November 21, 1974
Testimony of Harold Page (CID photographer)
Scans of original transcript
(THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1974, 1:45 P.M.)
FOREMAN: All jurors are present.
Whereupon, HAROLD VICTOR PAGE, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. WOERHEIDE:
Q Will you state your full name?
A Harold Victor Page.
Q And where do you reside at the present time, sir?
A Frankfurt, Germany.
Q Can you -- do you have a residence address there, an official address?
A I have a residence address which is a German address, and our mailing address is where I work, APO address.
Q Well, give us both those addresses.
A My APO address is USACIL - Europe, APO New York 09757.
And my residence address is 6 Frankfurt Main 50, underlined, Im Klingenfeld, that's spelled I-m space, K-l-i-n-g-e-n-f-e-l-d, 2114-A-3, Federal Republic of Germany.
Q All right, sir, now, directing your attention to February, now, of 1970, where were you working at that time?
A I was working at the Crime Lab at Fort Gordon, Georgia.
Q All right, now, what position do you hold in -- with the Crime Lab?
A At the time I was a resident trainee in the photography division.
Q No, directing your attention to the morning of February 17, 1970, did you receive instructions to proceed from Fort Gordon to Fort Bragg?
A Yes, I did, I was called up early in the morning, and -- very early in the morning, and I proceeded to the lab and got our equipment together and took off for Fort Bragg.
Q Now, did you know a Mr. Medlin?
A Oh, I do, yes, sir.
Q Was he also connected with the Crime Lab at Fort Gordon?
A Yes, he was.
Q Did he accompany you to Fort Bragg?
A Yes, sir, he was our team chief.
Q And, now, were there any other persons on this team?
A Yes, there were.
Q About how many?
A One, two, three others, I think.
Q Now, when you got to Fort Bragg, where did you go or where were you taken?
A We were taken directly to the scene.
Q Was that 544 Castle Drive?
A Yes, sir. I'm not sure of the number, but I remember Castle Drive and it's the residence of the MacDonalds.
Q And who was in charge of the premises at that time?
A Well, there were MPs on the outside to let us in, if that's what you're asking.
Q And on the inside was Bill Ivory, the CID agent?
A Yes, and the other one, Bob Shaw.
Q Now, what was your assignment at that time; what was your task; what were you told to do?
A When I first arrived there, I was asked by Mr. Medlin to first take overall inside shots or views of the entire interior prior to anybody going in and starting the next phase of the operation.
Q All right --
A So I took photographs of all of the rooms.
Q All right, now, what was the next phase of the operation?
A From there I went outside and took the exterior after I had completed the interior. That is the back of the yard and looking at the building from the back yard, and from the front and from the side, and all around the exterior including certain items of evidence or suspected evidence outside the building.
Q All right, now, what did you -- what did you do next?
A I went back inside and at this point, I am pretty sure I started following Mr. Medlin around with taking of the fingerprint areas that he had found, and from time to time I also digressed from that to taking photographs that maybe the chemist wanted.
Q All right, sir, now, well, what was Mr. Medlin doing?
A He was processing for fingerprints and footprints and just in general looking around, and investigating, looking at all of the evidence.
Q Now, when you say processing for fingerprints and footprints and so on and so forth, what do you mean?
A (No answer)
Q Will you explain to the jury, please, what the procedure is in processing for footprints and fingerprints?
A He would -- the actual processing for these?
A He would be using dusting powder and a dust brush, a regular fingerprint brush, and he would be looking at -- on certain surfaces and things with the powder and brush for latent prints to appear with the brush -- dust adhering to the print.
Q If there is a latent print, I take it the powder adheres to the ridge lines of the print, is that right?
A Yes, it does.
Q And if the surface is contrasted with the color of the powder, there is an impression of a fingerprint, that is, there is a latent print on the surface that you can photograph?
A Yes, sir.
Q And now, normally you use a dark powder, don't you, or a black powder?
A It depends on the surface. Well, in this house, most all surfaces were light colors; cream whites, or blue for the wall, or whatever the room was, and definitely the black powder in most cases.
But there are other colors of powder.
Q Whenever there was a latent print developed by applying dust and it appeared to be of sufficient quality that you might be able to compare it with a record print, did you make a photograph of it?
A I made photographs of the areas that Mr. Medlin marked for me to take. He told me which ones they were and he drew areas around them. He drew the perimeter, you might say, around the print.
Q In connection with this work, did you assign, let's say for your purposes, a number to different -- or designation, let's say?
A No, that was Mr. Medlin. He assigned the number.
Q When I say "you," I'm using the collective word, including you and Mr. Medlin.
A Oh, I'm sorry, yes.
Q Did you assign some sort of a designation to the area in which you worked?
Q And then did you -- you and again I'm using the collective "you," assign sort of a subnumber to separate different prints that were photographed in the same area?
A Yes, in most cases.
Q Now, was your task to make the photographs, I take it, and not to make the final comparison with record prints?
A That's right, that's correct.
