Grand Jury

October 31, 1974

Testimony of John Sellick (MP)

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, John F. Sellick, before the Grand Jury, Raleigh, North Carolina, commencing at 1:00 p.m. on October 31, 1974.  All Grand Jurors present.

Whereupon, JOHN F. SELLICK, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

Q  Will you state your name, please?
A  John Frederick Sellick.
Q  Where do you live, sir?
A  Lebanon, Connecticut.
Q  And street address?
A  Cheseborough Bridge Road.
Q  Do you have a number?
A  There's no number.  It's more of a rural area.
Q  And were are you employed, sir.
A  I'm with the Connecticut State Police Department.
Q  Do you have a business address?
A  Presently, 285 Preston Avenue, Marion, Connecticut.
Q  Did you serve a period of enlistment in the army?
A  Yes, I did.
Q  And during what years?
A  I went in in August of 1968 and was discharged in June of 1971.
Q  Now, were you an MP?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Were you on duty on the night of February 16-17, 1970?
A  Yes, sir.  I was.
Q  What shift were you on?
A  I was what they call the midnight shift that went on around midnight and I usually was off by seven thirty or eight o'clock in the morning.
Q  And what was your duty that night?
A  I was one of a two-man patrol patroling Fort Bragg.
Q  What area did you patrol?
A  The patrol area had a number which I don't recall, but it was the general area of the 12th Support Brigade on Fort Bragg.
Q  Does that cover any housing areas?
A  I believe there was a small officers' quarters area included in that patrol area.
Q  How far was this area from the Corregidor Courts area?
A  Approximately between one and two miles.
Q  What sort of night was it?
A  When I first went on duty, it was raining.  And I believe it tapered off.  A small amount of rain; it wasn't raining very heavily towards the end of the shift.
Q  What sort of a, so far as covering the time up to 3:45, did anything eventful happen that night?
A  No.  I would say it was more or less a routine evening.
Q  Was there anything special that attracted your attention that you recall prior to around three forty-five, three fifty in the morning?
A  No, sir.
Q  Do you recall -- Did you see any pedestrians walking around?
A  No, sir, not that I can recall.
Q  Now, did you ultimately receive a call to go to the Corregidor Courts?
A  I was never dispatched in that area.  No, sir.
Q  Did there come a time when you went there?
A  Yes, sir.  We were observing traffic in the 12th Support Brigade area and one patrol -- I don't know the number of it -- was assigned to the Corregidor Courts area.  And I believe we notified the provost marshal's office that we would act as a backup unit because we weren't engaged in any activity at the time.
Q  All right.  What messages did you hear that caused you to notify the provost marshal's office that you would act as a backup unit?
A  I believe it was a report of a domestic disturbance.  And at the time it was a standard procedure for any unit in the area to be assigned to a domestic disturbance but another adjoining patrol would act as a backup unit and assist if necessary.
Q  What was the approximate time that this occurred?
A  I would say approximately three forty-five to four a.m.
Q  Now, when you started off to act as a backup unit, did you drive directly to Castle Drive?
A  I believe so.
Q  Were you using your blue light?
A  I don't believe we were.
Q  Did you notice anything along the route?
A  Nothing out of the usual.
Q  Did you notice any pedestrians?
A  No, sir.
Q  When you arrived at the address, 544 Castle Drive, what did you observe?
A  I observed one or possibly two other vehicles at the scene.  I can't remember exactly.  We radioed in that we were out of service at the address and proceeded to the front door.  And I really can't remember if there was two, three or four people there at the time, knocking at the front door at the address.
Q  All right.  What happened then?
A  We got no response.  And I believe someone mentioned that perhaps there was a rear entrance.  And one of the other MPs that was on duty at the time went around to the rear to check.  And the next -- a matter of a minute or so I imagine -- he ran around from the rear of the building and I don't know his exact words -- it was something like: They're back here.  We need an ambulance.  Or, something like this.  It was a very quick tone.  At which time, the people that were on the front step -- I don't know if there was two or three of them -- we proceeded to the rear of the address there.
Q  Okay.  You went around to the rear.
A  Correct.
Q  Now, when you arrived at the rear, what did you do?
A  I followed -- Again, I can't recall if it was two or three people exactly.  It was a small number -- into the rear of the house into a small cubicle type rear anteway, I would say, or something like this.
Q  Sort of a utility room?
A  Yes.
Q  And then what happened?
A  It was a small area so we had to go in one behind another.  I observed, I believe the first thing that caught my attention was a lady, a woman's body on the floor in the room adjoining the anteway.
Q  All right.  It's a bedroom?
A  Correct.
Q  All right.  Now, what else did you observe?
A  There was a man by her side.  There was a great deal of blood in the area.  And one of the men -- I don't know if he went in behind me or in front of me -- proceeded to render assistance to the man who had signs of life.
Q  All right.  What type of assistance did he render to him?
A  I would say just a first aid.  I don't recall exactly his procedure, but it was in the assistance of helping an injured person.
Q  Now, what did you do then?  What did you observe then?
A  Well, I observed the body of the female had extensive damage to it and it was presumed lifeless, at which time I believe someone else had a weapon out.  And I drew my weapon and proceeded to ascertain if there were any other individuals in the dwelling.
Q  Now, how did you proceed?
A  Again, I can't remember how many I was following.  I know I wasn't the first one.  There was somebody in front of me and we proceeded, to the right of the bedroom there's a hallway, proceeded down the hallway to the first room on the right.
Q  All right.  Did you look in that room?
A  Yes, I did.
Q  What did you observe?
A  There was a bed on the left and in the bed was the body of a child, again with a great deal of blood.
Q  Did you leave that room?
