William Bruce Pitzer
William Bruce Pitzer (April 13, 1917 - October 29, 1966) was an officer of the United States Navy whose death is suspected to have had some connection with the Assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Life and career
Pitzer joined the Navy reserve in 1934 at the age of seventeen and trained as an x-ray technician. After discharge in 1939, he worked for three years as chief x-ray technician at the Episcopal Ear, Eye and Nose Hospital. He re-enlisted in 1942 after the United States entered World War II. His obituaries listed him as "a consultant to the visual arts department of Montgomery Junior College."
At the time of the Kennedy assassination, Pitzer worked at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) where Kennedy's autopsy took place. Pitzer's alleged possession of autopsy-related film and photographs is briefly discussed in the television documentary The Men Who Killed Kennedy. A fellow naval officer of Pitzer's named Dennis David says that he viewed such materials in Pitzer's office at the NNMC, and that they appeared to contradict the official findings of the autopsy. At the time of his death, Pitzer held the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He was found in his office in the NNMC television studio with a single gunshot wound to the head. The Naval investigation into Pitzer's death reported no evidence of foul play. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Allegations surrounding death
Dennis David's recollections of the autopsy and of Pitzer's materials were first made public in an anonymous 1975 interview with the Waukegan, Illinois News Sun. Since that time, Pitzer's name has appeared in many printed or televised lists of "suspicious deaths" having an alleged connection to the Kennedy assassination. Lt. Col. Dan Marvin (US Army, retired) alleged that when he saw such a list in 1993, it brought back to his memory an incident in the summer of 1965 in which he was asked by the Central Intelligence Agency to kill Pitzer. Dennis David alleged that Pitzer was left-handed but the bullet entry wound was on the right side of his head, from which David infers that Pitzer may have been murdered. Pitzer is also sometimes said to have been present at the Kennedy autopsy at the NNMC, though he was not among those noted in official records.
Without Smoking Gun and Mem Research investigation
Kent Heiner was contacted by a friend of Dan Marvin's in 2002. Heiner and Marvin began corresponding with the intention of collaborating on a new book on the Pitzer case. In 2004, TrineDay published Without Smoking Gun (WSG) by Heiner with a foreword by Marvin. WSG was the first book to present all known facts about the Pitzer case; in doing so, it also made corrections to previous accounts. The author was unable to come to any conclusion regarding whether Pitzer's death had indeed been a suicide. Heiner's writings regarding the Pitzer case are represented in several pages of the 2008 work, JFK and the Unspeakable by James Douglass.
William Pitzer's son Robert Pitzer reported to Heiner that his father was called away from dinner on the evening of the assassination and that he took his camera with him.
Though unwilling to reach a conclusion of murder, Heiner did uncover extremely suggestive coincidences in the case. Pitzer's death occurred the same day that the Kennedy family agreed, through their attorney, to release to the National Archives several items related to the autopsy of the fallen president, including photographs and x-rays. This followed a long period of conflict with the attorney general over the release of these items, and even when these items were surrendered, they were not authentic (see forgery of Kennedy autopsy materials). It is therefore highly suspicious that it was only on the day of Pitzer's demise that this forged evidence was brought forward.
Equally disturbing is the precise coincidence of Pitzer's demise with the public disclosure of an FBI report alluding to surgical alteration of the late President's head prior to the official commencement of the autopsy. David Lifton brought the report to the attention of former Warren Commission counsel Wesley Liebeler, who in turn reportedly telephoned Arlen Specter and other Warren Commission personnel about it, causing Specter great distress. Pitzer was dead within 5 days of this call. In fact, by the time Lifton was able to reach autopsy surgeon James Humes by telephone, Humes had probably just returned home from Pitzer's funeral.
Another haunting coincidence is the sudden death of Bernard Fensterwald on the evening of the same day that his partner James Lesar telephoned Pitzer's widow at the encouragement of Harrison Livingstone.
- "Cmdr. William B. Pitzer, Head of Navy TV Unit", The Washington Post, 2 November 1966
- "Lt. Cmdr. Pitzer, Navy Medical School Official", Washington Evening Star, 2 November 1966.
- The Men Who Killed Kennedy, Episode 6.
- "Another Link in JFK Death?", by Art Peterson, News Sun, May 1, 1975.
- Jones, Penn Jr. Forgive My Grief, Volumes I-IV. self-published, late 1960s-early 1970s. See Vol. III, p. 95-96 for Pitzer.
- Livingstone, Harrison and Robert Groden. High Treason. 1989. Berkley Books, New York. Though Dennis David had been interviewed for Best Evidence by David S. Lifton several years earlier, High Treason was the first time his name appeared alongside Pitzer's.
- Moench, Doug. The Big Book of Conspiracies, p. 15. 1995. Paradox Press, New York.
- Davis, John H., Mafia Kingfish, p. 324-326. 1989. New York: Signet Books
- Livingstone, Harrison. High Treason 2, p. 556-557. 1992. New York: Carrol and Graf