January 24, 1975
Testimony of Dr. Robert Sadoff (Psychiatrist)
I, Manie P. Currin, being a Notary public and Court Reporter in and for the State of North Carolina, was appointed to take the recorded testimony, which was previously taken in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 22, 1975, of the following witness, Dr. Robert Sadoff, before the Grand Jury, Raleigh, North Carolina, commencing at 12:30 p.m. on January 24, 1975.
All Grand Jurors were present with the exception of Juror Samuel Cannady who was permanently excused from all subsequent duty by the Judge.
FOREMAN: Do you want to read this into the record?
MR. STROUD: Well, we can just mark it as an exhibit.
(Mr. Stroud proceeds to read a letter from Bernard L. Segal, attorney for the defense.)
MR. STROUD: "The government attorneys are trying to bar the personal appearance of Dr. Robert Sadoff as a witness before the grand jury after they assured me he would be called personally. They interviewed Dr. Sadoff at his home where he is ill with the flu. And it appears they will attempt to present the grand jury only with written answers obtained in an interview at his home.
"This is in flagrant violation of their agreement with me to call Dr. Sadoff personally before the grand jury.
"If there is to be an impartial investigation of this case and not a cover up, then it is essential that the members of the grand jury be allowed to question Dr. Sadoff personally and obtain the answers to the questions of their minds and not just the matters that the government attorneys wish you to hear.
"The attempt to keep Dr. Sadoff from testifying personally denies to the grand jury their legal right to quote 'question the witness in order to get the truth.'
"I urgently request that Dr. Sadoff be allowed to testify personally concerning the psychiatric examination he made of Dr. MacDonald within a few weeks after the deaths of his family.
"Dr. Sadoff advises me that he will be available to testify before you sometime between February 3 and February 21 with reasonable notice of the date that he is wanted.
"If it is appropriate for the work of the grand jury to be held up for four weeks while the government attorneys goes on vacation in Europe then the grand jury has a right not to be stampeded into proceeding without Dr. Sadoff's personal testimony.
"The testimony of Dr. Sadoff will also be important because he advises me that Dr. MacDonald is able to undergo a sodium amytal interview. This interview will be completed by February 3 and Dr. Sadoff will be in the position to report personally to the grand jury on the results of that interview.
"It will be unforgivable of the government's attorneys to block this direct, personal testimony on a subject, which a member of the grand jury stated firmly they wanted to hear about.
"There is no legitimate reason for the grand jury not to hear Dr. Sadoff's testimony concerning the psychiatric examination of Dr. MacDonald and the results of the sodium amytal interview, which will take place shortly.
"We agreed to the sodium amytal interview at the urging of the grand jury and now we only ask that the grand jury hear the personal testimony of the results of that interview.
"Bernard L. Segal, Attorney of record for Jeffrey R. MacDonald."
Okay, Bernard Segal.
All right, let's make this exhibit -- let's said MacDonald's Exhibit 1 of this date.
(MacDonald's Exhibit 1, January 25, 1975, marked for identification.)
MR. STROUD: All right, Vic, Brian and I did go up to see Dr. Sadoff at his home yesterday -- was it yesterday -- day before yesterday. We had -- Wednesday -- and we spent a couple of hours with him, I guess, and I've got the interview on tape.
Now, there are certain persons and portions of the tape that are asking questions off the record. It's Brian Murtagh that we have all agreed that you should probably not hear the questions or the answers to those persons other than Mr. Woerheide and myself. Because those persons were not allowed to appear before the grand jury to ask questions in a capacity as government attorney or any other capacity.
So, rather than perhaps dealing with the possibility that there might be some error involved in that, I am going to play the tape, but I'm going to omit and you will not hear the questions by these persons or responses to these questions.
Let me say at this point that the questions were not relevant, in my opinion, to what this is about.
And where they are relevant Mr. Woerheide or myself continued the questioning along the particular line. Off the record.
(Discussion off the record)
MR. STROUD: Let me say a couple of things for the record. First of all about attempts to get Dr. Sadoff here. I think it should be on the record. First, Dr. Sadoff initially was subpoenaed to here -- let me see -- this past Monday was the 20th, he was initially subpoenaed to be here on the 13th of January. He called me that day and indicated that he could not be here because he had a disc problem in his back, and that he might be available later in the week.
I told him I'd maintain some contact with him, so, then I called him later in the week and said, "Well, can you be here on Monday the 20th?" And he said, "Yeah, I see no problem with that. I can be here Monday the 20th."
So, his subpoena was verbally changed, orally changed to the 20th and he agreed to be here, and; so, then, he called me on the morning of the 20th and said he had the flu. And that he didn't anticipate that he would be available until later in the week.
So, I told him I'd maintain daily contact with him. So, I called him Tuesday. Tuesday he said that apparently it had developed into strep throat and that his doctor said it would be anywhere from a week to three weeks before he'd be available to come.
He suggested, Dr. Sadoff that is, that either he could talk -- give his testimony to the grand jury by a conference telephone call or if we wanted to we could go to Philadelphia to his home and get his statement there to bring back to the grand jury.
So, it was at his suggestion that we decided that we would go to Philadelphia. Seeing how there was a prospect that it might be three weeks before he'd be available to come to testify.
So, it was at his suggestion that we made arrangements, Mr. Woerheide and myself, to go to Philadelphia and we went there on Wednesday of this week being January 22 and so the tape that you are about to hear is an interview of Dr. Sadoff at his home in Philadelphia in the early afternoon of January 22.
