1995 book, "Oswald's Tale," a near-800-page biography of Oswald, whom Mailer described as a psychologically tormented sole assassin of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

ernst oswald titovets cover Through the decades, Titovets researched and then published his own recollections of his friend Oswald, resulting in a 541-page memoir entitled Oswald: Russian Episode, published in multiple print and electronic editions. In 2024, the book is being published for the first time in a Russian-language edition. It debuts this week in a Jan. 25 lecture (postponed from Jan. 17) by the author at the Pushkin Library in Minsk.

The book refers the reader to the events of the early 1960s and the odyssey of Oswald, an alleged assassin of JFK. "In some uncanny way," Titovets says, "the norman mailer oswald bestfate of this book has crossed with that of Oswald’s Tale: An  American  Mystery, Mailer's book. In the center of both books is the greatest still-unsolved mystery of the 20th century, the assassination of JFK and the disputed involvement of Oswald in this act."

Both authors (Mailer and Titovets, shown below right in a recent photo) met in Minsk, the Belarus capital then within the Soviet Union, where Oswald once resided. Both authors interviewed a largely overlapping spectrum of people who knew Oswald, received the same information about his background, and his life in the Soviet Union. They acquainted themselves with the same official documents on relevant issues, although Titovets has largely confined his appraisals to Oswald's years in the Soviet Union, not the rest of his life and the vast numbers of commentaries by others about it.

Ernst Titovets newest 2024Surprisingly, each author arrived at mutually exclusive conclusions about Oswald’s character and guilt. Mailer portrays Oswald as a mentally unstable man with megalomaniac tendencies and as the assassin of JFK, in keeping with official statements by the FBI and Warren Commission in the year after the killing. On the other hand, Titovets portrays Oswald as a young, grassroots philosopher seeking ways to make life better for the poor and dispossessed, and a patsy in the JFK assassination. The emergence of these two polar-opposite Oswalds on the basis of similar sourcing within the Soviet Union should be a puzzling and important occurrence, and is thus the topic for this column.

In the autumn of 1992, Norman Mailer, age 69, was an esteemed American writer, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and the author of many books. When he came to Minsk his aim was to research his book about Oswald, who resided in the city for two-and-a-half years.

Oswald’s close friend Erich [Ernst] Titovets, who also lived in Minsk, prompted special attention from Mailer, doubtless because Titovets was a rare English-speaker in the city, thereby fostering an unusual amount of time spent with Oswald three decades previous.

At the time of the Mailer visit, Titovets, age 53, had earned both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees and served as the head of the Experimental Department at the Neurology and Neurosurgery Research Institute. At his department, Professor Titovets and his 21-person team were engaged in brain research, cerebral pathology and therapy. In his spare time, Titovets was working on his own book about his late friend Oswald.

The two authors met when Mailer and his entourage visited the professor at his office without preliminary notice in October 1992. We travel back in time to try to witness that meeting, with the rest of this account in the words of Titovets:


By Ernst Titovets:

There appeared before me two rather corpulent senior men in the formal suits of some couturier. An elegant, platinum-blonde woman accompanied them. The men introduced themselves as Norman Mailer and Larry Schiller. The English-speaking Russian woman, called Mila, was their interpreter.

Mailer, later speaking at D.G. Wills Books in 1995, would recall that his friend Schiller had prompted the research and publication of his Oswald’s Tale. Mailer would indulgingly refer to him as the "somewhat rascally" Larry Schiller. In the 1980s, Schiller had directed in Russia the picture Peter the Great and was thus familiar with certain aspects of the local culture and momentous changes underway when the Soviet Union started to disintegrate. Schiller had approached the KGB in Moscow and somehow managed to extract from them a promise to show their secret Oswald’s files to Mailer. Schiller argued that Mailer was a great writer, an American Tolstoy, and this seemed to have worked. Schiller then called Mailer, outlined the situation and persuaded him to write about Oswald's time in Minsk, a possibility that Mailer had already been considering. According to Mailer, Schiller showed that he could solve various research problems, including interview arrangements.

ernst titovets norman mailer 1992

Professor Ernst Titovets (left) and writer Norman Mailer at the professor’s office in Minsk (October 1992).

This was the background when I first met Mailer in my office. The eminent writer struck me as a dignified man with an imposing, well-mannered presence. Schiller, by contrast, produced an impression of a shifty sort with somewhat aggressive and informal manners. We chatted for a brief time, with just small talk. Before they left, we agreed to see more of each other in the near future.

I was duly impressed and indeed happy with my new acquaintance. I looked forward to seeing more of Mailer, discussing things with him, exchanging ideas, learning about his vision of Oswald and of the JFK issues.

My euphoria turned out to be short-lived. Before we met again, I received an ice-cold shower in the form of a 1967 book, The Scavengers and Critics co-authored by Lawrence Schiller and Richard W. Lewis. My long-distance American friend David S. Lifton, the California-based author of The Best Evidence, had sent me a copy. The book was a harsh attack against authors who had voiced objections to the official treatment of the JFK assassination. The book  was based on an investigation by Lawrence Schiller, that very Larry Schiller who had accompanied Mailer to my office.

