Fifty years ago today a former Iowa City pathologist was then the medical examiner in Dallas, Texas when President Kennedy was shot. Dr. Earl Rose would have conducted an autopsy on the president, but First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and presidential aides had the body flown to Washington, D.C. instead.

Dr. Rose did perform the post-mortem on accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald after Oswald was shot to death on live TV by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. “It revealed that he died as a result of hemorrhage from the gunshot wound. He was otherwise a healthy male a physically healthy male, there was no evidence of any brain tumor or injury to the brain,” Rose said.

Dr. Rose also did autopsies on the policeman killed by Oswald, and on Ruby when he died in prison. Later, Dr. Rose taught pathology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he died just last year. There was another connection to the investigation that followed the assassination.

David Belin of Des Moines was an attorney for the Warren Commission which came up with the controversial finding that Oswald acted alone when he shot President Kennedy. Belin deposed the people who sold the murder weapon to Oswald for $21. “The wood was rough; the rifle barrel was not of good metal — but yet it was unfortunately a very accurate weapon,” Belin said.

Belin talked in 1964 about the weapon. “This cheap piece of material was used to commit a crime, not only against a person, against a family, against a nation, against the world, against humanity. And this extreme contrast between the greatness of a president on the one hand, and the cheapness of this material on the other hand, is something that stands out in my mind,” Belin said.

Before his death in 1999, Belin wrote two books about the assassination, and always defended the Warren Commission’s key finding that Oswald was a lone assassin.