Okay, is there anything you feel like should be added to that, Vic?
MR. WOERHEIDE: No.
MR. STROUD: Okay. Let's get on with it.
(Whereupon the recorded deposition of Dr. Robert Sadoff was played back to the Grand Jury.)
Whereupon, Dr. Robert Sadoff, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
EXAMINATION BY MR. WOERHEIDE:
Q Did you have occasion at that time to make a psychiatric examination and psychiatric evaluation of one, Jeffrey MacDonald who was then a captain in the United States Army?
A Let me check the record. It appears the date of the first examination was April 21, 1970.
Q And did you request this examination at the request of an attorney of the Philadelphia area by the name of Bernard L. Segal?
Q And was Captain MacDonald a client of Mr. Segal?
A As far as I know he was, yes.
Q Was any underlying material furnished to you at that time for your information in connection with your investigation?
A Let's see here, I don't believe there was anything written that I got. But I did talk with Mr. Segal about some of the matters at hand. But I don't believe I had any written materials.
Q Dr Sadoff, I show you a memorandum, it is dated April 21, 1970, and I ask you if that is a memorandum setting forth the results of an interview that you had with Captain MacDonald?
A Yes, this appears to be the -- a typed copy I made for myself after the first interview. And it appears to be twelve pages. Let's check and see if that one conforms with the one that I have and I believe it is. There was something missing at the top of that copy is the only thing. The first page. No, there is not, I'm sorry, I thought this was missing, but it's the same. It's the one I prepared.
Q All right, directing your attention to your twelfth page, fourth line, you say, "For this reason there must be some distortion in the polygraph."
Now, does this refresh your recollection as to whether any material had been furnished you prior to this interview?A I have not reviewed this recently, so there was no direct paper results given to me of any test taken. A part of the preliminary material that was told to me by Mr. Segal was as I recall now, that there was a polygraph test. And frankly, from here it looks as if he did not do well on the test, or the test results were equivocal. My recollection is that it was equivocal.
And not as I would have expected it to be, that he would have passed it with flying colors.
Q Well, you weren't given a written memorandum reflecting the results of that polygraph?
A No, no.
Q You were just advised orally by Mr. Segal?
A If I had, I would have it in my files and I don't have it now.
Q Do you recall who made the polygraph test? Who the technician was?
A No, I do not.
Q Do you know whether it was made locally?
A No, I do not.
Q Now, apart from Mr. Segal's informing you about the polygraph test, did you have any information about the charges that were being brought against Captain MacDonald and the details of -- behind those charges? Other than what is set forth in this memorandum? In other words, was Captain MacDonald the sole source of information that you had concerning the incident?
A No, I believe Mr. Segal told me what he had been charged with and what some of the details were and what some of the issues were that he wanted me to address when I made my examination.
Q All right, well, I'm going -- let's pick up a few items on the front page here. There is an account here of -- of Dr. MacDonald that says: "On February 17 his wife and two children, both girls, one age two years old, almost three, and a five year old, almost six, were killed. At that time his wife was five months pregnant and they were brutally beaten with fractured skulls, broken arms, many stab wounds and puncture wounds, with ice picks and knives." Now, was that information furnished to you by Jeffrey MacDonald or furnished by Mr. Segal?
A No, this is a transcript of the notes that I take of the first interview with the person that I am seeing. And often the handwritten notes are illegible -- so I always, when I can, transcribe it into whatever form I can and then I can read it if I have to, five years later, for example, and that's why it's like this and that is why it is not good English and the grammar is not good here.
Q Well, going to the next sentence, I take it as set forth here that he informed you that he had a pneumothorax which resulted from an ice pick wound in his right chest?
A I think I said hemopneumothorax.
Q Hemopneumothorax, I'm sorry.
A That's what it says.
Q Yeah and fourteen lacerations on his chest?
Q Now, would that be knife lacerations or ice pick lacerations, did he elaborate on that at all?
A No, he didn't elaborate, apparently, because there were lacerations. I can't go into it beyond that.
Q Yeah, well, past history, that is, personal background, all of which was derived from Captain MacDonald, I take it.
Q Directing your attention to page four, the paragraph that starts in the middle of the page, you say, "He described four bloodstained people that the Army was looking for." Now did he in that connection tell you that he had observed four people in his house who were bloodstained and that these were the people that the Army was looking for on the basis of information furnished by him?
A Four were identified. I really didn't proofread this and I assume that is where it came from, they were bloodstained. There were four of them and the Army was looking for them.
Q Yeah, and you talk here about -- well, he described him, "The Army has put a tail on him and put escorts with him." Now I'm wondering about this tail on him. There was no corroboration that was furnished to you on that was there?
A No, yet these are his notes to me --
Q Right, and the MPs lost his fingerprints and all these other details.
Now another item that I am interested in on page five, he specifically said that Colette went to an English Lit Class at the University of North Carolina that particular night?A Yes.
Q And that he did the dishes that night after Colette had gone to bed, I take it?
Q Read a book before he went to bed himself? Did he say anything about having spent the twenty-four hours prior to February 16, that would be February 15, on a twenty-four hour stint moonlighting as a doctor in a hospital?
A I don't recall this. It's not in here.
Q He specifically said it was Kristy who had wet the bed next to his wife rather than Kimberly and he put her to bed and went to sleep on the couch. And then heard his wife screaming, "Jeff, Jeff, why are they doing this to me?" And Kimberly screaming, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy."
