Ted Gunderson's "brief" summary of the investigation of the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case
Webmaster note: Another Jeffrey MacDonald website incorrectly describes this summary as having been written in 1980. It was actually written sometime after June 2, 1992, since in his last paragraph Gunderson refers to the Fourth Circuit's Opinion Affirming District Court's Denial of Jeffrey MacDonald's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, which was filed on that date.
(Spelling, punctuation and grammar preserved)
Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald was convicted of the murder of his wife, Colette, and their two children. The trial took place in the United States District court, Raleigh, North Carolina in August 1979. Dr. MacDonald was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences. This conviction was the culmination of a nine-year effort by the Department of Justice and the Criminal Investigation Division (C.I.D.), Department of the Army. The government claimed Dr. MacDonald staged a Manson-type slaughter of his pregnant wife and two children in his home at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on February 17, 1970.
The government case is allegedly supported by a very hypothetical reconstruction of the crime scene. The government claims blood spots, fibers from torn garments, and "fabric impressions" on a sheet disprove the (jumbled) memories of Dr. MacDonald when he recounted to investigators what happened in those early morning hours. The government, admittedly, has never developed any credible motive to account for such brutal slayings; additionally, the government admits to many crime scene errors and losses of evidence, which the defense claims invalidates the government's hypothetical crime scene reconstruction
The defense scenario is quite different from the government scenario. The defense claims that in the early morning hours of February 17, 1970 Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, then a Green Beret captain and physician at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was awakened by the screams of his wife. She was in their bedroom; he had gone to sleep on the couch because his younger daughter had climbed into the double bed in the master bedroom and wet the bed. Dr. MacDonald saw at least three men and a woman standing over him. There was a brief struggle, during which he was beaten and stabbed. His pajama top had been pulled up over his head and had bound his wrists, rendering him somewhat defenseless. He collapsed in the hallway and later awakened to a cold, quiet house. He went to his pregnant wife, then to each of their two daughters, trying to resuscitate them. They had been brutally murdered. In disbelief, he called for police and ambulances, and finally collapsed next to his wife's body.
What happened during the next few hours (and, indeed, days and weeks) of the initial investigation was as criminal, although in a different way, as the violence that occurred that morning. To be brief, the crime scene was never secured, upwards of 30 people walked through the house moving things, contaminating the scene, and changing and destroying evidence. Dr. MacDonald was rushed to the hospital with a collapsed lung and multiple other wounds. His pajama bottoms were negligently discarded, even though they would have been a crucial piece of evidence. Importantly, because the MT dispatcher automatically figured that there must have been some sort of family dispute, investigators went to the task with a mind-set which likely tainted the investigation from the outset. Within hours, the Army C.I.D. had focused on Dr. MacDonald as the chief suspect, ignoring all evidence to the contrary.
A woman matching the description of the female assailant, Helena Stoeckley, who later confessed on several occasions, had been seen in the area near the house shortly after the incident by one of the responding MPs. She was not pursued at that time. The defense was later to learn that there was much additional exculpatory evidence, some negligently destroyed, but some intentionally destroyed, the existence of which was withheld from the defense until discovered through tireless investigation and the release of Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I.A.) documents, aided by some congressional pressure. Importantly, it wasn't until 1983, four years post trial, that the majority of the exculpatory evidence was discovered in F.O.I.A. files.
Back on April 6, 1970, Dr. MacDonald was first told that he was a suspect. An Army tribunal (Article 32 Hearing) was subsequently convened, and after hearing all the evidence over five months, including the testimony of many witnesses who knew the MacDonalds and had observed a normal marriage and family relationship, Dr. MacDonald was found to be innocent of the charges against him. The hearing officer recommended that the woman, Helena Stoeckley, and her group be investigated. The hearing officer specifically cited both forensic evidence and extensive psychiatric evaluations of Dr. MacDonald by both defense and prosecution as important to his findings.
At the conclusion of the hearing, in October 1970, the following recommendations were made:
1. "All charges and specifications against Captain Jeffrey R. MacDonald be dismissed because the matters set forth in all charges and specifications are not true. There are lesser charges and/or specifications which are appropriate."
