By Julie Hinds
The Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — John F. Kennedy arrived in Dallas on Air Force One before noon on Nov. 22, 1963. Hours later, his body was being flown back to Washington, D.C., as radio communications crackled back and forth between the plane and various officials on the ground.
“The president is on board, the body is on board, and Mrs. Kennedy is on board,” a voice said at one point, starkly describing the just sworn-in Lyndon Johnson and the-now dead JFK.
This month, as events, books and TV specials mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination, a new piece of evidence has Kennedy researchers buzzing.
It’s an 88-minute audio recording of Air Force One radio transmissions that’s described as the most complete version of those communications yet.
And it may indicate that a longer version with fresh revelations is out there somewhere.
The recording is described on the JFKFacts.org website as among the most important pieces of assassination-related evidence to surface in the past five years.
It was enhanced for sound quality and combined from two separate tapes by audio and video forensic expert Ed Primeau and his Rochester Hills-based Primeau Forensics.
Like anything new about the JFK assassination, the recording is bound to be pored over by those fascinated by what a majority of Americans consider an unsolved mystery.
Conspiracy theories still exist that cast suspicions on everyone from the Cubans and the Russians to the mob and even portions of the U.S. government.
Primeau said he believes “100 percent” that there was editing done to the two tapes that were used in the 88-minute version. And that’s bound to raise the sort of questions that keep the search for answers alive.
Kennedy’s death is a 50-year-old case where almost anything can be viewed different ways by different people. But Primeau’s expertise is driven by fulfilling the assignment, not furthering an agenda.
“I work both sides,” he said of his past experience with both prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Primeau, 55, grew up in Michigan originally wanting to be a DJ. Instead, he built a career behind the scenes in audio and video production and founded Primeau Productions in 1984, which lists Bob Seger and Billy Sims Barbecue among its past clients.
In the mid-1990s, Primeau started focusing on the growing field of audio and video forensics. He has been an expert witness for criminal and civil cases across the country. In 2012, he was asked by the Orlando Sentinel to analyze the desperate voice overheard in the 911 call in the Trayvon Martin case, a task that led to appearances on CNN and MSNBC and to his being named as a potential witness by the prosecution.
Primeau’s conclusion for the Sentinel? It was the 17-year-old Martin who lost his life that night, not the eventually acquitted George Zimmerman, who was screaming for help in the background.
“Bring the truth out, bring an objective opinion. I’m a third-party, non-biased person who comes into a case,” he said of his approach to his work.