Justice Department refuses to reopen May 4 shootings investigation


.38 caliber shells I found at the Yale archive. Photo submitted by Alan Canfora.

Rex Santus

The U.S. Justice Department said it will not reopen its investigation of the May 4 shootings at Kent State.

On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during a Vietnam War protest at Kent State. Four Kent State students were killed, and nine were wounded.

“In sum, there are insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers to bringing a second federal case in this matter,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez in a letter, dated April 19, to Alan Canfora.

Canfora, who was wounded at the Kent State shootings, requested the reopening of the investigation because of a recently enhanced audio recording of the shootings.

“We asked the Justice Department to investigate the digital recording, which proves there was a verbal command to fire right before the deadly gunshots,” Canfora said. “We’ve already had that verified by two professional sound experts.”

Terry Strubbe, a Kent State student at the time of the May 4 shootings, made the recording.

Two New Jersey-based sound analysts, Stuart Allen and Tom Owen, both corroborated they heard “Guard!” and “All right, prepare to fire!” during the recording.

“No military-like voice commands to fire or otherwise were heard; rather, many of the words heard were probably uttered by several different individuals located closer to the microphone,” said Perez in his letter.

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Canfora said the Justice Department’s refusal to reopen the case will not stop him from moving forward with his investigation.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised,” Canfora said. “The FBI just basically kicked the can down the road. They didn’t do much. It’s really not a surprise, but it’s just opening the door for us to go forward without the Justice Department’s support.”

Canfora said he is going to reveal his “next moves on the local, state, national and international levels” at a 3:30 p.m. press conference on May 3 in the Student Center.

“If we have to go back into court, we’re prepared to do that,” Canfora said. “We have digital forensic evidence. We’re confident in the end we will reveal the truth.”

Others have expressed outrage at the U.S. Justice Department’s actions.

“Their audacity overwhelms me. Their blatant whitewash disgusts me. Their indictment of the students does not, in the least, surprise me,” said Arthur Krause, father of slain May 4 victim Allison Krause.

Laurel Krause, sister of Allison Krause and director of Kent State Truth Tribunal, said the Justice Department’s refusal to reopen the investigation is unacceptable.

“On May 4, four student protesters were shot dead by National Guard gunfire. These were bona fide acts of homicide,” Krause said. “The statute of limitations never lapses for murder, even those perpetrated by the government.

“I lost a sister there. I’ll never see her again.”

Krause said governmental persecution of protesters, such as those of the Occupy movement, is still happening today.

“Nothing has changed since [May 4, 1970]. It’s still going down in 2012,” Krause said. “And this year, we add, no more Kent States with an exclamation point.”

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].