By kristine Gill
Laurel Krause might learn more today about the May 4, 1970, Kent State University shootings that killed her sister Allison Krause and three other students — including Sandra Scheuer of Boardman.
A newly enhanced recording made 40 years ago features a call to fire and the sounds of a skirmish — and previously unheard gunfire from a .38-caliber pistol 70 seconds before the National Guard shot into the crowd of students. Filmmaker Michael Moore and the Kent State Truth Tribunal are in New York City today to webcast the testimony of dozens of witnesses and play the cleaned-up audio. The event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday will be shown at www.michaelmoore.com. “This is compelling new evidence,” Krause said of the recording.
The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer asked Stuart Allen, president of the Legal Services Group in Plainfield, N.J., and Tom Owen, president of Owl Investigations in Colonia, N.J., to evaluate the recordings in May.
Allen said he spent more than 50 hours using high-tech software to enhance the smallest of sounds on a copy of a recording made by a student that day.
Allen said he was originally charged with finding evidence of rumored sniper fire before the shootings. He found none, but instead found the clear order to fire — and something else.
“I heard this event going on which caught my attention, and dealing with criminal matters, I’ve heard gunshots, bodies dropping — you don’t want to know what we’ve heard,” Allen said. “I flagged a spot on the tape.”
That spot has the sound of what Allen confirmed to be pistol fire and frantic witnesses.
“I had heard what appeared to be a chase. Someone called out, ‘He’s running! Get him!’ Then you hear the crowd swell up; then you hear the crowd come down. There are little conversations going on, then you’ll hear, ‘It looks like they got someone,’ from student observers.
“More crowd swelling, expletives, ‘Kill ’em, kill vem, kill vem,’ then the first gunshot — then ‘Whack ’em, hit the [expletive]. Three more gunshots, then it goes silent.”
The tussle and pistol shots, if authenticated, match some key details of a confrontation several witnesses reported seeing or hearing involving a pistol-waving Kent State student named Terry Norman, The Plain Dealer story said. Norman was photographing protesters that day for the FBI and carried a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Model 36 five-shot revolver in a holster under his coat for protection. Though he denied discharging his pistol, he previously has been accused of triggering the Guard shootings by firing to warn away angry demonstrators, which the soldiers mistook for sniper fire.
Seventy seconds later, Allen said you hear the call to fire, which lasted 13 seconds, killing four students and injuring nine.
The meaning of the skirmish before the guard firing is still under investigation, but some student witnesses have said they saw a man waving a pistol before the shootings that day. Some speculate it was his gunfire that prompted the guard to open fire on students, fearing guardsmen had been shot at by a sniper.
“In every legal proceeding ... every testimony included the line that there was not an order to shoot,” Krause said. “So this compelling new evidence is extremely intriguing and important to truth about Kent State.”
Krause, born in Cleveland and now of California, is co-founder of the Truth Tribunal, a group that has recorded the testimonials of more than 100 witnesses to the shootings. She hopes the group can preserve the memory of her sister Allison and the three other students. Krause doesn’t claim to be an expert on how the new evidence will be used, but hopes for some sort of response or apology from the government. “I’m not a lawyer and I’m not a politician, but I am Allison Krause’s sister, and it seems pretty clear to me that there’s some lying going on,” she said. “The ultimate goal for us is to have the government admit this was a significant event in our history handled in the worst way possible.”
Links to video testimonies can be found at www.truthtribunal.org.