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New On 'District Insiders': The TV movie that deterred nuclear war danger


distict insiders logo guest 002

The TV movie that deterred nuclear war danger

Director of ABC-TV’s 1983 “The Day After” Tells Why


By Wayne Madsen and Andrew Kreig

Famed storyteller Nicholas Meyer – Director of The Day After, the most-watched television film in U.S. history – this week described on the investigative podcast District Insiders his film’s enduring impact in deterring nuclear war.

More than 100 million Americans are estimated to have watched The Day After during its broadcast on ABC-TV. Many times that number watched in the Soviet Union and elsewhere globally.

nicholas meyerMeyer, right, described also why he and others associated with the film and the 2020 follow up documentary Television Event, produced by Jeff Daniels, have been making public appearances this fall that included visits to the United Nations and, on Dec. 4, to Lawrence, Kansas for a showing of Television Event, with a panel discussion that Meyer joined via Zoom.

The Day After portrayed the Kansas locale, the U.S. geographic center and home also to the University of Kansas, as a devastated ruin if nuclear war erupts. The film’s treatment was so powerful that it shocked many viewers, including President Ronald Reagan, into dramatic actions to reduce the risks of nuclear war.

“At a time when the world seems to be sleepwalking toward nuclear disaster, a new documentary aims to shake us into recognizing the danger -- just as The Day After did 40 years ago,” Meyers and his team said in advance of the forthcoming American release of Television Event early next year via the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) network.

District Insiders hosts Andrew Kreig and Wayne Madsen, reporters and authors long based in Washington, DC, explored further with Meyer the creative vision leading to the documentary and its enduring impact in motivating him, his colleagues and many others determined to raise alarms about cataclysmic threats.

The director, whose credits include directing three of the Star Trek films, several other major hits and authoring seven novels, recalled that while he was trying to decide whether to accept the offer to direct this film he shared with a psychiatric counselor how the project seemed likely to be squashed by hostile forces, thereby wasting everyone's time and hindering careers.

Nonetheless, recalled Meyer, himself the son of psychiatrist, his counselor stepped out of that profession’s traditional listening mode to advise that all of us robert oppenheimer 1944have a responsibility to try to do what's right if the stakes are high enough for the world.

In his 67-minute District Insiders interview, Meyer recalled also a lasting memory of an encounter when at age seven his family met Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, right, widely regarded as “The father of the atomic bomb” because of his leadership in developing it during World War II.

Oppenheimer, subject of the blockbuster film Oppenheimer released last summer, seemed like one of the saddest people Meyer ever met, Meyer recalled, noting that the sadness was striking even to a seven-year-old who had only the vaguest understanding of Oppenheimer’s past.

Click for 'District Insiders'

Watch, share and like the Nicholas Meyer interview at this site or others (via audio-only or video), and sign up for future shows!


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JFK Assassination 60th Anniversary Prompts Conferences, Books, Films, Probes


cyril wecht institute 2023


The Nov. 22 60th anniversary of the history-changing assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 has prompted many new books, films and other commentary, including stellar new programs at three annual research conferences.

The Justice Integrity Project typically supports all three of the conferences but this year is primarily focused on one attracting major speakers to one organized by The Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh beginning Wednesday, Nov. 15 and continuing through Friday, alec baldwin gettyNov. 17.

The speaker program is here. It showcases top experts drawn from as far as Europe, including former Secret Service special agent Paul Landis and film and TV star, Alex Baldwin, a respected author and researcher into the assassination shown at left in a photo via Getty Images.

wechtThe Wecht Institute, which will be dedicated with new research materials during the conference, is named for the eminent forensic pathologist, author, medical school professor and coroner Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., who has disputed since the 1960s many official findings regarding the causes of Kennedy's death. Wecht also co-founded and chairs the group Citizens Against Political Assassinations (CAPA), which is co-sponsoring the Pittsburgh conference. He is shown in a file photo at right,

Justice Integrity Project Editor Andrew Kreig, a founding member of CAPA's board, will moderate a CAPA segment of the conference on the evening of Nov. 16 that will include a lifetime achievement awards presentation to Wecht. It includes a video replay of his blunt denunciation three decades ago at a 1993 JFK Assassination research conference in Chicago, whereby Wecht, a longtime medical school professor and author of sixty books, including textbooks used in medical schools, challenged in blunt terms the scientific acumen of those other members of the American Medical Association who had claimed that one bullet could have caused so many wounds for Kennedy, popularly known as JFK, and Texas Gov. John Connally, who was riding in the same limo and survived multiple wounds.

john connally time coverConnally, a World War II combat veteran and former U.S. Treasury Secretary shown at left on a Time Magazine cover, always insisted that gunshots came from multiple directions and that bullet fragments remained lodged in his body throughout his life. Both of those Connally arguments undercut the "single bullet theory" proposed by the Warren Commission and its Assistant Counsel Arlen Specter, the future U.S. senator from Pennsylvania,. The Warren Commission issued a still-controversial report in 1964 that blamed the entire killing and planning solely on former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald. Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby fatally shot Oswald, who insisted he was innocent, at a Dallas police station on Nov. 24, 1963, two days after JFK's murder, thus preventing a trial of Oswald's defense. Many researchers have argued along with Wecht that Oswald could not have killed JFK acting alone, with many also arguing that Oswald likely did not fire a shot and was instead a patsy, as Oswald himself claimed.