A Yeah, this is a fairly accurate representation of what I got from him, I'd say.
Q Yeah, well, it actually conforms, pretty much, to what he said to us repeatedly. And he states he saw four people in front of him. It could have been five, one may have a girl, had long blonde hair and a floppy hat but it could have been a guy. He did see one Negro man in a sergeant's E-6 uniform and the female saying "Acid is groovy, kill the pigs, said they were not in a frenzy and he sat up to see what was going on, he said they said it calmly and he was going to say who are you, when the Negro man hit him." And then he describes a struggle and said he observed blood on his chest as result of blows that were struck in the chest area. Is that correct?
Q And he describes his pajama top as having been ripped over his head and then he -- things got funny and he began to laugh and fell off the couch. Is this something you had to sort of bring out of him, Dr Sadoff? The fact that he laughed and fell off the couch, or is this something he volunteered to you?
A Well, it's hard to remember, but I asked him to describe, as I usually ask people I'm interviewing, to tell me about it in as much detail as they can. But if I have a specific question -- I would not have thought to ask, if he laughed. So, I assume this came spontaneously.
Q He describes an interlude when he was apparently unconscious and he describes himself as being "on his hands and knees in the hallway with his teeth chattering that he thought he was going into shock. All was still, there was no noise, it was hard for him to breathe and he saw air coming out of his lungs and he knew he was hurt." Did he indicate where he was at the time he saw air coming out of his lungs?
A I think he was still in the hallway. That is a bad question; it's hazy now.
Q I'm curious about the thing about observing the air coming out of his lungs?
A That is a -- he's a surgeon and he speaking to me as a physician as well as a psychiatrist and when one sees air coming out of the lungs or chest one knows that he has a hemopneumothorax or some kind of a pneumothorax and it means he's in trouble because he has a collapsed lung. And he has air coming into trachea through the mouth. And it's coming out of the side of his chest rather than staying in the lungs and aerating the blood in the chest.
Q Now, when he described the struggle he did refer to the fact that the -- "His pajama tops were ripped over his head." Now, did he describe what happened after the pajama tops were pulled over his head? Did he say anything about them getting around his wrists or his hands and interfering with him?
A If I had more detail, it would have been in here. And I just don't have it and all that I have, I have in here; and this is the most detail in the reports, that I have because right after I saw him I think I -- right after the hours I spent with him, I immediately went to the Dictaphone and I dictated as much as I could remember and --
Q Yeah, and --
A -- from the notes that I jotted down and my secretary types this up. Otherwise, I forget.
Q Uh-hunh, yes.
A So, if that's all the details I have, that's all I get.
Q Then he describes giving his wife mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, pulling a knife out of her and going to the girl's room and observing that they were stabbed and his eldest daughter had a fractured skull and he gets dizzy, but he apparently maintained some control over himself and calls the operator. He had some trouble getting through, but gets into an altercation with the operator and then checks his wife again, etc.
Now, towards the bottom of page seven he refers to the Sharon Tate murder story, to the fact that the word pig was written on the headboard of his bed and he used the term hippies or longhairs. Now could you be any more specific about that. Did he interject the word hippie or did you interject the word hippie?A Those are his words.
Q These are his words?
Q And, of course, Sharon Tate was in the news at that time. Did you bring up the subject of Sharon Tate or did he volunteer this?
A No, I didn't bring it up. He volunteered that.
Q And, now, so, this was all spontaneously volunteered by him and the reference to the Esquire magazine articles and Lee Marvin and witchcraft and all this sort of thing?
A So far as I know, that is true.
Q Now, on page eight you say he "admits to a feeling of relief that she is gone." Now, that must be a reference to Colette?
Q "And that the kids are gone and that he is ashamed of that feeling." Now, could you elaborate on that at all? Was this something you had to draw out of him?
A This was one of those areas that he had to talk about, because it was one of the areas that I felt very important to determine his reaction to the family's being gone. Especially his wife's death and the question was, what kind of a personality would he have, one of the concerns was that he didn't show tears in front of other people. I think in here you will see other places where I referred to the fact that he was upset, that people wanted him to cry but that he didn't want to make a spectacle of himself in front of other people. And that he cried -- you know -- when he was alone. And he certainly cried a lot in front of me. I think he saw me as a helping individual and as a doctor and one; he could bare his soul to. And it's not unusual for a person who has lost a dear one to have ambivalent and mixed feelings about a person and that is the sadness that they're gone, the anger at someone for taking them away, also the relief that they're gone because marriage is a responsibility and it's a burden. And it is a shameful feeling.
Most of us wouldn't want to admit to the fact that's here's a man who is open enough in our session to admit to that. I felt -- this is important so I wrote it down. I didn't see it as being abnormal. I think it's unusual to get it at the first session.Q Well, what I am wondering was -- you know -- whether this was something he volunteered, or whether you drew it out of him. And I am also very much interested in your next sentence. "He felt he had to live up to an image of being strong, just as he used to have to have" -- well, I'm not reading it very well. "He felt he had to live up to an image of being strong, just as he used to have to live up to an image of being a lover in the past and that's why he doesn't break down and show more emotion about this situation.
A Yeah, it should be "Just as" instead of "just he."
