Fatal Bullet Not Poisoned
Chemist Aschman Points Out the Improbability of
RESULT OF AUTOPSY IS AGAINST IT
To Poison a Bullet Effectively Is a Difficult Matter, Requiring
Chemical Knowledge. Analysis of Remaining Balls Easy.
Frederick T. Aschman,
the well known chemist, does not take any stock in the theory that
a poisoned bullet was used by the assassin of the president.
“It seems to me to be highly improbable,”
said he. “It would be a rather difficult thing effectively to poison
a bullet without cutting grooves in it or otherwise roughening it.
It will be very easy for a chemist to determine by analysis whether
the bullets left in the revolver were poisoned or [?].
“There are two general kinds of poison
that might have been used,” said the chemist, “organic and inorganic
or chemical. The organic poison might be obtained from snake venom,
bacteria of gangrene, or some other kind of bacteria. The chemical
poison might be an arsenic or copper solution, or any one of the
group of mineral poisons, or some one of the rare alkaloids.
“If an organic poison were used, in
my opinion, it would be rendered harmless by the action of the lead
in the bullet, lead being a poison and destructive to all forms
of organic life, and also by the fire of the powder. The lead and
fire ought to kill the bacteria and render them entirely harmless.
“If a chemical poison were used, one
of two things would happen. If the chemical were anything but a
mineral, the lead would render it harmless, as in the case of the
organic poison, but if it were a mineral, the lead would not have
any effect upon it, and could not render it harmless.
“But I do not believe that a mineral
poison or any other kind of chemical poison would produce gangrene,
and hence the only kind of poison that could be applied by means
of a bullet would not produce the effect that was discovered by
the autopsy of the president’s body. It seems to me, therefore,
highly improbable that the missile was poisoned.
“I am not enough of a physician to
speak with authority on this subject, but it looks to me as though
the unusual condition of the wound, the gangrene being present throughout
the course of the bullet, was due to a bad condition of the blood.
Even had the bullet been poisoned it would in all probability have
been cleaned off entirely before it had plowed through its whole
course. But the reports show that the gangrene was present all along
the course of the bullet, and not only at the point where it entered.”
Mr. Aschman is also of the opinion
that the assassin’s intelligence is not sufficient for him to have
had the knowledge of poisons necessary to select the proper one
to carry out [his?] scheme. He declared that the whole controversy
can easily be settled by an analysis, which he says is comparatively