2. "That appropriate civilian authorities be requested to investigate the alibi of Helena Stoeckley, Fayetteville, North Carolina, reference her activities and whereabouts during the early morning hours of 17 February, 1970, based on evidence presented during the hearing."
In spite of these recommendations, the Army virtually ignored the possibility that Helena Stoeckley and her associates committed the murders and continued to investigate Dr. MacDonald.
Dr. MacDonald was honorably discharged from the Army and began rebuilding his life in California as a respected emergency physician. However, the Army C.I.D. undertook a reinvestigation of the crimes after having received pressure when Dr. MacDonald and his father-in-law pressured Congress. In 1974, a federal grand jury was empaneled and investigated the case for six months, finally returning an indictment against Dr. MacDonald in 1975. The prosecution was handled by a Department of Justice grand jury "specialist," now deceased, and a lawyer, Brian Murtaugh, who worked in the C.I.D. "reinvestigation" in 1971-72, and who now worked for the Department of Justice. The grand jury indictment was later to be called one of the most bizarre "inquisitions" ever to mock our constitutional due process standards.
There followed years of procedural maneuvers from both prosecution and defense, and in the summer of 1979 there was a trial in Raleigh, North Carolina. The trial judge, Franklin Dupree, never disclosed the fact that the early prosecutor in the case had been his son-in-law, now divorced from the judge's daughter, but still, of course, the father of the judge's grandchild.
During the trial, all 24 consecutive defense motions for admission of evidence or discovery were denied. Simultaneously, the government received positive decisions on seven of their eight motions.
Additionally, numerous critical exculpatory items were hidden from the defense at trial. These items included fingerprints, the loss of a crucial piece of skin from under Colette's fingernail, photos, reliability of witnesses, bloody boots from the female intruder, and the existence of witnesses who saw the group of assailants. Helena Stoeckley's vague admissions of guilt were held to be unreliable for purposes of admitting them as evidence. Yet she was a drug informant for several law enforcement agencies and as an informant she was considered sufficiently reliable to have provided local police with the apprehension of over a hundred suspects for drug-related crimes, although the proof of this statement was hidden until the 1983 release of F.O.I.A. documents. Later, F.O.I.A. documents also proved Helena Stoeckley was so competent, she was used by Nashville police for internal affairs investigations.
The judge also disallowed Dr. MacDonald's seven critical witnesses, those being seven persons who corroborated the admissions of guilt by Helena Stoeckley, the so-called woman in the floppy hat with the candle. She had, additionally, implicated herself in a C.I.D. polygraph, but the testimony of the C.I.D. examiner who came to the defense over prosecution objections was not allowed by the judge.
Finally due to the loss of all 24 consecutive motions by the defense (for discovery or for presentation of critical evidence), the trial came down to the allegedly carefully constructed case against Dr. MacDonald, based on very sketchy (and grossly hypothetical) forensic evidence reconstructed from a destroyed crime scene on the one hand, and on the other hand opposed basically by character and psychiatric witnesses for Dr. MacDonald. This brings us to Dr. Brussel and a final crushing blow to the defense.
Judge Dupree declared that if the defense hoped to have its psychiatrists testify at trial Dr. MacDonald would have to submit to an additional, psychiatric evaluation by the government's psychiatrist. This seemed unusual at the time, since Dr. MacDonald had already been evaluated by two sets of defense psychiatrists, and also by a three-man team at Walter Read Army Hospital for the prosecution -- and all exams were essentially very positive and similar. The new exam turned out to be a "sham"; the examiner was one Dr. James Brussel from New York, aided by New Jersey psychologist Hirsch Lazzar Silverman The "psychiatric exam" lasted 35 minutes and consisted of no psychiatric questions. Instead, Dr. Brussel read prosecution questions typed by prosecutor Brian Murtagh. Dr. Brussel was almost 80 years old, senile, had recently had a stroke, was drooling from his mouth, and thought be was in Maryland, not North Carolina. He asked for his hat as he departed that day, having to be told by defense counsel that it was already on his head.