A  We backed out of the room and checked the room -- I believe someone made a motion or said something to the effect that there was another body or another person or someone in this room at which time I looked into the room that was directly across the hall.  And there was -- I could tell there was a body in the bed, but as far as identifying it or anything I can't remember seeing a face.
Q  You just stood in the door and took a quick look and went out again.  Is that it?
A  Right.
Q  Where did you go from there?
A  I can't remember going down any farther in the hallway.  I seem to think that I turned around and was headed back into the master bedroom.
Q  All right.  What did you do there on the second visit to the master bedroom?
A  I can't really recall.  I believe I remained somewhere near the anteway, but I can't recall the next couple of minutes until I was spoken to again.
Q  Okay.  Who spoke to you?
A  I don't know if it was the patrol supervisor or the lieutenant, but he told me to stand outside to the rear of the building which we had just entered.  And I stood out on the rear step.
Q  And did you remain outside for any length of time thereafter?
A  I believe I was out there for a considerable amount of time.
Q  And when you left there, what did you do?
A  I would say that approximately twenty minutes or a half hour maybe, fifteen minutes, I can't really pin it down.  The next thing I can remember is being out on patrol and hearing the description, of being assigned to the area to check the immediate area for person or persons.  And they broadcast a description over the radio.
Q  All right.  Now, what was the description that was given to you?
A  I can't remember the exact wording of it.  It was I believe four individuals and I can't remember if it was two Negro males and one white male and one white female.  I can't remember the exact -- I believe that's what it was.  My closest recollection.
Q  Now, thereafter, having maybe a half an hour or forty minutes after arriving in the house, going out on patrol, did you search carefully the patrol area that you were assigned to?
A  I believe it was more or less concentrating in the housing area, the immediate area.  I can't really remember if I returned to my patrol area or not.
Q  Well, you were assigned to search in the Corregidor Courts and Anzio Courts area for people answering the description.
A  That's right.
Q  Did you observe anyone who answered the description?
A  No, I did not.
Q  While you were in the bedroom, did you hear the male lying on the floor, who was Captain MacDonald, did you hear him say anything?  Or, did you hear anyone say anything?
A  I can recall -- This was after I had seen the two bedrooms and was standing back into the master bedroom -- I can recall the male saying: My children!  Oh, my children!  Or, something to this effect.  I can't remember the exact words.
Q  Anything else?
A  Not that I can remember.
Q  Did you hear him say anything about a woman?
A  I can't remember.
Q  Did you hear him say anything about a chant?
A  No, I didn't.
Q  Do you remember anything else he said?
A  No.  Those are the only things.
Q  Was that the first time you were in there or the second time?
A  This was the first time.
Q  All right.  Now, when you were in there the second time, did you hear him say anything?
A  No, I didn't.
Q  Now, looking at that diagram to the left of you, on the easel, do you recognize that as the plan of the house, the front of the house being towards the bottom and the rear of the house being towards the top?
A  (No reply.)
Q  Now, to illustrate your testimony, I take it that you entered by this door.
A  Correct.
Q  Proceeded through the utility room.
A  Right.
Q  You entered this room and observed what you saw there.
A  That's correct.
Q  Then you went down the hall and you went first to this room.
A  That's right.
Q  On the north side.  Then you observed a child in the bed there.  And then you came back and put your head in the door of this room.
A  That's correct.
Q  Observed another bed and apparently a child in it.  And you came back to this area and left and stood outside for a while.
A  That's correct.
Q  Then after a certain length of time, you started on your patrol.
A  I believe I was assigned to resume my patrol.
Q  How long would you say you were in the house altogether?
A  I would say less than ten minutes, more than five minutes.  Exactly, I couldn't --
Q  Could it have been less than that?
A  It's possible.  It's possible.
Q  Were you anxious to get out of the house once you got in there?
A  I was.
Q  Did you notice a dog barking in the area?
A  After I had gone back on patrol, I believe I was dispatched back to the scene at which time I was placed in the rear door outside and I was told not to allow anyone entrance.  And I believe I remained there until roughly eight o'clock in the morning, after sunrise.  And I can remember hearing a dog barking during this period of time.  That's about the only sound that was present in the area.
Q  Now, while you were in the house, did you touch anything, move anything, disturb anything?
A  No, I did not.
Q  Did you observe anyone else touch anything, move anything or disturb anything?
A  No, I did not.
Q  Now, later on when you were outside the house, were you questioned by anyone concerning having touched anything, moved anything or disturbed anything?
A  You mean in reference to the house itself, being inside?
Q  Yes.
A  I believe I was but by whom I don't remember.
Q  All right.  What's your recollection?
A  I can remember a plainclothes individual that was not in military uniform --
Q  A CID agent in other words?
A  I would imagine so because he was allowed entrance.  There was something outside under the bush.  I don't know if it was a knife or what it was, but I indicated to him that it was there.  And he made a note of it.  And that was about all I can remember.
Q  Well, at any time were you called in and asked to remember whether or not you touched anything or disturbed anything?
A  I wasn't ever called back into the house.  No.
Q  I don't mean into the house; I mean outside the house or at a later date.
A  At a later date, I was, yes.
Q  All right.  When was that?
A  I would say later on in the week, maybe three days, four days, something like this.
Q  And what were they asking about at that time?
A  There had been a wallet removed from the scene.  Someone had identified a wallet as being present and then later on it couldn't be found.  And they assumed that someone had taken it.

