December 4, 1974
Testimony of Dr. Merrill Bronstein, M.D.
Scans of original transcript
I, Mary M. Ritchie, being a Notary Public in and for the State of North Carolina, was appointed to take the testimony of the following witness, Merrill Hirsch Bronstein, before the Grand Jury, Raleigh, North Carolina on December 4, 1974. All Grand Jurors present.
Whereupon, Merrill Hirsch Bronstein, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
EXAMINATION BY MR. WORHEIDE:
Q Will you state your full name, please, sir?
A Merrill Hirsch Bronstein.
Q Where do you live, Dr. Bronstein?
A San Francisco, California.
Q Can you give us your street address?
A 2217 North Point.
Q Can you give us your business address?
A University of California Medical Center.
Q You are a medical doctor?
A Yes, sir.
Q Directing your attention to February of 1970, were you in the military?
A Yes, sir.
Q As a doctor?
A Yes, sir.
Q Can you tell us the branch of service that you were in and where you were assigned?
A I was a captain in the United States Air Force and I was assigned to the Department of Surgery at the Womack Army Hospital where I was a staff surgeon.
Q Were you in charge of surgery at that time, sir?
A I was in charge of a surgical ward. I was in the Department of Surgery under Dr. Frank Gemma who was chief in the Department of General Surgery.
Q Did you come to know a -- Did you come to know a doctor by the name of Jeffrey MacDonald?
A Yes, sir.
Q Was he in the military at that time?
A Yes, sir.
Q Can you tell us what his assignment was?
A He was in the special forces. He was a physician in special forces. But my knowledge of him was outside the hospital. I did extra work outside of my military duty in the emergency room at Cape Fear Valley Hospital and Jeff also worked in that emergency room. And so we became acquainted through that employment.
Q This extra work you're talking about, that's referred to as moonlighting?
A (Nods affirmatively.) Yes, sir.
Q Besides your normal duties as part of the military you, on occasion, would work nights, and weekends, and your other free time in private hospitals. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir. You had to receive special permission.
Q Approximately when did you become acquainted with Jeff MacDonald and tell us about your relationship with him.
A I don't know exactly when I became acquainted with him but it was certainly before the end of 1969. And we would see each other in the Cape Fear Valley Hospital emergency room. If he would be leaving, I would be coming, or we would sign out patients to each other. And it was generally an amicable, social relationship. He occasionally would show me a picture of his children or something. On one occasion he called me to ask me to recommend an obstetrician for his wife who was pregnant at that time. And since I worked up in the hospital, he, knowing that I knew the obstetricians and gynecologists in the Womack Army Hospital, he called me to recommend an obstetrician. I don't recall who I recommended but I'm sure it was someone who was good because my own wife had a baby there in the spring of 1970. And I don't know if his wife ever saw a gynecologist there. But that was one of the things that he asked me as a friend.
Q How close was this relationship? Did you, let's say, invite him to your home and he invite you to his home?
A No, sir. We never saw each other socially in any way. Our families did not know each other.
Q In other words, it was a very casual sort of passing relationship?
A It was an acquaintance, not friendship, let's say.
Q What was your general impression of him at that time?
A At that time I was very impressed with Jeff MacDonald. I think that I regarded him highly both as a person and a physician. I was impressed with his educational background, with his medical ability and with his personality and affability in general.
Q Do you recall approximately when it was that let's say he showed you those photographs that you referred to?
A No, I can't. I remember one day in the emergency room he showed me a picture of one of his children with a pony that he had recently bought for them.
Q Would you place that possibly sometime around January of 1970?
A I would assume it had to be sometime about then.
Q And do you recall approximately when it was he called you to inquire about a gynecologist?
A That was a week or ten days, maybe two weeks at the most, before February the 17th.
Q Now, directing your attention to the morning of February 17th, tell us about what happened as you recall so far as Jeff MacDonald is concerned.
A I was asleep and I got a call from the surgical resident, Dr. Jacobson. And Dr. Jacobson was the surgical resident on duty and I was the staff surgeon on call at home. He called me and he told me that Jeff MacDonald, a doctor of our acquaintance, had been brought into the hospital, stabbed, and that his family had been killed, and that he would like me to come over to the hospital. And I think this was about quarter to five or five o'clock. And I came right to the hospital; I live very close to the hospital.