Astonishingly, Dr. Brussel told Judge Dupree, in camera, that his findings were in total contrast to those of all other examiners and Judge Dupree promptly disallowed all psychiatric evidence at trial, claiming he didn't want a "battle of the experts."
Having effectively excluded all possible exculpatory evidence, much of which was yet unknown to the defense, the government succeeded in a conviction on all counts, resulting in three consecutive life sentences for Dr. MacDonald. Appeals followed on the basis of many issues, including speedy trial and due process grounds, prejudicial failure to admit the declaration against interest made by Helena Stoeckley, exclusion of the defense expert psychiatrist, after-discovered evidence, and recusal of the trial judge for bias. All appeals failed, including recusal.
Unless we can, get to the heart of the reasons for some of the cover-ups, Dr. MacDonald is without remedy. At this point, Dr. MacDonald has been fighting for vindication for 18 years, and has been in prison for over twelve years. The defense believes, with strong evidence, he is innocent and wrongly incarcerated.
The defense case has been reinvestigated by two investigators since 1979. Ted Gunderson, retired FBI and former Special Agent-in-Charge of the Los Angeles, California FBI office, initially began in 1979, months after the convictions. He has, to this date, logged thousands of hours on the case, most of them unpaid. At present, he still works on the case, operating out of his Los Angeles, California office. It was Gunderson's work which produced the initial signed confessions from Helena Stoeckley, as well as later F.O.I.A.
In 1982, new attorneys in the case retained Raymond Shedlick, Jr., a former New York homicide detective, who was based in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. He worked almost exclusively on the case for two full years. He, too, has logged countless thousands of hours on the case, corroborating facts, weeding out the lunatic fringe that often tries to associate with a case of this magnitude.
The investigations of these two renowned investigators has dovetailed into a coherent set of facts and witnesses, buttressed by forensic evidence, expert testimony and polygraph evidence, that clearly indicates the innocence of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald and the guilt of Helena Stoeckley, Greg Mitchell and their co-assailants. Raymond Shedlick built on Ted Gunderson's initial confessions from Helena Stoeckley, and via F.O.I.A. material and new witnesses, they have constructed a scenario for the crimes that totally disproves, in real evidence, the hypothetical government scenario set forth at trial in 1979.
The following is a list of some major points and facts in the MacDonald case. Each point is documented many times by government files released under F.O.I..A. 13 years after the crimes and four years post-conviction.
1. The original crime scene was chaos. It was never secured in the first several hours. Upwards of 30 persons, including military police, neighbors and unidentified persons, wandered through the crime scene. Evidence is known to have been touched, moved, changed and destroyed.
2. Crucial evidence seen by C.I.D. investigators never appeared in later C.I.D. lab reports; additionally, crucial evidence favorable to MacDonald was left off government diagams and charts used at trial in 1979. This includes most crucially both blood and fiber evidence from the living room end of the hallway, the location of Dr. MacDonald's struggle.
3. Evidence developed in 1980 by Gunderson and confirmed by both the F.O.I.A material and the independent Shedlick investigation confirms that the initial prosecutor in the case was James Proctor, son-in-law of Judge Dupree. Dupree was the trial judge who emasculated almost every bit of exculpatory evidence for the defense, and he remains, to this day, the judge on the case for any new evidence or appeals. James Proctor is the person who personally turned the investigation from Helena Stoeckley and co-assailants to Dr. MacDonald for the Department of Justice.
4. Much evidence is available to believe that a major investigator for the Army C.I.D. and his good friend, one of the local Fayetteville, North Carolina police lieutenants, were heavily involved in drug trafficking that included the importation of narcotics from Vietnam.
According to Helena Stoeckley, the lieutenant had used her over a period of time for sex, holding the threat of jail over her bead for some drug-related offense. Stoeckley died in 1983, post-trial, allegedly of natural causes. She died at home, purportedly of a liver disease and pneumonia, but it was a sudden death, inconsistent with liver disease or pneumonia in a 32 year old person. She was home alone with her baby and it was her custom to seek help when she was ill since she was a very attentive mother to her son. She did not seek help at this time but she had previously expressed to her friend and an investigator that she was ready to tell something that she knew was going to be a "major bombshell" about the MacDonald case. She had hesitated to do so before because she had asked for immunity and it had been denied. (Interestingly, a resident of Stoeckley's apartment building had seen two clean-cut men in suits who had asked for Stoeckley and hung around for about two days immediately prior to her death. A forensic pathologist was present at her autopsy, and if, in fact, Stoeckley had been the victim of foul play, it was undetectable on autopsy.)
