Impressions made by a golf club and flashlight: Golf club socket and heel area: Golf club parts: Flashlight: Assumptions: Burke’s arm length was 21 inches Burke was able to rotate his arm at a burst speed of 3 revolutions per second. (A very fast, violent swing.) (By way of comparison, competitive volleyball spikes and softball “windmill” speeds are 5 revolutions per second.) 9 iron golf club head weight of 10 ounces. Average PGA golf swing speed: 114 mph, or 167 feet per second. Burke was able to swing a golf club at 70 fps. Maglite flashlight weight of 2 pounds Maglite was held near the bottom Surface area of depressed skull fracture (1.75” x 0.5”,) is 0.875 sq. in. 45 foot-pounds of kinetic energy was sufficient to produce a depressed skull fracture in that region of the skull of JonBenet. Primary formulas used: Kinetic energy = 0.5 * mass * velocity squared Velocity = Angular velocity * radius Regions of the skull: Skull density: Bone thickness of a human skull. Three-dimensional Computed Tomography (CT) scan of the skull of a human child, in side view. The parietal bone is mapped in colours depicting bone thickness: light blue to yellow (0.5-2.5 millimetres); red to dark blue (3-5 millimetres). The bone thickness mapping by computer shows local variation of thickness in the human skull. This map was used to compare human skull thickness with fossil skull thickness of a Neanderthal child found at Devil's Tower, Gibraltar. Human skulls prove to be thinner than Neanderthal skulls. Research at the Anthropologis- ches Institut, University of Zurich, Switzerland. http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/302666/enlarge The skull varies greatly in thickness-not only in different individuals, but also at different parts-a point which must be kept in mind when trephining. Speaking generally, it is thickest over the frontal and occipital regions, attaining a maximum at the posterior occipital protuberance, and is thinnest over the squamous portion of the temporal.http://bookdome.com/health/anatomy/Surgical-Anatomy/Temporal-Region.html The temporal and parietal regions are the thinnest cranial boned and the most common sites of accidental fracture. The thickest cranial bones are the frontal and occipital. Occipital fractures are related to more serious brain injury due to the increased force necessary to generate a fracture in the thickest bone of the skull. Nursing Care of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Patient, edited by Cathy Cartwright, Donna C. Wallace, page 150 Force required to cause a depressed fracture in JonBenet’s skull in the posteroparietal region: Modern studies of skull fractures conducted by the American military demonstrate that it takes a minimum of 90 foot-pounds delivered over 1 square inch to fracture the human skull with a blow delivered to the front of the head. If the blow is delivered to the temporal/parietal area, 45 foot-pounds will produce a fracture. A blow to the zygomatic region, the bony arch on either side of the face below and around the eye, requires only 18 foot-pounds of force to produce a fracture. A mace weighing 1.8 pounds can be swung at a speed of 60 feet per second by the human arm so as to generate 101 foot-pounds of energy on impact, more than enough to fracture a human skull at its strongest point. From Sumer to Rome: The Military Capabilities of Ancient Armies,Richard A. Gabriel, Karen S. Metz, page 57 Skull and Brain: Upon reflection of the scalp there is found to be an extensive area of scalp hemorrhage along the right temporoparietal area extending from the orbital ridge, posteriorly all the way to the occipital area. This encompasses an area measuring approximately 7x4 inches. This grossly appears to be fresh hemorrhage with no evidence of organization. At the superior extension of the is area of hemorrhage is a linear to comminuted skull fracture which extends from the right occipital to posteroparietal area forward to the right frontal area across the parietal skull. In the posteroparietal area of this fracture is a roughly rectangular shaped displaced fragment of skull measuring one and three-quarters by one-half inch. The hemorrhage and the fracture extend posteriorly just past the midline of the occipital area of the skull. This fracture measures approximately 8.5 inches in length. On removal of the skull cap there is found to be a thin film of subdural hemorrhage measuring approximately 7-8 cc over the surface of the right cerebral hemisphere and extending to the base of the cerebral hemisphere.Excerpt from JonBenet’s autopsy report. Conclusions: The golf club is the winner in this showdown. While Spitz assures us that the Maglite was capable of producing the injury to JonBenet’s skull, I’m not so sure. Dr. Werner Spitz, the forensic pathologist, even ran macabre tests to see if the heavy flashlight could have inflicted the kind of massive skull fracture that was found on JonBenÃ©t. To do so, a child’s cadaver was obtained so he could strike the skull with a similar flashlight and examine the resulting injury pattern. He said the results were consistent, that the damage could have been caused by the flashlight—but it could also have been caused by other things. JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, page 267 The first problem is the shape of the depressed skull fracture. It is a rectangular/ovoid shape while a flashlight would generally leave a crescent shaped depression if struck on an angle. I do recognize that a depression doesn’t always slavishly follow the shape of the object responsible because of density irregularities in the skull, but there should be some degree of similarity and there is none there that I can see. The second problem is the long linear fracture extending down to the frontal area of the skull. If the blow was struck as depicted by Spitz, I find it difficult to imagine how the linear fracture would have occurred given the direction of the force. Perhaps if it followed a suture line it would be somewhat understandable, but it does not. The final problem that I have is that while the force required to cause the fracture using the Maglite is conceivable in the hands of Burke, it is at the outer limit of his ability, IMO. It would be considerably more likely in the hands of an adult. The one advantage the Maglite would have over the golf club would be that the Maglite would be less likely to lacerate the scalp because of the rubberized edge. By contrast: The socket and heel region of the golf club will leave a rectangular impression. The direction of force and possible interaction with the shaft of the golf club would more readily produce the long linear fracture found in the skull of JonBenet. The force required to cause the fracture is well within the physical ability of Burke if he swung a golf club as a weapon, IMO. The other potential object that is sometimes discussed is a baseball bat. I don’t think this is as likely as either of the above, because of the large surface area that would probably make contact with the skull, thereby producing either a linear fracture or a significantly larger depressed fracture than what is seen in the JonBenet case. With respect to a PDI scenario involving a violent push or perhaps a swing of Jonbenet into a rounded edge as opposed to JonBenet being stationary and struck by an object, the speed necessary to produce a fracture would be approximately 8 feet per second. What is uncertain is whether enough velocity is there to produce a depressed fracture rather than the more probable linear fracture. It can’t be ruled out, though, IMO.