As I saw him, here's a man who has lived according to certain expectations of his life. He was a Green Beret, he was -- he was going along with certain stereotypes and he was younger, he was good looking, he was bright and he was quote, "a lover and had a lot of girlfriends and that was an image that he wanted to live up to." That was important for him and he had to be able to take it, rejection as well as acceptance. In this kind of a situation, for him, even though it may be devastating kind of situation for the average individual, he had to prove to himself that he was super-normal, that he was above average and would be able to take it no matter what the blow to him. He said people didn't understand that about him. That they thought he was cold-hearted, that there was another of the areas I had to explore. And I thought it was a pattern for him to live up to certain images.Q Unh-hunh, yes, now, on the next page there's considerable discussion about his brother being involved in drugs and having -- gambling and involved with the Mafia loan sharks and so on and so forth. Is this something he volunteered spontaneously, or is this something you were leading him to for your own reasons?
A Let me check that, because I'd completely forgot that. I always ask about family history. And I suppose what I would ask about would be for him to tell me whether you have any sisters or brothers. And he said, "Yes, I have a brother." And I said, "Tell me something about him." And that may be how all this emerged. He seemed to be very spontaneous and very open and most of this came right out.
Q And then he gets into -- there's a reference to homosexual relationships. I don't quite understand it. He says, "He describes a lot of the rumors that went around the base, such as his homosexual relationship with Lt. Harrison which, of course, is ridiculous."
A That is, he -- well -- part of a psychiatric examination is to get a psycho-sexual history and sexual orientation. And the fact that this type of crime -- may be a sexual crime as well. So that in checking it out, I asked if he had ever had any homosexual experiences. What emerged was that, no, but there was a rumor that I should know about that there was a homosexual talk about him. Which were his words.
Q Did he make any reference to spend a couple of summers on Fire Island -- Fire Island -- I'm sorry -- in the New York City area? And I think it's Long Island Sound. And did he have any contact with any homosexuals in that area?
A If it's not in this, I would not remember. I would be speculating. I didn't remember that I asked that. So, I'd have to say I can't answer that.
Q Well, he did go into that later when he was examined by the other psychiatrist at the Army hospital. And -- but apparently he didn't mention it to you. Otherwise, I'm sure you would have had something specific to say about it.
A Yes, I should have.
Q Now, I take it from the bottom of page nine that he -- "he saw four people in the room." But he implies that there were additional people back with Colette and the children because he heard her screaming while he was being assaulted by four people in the living room?
A That's right.
Q All these details of his wife's injury, her arms being fractured, her skull fracture, puncture wounds, they were furnished to you directly by Dr. MacDonald, I take it and not by --
A It came from him. All this information was volunteered, yeah. That came from that initial interview.
Q What does a puncture wound mean to you? Is it sort of an ice pick type?
Q Now, at the time you made this interview, which I take it, was April 21, 1970, had Dr. Mack seen Captain MacDonald yet?
Q And was it your suggestion that he be given a psychological test by Dr. Mack?
A Yes, it was.
Q And you have a copy of Dr. Mack's report, I take it?
A I do.
Q Did you personally discuss the case with Dr. Mack or did he just furnish to you his written report?
A Well, usually it is done and I assume it was done here that is because he saw him so soon thereafter. I assume we decided to get the psychological and psychiatric examination at the same time he would be coming up -- he wasn't a local resident -- and we contacted Dr. Mack, or I did, to be available after I saw him. So he saw him and I did not discuss the matter with him except what the charges were and what I wanted from him. But to allow me to -- realize if he had any possible existence of any underlying psychotic tendencies or severe psychopathic features that might have made it likely that he could have been the one to do this. He saw him the next day, I notice, on April 22, 1970. So, I didn't have any direct contact with the testing itself. I was not present at the time and I waited until I got the report from Dr. Mack and then we did talk about it after I got the report. But I am not sure how extensively we discussed it because I don't have the notes on it. I usually do consult with the psychologist.
Q Unh-hunh, yes. Now, let's go back to the very beginning. What specifically were you asked -- or what specifically were you asked to come up with so far as your examination of Captain MacDonald was concerned? What type of examination, what?
A I, first of all, had to do a psychiatric examination, which is -- can I give a diagnosis? Is there anything wrong with this person? If there is, what? More specifically, does he possess that type of personality, mental aberration, or abnormality that is compatible, or is consistent with the killing of one's wife and children?
A And then, (a) forgetting it. Not remembering it. Not remembering and acting as though he never had done it all, (b) Being so psychotic that he could do it and not care at all about it. Having no human feelings towards them at all so he'd have no reaction to it or (c) or three, to be psychopathic in a sense, so that he could do it and then lie about it without any demonstrative evidence of his lying about it.
So, there were really three areas, one would be the hysterical repression of the event itself; the psychosis where he either would blot it out of his mind, or he wouldn't have human feeling toward the family after it happened; or three, that he would be so sociopathic or psychopathic which is a loose term that means that it's normal to have normal human feelings toward other people. But it's not in a psychotic sense. So, any three of these, or any one of those three, might be compatible with the person doing the act and then taking the posture that apparently Captain MacDonald had taken. And I was asked to find out whether or not he had any of these feelings associated with that posture.Q Now, I take it that you arrived at certain conclusions in this respect. I'm not going to ask you right now, what they were specifically. But in arriving at those conclusions, I take it that you relied on what Dr. MacDonald has told you personally?
Q You accepted his story at face value. You didn't deny the truth or the veracity of any of the details that he recounted to you and you took into consideration, I suppose, the results of this psychological testing done by Dr. Mack. Now, before we get into conclusions -- and of your conclusions -- I'd like to ask you have you been furnished with additional information which information, let's say was reliable -- scientifically reliable and reputed -- well -- what Dr. MacDonald has told you, what you relied upon. Do you think it would have changed or modified your conclusion?