5. The defense discovered that Dr. Brussel was not a "neutral examiner" at trial in 1979, as purported. F.O.I.A. records released in 1983 confirm that he was a "consultant" on the case from 1970 to 1971, until the time of the trial. He was, incredibly enough, consulted as an "expert" in LSD, and was brought into the case by William Ivory, C.I.D., the chief investigator in the case, who had been responsible for the "loss" of all the initial exculpatory evidence. Unbeknownst to the defense, from 1970 to 1979 Brussel had opined that Dr. MacDonald was liar, a psychopathic, homicidal and that "hippies wouldn't have done the crimes" in 1970 because it wasn't haphazard enough. He reached his conclusion with his only source of information being C.I.D. agent William Ivory.
Clearly, then, his exam of Dr. MacDonald in 1979 not only was a sham, as Dr. MacDonald and his attorneys recognized in 1979, but it was also a fraud upon the court as well. Needless to say, Judge Dupree denied every review of these startling findings, a decision confirmed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and cert was denied by the United States Supreme Court.
6. Regarding Helena Stoeckley: She initially made oral admissions of guilt in 1970 to Fayetteville, North Carolina police detective Prince Beasley. The C.I.D. was not interested enough to even interview her until ordered to do so by the Article 32 hearing officer, Col. Warren V. Rock, some six months after the murders.
Post-trial once Ted Gunderson entered the case, he and Prince Beasley tracked her down and began extracting information of considerable value. Over the next two years, in signed and taped confessions, Helena Stoeckley named her co-assailants, described "insider" detail to Gunderson, and for the first time provided the real motive for the killings, i.e., anger at MacDonald for not being sympathetic to drug abusers, plus a fear he had turned in several users, a claim supported by other reputable Army personnel in sworn testimony.
7. Ted Gunderson's efforts didn't stop with Helena Stoeckley and her confessions. He began the investigations into her co-assailants and located significant corroborating witnesses. In addition, he had Helena Stoeckley polygraphed and had her examined by a forensic psychologist at UCLA Dr. Rex Julian Beaber, who found her totally capable of recall, memory and accurate testimony.
8. Helena Stoeckley was polygraphed by a United States Army lead polygrapher, Robert Brisentine, in 1971. Mr. Brisentine felt the results corroborated Helena Stoeckley's involvement, that she was present at the crime scene, and that she knew the identity of the co-assailants. Mr. Brisentine was ordered by the prosecutor not to discuss his results with the defense, but he did so over their objections. His testimony was not heard by the jury due to a Judge Dupree ruling at the trial.
Ted Gunderson had Helena Stoeckley polygraphed again in 1982. The results confirm her complicity in the crimes.
9. Helena Stoeckley named, among others, Dwight Smith (a Negro male who oftentimes wore an Army jacket with E-6 sergeant stripes), Greg Mitchell and Shelby Don Harris as co-assailants. She admits to being part of a drug-oriented "cult" that sacrificed animals and had a history violence, including stabbings. The MacDonald murders involved her initiation into the Satanic cult.
10. The defense has approximately 40 witnesses who corroborated the admissions of guilt by Helena Stoeckley Greg Mitchell, Shelby Don Harris, Dwight Smith and Cathy Perry. These witnesses had, variously, overheard the group before the killings, seen the group immediately prior to the killings, seen the group leaving the area of the MacDonald house at the time of the killings, and had seen the group in bloody clothing after the killings.
11. Most importantly, these witnesses corroborate the confessions of Helena Stoeckley, Greg Mitchell and Cathy Perry as well as overheard admissions of guilt from two others of the group. The confessions of Helena Stoeckley and Cathy Perry are signed confessions. The confessions of Greg Mitchell was to multiple witnesses on several occasions under various circumstances.