MR. WOERHEIDE:  I'm going to show Mr. Sellick the same photographs of the master bedroom that we showed the previous witnesses.

Q  (Mr. Woerheide) Excepting for the absence of Captain MacDonald from these pictures, do these photographs represent what you saw in the master bedroom?  This would be going back into the master bedroom from the hall.
A  Yes, sir.
Q  And the first bedroom that you looked in, or the first side bedroom that you looked into was the north one.  Do these photographs depict what you saw in the north bedroom?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Now, these were taken in the south bedroom, this near the door.  And I know you just looked in the door, but do these represent what you saw in the south bedroom?
A  I would say these two would be about the extent of my --
Q  And that's the view from the doorway?
A  Yes, sir.

MR. WOERHEIDE:  Mr. Foreman, do you care to inquire of this witness.

FOREMAN:  Anyone have anything?

JUROR:  I've got just one.  The first time you were standing outside the back door you said you were out there about 20 minutes.

A  Roughly.  Approximately that.

JUROR:  Did you hear the dog barking at that time?

A  I don't remember.  The time I can remember hearing the dog barking was in the early hours of the morning.

JUROR:  I imagine it was pretty dark then.  When you went back, was it light?

A  Sunrise was beginning to come up.  It was still foggy and like a misty --

JUROR:  And that's when you heard the dog.

A  That's when I heard the dog.

JUROR:  When you were in the bedroom, do you remember seeing the knife laying in there?

A  I don't remember seeing it.

JUROR:  At any point in time did you have any curiosity seekers, neighbors to approach the back entrance of the house or in any way try to gain entrance?

A  No.  Not as long as I was there.

FOREMAN:  Anyone else?  Okay, you're excused.  Thank you very much.