Year of the Monkey:Berkman Autopsy

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San Francisco Coroner's Office Autopsy Report

The body is presented in a black body bag. At the time of examination, the body is clothed in a long-sleeved red cotton thermal shirt, blue jeans, and black Oxford shoes.

The body is that of a normally developed, well nourished Caucasian male measuring 72 inches in length, weighing 212 pounds, and appearing generally consistent with the stated age of forty-eight years. The body is cold and unembalmed with declining rigor. Pronounced unblanching lividity is present on the posterior of the body in the regions of the feet; the upper thighs, particularly on the right side; the lower back, particularly on the right side; the right arm; and the neck.

The scalp is covered by short (1.5 inches) dark hair. The body hair is male and average. The skull is symmetric and evidences extensive trauma in the occipital region. The eyes are open and the irises are hazel. Pupils are asymmetrically dilated. The teeth are natural and well maintained. The anterior chest is of normal contour and is intact. The abdomen is full and the pelvis is intact. The external genitalia are male and unremarkable. The back is symmetrical and intact. The upper and lower extremities are symmetric, normally developed and intact except for injuries as noted below on right upper extremity. The hands and nails are clean and evidence injury as noted below. The feet are clean and evidence injury as noted below.

There is a palm tree tattoo over the deltoid of the left shoulder.

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM: The brain weighs 1,303 grams and is within normal limits. SKELETAL SYSTEM: Subdural hematoma and comminuted fractures of the occipital bone are observed. Numerous bone fragments from the fractures penetrated the brain tissue. RESPIRATORY SYSTEM--THROAT STRUCTURES: The oral cavity shows no lesions. The mucosa is intact and there are no injuries to the lips, teeth or gums. There is no obstruction of the airway. The mucosa of the epiglottis, glottis, piriform sinuses, trachea and major bronchi are anatomic. No injuries are seen and there are no mucosal lesions. The lungs weigh: right, 355 grams; left 362 grams. The lungs are unremarkable. CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM: The heart weighs 253 grams, and has a normal size and configuration. No evidence of atherosclerosis is present. GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM: The mucosa and wall of the esophagus are intact and gray-pink, without lesions or injuries. The gastric mucosa is intact and pink without injury. Approximately 200 ml of bright red liquid is found in the stomach. The mucosa of the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon and rectum are intact. URINARY SYSTEM: The kidneys weigh: left, 115 grams; right, 113 grams. The kidneys are anatomic in size, shape and location and are without lesions.


Blunt force traumatic injury with multiple cranial fractures resulting in craniocerebral injury. Wound measures approximately 4 inches high x 5 1/2 inches wide. Subdural hematoma and comminuted fractures of the occipital bone are observed. Numerous bone fragments from the fractures penetrated the brain tissue. Depths of penetration range from 1/2-inch to 3 inches. Injury appears to have resulted from a single blow administered to the posterior of the head, delivered at an approximate 90º angle to the occipital bone. Upper extremities: Right radial head is fractured and palmar contusions are evident consistent with a hard fall on rough ground. Left upper extremity is intact except for similar palmar contusion. Lower extremities: contusions over dorsum of both feet with skin abrasions and lacerations. Socks were matted to skin with blood.

EVIDENCE COLLECTED 1. Samples of Blood (type O+), Urine, Bile, and Tissue (heart, lung, brain, kidney, liver, spleen), Stomach Contents. 2. Thirteen autopsy photographs. 3. Two postmortem x-rays. Clothing transferred to SFPD Lab for further analysis.


TIME OF DEATH: Body temperature, rigor and livor mortis, stomach contents and witness statements approximate the time of death between 7:30 p.m. on 12/28/1967 and 2:00 a.m. on 12/29/1967. CAUSE OF DEATH: Blunt force cranial trauma. MANNER OF DEATH: TBD