A To the extent that I would have felt compelled to re-examine Dr. MacDonald and confront him with the evidence that I had and the story that he told me and find out why they were different. First, I would do that. And based on what I found out from that confrontation, I would assume that I could have changed my conclusions, yes.
Q Well, before we get into your immediate conclusions, may we jump to this? This is a photograph taken of Colette's chest. It shows twenty-one ice pick wounds, penetration, stabbings. The pathologist says that these stabbings were straight in and the body -- was motionless at the time. You have seen the pictures showing the -- Dr. MacDonald's pajama top as it was lying on her chest. The FBI made a detailed study of those photographs was able to reconstruct the manner in which the pajama tops were folded with the right sleeve inside out and with the torn left side trailing down in this direction. Having reconstructed those folds, the pajama tops had in it forty-eight ice pick holes. Some of which were made with the ice pick going in one direction and some of them going into it in the other direction. The ice pick was -- penetrated the pajama tops while it was stationary. There was no movement involved, except from straight in stabbings. Having refolded it they came up -- the holes matched together. And the forty-eight holes matched together. And in such a way as to correspond to the twenty-one holes on her chest. He had no injuries in his back and you will notice the penetration marks in his pajama tops.
Now there is one other item of evidence that is of great significance. This is a -- these photographs are the photographs made of the sheet that was found together with a bedspread in the bedroom where Colette's body was lying in a heap on the floor. In Kris's room, the top sheet of Kris's bed had a large pool of Colette's blood over a portion near the top of the bed and against the wall. There is none of her blood on the floor. There are two bloody footprints of Captain MacDonald, the blood being Colette's blood exiting from the door of that room. Now, this as I say, these photographs are made of the sheet that was found in the east bedroom and some of Colette's garments or Captain MacDonald's pajama top. The FBI studied this sheet and determined from the pattern of the blood that had been transferred to the sheet, that the sheet had been laid over the body of Colette while she was laying face downward. That it was folded partially -- that someone wearing Captain MacDonald's bloodstained pajama top picked it up, which at that time was torn. And the marks of his bare left shoulder -- it was torn on the left side -- his collarbones and his chin, all of which have blood on them, are found on this sheet. And the bedspread that was found in conjunction with the sheet had a large amount of blood, type A blood, caused by direct bleeding. The reference from the bedspread, the sheet, the pool of blood on top sheet in Kris's bed and the two bloody footprints is that Colette being on top of Kris's bed bled severely. She was laid on the floor on top of the bedspread, the sheet placed over her and then she was picked up by whoever was wearing Captain MacDonald's pajamas. The marks of the design -- of the design of her pajamas, the seams, the lace on her cuffs, the tear on his pajama tops, the beading here in the sleeve area, the pattern of blood that was on the sleeve and on the front part of the right of his pajamas were transferred directly to the sheet. So, you can see it. Here's a photograph indicating the marks where -- you know -- his chin, the bare left shoulder and sleeve marks there, the hand marks were --A (Interposing) How do you know all this?
Q It's like fingerprint analysis. The same principle. My question is, had you known the facts that we are presenting to you at this time which have been developed during the course of this grand jury investigation, had this information been furnished to you, would you possibly have arrived at a different determination than you did, in fact arrive at when you arrived at your conclusions?
A It is becoming increasingly confusing. I, I, certainly if I had that before I interviewed him, and I didn't tell him I had that, and he told me what he told me anyway, I would have scratched my head and would have said to him, "Well, I have information which is apparently scientific to the contrary. How do you explain that?" And then he would have had to explain it and I would have listened to how smoothly he explained it, what kind of difficulty he ran into trying to explain it, was he consistent, was he not consistent, can I trap him, or catch him, or whatever way we can do this. But just knowing that and what he told me alone, I think there is a -- there is a problem in dimensions here. One is, you're dealing in a fairly precise science with what you have.
A And you're talking to a psychiatrist who is dealing in a fairly broad arc, not so scientific. And the only way that I can be reasonably certain of my entrapping him to answer the questions I was asked to ask him was from my clinical examination of him. That's one impression that is not a definitive conclusion, but I asked a respected colleague and I believe Dr. Mack is one of the finest clinical psychologists I have had the pleasure of knowing and he comes up with a similar conclusion. Well, I know there's got to be some consistency with what we are doing even though it is a fairly broad arc.
A And I am not sure how to judge the scientific excellence that you are going with. I am terribly impressed with what you have done. But I don't know how -- how to --
Q Well, we have asked him, of course, to give an explanation and he has no explanation for it. Again, in the area of your evaluation of Jeffrey MacDonald, I will use the words that were suggested by Mr. Murtagh, psychosis, neurosis, personality disorder --
A He didn't suffer from psychosis, neurosis or personality disorder.
Q Well, whether or not he did suffer from a psychosis, neurosis, personality disorder, or some distorted personality traits or use your own terms.
A I found no serious psychiatric illness within him. I did find a current depressive feature that he had which I found not abnormal under the circumstances, a reaction to the trauma that he had experienced.
But as far as that went, I saw nothing seriously wrong with him. No psychosis, or organic illness, no psychoneurosis, no long standing character logical, or personality disorder. I say to you --Q (Interposing) I recall that he has a need to achieve as close to perfection as he can. He has a need to achieve, to be as good at whatever he attempts as he can and to seek approval.