And when I got to the hospital, Jeff was in the intensive care unit when I saw him. And Dr. Jacobson told me what he had found and then I took over from there.
Q Now, tell us about Jeff MacDonald's appearance, what injuries you observed, what his demeanor was, vital signs were.
A When I first came into the intensive care unit, he was in the glass cubicle and I could see him from the door. And he was remarkably pale. And he was kind of dirty appearing. He had on pajama bottoms. He was very upset. He had a bruise on his forehead. He had a superficial stab wound of the left upper arm. He had a stab wound down to the rectus fascia in the left upper abdomen. And he had a stab wound in his right anterior chest.
His vital signs were normal.
And the most remarkable thing to me about him was that he was so upset, that he was a friend of mine, ostensibly a friend, and he was in what appeared to me the most incredible circumstance for someone who I considered a colleague. I was also upset to be there with him. I was very concerned about him. He was tearful. He was continually asking me where his family was. At one moment talking about one thing and at the next moment talking about something else. But always very agitated.
Q What things was he talking about?
A How could they do this to him. How could this have happened. What was this world coming to. Just expository statements, frequently questioning, asking me to stay with him. He wanted me to call his mom, to call his in-laws. He made me promise to stay with him, to be with him when he told them what had happened. He wanted to know what had happened. He was -- One minute he would say that he wanted me to be with him when he told them what had happened and yet he would ask me what had happened. He would continually ask where was his wife. Where were the kids. Were they dead. Why weren't they here. Why wasn't I with them. He wanted me to be there, yet he wanted me to go out and see what was going on.
Q Now, you say he was -- his body was rather dirty. Can you be more specific? In what way was it dirty? Did he have some blood on his body? Or, was it something more than that?
A No, I really did not -- Or, I do not, at this time, recall and I did not, I'm sure, see at that time blood on his body. It wasn't -- It just had kind of a dirty appearance. I think if I recall his fingernails had some dirt under them, but it wasn't -- You know, he just didn't look clean and wholesome and fresh looking.
Q Now, besides observing the injuries that you specified, did you conduct any tests on him? I mean, did you make any observations, for example, his neurological functions?
A I went over him pretty thoroughly.
Q His reflexes?
A I especially went over his reflexes. I did a neurological examination because I did something that I don't think that I could really support medically in that he was very upset and I was very concerned for him and, because he was kind of hysterical I thought, I wanted him to be sedated. And generally when a person has had a head injury, which I felt that he had, and --
Q Not a serious head injury, I take it.
A I thought so because he had a bruise and he said that there had been times when he had lost consciousness. And this would indicate medically that he had sustained a concussion. It's only by history, obviously. You can't make the diagnosis any other way. But I wanted to give him sedation. I wanted to give him a narcotic to relax him and I wanted to give him a barbiturate to help him to sleep.
You generally withhold those drugs from patients who have that type of injury. And I did go over him very thoroughly. And I was sure that he had no localizing neurological sign. I'm sure that he had no other head injury because I went over his scalp and his hair. And I did give him those drugs. I gave him a fair amount of them.
Q All right. You mentioned a wound in his upper left abdomen. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you used a medical term in defining the wound. Was that a serious injury? Or, was it more or less a superficial injury?
A It could have been serious, but this was a medical judgment. Generally, when a patient has a stab wound of the abdomen it is very common that an exploratory operation or laparotomy will be performed just because a patient has a stab wound. But this stab wound was kind of gaping. It was open. And you could see down to the bottom of it. You could see -- Every muscle in the body has a covering called a fascia and you could see the fascia of the muscle there.
Q So, it went through the skin, through the fascia and no farther?
A Right. As far as we could tell. And it was obvious, you know, from his further course that this was a good judgment.
Q Did it require suturing?
Q You referred to a wound in his chest area.
A Right. In the right --
Q Would you describe that as an incision?
A It was a cut in the skin and the soft tissue and it apparently had penetrated the chest because on chest x-ray he had a partial collapse of his lung with air entering the pleural cavity. He had a problem called pneumothorax.