12. Helena Stoeckley named Greg Mitchell as the person who personally murdered Colette. Found under Colette's fingernail was skin (now missing) and blood of the blood type of Greg Mitchell, not blood from Dr. MacDonald, who has a different blood type than either Colette or Greg Mitchell.
13. Insider information given by Helena Stoeckley to Ted Gunderson includes the presence of a rocking horse in one child's bedroom with a broken spring, a phone call from a now-identified individual, a barking German shepherd next door, the presence and type of jewelry box in the MacDonald bedroom, and the specific wounds on one of the children (stab wounds on her chest in the shape of an "S"; Helena Stoeckley stated the "S" was for "Satan"). Additionally, Stoeckley described vehicles used that night, and independent witnesses corroborate the presence of two of the vehicles (the Mustang and a cream-colored sedan).
14. Helena Stoeckley was told by C.I.D. investigators in 1972 to "let sleeping dogs lie" regarding her coming forth with new evidence in the case. This information corresponds with C.I.D. and prosecution hiding of the polygraph of Helena Stoeckley and prosecutors r directions to an MP in 1970 not to volunteer information that he, as responding MP to the crime scene, had seen a woman in a floppy hat just blocks from the MacDonald home at 3:50 A.M. in freezing rain.
15. Request for immunity for Helena Stoeckley were ignored in 1979 and 1982. She died in January 1983, shortly after contacting Fayetteville, North Carolina police detective Prince Beasley, saying she had urgent information for him. Before Beasley could arrange to get from North Carolina to South Carolina she was dead.
16. Helena Stoeckley, in 1970, frequently wore a blond wig and boots and used candles for many reasons including so-called "cult" ceremonies. Her group was involved in stabbings and animal sacrifices. She was seen to be in black mourning clothes on the day of the MacDonald funerals, and she had a wreath on her house at the time.
There is ample corroboration of her association with Dwight Smith, Shelby Don Harris, Greg Mitchell, Cathy Perry and others in their group.
17. Helena Stoeckley made admissions of guilt in this case as early as 24 hours after the murders to Fayetteville, North Carolina police detective Prince Beasley, who was aware of her association with a black male who wore an Army fatigue jacket with sergeant stripes. Beasley was also aware she had a blond wig and often wore boots. This information was transmitted to the C.I.D. on several occasions, yet no one from the C.I.D. investigated Helena Stoeckley for complicity in the crimes.
18. Importantly, Ted Gunderson began the F.O.I.A. request in late 1979 and early 1980. He was stonewalled and rebuffed until 1983, at which point increasing congressional pressure finally opened the F.O.I.A. "gates" and long-suppressed documents began to be released. To this date, perhaps 10,000 pages of an admitted 90,000 have been released to the defense, but heavily censored.
In these pages, multiple crucial items of evidence favorable to Dr. MacDonald were discovered. These include:
a. The loss of a piece of skin from under Colette's fingernail. This loss was hidden for 13 years.
b. The intentional discarding of seven fingerprints of unknown persons at the crime scene, the reason being, "they kept getting mixed up with the known prints."
c. The loss of a bloody, half-filled syringe from the crime scene, important because it corroborated an assailant confession.
d. Hiding from the defense the discovery of writing on the wall of Helena Stoeckley's apartment in which the "G" matched, according to one of the government investigators, the "G" in the word "PIG" written in blood on the headboard in the MacDonald master bedroom.
e. The fact that a witness in the case was given bloody clothing and boots from Helena Stoeckley shortly after the crimes and told to hide them from the police. These were turned over to the Army C.I.D. and later returned to the witness. Today, the prosecution claims they were "negative" for blood, but has refused to produce any lab tests or reports to corroborate this statement.
f. It was discovered that the federal agents knew Helena Stoeckley was a reliable informant including involvement in internal affairs investigations for the Nashville Police Department after the murders. This is important because the prosecution successfully kept evidence regarding Helena Stoeckley from the jury by arguing she was unreliable while simultaneously hiding the evidence of her reliability from the defense. (The ruling judge, of course, was Judge Dupree, whose son-in-law had "dismissed" Helena Stoeckley in 1970-71.)
