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Arizona - The Douglas Dispatch 
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California - The Oakland Tribune 
Connecticut - The Day 
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Minnesota - The Albert Lea Evening Tribune    
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California - The Oxnard Press-Courier (Page 1) 

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California - The Oxnard Press-Courier (Page 4) 
       AP wire reporter Gene Handsaker’s widely-published June 14 article is indeed the earliest known instance 
of a major news report on the RFK murder that should have immediately prompted serious questions about the
official Los Angeles police investigation and the district attorney’s case which was then building against the 
singularly accused Sirhan.
​                                                                       
       The Handsaker wire report should have prompted such questions from Richard Buckley, then Sirhan's 
court-appointed chief public defender.  Five days later, on June 19, Buckley would turn Sirhan's case over to 
west coast lawyer Russell Parsons when Sirhan finally had secured private legal counsel of his own choosing
(Parsons would stand in as Sirhan's lead defender until Parson's friend, Los Angeles attorney Grant Cooper, 
could take command of the case months later, once the infamous Friars' Club trial was finally concluded).

       Although published nearly a week before Sirhan's chosen legal defense team was being assembled to
represent him in court, Handsaker's AP story still would have been easily available to the newly minted Sirhan 
team through local libraries or press clipping services and therefore it should not have escaped their attention.  
Aside from that, the defense team should have discovered for itself the very discrepancy Gene Handsaker had 
noted after merely comparing the coroner's grand jury testimony to kitchen pantry eyewitness accounts.  

       Yet, instead of their aggressively investigating the defective evidence and pursuing available defenses, 
Sirhan’s lawyers would choose a much less adversarial approach by opting for a diminished-capacity plea 
in which evidentiary conflicts, including key issues such as a possible second shooter, would not be addressed 
at trial.  The mistitled “defense” attorneys would ensure that any doubts possibly raised by the evidentiary 
inconsistency Handsaker had reported (i.e. eyewitness accounts challenging whether it was even physically 
possible for Sirhan to have inflicted the RFK autopsy wounds) would never have their day in court.   
      ​                                                                                       
       Handsaker’s colleagues in the news media likewise either ignored the critical evidence disparity he had 
brought out in his AP story or its potential implications.  Some day, when the marvels of future science finally 
unlock all the secrets of this assassination, it will at that precise moment dishonor those who had naively insisted 
the American media were correct to nobly don uncharacteristic docility for this story until a jury could be seated 
and Lady Justice could work her magic (or, in this case, her evil twin could let loose her sorcery).
​                                                                               
       On that distant day when all is revealed, the questions will then be:  
​                                               
       [1.]  Why didn’t other journalists do as Gene Handsaker by taking to heart all the hints from the
Los Angeles County chief medical examiner dropped their way months before that coroner's Kennedy autopsy   
results were officially released − and why didn’t Sirhan’s original attorneys fight the frame-up first indicated 
publicly in the AP reporter’s June 14 story or at the very least perceive for themselves the key evidentiary 
discrepancy that a non-lawyer like Handsaker could so clearly see so early in the RFK case?  
​                                                          
       [2.]  If the news media had done their job in the summer of 1968 by highlighting all the various case 
controversies that could have been uncovered by that time, would this have forced the authorities to actually try 
to make their flawed evidence accountable to a higher standard in time for the prosecution's opening arguments 
at Sirhan's trial (and, on the other side of the courtroom aisle, what kind of case would Sirhan’s attorneys have 
presented in 1969 while under this same aggressive press scrutiny that never actually happened)?  
​                                               
       [3.]  Will American journalists finally, at long last, learn and apply the lessons available through the RFK
experience and, in so doing, perhaps mold and shape themselves into better reporters?  Will younger news men
and women actually find in themselves an overwhelming desire to practice journalism more along the lines of 
the AP’s Gene Handsaker and less like that of too many of his news media colleagues back in 1968?
​              










         Gene           Handsaker
   1909 - 1985
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         The Handsaker Report:  
           The News Story That Could Have Altered The Fate Of
           Sirhan Sirhan (Had The Media Done Its Job In 1968)
South Carolina - The Index-Journal         
Rhode Island - The Newport Daily News         


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                                                    Only 9 days after U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was fatally shot and 5 other 
                                             persons were wounded in the kitchen service pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los
                                             Angeles, the Associated Press suddenly, but only briefly, revealed a major evidentiary
                                             conflict between assassination witness accounts and preliminary RFK autopsy results.
                                             It was the closest the AP ever got to exposing the truth when it mattered the most.   
​                                                                                                   
                                                    For this “lone gunman” case, the differences between those accounts and those 
                                             results were irreconcilable and meant a fundamental contradiction resided in the most 
                                             basic evidence against Sirhan Sirhan − one with profound implications not fully 
understood by the news media.  Thus an extremely important issue received only a quick glance in the AP report 
that cleared the news service’s wire on Friday, June 14, 1968.  While many newspapers published the story, its 
single-paragraph summary of the evidentiary mismatch halfway into the article never generated the headlines 
that such a significant discrepancy in the nation's then most important murder case most certainly deserved.