Q That was a task of Mr. Medlin at that time?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, have you been able to go over the photographs that you made within the last couple of days?
A Yes, I have.
Q And have you been able to review the reports relating to the examination of these prints?
A Yes, sir, in relation to the taking of them and where they were; yes, sir.
MR. WOERHEIDE: Before I ask him some more questions, I want to read from the testimony here of Mr. MacDonald before the grand jury.
It was on the sixteenth of August, towards the end of his testimony, and he was making a spontaneous statement at the close of this testimony.
He said, "You asked me about the statement of fifty photographs -- fifty fingerprints that I said in that information sheet were destroyed.
"Well, I went back and looked, and I really can't make it out. The best I can make out that the Sergeant stated under oath, and you really can't make out what he says, but the best that he said was that he had to rephotograph because of a loss of film.
"Forty-four fingerprints and seven or ten palm prints. He said seven at one point and then later he said ten.
"So, that's over fifty. So for the first time in my life, I understated.
"But, the point is that that's how much film was destroyed, and I can't find out from reading the record how many of those that he had to rephotograph were destroyed by the tape.
"But apparently we have a significant number of fingerprints including fingerprints on the door leading into the house to the utility room that were destroyed.
"Now, I don't know if that's obstruction of justice, but it sure seems like a lot of incompetence in the Army. They're guilty of something for that."
All right, how much film was destroyed, Mr. Mann (sic)?
A I'm not aware of any of it being destroyed.
Q When you were making prints were these -- was the camera hand-held or was it on a tripod?
A It was on a tripod.
Q Now, what sort of illumination were you using?
A I was using an uncovered lamp from the living room. They had a pretty -- I think it was a hundred fifty watt bulb I think that was being held by the assistant to me for taking of photographs which was also Mr. Medlins's assistant, Mr. Ralph Turbyfill.
Q Now, were these long exposures in the sense that they were not instantaneous exposures and had required a substantial amount of time to properly expose the film?
A Yes, substantial, if you're talking about a second or half a second perhaps, which is very long in photographic work.
Q Now, when you're taking a long exposure in that sense, and there is -- you mount the camera on a tripod, I take it?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you take fingerprints, you use the long bellows extension, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q And using a long bellows extension tends to magnify the effects of vibration?
A Oh, definitely, sir.
Q Yeah, now, while you're making an exposure of say a second, if there's a passing truck or some vibration caused in the building by movement of a person either in the apartment or in the room above, let's say, treading on the floor, is it possible that that might affect the photographic results?
A Yes, sir, certainly.
Q Clarity of the picture?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, as a result you say no film was destroyed? There was no destruction of film?
A No, sir, none was destroyed.
Q And you photographed all the prints that you were instructed to by Mr. Medlin which he deemed would be suitable for comparison purposes, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, after you developed the film, did you find it necessary to rephotograph some of the prints?
A Yes, after they were printed and Mr. Medlin viewed the quality of these certain locations, the prints of them, and not by the negatives alone but by the prints thereafter, we determined that some of them would be best to be shot again for more clarity, to give a clearer shot. Some were definitely needed to be shot again, and others, it was a nice to have situation, since I was going there anyway.
Q Do you recall approximately how many prints you rephotographed?
A I counted forty.
Q And initially, how many prints had you photographed? That's forty. I'm trying to find out, that's forty out of how many?
A A hundred one I believe, and this is -- no, I take that back. I'm thinking of latent prints themselves within areas. Seventy-five areas.
Q Now, did you encounter difficulty with respect to any of the prints that were rephotographed?
A One --
Q I have a list of three here on my --
A All right.
Q -- on my sheet. Now, is that -- would that be the number with which you had some difficulty?
A Yes, sir, one, I was beginning to say, was rephotographed using a mirror to get closer in, because it was in a peculiar position inside the door of the middle bathroom. I don't know exactly what you'd call it. It's -- yeah, the middle bathroom, hall bathroom.
Next was inside the door, and I used a mirror and something moved or jiggled, because the second attempt was not as clear as the first one, and Mr. Medlin was able to determine from the first one that it -- it was Exhibit U5, sub 4, was classified insufficient, because he was able to determine by looking at it the first time around, even though he sent me after another one, he was able to tell it was insufficient for comparison to record prints.
Q Well, that means that there were not enough points on the print itself --
A Yes, sir.
Q -- to enable you to make a proper comparison with a record print?
A That is true, very true.
Q It does not mean that the photograph of the print was of too bad a photograph for making a comparison?
A That is true, it was not --
Q It's just that the print itself was not sufficiently detailed, is that true?
A That's correct, the latent print itself after being dusted did not have sufficient points.
Q Now, let's get to the back screen door. I think that's your print B4, sub 24.
A That's Exhibit U4. We have numbered that 24 in the series. The back screen door. It was very hard to photograph the first time, but we attempted to. It was a dark green enamel, irregular surface, and it was dusted with dark powder, and we used lighting -- glance lighting, and tried to get the certain ridge detail off of it.
