Affidavits, Declarations and Statements
July 12, 1984
United States District Court
Eastern District of North Carolina
Affidavit of James Reed (FBI) re: Dr. Ronald Wright
Scans of original transcript
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
|UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,||:|
|:||Criminal No. 75-26-CR-3|
|:||Civil No. 84-41-CIV-3|
|JEFFREY R. MACDONALD||:|
AFFIDAVIT OF JAMES M. REED
James M. Reed, being duly sworn does depose and say that:
1. I am a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), assigned to the Washington Field Office of the FBI, and on May 9, 1984, Ronald K. Wright, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner for Broward County, Florida, 5301 S.W. 31st Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (305-765-8590), furnished the following information concerning a "declaration" by him dated February 15, 1984, concerning wounds suffered by Colette and Kristen MacDonald on or about February 16, 1970:
2. Wright stated there was no good measure of scale to determine the size of the wounds on Colette and Kristen which he concluded in points seven (7) and eight (8) of his declaration as "... might have been inflicted by scissors" and "... are consistent with scissors." He worked on determining the size of the wounds a little, but this was hard to determine. Some of the photographs of Kristen's body show a piece of masking tape on her stomach which he takes to be a standard one inch (1") piece of tape. This piece of tape, however, is not in the plane of focus of the wounds. There was no masking tape on the body of Colette MacDonald which he could use as a scale in determining the size of her wounds.
3. He has never looked at the actual ice pick which was used in the murders. He has seen a picture of the ice pick. The only evidence he has seen in connection with the case is basically photographic evidence.
4. It is hard to work with stab type wounds because the size of the wound is a function of the elasticity of the skin. The size of a stab wound in an older person is more the size of the implement used to make the wound than is the case with children.
5. In response to a question, Wright initially responded that neither the names Doctor Gammel or Doctor Hancock rang a bell with him. After searching his file on the case, he located the trial testimony of Hancock and could recall reading the testimony. If the testimony of Doctor Gammel had something to do with a dead body in the case he would have also read that testimony although he could not readily locate this material. At this time, he cannot recall having read anything concerning their trial testimony that stands out as being inconsistent. He thinks he has read every lab report connected with the case. He can think of nothing in any of the lab reports he has read with which he would take issue.
6. He is aware that blood was found under the ring at the base of the ice pick blade. He is also aware that no blood was found on the blade of the ice pick. This fact does not trouble him because the blood can be taken off the blade of an ice pick or knife when it is withdrawn from the wound. It depends on the elasticity of the skin. The fact that there was not any blood on the ice pick blade, however, is also consistent with someone wiping the blade off. He is aware that a Hilton Hotel bath mat was found on the body of Colette and that there was testimony at the trial that the ice pick was wiped off on the Hilton bath mat. He is also aware that the blood was of Colette's blood type and he does not take issue with the testimony at the trial that the ice pick had been wiped off on the Hilton bath mat.
7. He is familiar with the testimony of Paul Stombaugh and Shirley Green concerning the configuration of the ice pick probes in the pajama top of Jeffrey MacDonald. He has seen all the photographs in connection with this evidence. Their testimony seemed straightforward to him and he cannot recall anything about their testimony that upset him one way or the other.
It is possible that the wounds he described as "... might have been inflicted by scissors" and "... are consistent with scissors" were made by an ice pick. He is not saying the wounds could not have been made by an ice pick. In fact, the wounds on Kristen look more like ice pick wounds to him than scissors wounds. Also, he does not have a lot of experience with scissors wounds since scissors are not often used as a murder weapon. You could make a case that a couple of the wounds in Colette were made by scissors. He would not say it would be his opinion that they were made by scissors. They appear to be fairly superficial wounds that could have been made by scissors or a knife of the standard variety such as the Old Hickory knife. There is a fairly reasonable explanation for the wounds being made by the Old Hickory knife and being superficial in nature. This is because the wounds he has described as "... might have been inflicted by scissors" in Colette's body are right over the ribs. If the knife would have hit a rib, the wound would be smaller. A second knife stab wound near the first also striking a rib would give the wound the appearance of having been made by scissors. The writer showed Doctor Wright page six (6) of his "declaration" on which he marked five such scissors appearing wounds on a photograph of the body of Colette in red ink.
He is sure that Colette was struck from the front with the club causing the wound which fractured her skull. It is "slightly more probable" that it was a left-handed person who delivered the blow. A right-handed person, however, can swing a club from the left side, especially when the person is "pissed off." The club also could have been held in both hands and swung from the right side or left side. A person in such a mental state is not worried about form. Also, the person delivering the blow could have been ambidextrous.
It is his experience that telling handedness of a person in a situation like this is not real helpful because people can move from being left to right-handed at will. People are not as strong in the non-dominant side, but in a violent confrontation they often switch from the right hand to the left hand.
The opinions he expressed in his "declarations" would have been the same in 1970 or anytime prior to Jeffrey MacDonald's trial in 1979, had he been asked to give his opinion.
He attended the autopsy of Helena Davis, née Stoeckley, on January 15, 1983, in South Carolina, at the request of Ray Shea. Ray Shea is the brother of Steve Shea who was Jeffrey MacDonald's partner in California. The autopsy was conducted by Doctor Sandra Conradi who is an outstanding forensic pathologist. He takes no exception to the autopsy report as they did a very thorough job. Stoeckley's liver had so much cirrhosis that it is a wonder she lived as long as she did.
Further your affiant sayeth not.
/James M. Reed/
JAMES M. REED
Special Agent, FBI
Subscribed and sworn to
before me this 12th
day of July, 1984.
My Commission Expires May 31, 1985