Q Was it a jagged wound with tearing or was it a clean, sharp incision you might say?
A It was a clean wound.
Q And relatively small?
A Clean, small, sharp.
Q In other words, it did permit air to enter the pleural cavity?
Q Did you examine the chest x-rays?
Q Did you arrive in your own mind at a conclusion as to whether or not something should be done at that time so far as the pneumothorax was concerned?
A I felt that this was also an area of medical judgment. I felt that it could either be treated with a chest tube or not. And I left that decision to my senior, Dr. Gemma, who came in and actually I did not see him. I left Dr. MacDonald about seven o'clock that morning. I went home just to shower and shave and then I came back. When I got back about a half hour later, Dr. Gemma had inserted a chest tube to re-expand the lung. But the reason there was a question in my mind was there was no compromise the patient's clinical status. He was not having any difficulty breathing at that time and also had no circulatory compromise. There was no question that he had a change in his pulse, blood pressure or other vital signs.
Q Were you concerned about let's say his life, his ability to survive the effects of the injuries?
A No. I was concerned about his emotional status. That was the thing that affected me the most, the thing that impressed me the most, the thing that I had the greatest difficulty, as a physician, in dealing with.
If he had had more medical problems, then I could have dealt with this clinically and gotten my mind off the situation. He didn't have a lot of other things. And so these were the injuries that he had.
Q In your professional judgment, it was rather a toss-up as to whether or not to put in a chest tube to relieve the pneumothorax or not? That is, it was reasonable to expect that without a chest tube he would nevertheless make a satisfactory recovery. Is that correct?
A Yes. Or, that if he didn't you could always put the tube in later. But, you could follow this pneumothorax. In other words, because he was clinically stable, you could follow this pneumothorax. If it got bigger or if he became clinically compromised, he was in the hospital environment and you could put the tube in on a moment's notice.
Q And actually, in your opinion, it was not an emergency situation that required immediate intervention?
A No, sir.
Q Now, you say that Dr. MacDonald implored you to stay with him.
Q He also asked you to make certain phone calls.
Q Did he furnish you with the information you needed to make these phone calls?
A Yes. I mean he told me -- He wanted me to call his mom and he told me that she might not be at home. I'm not sure that he gave me the phone number, but he told me, I'm sure, her address or where she was located. And he told me that if she wasn't at home she would be at school. And he told me the name of the school or the school district. And he gave me enough information so that I would be able to find her. And he also asked me to call his in-laws and to ask them to come down also.
Q So you did make these phone calls?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, in that connection, would you say that he was well oriented as to time and place? He knew who he was? He knew who you were? He knew where he was? He knew --
A Yes, sir. He was fully oriented.
Q He knew what the situation was? He had no difficulty in let's say getting through to you or you had no difficulty in getting through to him?
A No, sir.
Q As far as you were concerned he was --
A He was oriented as to time and place. He was intellectually aware of what was happening. And he was able to communicate to me, you know, what he wished for me. The only thing I noticed was that he was upset, but he told me this and I wrote it down.
Q Now, you say you went home between seven and seven-thirty and then you returned. Now, did you stay with him?
A Yes. I stayed with him almost the whole day. And actually I stayed with him as long as I could. I was with him the entire morning from seven-thirty on. I was with him when he was interviewed by the MPs. I was with him when he was interviewed by the CID. I was with him when he was interviewed by the FBI. And I was with him when he told his mother and when he told his in-laws. I stayed with him until the early afternoon and then I actually asked to be relieved of his care. And I spoke with Dr. Gemma and asked him to take over the case.
Q All right, now, tell us about his interviews with the MPs, the CID, the FBI.
A Very early on I think, probably even before I had had a full chance to thoroughly examine him or give him any medication, an MP came into the room and asked some questions, asked for a brief description of what had happened and for details with regard to the physical description of the people who had invaded his home that morning. And he was just there for a short while and then he left.