A There is a word I used in my first testimony at Fort Bragg: super-masculine; striving, I think it was.
Q Well, referring to Dr. Mack's analysis, he says that in fact, "Were a person like Captain MacDonald to commit such a crime it would probably have occurred in the passion of a heated argument rather than as a planned act. And would most likely occur as a result of a taunt from his wife regarding his lack of virility or masculine competence." Did you feel any insecurity on his part so far as his masculine role was concerned? Did you find any evidence or latent homosexuality?
A I wouldn't call it latent homosexuality or fear of it. I would call it, though, the need to achieve in a super-masculine way, as I indicated, reflecting a -- a -- Achilles' heel, let's say, in the area of masculinity or virility. So that the need to overachieve is usually meant to compensate or to mask any areas that he may note himself. Others may have never seen the areas of inadequacy in that area of his life. So, I would agree with that statement very clearly with Dr. Mack.
Q Well, implicit in what Dr. Mack has said is the assumption that Dr. or Captain MacDonald could have committed this crime. Now do you agree with?
A Well I would say that he could. Which means possibility is true for most anybody and I would say, yes, it is possible. But I have to find it very unlikely from a psychological standpoint.
Q On the basis of the information that was available to you at that time?
A Yes, that's right.
Q Now, is it possible that having further information made available to you might revise that?
A If I had a chance to discuss this with him and know his reactions to it and see how he has fared over the last five years, how he may have handled it or let's say adjusted to it, coped with or defended against whatever feelings may be going on inside him because of whether he did or did not do this because of his reaction to having had such a loss in his family, his life there are a lot of things I'd have to go through. But with the new information, that he's been exposed to that I now have, I would have to discuss this with him. However, as I indicated, what you were talking about is the sledgehammer to my nail file, in a sense. I may have such a minute amount of information that could be helpful or not. In the fact of the overwhelming amount of scientifically oriented material that you have presented here today, I am not so sure that a psychiatrist right now is the proper person to be talking to.
Q Well, the reason we are talking to you is that Professor Segal requested that we talk to you and requested that we bring you before the grand jury.
A I understand that.
Q Now I might say that, well -- you did confer with Dr. Bailey and Dr. Morgan and Dr. Edwards and Drs. White and Mack?
Q Well, Bailey, Morgan and Edwards are psychiatrists at Walter Reed. White is a psychologist there. I believe you had some contact with some of them or had some discussion with them, is that correct?
A Bailey -- Bailey, I may have; I don't remember. (Witness looks through file.) Again, it's been five years, but I didn't write it down.
Q I don't think you saw them in person. I do think that you had telephone conversations with Bailey.
A That sounds familiar. I don't know what I said to him, though, when I talked to him actually, what went on between us. But later in the year, he was involved. That was Bruce Bailey?
Q Yeah, Bruce Bailey.
A I assume that I did talk to him then.
Q Well, each of these persons did testify before the grand jury, and besides testifying as to their conclusions with respect to Dr. MacDonald's mental competency they did discuss his personality traits. And I don't think there was any disagreement among any of them. They all said that in fact he did have an Achilles' heel, his Achilles' heel was his masculinity, his fear of latent homosexuality, that having the Achilles' heel given certain special circumstances and the special circumstances could be fatigue, an argument about something like bedwetting, difference of opinion about how to solve the problem of bedwetting, Colette seeking advice from somebody other than Jeffrey concerning how to deal with this thing such as the professor at psychology class or writing to Ann Landers and staying away for a long period of time, not going to bed at the same time, finally, well -- finds the bed wet and so on and so forth. And the ensuing argument if Colette had said certain words that could have triggered a violent reaction of -- of this kind. Are you in agreement with that?
A Well, I would think -- let's -- let's -- I would say with that having occurred and with his having an Achilles' heel and if someone hit the Achilles' heel at the wrong time of fatigue or when he is under the influence of alcohol, I would say that it is possible he could be capable of striking a blow.
Q And once one blow is struck, I assume -- you know -- that things could get out of hand?
A They could.
Q There could be general chaos?
A He could lose control.
Q Dr. Sadoff, from the record here it indicates that you interviewed Jeffrey MacDonald on April 21, 1970. Did you interview him further on subsequent dates?
A No, I have two other times, but I have here noted here, one was a day and a half testimony; the other was a consultation with his attorneys. There is only one time when I actually examined him. That was April 21.
Q And that was for about three hours, I take it?
A That's right.
Q And then you had him treated by Dr. Mack and you received his report and you probably had some discussion with him and that is the basis for the conclusion that you arrived at?
A That's right.
Q And as to which you testified. Now we were told by Dr. Bailey, Bruce Bailey, that when Jeff went over the story with him there seemed to be a few gaps. For example, he will -- part of the story that -- that he went from room to room, he visited -- one of the last places he went was to the kitchen and then the next thing he knows he was in the bedroom and he doesn't know how he got there and this, that and the other thing. And Dr. Bailey informed us that -- that possibly through the use of sodium amytal these gaps could be filled in. And he discussed this with you and you disapproved, saying that in your opinion it was a dangerous procedure -- that it was possibly a dangerous procedure?
A Yes, at that time there were two reasons why I said I didn't think it could be a useful tool.
First of all, it was so close to the time that he suffered the trauma, assuming that what he suffered was true. And that to have him re-experience -- is what I do when I give a person sodium amytal is to have them re-experience the event and re-go through it again as though he were back there and living it out one more time might make [it] be excessively traumatic and could made him seriously ill if he were on the borderline.
