Article 32 Hearing
Volume 12

August 11, 1970

First Lieutenant Mary Thoesen

(The hearing reconvened at 0830 hours, 11 August 1970.)

COL ROCK:  The hearing will come to order.  Let the record reflect that all parties who were present at the recess yesterday are currently in the hearing room.  Will counsel for the accused please present the next evidence?

MR. SEGAL:  Lieutenant Thoesen, please.

(Lieutenant Mary Judith Thoesen was called as a witness for the defense, was sworn and testified as follows.)

Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q  Lieutenant Thoesen, would you state your full name?
A  Lieutenant Mary Judith Thoesen.
Q  And your rank?
A  First Lieutenant, Army Nurse Corps, United States Army Reserve.
Q  Your station?
A  Womack Army Hospital.
Q  Fort Bragg, North Carolina?
A  Yes.
Q  Now do you know the accused in this case, Captain Jeffrey R. MacDonald?
A  Yes, I do, sir.
Q  When did you first become acquainted with Captain MacDonald?
A  September of 1969.
Q  '69?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Under what circumstances did you come to meet Captain MacDonald?
A  Through my husband, who worked with Jeff in the 3rd Special Forces Group.
Q  And is your husband Captain Thoesen, who was a witness here yesterday?
A  Yes, sir, he is.
Q  What kind of occasion did you come to be with Captain MacDonald?  Professionally or socially?
A  Just social, sir.
Q  And could you indicate to the investigating officer how often you would have occasion to be with Captain MacDonald?
A  Approximately once a week.
Q  Now may I ask did you also meet Colette MacDonald, the wife of Captain MacDonald?
A  Yes, sir, I did.
Q  When did you meet her?  About the same time you met Captain MacDonald?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  And on various social occasions that you were with Captain MacDonald, was Mrs. MacDonald included in those occasions?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  And how long did your relationship with the MacDonalds continue?
A  Until -- you know -- Jeff is a good friend of ours and until the time of Colette's we were very good friends.
Q  Are you still on a friendly basis with Captain MacDonald, still friends?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Did you ever have occasion to be in the MacDonald house?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Did you know the MacDonald children?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Now based upon your observation, would you indicate to the investigating officer, what was the attitude of Colette MacDonald toward her husband?
A  Very devoted, very loving wife.  Never -- you know -- questioning anything.  Just a loving wife.
Q  What was the attitude of Colette MacDonald toward her children?
A  The same type of relationship.  Very loving, very close relationship, very devoted to her children.
Q  Did she at any time threaten violence or commit violence, ever strike or hit either of her children?
A  No, sir.
Q  Did she ever in your presence ever threaten or actually commit violence against Captain MacDonald?
A  No, sir.
Q  Were you aware at the time of Mrs. MacDonald's death, that she was pregnant?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  How did you learn of the pregnancy?
A  One evening we were over there, she told us.
Q  Do you recall about what month that was?
A  I think it was around Christmas time, December.
Q  What was Mrs. MacDonald's attitude toward her pregnancy?
A  She seemed happy about it.  She seemed to accept it and to be -- you know -- ready for another child, I would say.
Q  What was Captain MacDonald's attitude toward this pregnancy?
A  The same, I believe.
Q  Would you please indicate to the investigating officer, based upon your observation, what was Captain MacDonald's attitude toward his wife?
A  Also a loving husband and also very devoted, very happy.
Q  What was Captain MacDonald's attitude and conduct with his children?
A  Same type of an attitude; very happy, very satisfied with his children; got a lot of enjoyment out of his children; loved them very much.
Q  Did you ever see or hear Captain MacDonald threaten to do injury to his children or, in fact, commit bodily injury against his children?
A  No, sir.
Q  How would you describe the behavior of the MacDonald children?
A  They seemed like very happy children.  They were well behaved, very friendly children, outgoing, very intelligent children.  Bright.  They were very bright youngsters for their age.
Q  Did you ever have occasion to observe Captain MacDonald discipline his children?
A  No.  The only thing I've ever seen Jeff do was maybe speak to them, you know explain to them why he asked them to do something and they would listen, usually.  Very good children.
Q  Did you ever have occasion to see Mrs. MacDonald discipline or that is, regulate the behavior of her children?
A  No, I think just more or less tell them, explain to them, you know, why she wanted them to do something and they would usually listen.
Q  What was Mrs. MacDonald's attitude toward Army life and her being here at Fort Bragg with her husband, serving in the Army?
A  She took it in her stride.  She accepted the demands that were made upon Jeff and she went to all the social functions and I think she just sort of enjoyed it.  She seemed to -- you know -- adapt very well to Army life, living on the post.
Q  When as the last time prior to February 17th, 1970, that you had occasion to see Mrs. MacDonald?
A  I believe it was one evening when myself and my husband and about 3 other couples went to dinner with them at a Japanese restaurant in Fayetteville.
Q  And how long before February 17th was that, if you recall?
A  I believe it was about three weeks or so.
Q  Had you been with the MacDonalds during that interim or any time after that?
A  No, because I was working and we just didn't see them.  I didn't get to see them.  My husband had been over there several times.  That's the last time, I believe, that I saw them.
Q  What would you say Mrs. MacDonald's attitude seemed to be towards her husband on that occasion?
A  Same as always; very happy and having a good time.
Q  What was Dr. MacDonald attitude toward his wife on that occasion?
A  The same.

MR. SEGAL:  Cross-examine.

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q  I gather from your testimony, you have been in the MacDonald home.  Is that correct?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  And you say Colette was a devoted and loving wife.  Is that correct?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  What type of housekeeper was she?

MR. SEGAL:  That's objected to.  Irrelevant and immaterial.

CPT SOMERS:  It's relevant.  The type of housekeeper she was has a definite bearing on the type of wife and mother she might have been.

CPT BEALE:  Your objection is overruled, Mr. Segal.

A  I'd say she was an average housekeeper.
Q  The question was what type of housekeeper she was.  I'm not sure how that relates to your answer.
A  I think, sir, a wife who has a husband and two kids to take care of, she was an average housekeeper.
Q  In other words, you think she was an average housekeeper?
A  Yes.
Q  Would you describe her as not the neatest housekeeper in the world?

MR. SEGAL:  That's objected to as irrelevant and immaterial.

CPT SOMERS:  The objection is sustained.

Q  You say that in disciplining his children, Captain MacDonald simply talked to them and explained what he wanted, is that correct?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Have you ever seen him lose his temper with his children?
A  No, sir.
Q  Have you ever seen him lose his temper with his wife?
A  No.

CPT SOMERS:  No further questions.

MR. SEGAL:  I have nothing further, sir.

COL ROCK:  Lieutenant Thoesen, you are advised that you will discuss your testimony with no person other than counsel for the government or counsel for the accused.  You understand?

WITNESS:  Yes, sir.

COL ROCK:  You are excused permanently.