The other interviews occurred later on in the morning. I know that the CID came first, one gentleman, and he took a fairly long involved history. And he took a lot of extensive notes. And that was probably sometime between eight-thirty and nine-thirty. And then the FBI came later on in the morning. And there were two men at that time. And they also took a fairly involved history with a lot of notes. The thing that impressed me about all of these three stories that they seemed to me to be essentially the same story. I don't, you know --
Q All right. Basically, as you recall, what was the story?
A Basically, that Jeff had been up reading or watching television, that when he had gotten up to go back to bed that he had found one of his daughters in bed and that she had wet the bed and so he put her back in her bed. But he couldn't go back to sleep in his bed. And he went back to the couch and either fell asleep while reading or watching television. And that he was awakened by screams, that he was being hit over the head by a man with either a baseball bat or a club, that he started to get up, was knocked to the floor, felt himself pushed and stabbed and that when he regained consciousness he found his wife and children and that he attempted to resuscitate one of them -- and I can't recall which one he tried to resuscitate. That he tried to call for help, that when he got to the telephone he had some problem with the operator and he couldn't get an ambulance or he couldn't get the MPs and I don't know who he called first. That -- I think he passed out again and that the next thing that he remembered is that the MPs came and brought him to the hospital.
Q You say he was awakened by screams. Who did he say was doing the screaming and what were the words?
A I think that it was his wife. I'm not sure of the words, but it was "Help me" or --
Q Could it be: "Jeff, why are they doing this to me?"
A Yes. Yes.
Q And did he hear his daughter scream, "Daddy, daddy, daddy! Daddy, daddy, daddy!"?
A I don't know. I don't remember that.
Q Now, you say he described the incident in such a way that he was awakened by these screams? He was on the couch. He raised himself up. And he saw certain intruders. Now, what description did he give of these intruders?
A He said there were three men and a woman. The woman had long hair, was wearing a big hat and she had a candle. And she was saying, "Kill the pigs." That there were two white men and one black man. And that one of them -- I don't recall who -- was wearing a fatigue jacket. And that's about all I remember from the description, that they didn't have too long hair and they didn't have -- except for the girl. And they didn't have military haircuts either. I mean that was a point, that they didn't have real long hair and they didn't have a military cut.
Q Do you remember the color of the girl's hair?
A It was light brown.
Q And do you remember whether the candle was lit?
Q Now, you stayed with Jeff from the time you returned to the hospital around seven-thirty until sometime early in the afternoon? I take it to be about two o'clock in the afternoon.
A Something like that.
Q Did he go to sleep during this period of time?
A I don't think -- Well, if he did sleep, it was only for a short period of time. It was only after I gave him a very, very large dose of both narcotics and sedatives. And it was certainly early on.
Q Well, you said he had a series of visitors which would include CID agents sometime around eight o'clock, and two men, one of whom was an FBI agent, sometime around eleven o'clock. And, at this time, would you say he was alert?
A He was alert for -- at all times.
Q Was he responsive?
Q He was able to comprehend the questions that were being asked of him and give responsive replies?
A Yes, sir.
Q And he was fully aware of the circumstances at that time?
A Well, the --
Q He was relaxed as a result of the sedation.
A He was relaxed -- you know, he was relaxed but -- In other words, I didn't know that he knew -- In other words, I felt -- Or, there was a question in my mind that he knew that his wife and children were dead. In other words, he would say things to me like: "They're dead, aren't they? Where are they?" And when I came back sometime before eight o'clock I told him that they were dead and -- In other words, from that point on I was sure that I had told him, that he knew that they were dead. But, before that, he would ask were they dead, you know, where were they, what was happening to them, why weren't they here. But, he knew all the circumstances that I was aware of at that time.
Q You've mentioned the visit of the MPs, the CID and the FBI. Now, tell us what happened when his family arrived.
A He asked that I be there and they already knew what happened. It had been in the news by about ten o'clock that morning that this brutal murder had taken place. So that there wasn't really too much, you know, for him to say to them. They seemed to know what had happened. Sometime during the morning I think his sister or his brother called from some place in upstate New York. In other words, all the details had already been transmitted and he didn't really have too much to, you know -- He was just, you know, said something like they're dead and it was, you know, a pretty sad time. I mean...
Q Well, did he say anything other than: They're dead! Did he say anything about what he had done or what he had failed to do?