Q When you say seriously ill, you mean mentally ill?
A He could become psychotic; he could become seriously psychoneurotic. I was very concerned about him becoming psychotic if indeed he relived the experience and he remembered and it was too much for him and the trauma was too much and it was too close.
The other reason was he didn't seem to have memory lapses or amnesia and I use sodium amytal primarily for lapse of memory. Now that we see that there are gaps, the only way I could even attempt to explain the discrepancy here that if there was such -- if you take what he told me as true, it was so traumatic for him that this is the way he remembers, even though it was wrong or distorted. And it could be that way if he were so upset by all the occurrences. At this point it may be [a] more feasible suggestion to try sodium amytal because he is now five years away from the event and he is also -- there seems to be more gaps than I had been aware of at first. Sodium amytal is not a truth serum. It is not like a lie detector test. It does not detect the truth or lies. It detects -- it helps people recall a period of their life, which they may have lost. The classical example is in wartime when a person is shell-shocked and doesn't remember when he is standing there next to a buddy who has just got blown apart, he may have been able to do something to help him, but he [was] paralyzed and he doesn't want to remember that he was helpless or paralyzed. And so, he has amnesia. So, he can't function, he can't go on. So, you give him sodium amytal, he recalls that, you help him understand that he could have done nothing no matter what. It was beyond his power. He then accepts it and can go on and work. That's the kind of classical example used in the Second World War. Since that time we've been using it in automobile accidents and other types of things that people have that make them have memory loss where they have to remember in order to help their lawyer get it together, they may not want to but they may have to.
FROM MR. STROUD:
Q Let me ask a couple of questions, if I may, along the line with sodium amytal, Doctor. If -- a hypothetical situation -- you have a complete clarification, a person has committed a crime and it is he -- he or she has fabricated a story.
Q About how the crime was committed other than he or herself. Okay, now here it undergoes sodium -- he or she undergoes sodium. Is that -- can that fabrication hold up under the influence of sodium amytal?
Q And the sodium amytal is not going to cause them to break down in such a way that the fabrication would disappear?
A Not necessarily. What you may get is either an enhancement of the distortion that is even more unusual or bizarre. You may get just exactly what you got before, because you may know facts or the person may have a strong enough will to be able to withstand the sodium amytal, or you may get a person who has lied or distorted and under sodium amytal is not able to hold up under the lie and will come under the truth.
So there are three or four possibilities. It is hard to tell how Dr. MacDonald would fare under this, but I would see him as being of the type with the stronger personality who would likely maintain the type of presentation that he has thus far. Now, there may be minor differences, which may be important, or significant, that would be worthwhile checking out if you all wish to. It's up to him, I suppose, to -- he doesn't have to, I understand.Q So, your feeling is in the case of a person with the personality that Dr. MacDonald has and strong will that if he stuck to his story for five years, which is the case here essentially, that sodium amytal is not likely to break that story down.
A It is not likely, and five years is a difference. And people's minds and memories change, and what they said five years ago, even though it may be essentially the same when he testified to the grand jury, may have a little bit of difference as to the -- what he said at [the] Article 32 transcripts investigation that -- at Fort Bragg five years ago. And I would suspect that putting someone under sodium amytal five years afterwards may have a more profound effect because you don't have the nearness of the situation. You have a distance and you may be able to break through some of the areas and into certain areas that you didn't have. I don't think it will change much from what you have.
FROM MR. WOERHEIDE:
Q (Interposing) Particularly since he has repeated the same story several times.
A That's right, that's right.
Q And has repeated it.
FROM MR. STROUD:
Q Repeated it several times recently?
A That's right.
FROM MR. WOERHEIDE:
Q And he's a highly intelligent individual?
A (Interposing) The chances are it will come out the same as it has in the past.
Q Or he'll go to sleep?
A Or go to sleep, correct. In one case -- off the record.
MR. STROUD: At this point, he wanted to tell a medical story. Everybody has to tell a war story. And he tells a story about something that he wanted off the record. It was really no need for it to be off the record because it wasn't off-color or anything. But he wanted it off the record and so I put it off the record. And just after, he told that story that was the end of the interview. Witness excused.
This is, then, what was presented to the grand jury:
MR. WOERHEIDE: I was reading a text when you were taking your break which discusses the narcoanalysis, which is the use of sodium amytal and sodium pentothal, and it said, in substance, that unless a man would -- a person who was guilty of an offense would -- is -- prone to confess, even without the use of narcoanalysis, he would not confess under narcoanalysis. I have it back in the office in case you want me to read any portion of it to you. But what the text says, in effect, is a person like Jeffrey MacDonald who has a story and who has adhered to it and so on and so forth would still tell the same story under narcoanalysis.
MR. STROUD: Let's mark this as an exhibit.
MR. WOERHEIDE: Yeah.
MR. STROUD: This is -- let's mark this as Sadoff Exhibit 1, January 24, 1975.
(Marked for identification.)
MR. WOERHEIDE: You want one of us to read that to you? It covers -- when I was questioning Sadoff at first, my questions were based on what it says there.
JUROR: That is the statement back in April of 1970?
MR. STROUD: And this is his findings based on that interview.
The interview with Dr. Sadoff was played back to the grand jury. Then Mr. Stroud stated:
Okay, folks in order to move on with this thing. Are we prepared to go on without hearing from Dr. Sadoff any further, are you satisfied with the interview of him and the notes?