19. The C.I.D. never had Dr. MacDonald review any suspects by line-up, nor did they construct police artist sketches of the assailants. Importantly, the FBI did voice-record several suspects, but the C.I.D. refused to allow Dr. MacDonald to listen to these recordings.
The defense, finally, during the initial 1970 investigation, had police artist sketches drawn. These were done in the summer of 1970 by a police artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and are labeled #1, #2, #3, and #4 (attached). In 1979, while under forensic hypnosis performed by a medical doctor, and while being questioned by a former FBI man who worked with hypnosis, another police artist from Los Angeles, California resketched the assailants. These drawings are labeled #5, #6, #7 and #8 (attached). The prosecution claims that Dr. MacDonald described different persons can be compared to the two groups of drawings, and you may draw your own conclusions.
20. The descriptions given by Dr. MacDonald in 1970 minutes after being resuscitated by an MP and later memorialized in the two sets of police sketches fit the group of persons around Helena Stoeckley.
21. Dr. Thomas Noguchi, world-renowned forensic pathologist, has studied the evidence extensively and has determined that multiple assailants were involved, and that one of them was most likely left-handed. Greg Mitchell, was left-handed; Dr. MacDonald is right-handed.
22. Jeffrey MacDonald has passed, conclusively, a polygraph administered to him by Dr. David Raskin, one of the world's foremost polygraphers. (An "indeterminate" polygraph was performed on Dr. MacDonald by Joseph Reid in 1970. Upon review of the test, polygraphers and forensic psychiatrists feel the "indeterminate" status was due to the confusion in Dr. MacDonald's mind over the guilt he felt at not having been able to save the lives of his family.)
23. All legitimate forensic psychiatrists who have examined Dr. MacDonald (five) have argued that he is sane, normal, shows no psychopathology, and appears to be truthful.
24. The FBI questioned Greg Mitchell in 1982. Shortly after that, Mitchell requested money and help from friends to leave the country because he had been involved in "serious crimes." Mitchell confessed involvement in the MacDonald killings both at a drug detoxification center in 1971-72 and also to friends ten years later after being interviewed by the FBI.
25. During the autopsy in 1970, hairs were found in Colette's hand. The C.I.D. forcibly assaulted Dr. MacDonald's attorneys and forcibly removed 12 hair samples (head, chest, groin, arms, legs) from Dr. MacDonald in June 1970 while he was in custody.
However, the hair report from the C.I.D. lab was inexplicably "delayed," then "misplaced" by the C.I.D. agent Grabner in the evidence safe. Investigation during the Article 32 hearing revealed the delay was to enable the prosecutors to try to pressure the C.I.D. lab at Fort Gordon to change the report. It turned out the original report said the hair in Colette's hand was "dissimilar" to Dr. MacDonald's hair. The second, changed, hair report implied not enough samples had been taken from Dr. MacDonald to be sure of the results. The C.I.D. "resolved" this series of astonishing events by exhuming the bodies of the family four years later and having FBI agent Paul Stombaugh swear under oath to the federal grand jury that the hair in Colette's hand was her own. Of course, all forensic hair experts know it is scientifically impossible to match hair in an individual -- all that can be said is "similar" or "dissimilar."
26. In 1970, Dr. MacDonald described the female assailant as carrying lights, possibly a candle, since the light was flickering on her face. Later it was determined that the C.I.D. "held up," again, wax dripping reports from the crime scene. These crucial wax reports state unequivocally that no candle in the MacDonald house matched the wax drippings -- some of which were in the bedding of Kimberly, the five year old child.
27. Dr. MacDonald suffered multiple wounds in the assault. Observers, including many physicians, confirm he suffered multiple ice pick and knife stab wounds and blunt trauma to his head and left shoulder/arm. One stab wound penetrated his right chest, collapsing his lung and narrowly missing his liver. Other stab wounds and lacerations were in his abdomen, arm, hand and left chest. Examining physicians and experts testified at least one wound was life threatening; and no one, including a physician, could know the consequences of the wounds.