A Yes. He was very upset. "I tried to stop them." You know. He was gesticulating. But I don't recall too much about the interview except that I was upset about being there. That's most of what I recall about that morning, was my own discomfort the whole morning. I mean from the minute that Jacobson called me, my first response was: Jake, I can't go to the hospital now. If there are a bunch of crazy people running around Fort Bragg killing people then I got to stay here with my wife. And it wasn't remarkably professional, but that I'm sure was my own personal, internal response.
Q Now, I take it he spent the first twenty-four hours in the intensive care unit.
Q And thereafter he was transferred to the --
A He was transferred to ward 2-A where I was ostensibly the doctor in charge. But I had asked Frank Gemma, who was the Chief of General Surgery, to take over. And so while he was on my ward, he was in a private room. And he wasn't out with the rest of my patients. And I only saw him from then on socially and in passing. I would stop by his room and ask him how he was and chat for a few minutes.
Q Well, in making your rounds, would you say you saw him at least once or twice a day?
A Oh, certainly.
Q Possibly more?
A Well, in other words, you passed right by his room on the way into the ward. And I would, you know, he was a friend of mine, a doctor who was on my ward. I stopped to say hello very frequently, but I certainly saw him every day he was in the hospital.
Q From your observation, did he make a satisfactory recovery?
A He seemed to. There was a problem with re-expanding his lung. We had to put a second chest tube in. This is not an uncommon problem with people who have pneumothoraxes that are treated with chest tubes, that frequently they have some old, inflammatory disease which inhibits the lung from re-expanding and a second chest tube may be required. But he did have a satisfactory recovery. He never had any difficulty.
Q You say "an old inflammatory disease." Are you referring to pneumonia or --
A He may have had pneumonia. He may have had pleurisy. He may have had an old broken rib. It could have been any type of response in the chest cavity which would cause a scar to form.
Q Now, did he have visitors?
A Yes, sir.
Q Tell us about that.
A Actually, I got to meet a couple of his visitors. I met a friend of his named Ron Harrison who he introduced me to in his room. And his parents -- His mother stayed with him a lot. She was up quite a bit. I don't remember any other specific visitors.
Q Tell us about Ron Harrison.
A Ron Harrison impressed me remarkably. I had a very, very attracted relationship with Jeff. I really liked him as a doctor. I was impressed with his education. I was impressed with his medical ability. And I never knew many people like Ron Harrison. He was an unusual person and impressed me as being -- and this is a surgical opinion. I'm a surgeon. I'm not a psychiatrist. He impressed me as being disturbed. That I was worried when I met Ron Harrison. He told me that he was a killer. And he told me that he was going to kill the people who were responsible for this crime. That he was -- Now, I use this medical term, but I'm sure it has come into wide use -- he was a paranoid person. He was always worried about people being around. He was a frightening guy. I mean he physically frightened me.
Q All right. In connection with his saying he was a killer and that he was going to kill the people that had perpetrated this offense, did he make any reference to Jeff?
A Yes. He said, "Jeff wants me to find them and kill them."
Q Did you take this seriously?
A Yes. From him. I mean I really did.
Q Did you see Harrison there frequently as a visitor?
A Yes. He was in every day for sure. And I saw him after that. I had an opportunity -- I was out with my wife one night and he was in the same restaurant and then he frightened my wife.
Q Do you remember approximately how long it was that Jeff was in the hospital until he was discharged?
A No. It's a few days. I can look in the record. It says he was in the hospital from the seventeenth of February through the twenty-sixth of February. So that's nine days.
Q To what extent did you see him thereafter?
A I saw him one more time when he was in custody in the bachelor officers' quarters. I was driving by one day and I saw him out for a walk with a guard. And I stopped and we talked. The guard, you know, stood a few feet away, didn't interfere. It was, you know, just a casual chat. I asked him if there was anything I could do for him, if there was anything he needed. And that was the extent of our discussion.
Q All right. What did he say?
A Basically, that he was very unhappy, that things weren't going very well, that he needed his glasses and he hadn't been able to go back and get his glasses. They were in his house. They hadn't let him back into his house to get some things. But there was nothing that I could get for him.