Two other annual JFK research conferences will be in Dallas, usually the site of CAPA's annual conference. Those conferences are organized by JFK Lancer Productions (named for JFK's Secret Service code name "Lancer"), led by Debra Conway, Stuart Wexler and Larry Hancock from Nov. 17 to 20, and the JFK Historical Group, led by David Denton from Nov. 16 to 19. Details on their programs are here and here, respectively.

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New Book Documents Hopes, Conflicts Motivating Would-Be Nations, States


Editor's Note: The following guest column was written by Wayne Madsen, left, drawn from his new book, A Parade of New Sovereignties: A wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Small Post-Hegemonic World," an encyclopedia-style, 379-page description of nearly 350 locales where some residents cite history to argue their locale should be either an independent nation or, more commonly, be granted special political and cultural rights by a larger nation that controls the land and government. The book, intended as a reference guide with one entity per page, is especially timely given the conflicts in many regions, including the Sikh region of India (known by Sikhs as Khalistan), Darfur and Artsakh, the largely Armenian enclave in Azerbejan, where conflicts almost arose to a war this month (September 2023). The book also describes more than 30 locales within Russia that the author reports as identifying strongly with religious, ethnic or other cultural identities outside the Russian Federation's mainstream -- and thus a factor looming in the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine, particularly since many of those locales face heavy recruitment for troops. Book information relevant to headlines is shown further by President Biden's White House meeting on Sept. 25 with leaders of Pacific Island entities, some like Cook Islands and Niue governed by New Zealand, as reported by Semafor in China looms over Biden’s meeting with Pacific leaders.

Madsen, editor of the near-daily Wayne Madsen Report, is the author of 24 books and a longtime syndicated columnist who has published wayne madesen report logoopeds appearing hundreds of times United States newspapers. Also, he has appeared as a security and political commentator on nearly all major U.S. television and cable networks, as well as on many foreign and alternative outlets. He is a former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst whose outlets formerly included RT. This editor is a subscriber to the Wayne Madsen Report, co-hosts with him the video podcast "District Insiders" -- and highly recommends the book below.

-- Andrew Kreig, Justice Integrity Project editor


By Wayne Madsen

It’s rare when an official book launch coincides with a major news event. That is what has occurred with the editor’s official release of A Parade of New Sovereignties: A Post-Hegemonic World now available from Amazon and other online booksellers. As one sign of the times, the book comes with a travel warning.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada during a frosty meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India during the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi earlier in September 2023 (Canadian Press photo by Sean Kilpatrick via Associated Press).

On September 18, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, above left, just back from the G20 Summit in New Delhi, announced the discovery by Canadian intelligence and law enforcement agencies that the government of Indian Hindu nationalist Prime wayne madsen parade coverMinister Narendra Modi (shown above right with Trudeau) was behind the assassination of a Canadian citizen and leader of the Sikh community in British Columbia in June of this year.

The victim in what the Canadian government alleges was a hit ordered by New Delhi was Hardeep Singh Nijjar. On June 18, Nijjar, right, was shot to death while standing outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, outside of Vancouver. Borrowing a page from the Israeli government, which normally refuses to comment on or derides reports of hardeep singh nijjarassassinations carried out by the Mossad, New Delhi called Trudeau’s allegations “absurd.”

But Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence has left a trail of assassination victims abroad, including Khalistan Commando Force leader Paramjit Singh Panjwar, who was shot to death last year by two suspected Indian agents riding on a motorcycle as Panjwar was walking down a street in Lahore, Pakistan. RAW agents have also assassinated Muslim Kashmiri separatists abroad, mostly in Pakistan. Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have signed a series of secret protocols designed to increase cooperation between RAW and Mossad.

On June 16, Avtar Singh Khanda, the leader of the Khalistan Liberation Force, died in Birmingham, England after allegedly being poisoned by RAW agents. Sometimes RAW uses social media to falsely claim it has assassinated Sikh leaders abroad. That was the case with Gurpatwant Singh Pann, the leader of the California-based Sikhs for Justice. A car in which Pann was riding was allegedly hit by a truck on a California highway and Pann was said to have been killed. The video of the vehicular accident was uploaded by RAW to several social media sites except it was a fake. Pann later surfaced to deny that he had been killed in the accident. However, vehicular accidents have been a favorite method of several intelligence agencies to “get rid” of people they consider to be “problems.”

canadian flagSo, too, are plane crashes. News that Trudeau and his government delegation had been stuck in New Delhi after his Canadian government Airbus 310-300 suddenly developed mechanical problems while sitting on an apron at an Indian Air Force base in Palam. The aircraft's security was overseen by the very same Indian security apparatus held responsible by Trudeau for the assassinatiojn of Nijjar in British Columbia. A replacement aircraft, a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150 Polaris, a modified Airbus, was dispatched to India to bring Trudeau and his party home.

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