JUROR: Did you ever get anybody to run the Walter Cronkite story?
MR. STROUD: We have got that and we've also got a transcript of it, but I don't think it's going to show anything in addition to what you have already heard. It's just a five-minute thing, but if you want to see it, we can bring it in and show it. But I think at this point it would be anti-climatic.
JUROR: I can't see that Dr. Sadoff is going to shed any more light on what we have heard.
FOREMAN: May we agree that we don't need to question Dr. Sadoff any further, that the grand jury is satisfied with his taped interview as played back to us in regards to the sodium amytal interview, what's your feelings on that now?
JUROR: Forget about it, too.
JUROR: I don't think it would help us at this time.
MR. STROUD: Would you like us to step outside?
FOREMAN: No, I don't think so. Well, do you want to take a vote on it -- you -- have got to decide whether or not to pursue the amytal interview or not, because we're the ones that instigated the whole thing. So, I guess we have got the right to call it off or pursue it.
JUROR: If I had known what you knew about the sodium amytal, I would have not asked for it. But I had no knowledge.
MR. WOERHEIDE: It's understandable -- you know we raised the issue right in the beginning of August. And obviously you had it on your mind and you were thinking about it and really at that time I didn't -- it wasn't that -- as I say, I have never had a case where you had the use of this narcoanalysis and it wasn't until the Walter Reed psychiatrists showed up here and I got to talking to them that I began to learn a little bit more about it. And basically -- well -- you know -- we didn't go into that at that time because I didn't think it was relevant. But Sadoff says basically the same thing -- you know -- and, as I say, I have this book here; I can read it to you, but Erlig said that the only people who will break down and confess under narcoanalysis are people who would break down and confess anyhow. And I think it is pretty obvious that MacDonald is not ready to do that. When he is confronted with the evidence against him, he does -- you know -- well, he in effect says it's fabricated, it's all a lie, he can't explain it, but he doesn't break down and say, yes, I did it, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done it. I'm sorry, but I did -- you know.
JUROR: Mr. Woerheide, even if he should, to Dr. Sadoff, he wouldn't have to tell us?
MR. WOERHEIDE: No, actually it's not evidence and would not be admissible at the trial and you don't -- it's really not evidence at all, now. It has no evidentiary value legally.
MR. STROUD: Sam, if I may say this -- Sam had a good suggestion earlier. Go ahead and say it, please?
FOREMAN: Yeah, about the letter, is that what you mean?
MR. STROUD: Yes.
FOREMAN: There are some comments -- statements -- inferences in these telegrams to the grand jury that I was going to ask if you thought it would be improper to have a response letter drafted and sent back to Mr. Segal?
FOREMAN: Now, wait a minute, let me finish. Because if we entertain an indictment, even have one presented to us, before anything is ever decided about this amytal situation, I think we at least owe him a response to our request saying that based on what we now know, we don't feel like the amytal interview is as pertinent as we did. And that we're not going to press the issue and that having the benefit of a personal taped interview the grand jury does not have any questions of Dr. Sadoff and are satisfied after having his conclusion played before us, that we are satisfied with the evidence he wants to give us and we will just terminate that situation right here. I think that is at least some courtesy to his attorneys, because we stirred up this mess, now we can cut the flame out -- you know -- or keep it burning under the pot.
MR. STROUD: I think more than a courtesy, that it would be good for the record.
JUROR: I think that is beautiful idea.
JUROR: Wouldn't it be better to call him?
FOREMAN: I think we should have something we could enter into the record in response to that which has been entered as evidence. Would you like to have the attorneys draft a letter for the grand jury with those comments in there on their official stationary and so forth?
JUROR: I'd like it known that when I asked him that I wasn't aware. I really didn't know.
FOREMAN: Right, you have since had an education about it from Dr. Sadoff about what the results might be.
Whereupon, the following letter was drafted and written to Mr. Bernard L. Segal, Attorney for Jeffrey MacDonald:
This is to acknowledge your telegram dated January 23, 1975, received by me on behalf of the grand jury today.
Today the grand jury heard for the record a taped interview of Dr. Robert Sadoff, which took place at his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, January 22, 1975, in which he was asked questions by Mr. Woerheide and Mr. Stroud, attorneys on behalf of the United States Government. In addition to the tape interview, the grand jury received into evidence and considered a memorandum prepared by Dr. Sadoff of his interview with Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald April 21, 1970.
After considering all of this evidence, it was the feeling of the grand jury that there was no additional questions needed to be asked of Dr. Sadoff and therefore it would not be necessary for him to make a personal appearance before the grand jury.
In regards to the sodium amytal test initially requested by one of the Grand Jurors, it is the considered opinion of the grand jury after hearing the taped interview of Dr. Sadoff that a sodium amytal test would not be of any practical benefit to the grand jury at this time.
It is also the personal feeling of the Grand Juror who raised the question about the sodium amytal test that she would not have raised the question had she had the knowledge at the time concerning the sodium amytal test that she now has.
Therefore, the grand jury is proceeding to deliberation in this case.
Samuel F. Epperson
Foreman of the United States Grand Jury Sitting in Raleigh, North Carolina
Whereupon, the United States Grand Jury Investigation in the matter of the deaths of Colette MacDonald, Kimberly MacDonald and Kristen MacDonald was concluded insofar as the recorded portion of the investigation was concerned. The grand jury then proceeded to deliberation in the matter.