Q Was this the only time he talked to you about glasses?
A I think so.
Q I don't know that all these points need to be cleared up, but you say you got the call around quarter of five?
A Something like that.
Q You lived nearby?
A Yes. I lived within a mile of the hospital.
Q You could have gotten to the hospital around five o'clock or shortly thereafter?
A Yes. I was definitely on the premises by five-fifteen or five-thirty. I was that close and just pulled on my clothes and left.
Q Now, in his description of the girl she had long, light brown hair, she had a lit candle. I think you did testify she was saying, "Kill the pigs."
A Yes. And she was wearing a big hat.
Q A big hat. Any further description of the hat?
A It was a floppy hat. A big, floppy hat.
Q Anything about boots?
A I don't recall. I don't recall anything about boots.
Q How did you appraise the job as being done by MP, the CID and the FBI?
A I was very impressed. It was very professional. I thought that --
Q Were they thorough?
A Seemed to me to be very thorough.
Q Were they asking appropriate questions to obtain a physical description of the assailants described by Jeff?
A Yes. I really thought so. I mean as much as my experience is with this and from the movies and from television, I thought that they were very thorough, very exacting, that they took notes, that they did a very -- what appeared to me to be a professional job and that they didn't skip anything. They went back and asked questions. It was an interview.
Q And they were probing as deeply as they could to get the information they were seeking to obtain?
A Yes. I think so.
Q And how detailed a description did Jeff MacDonald give as to these assailants?
A It wasn't that good. In other words, I couldn't have figured out who they were from the description. Mostly they were in terms of averages. He thought one guy was a little bigger than he was. One guy was a little smaller. They were average this, average that, average build. He was unwilling to give numbers or specifics. He just didn't know.
Q Now, you have described a wound in his left arm I take it, one in his upper left abdomen, one here (indicating right chest) and a --
A Contusion of the forehead.
Q -- contusion on his forehead. Are those all the wounds you observed?
A Except if he had a minor abrasion or small scratch somewhere. But he had no other stab wounds on his body. I saw his entire body from head to toe because while I was there his pajamas were removed and I examined him from head to toe.
Q Would you say he did or did not have fourteen ice pick wounds around his belly button?
A No. He absolutely did not have any ice pick wounds anywhere on his body. But definitely not around his belly button.
Q And he had no injuries on his back?
A None. Unless it was a small scratch or something.
FOREMAN: Any questions?
JUROR: I have one. Is it very ethical or normal for a physician who has been held under custody to do physicals on females in his BOQ room? Would it be?
A You mean if I, as a doctor, were in jail, would the jail employ me to do physical examinations?
JUROR: No. Would you just do it? Do you think people would take their wives to you?
A No, I can't imagine that. I mean I can't imagine that at all.
MR. WOERHEIDE: Not even as an act of friendship?
A I think generally in friendship I would say that you don't generally -- In other words, I don't take care of my wife at all and I don't send her to any of my friends. When my wife goes to a doctor, she goes to a doctor who may be a recommended physician, maybe one that I know, but I mean I don't think -- I mean physical care of family is not a social relationship as far as I'm concerned. I don't think, you know, I don't think that's a personal feeling. I think that's just the way it has got to be.
JUROR: Did you feel that Ron Harrison and Captain MacDonald had a very close friendship relationship?
JUROR: And knew each other real well?
JUROR: When did you first see Ron Harrison?
A In Jeff's room. It was the day after this, after he had come out of intensive care and he was in a private room on ward 2-A at the Womack Army Hospital. He had a visitor and I was passing through and he introduced me to him.
JUROR: Prior to the night in the restaurant when you and your wife saw Ron Harrison, had you expressed your feelings of fright or discomfort about him to her?
A No. As a matter of fact I don't think I've ever discussed it with anyone until this time now, that I've come here, except with my wife.
JUROR: What made her frightened? Was it words he said or was it his general attitude?
A It was his, just the way he appeared socially. He said things that -- My wife is a very gentle person. She would never think of killing anyone. She would not think of harming anyone. And he was talking about that. But he also went through an elaborate kind of ritual, you know. He would constantly apologize for using certain language in front of my wife that certainly wouldn't have offended my wife. And he was always trying to see if there was -- You know, he was always worried. He is a very nervous man.