       Associated Press Reporter Gene Handsaker probably had not known quite what to make of the dilemma  
discovered while poring over newly released transcripts of the previous week’s RFK grand jury hearing.
Though he likely retained a seasoned journalist’s healthy skepticism of some of the proceeding's witness 
testimony, he apparently decided that the curious incompatibility between witness accounts and the coroner's 
evidence was a new development meriting immediate reporting.  Handsaker did not have enough information 
to justify leading his story with the item so, instead, he buried it as Paragraph 25 in his AP wire report:
​             
       [Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas T.] Noguchi said the revolver muzzle was “no 
more than two or three inches from the edge of the right ear.”  Witnesses at the scene described the gunman 
as four to six feet away.                
​                                                                                                                                 
       By including this short paragraph in a news wire story published nationwide during the early days of the 
official RFK murder investigation, Eugene Sterling Handsaker became the first major print reporter to at least
try to shine a serious national spotlight on what should have been recognized as an alarming incongruity in the 
early evidence assembled against Sirhan, the 24-year-old accused “lone assassin”.  

       Not until decades after Sirhan’s 1969 trial conviction would growing segments of the U.S. populace begin 
to appreciate this discrepancy as a seminal paradox in the official evidence − the potential keystone in the arch 
of any effort to prove a second gunman had killed RFK.  Today, given what we now know, the Handsaker
paragraph can be recast, like so, into a 21st Century context that recognizes the reality of two pantry shooters: 
​  
​       [Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas T.] Noguchi said the [real RFK killer’s] 
revolver muzzle was “no more than two or three inches from the edge of the [Senator’s] right ear.”  Witnesses 
at the scene described [Sirhan Sirhan,] the [hypno-programmed other] gunman [and only person arrested in the 
shooting,] as [being never any closer than] four to six feet away [from Kennedy]. 

       The June 14 Handsaker wire story ran in hundreds of newspapers across the United States and elsewhere.  
Some papers published the article on their inside pages but for many others it was a front-page story.  A 
suburban Los Angeles daily, The Oxnard Press Courier, placed the first part of Handsaker’s AP report on its 
first page and the story’s second part (reporting the evidentiary conflict) on its fourth page.       

       To view the L.A.                                                       xxxxxxxx area newspaper’s publication of Gene   
Handsaker’s wire story                                                     xxxxxxxxplease click on the small white newspaper   
here below.  This is a tiny                                                 xxxxxxxximage of the front page of The Oxnard Press 
Courier edition published                                                 xxxxxxxxon June 14, 1968 and it is placed next to the   
spot on the map for the city                                                xxxxxxxof Oxnard (which is located somewhat  
northwest of Los Angeles) in                                             xxxxxxx the southern region of this blue colored 
diagram to the right depicting                                                               the U.S. state of California.                      

       Once you have viewed this                                                                    article in The Oxnard Press Courier
please return here to continue on                                                                      below.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
       Our next map that depicts the                                                                            entire United States shows    
locations of only some of the many                                                                               newspapers that published  
the Handsaker wire account on their                                                                                   Page One.  To see this 
article as originally displayed on these                                                                                      twenty-one front 
page examples, please click on the small                                                                             white newspaper  
images you will see scattered coast to coast                                                                    across the mainland of  
the United States in the upcoming black and                                                                   white colored drawing.                                                                                              
       In every one of the newspaper editions accessible in 21 states on the U.S. map below, AP news correspondent 
Gene Handsaker’s key 25th paragraph on the Sirhan evidence discrepancy (quoted above) is presented completely 
intact, displayed in its entirety on the front page of each paper’s edition for Friday, June 14, 1968.




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                                             Famed Associated Press reporter Linda Deutsch, who was
                                     not among the journalists originally reporting on the 1968 RFK
                                     murder case evidence in the early days but who eventually was
                                     assigned to cover the 1969 Sirhan Sirhan trial, says of her late
                                     AP colleague:  “Gene Handsaker was a friend of mine and really
                                     a terrific guy.”