The second time we went back, the tape that had been placed over it for protecting it, had because of the weather, I believe, or something, it had not adhered completely to the irregular surface. There were air pockets and humidity and moisture and all that had taken its toll, and that one there was deemed -- let's see, that one there just could not be determined by Mr. Medlin as being -- you couldn't identify it. It wasn't usable.
Q In other words, you didn't have a usable print?
A That's true, sir.
Q In -- now, you have already mentioned a print that you rephotographed using a mirror, is that your print V6, number 4? Or U6, I'm sorry?
A Yes, sir, it's U6, to be rephotographed, I used a mirror.
Q Yeah, is it proper to say that -- well, let's get the location, was that in the north bedroom on the inside door jamb?
A Yes, sir, let me read through my notes. U6, that was in the small bedroom, yes that would be the north bedroom. The center bedroom on the north side, yes.
Q And it was on the inside of the door jamb?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Was four and a half feet above the floor?
A That's -- yes, sir, not referring to the notes that I have here, I'd say that's where it was.
Q And it was in a location where it was extremely difficult to photograph, is that correct?
A Yes, sir, to get real close to it. On the first attempt, I was back a little further from it, and I used just the proximity of the camera directly to the print.
The second time around I tried to get closer, and I used a mirror to get closer, because the tripod and everything just couldn't get in close enough on the second go around.
Q Now, does the report indicate that the photograph of the print was sufficient for purposes of comparison with known prints or record prints, but the print was not identified?
A Yes, sir, that's true. It was two palm prints, not identified, but identifiable.
Q All right, I think I misspoke myself when I referred to that as U6, number 4. That is U5, number 4, is it not?
A Well, sir, I have both. I have the U6, number 4 and the U5, number 4.
The U5, number 4, I used a mirror.
Q That's the one with the mirror and there were not sufficient points for identification purposes. On U6, there were sufficient points?
A Yes, sir, we talked about U5, number 4, just previous to that, and then we talked about U6, number 4.
Q Okay, right, so, when we get right down to it, actually the only print that was lost if one could really say it was lost was the one on the back screen door, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
A Yes, sir.
Q Number sub 24?
A The first attempt at photographing it did not show sufficient detail in the print to do anything with.
Q And you say it was a dark powder over a dark surface?
A Yes, sir.
Q And --
A And it was outdoors, too, and thereby having to screen off some of the light from the sky at the same time bouncing light onto it.
Q Now, can you tell me how many record prints were used in the examination of these latent prints that you photographed?
A Sir, I don't know the number. That -- that follows me.
Q We'd have to get that from somebody else?
A Yes, sir.
Q Well, I wonder -- wanted to ask you, Mr. Page, could you compile a notebook for us with the photographs that you took in the various rooms of the house and on the outside of the house, similar to the one that was compiled by Mr. Squires so we can have a full set of your photographs before you go back to Germany, that is?
A I --
Q Is it possible for you to do that?
A I would say at this moment, no, because some of the shots I took, I have the negatives. I have the negatives for all the shots I took, but some of the prints are not with me. They were not sent here.
Q You mean they are not with you?
A They are not in this building.
Q Well, if we get the prints, can that be done?
A Yes, I can compile them if I get the prints, yes, sir.
Q Well, I'll try to see to that that it's done before you get back to Germany.
Now, do you have a print of the -- a scene you shot in the living room with you?
A Yes, sir, I do. This is the print I shot in the living room.
(Witness exhibits photograph.)
Q Do you have a comparable photograph made by Mr. Squires?
A Yes, sir, that is this one right here.
Q What time did you make your print?
A This would have to be after we arrived at approximately 11:00 o'clock a.m. This one, I understand, was taken much earlier.
Q So, the photograph that you made reflects the scene as of eleven o'clock -- sometime after eleven o'clock that morning after you arrived?
A Yes, sir.
Q And it was probably at least -- it was probably at least a number of hours after Mr. Squires made his photograph?
A Yes, sir.
Q Well, do you have any questions?
MR. STROUD: No.
Q (Mr. Woerheide) Is the one that you made been marked for identification? Can you read a mark on the back?
A No, sir, I haven't -- this hasn't been marked for identification.
MR. WOERHEIDE: All right, I know the Grand Jurors have seen this before, but we'll mark this as your Exhibit number 1 of this date, and ask our reporter to --
A This one has been, I think.
MR. WOERHEIDE: Well, we don't need that. We have that in Mr. Squires' book.
And that'll be Page Exhibit Number 1.
(PAGE EXHIBIT 1, 11-21-74, MARKED FOR IDENTIFICATION.)
MR. WOERHEIDE: Do the Grand Jurors have any questions of Mr. Page? Mr. Stroud?
MR. STROUD: I don't have any.
FOREMAN: Doesn't appear to be, Mr. Woerheide. Everybody seems pretty well satisified.
MR. WOERHEIDE: Well, may Mr. Page be dismissed?
FOREMAN: Yes, sir.
MR. WOERHEIDE: At least for today. I'd like to get his collection of photographs at some time.
(DISCUSSION OFF RECORD.)