Q (Mr. Woerheide) And he likes to talk about killing?
A Yes. That was a constant topic of his discussion. That's what impressed me. As a matter of fact, you know, it was the only thing that stands out in my mind as unusual about the whole -- Aside from the fact that a murder, I think, is a very unusual thing, and it was a very frightening thing and that it was another doctor, it was a colleague. I think that overall I could have accepted all the events that occurred without questioning the events, except in my own mind I questioned that it happened after I met Ron Harrison because Ron Harrison frightened me. I mean I just didn't know how he could be Jeff's friend. I -- I realize that's very vague but as a doctor in the army I had a number of friends who weren't physicians but in general my friends were physicians, a few lawyers, other people who basically were in the same environment I was in. And Ron Harrison was different that anybody I knew. And that was -- I would not have sought him out for a friend. And I would have sought out Jeff MacDonald as a friend if things had been different. I could have been very friendly with Jeff I think.
JUROR: Well, the medication you gave Jeff, did you give it to him far enough in advance that he could talk to the MPs and the CID's without crying when they arrived or being upset?
A Yes. I gave it to him because he was very upset. I gave it to him to try and relax him. I wanted to put him to sleep. I may have done that a lot for my own comfort. I was -- I mean, you know -- It's not a joke. I hate to see a grown man cry. And I couldn't deal with it as a physician or as a friend and that was the way that I chose to deal with it, by giving him sedation. But I never really accomplished what I intended. I mean I never really knocked him out or made him incoherent in any way.
JUROR: The medicine had taken effect by the time the MPs got there?
A Not by the time the MPs got there because they came very early. But certainly by the time, by the time the CID came the medicine had taken effect and maybe by the time the FBI came it was already wearing off.
Q (Mr. Woerheide) I have just one more question. When Jeff was talking to you, and say he was jumping from one subject to another, as I recall you said he had given artificial respiration to a member of his family.
A (Nods affirmatively.)
Q In that connection, did he say he knew she was dead?
Q Do you recall who he was referring to?
A No, I don't.
Q Whether it was Colette or one of the girls?
A I don't know whether it was his wife or one of the children. I do remember that he said he tried artificial respiration -- He tried mouth-to-mouth is what he said. And he knew she was dead. She didn't have a pulse. He was sure she was dead.
Q But nevertheless in jumping around he would also say, "How are my family? Are they in the hospital?" and so on and so forth?
MR. WOERHEIDE: May Dr. --
FOREMAN: No, no. Not quite. I've got one question.
I want to go back to where his family entered the room when they arrived there that afternoon somewhere around two o'clock or so.
It was his mother and the -- his wife's mother and father. Is that correct?
FOREMAN: When he told them, what kind of reaction did his parents and his in-laws have? Was it any kind of hysteria or crying or anything of this nature?
A Yes. There was some crying but it wasn't hysterical. I think they already knew it when they came in the room.
FOREMAN: None of the three of them left the room, did they, at the time the discussion was going on? Was his mother there during the whole time?
A I don't remember. I mean I think that they were all in the room, but it was -- It's a small, glassed-in cubicle and you know one of them could have walked out and walked in or walked in or walked out.
FOREMAN: But you didn't observe anyone sort of breaking down and crying and being helped from the room in any way?
A I don't recall.
FOREMAN: Ron Harrison, if I understand your answer correctly, you would think that a physician or a doctor whose job it is to preserve life would not have a relationship with a man who talks so freely of taking life. Is that what you mean? Or, what are you basically saying?
A Yes. I think that I would say that. I don't think that that's an exceptional paraphrase of my thinking. I have friends or I had friends who were in special forces and I had friends who were not physicians in special forces, people that I socialized with, who I was in their homes and they were in mine. But they certainly, you know, would not choose as a topic of conversation or point of discussion with me, killing and death. They certainly would never discuss it in the presence of my family.
FOREMAN: That's all I have. Thank you.
Thank you, Dr. Bronstein.
[WITNESS IS EXCUSED.]