A document released in F.O.I.A. documents in 1983, an important letter from a C.I.D. colonel to J. Edgar Hoover, documents at least 17 stab wounds, plus other injuries to Dr. MacDonald. This information was later denied by prosecutors and writers in an attempt to strengthen their case in court and against appeals.
When Dr. MacDonald, lying next to his wife, was initially revived by MP Mica, his first words were about his children, his wife, and descriptions of his assailants.
No road blocks were initially established. No patrol was sent to approach the woman in the floppy hat seen only blocks away, despite numerous requests by MP Mica to do so.
Dr. MacDonald was treated with two separate chest tubes being surgically inserted into his chest to re-expand the lung. He was admitted to the intensive care unit and remained in the hospital 10 days, leaving only once, to attend the funerals of his family.
A psychiatric note in his chart at that time states "normal grief process continues."
28. Information was uncovered by investigators Ted Gunderson, Ray Shedleck and one of columnist Jack Anderson's investigators, Don Goldberg, that finally uncovered the person who made a phone call to the MacDonald house that night. Jimmy Friar made the call to locate "another Dr. MacDonald," actually Dr. Richard McDonald, and post telephone operators in the early morning hours past 2:00 A.M. put him through to Dr. MacDonald's house. Friar recalls a woman answered, that he could hear a commotion in the background, and a male said, "Hang up the God-darmmed phone." In her confession, Helena Stoeckley used almost identical words to say what one of her male co-assailants said to her when she answered the ringing telephone.
29. Jan Snyder, a former neighbor of the MacDonalds now living in Ohio, furnished a statement advising that during the early morning hours of February 17, 1970, she looked out her window at 308 Castle Drive and saw a cream-colored automobile parked directly in front of 310 Castle Drive. She also saw a blue Mustang and a "military vehicle" (jeep). The last time she saw the vehicles they made a U-turn and were beading in the direction of Dr. MacDonald's home. This confirms information furnished by Helena Stoeckley. Snyder was interviewed by the C.I.D. for approximately five minutes the morning of February 17, 1970. She relayed this same information to the C.I.D. The C.I.D. agent said they would return to obtain a formal statement but never did.
30. Cathy Perry gave a confession to the FBI in 1984, prior to an upcoming movie on the case (in contrast to prosecutor statements that the confession was made after the movie). In her confession she said she participated in the murders of a mother and two young boys in North Carolina in 1970. The government belittled her confession due to the discrepancies in the sex of the children, and because she said there was a flight of stairs in the home. In fact, there were two steps between the living room and hallway in the MacDonald home, and other portions of Perry's confession contained astonishing facts related to the crime scene, including trying to "inject" victims (missing bloody syringe), and that one of the children hid in a closet (hair torn out by the root was found in that location).
31. C.I.D. investigators on the case have admitted the direction of their invesgation towards Dr. MacDonald was determined in the early morning hours of February 17, 1970, prior to any investigation of any leads. This direction was based on a theory that the living room scene was "staged" i.e., that the over-turned furniture, an over turned flowerpot, an over and other lack of general disarray appeared to be "staged." It wasn't until six months later, during the Article 32 proceedings, that it was conclusively proved the elements of the "staged scene" theory were all incorrect, and much of the confusion was directly a result of crime scene changes made by on-the-scene personnel such as military police and ambulance attendants. Unfortunately, although the genesis of the theory that Dr. MacDonald was guilty was not disproved, C.I.D. investigators would never again truly investigate the case in any neutral fashion.
32. There was a clearly documented "turf' war between the United States C.I.D. and the FBI for control of the crime scene and processing of forensic material. In effect, the Army C.I.D. froze out the FBI, and the FBI withdrew (formally on February 26, 1970, nine days after the murders, but in fact with-drawing by February 21, 1970, only four days after the crimes). This fiasco insured no civilians would ever truly be investigated, since the C.I.D. had jurisdiction only over United States Army personnel, i.e., Dr. (then Captain) MacDonald.
Additionally, this insured the less competent C.I.D. lab a chance to handle the forensic material, a move which turned out to be catastrophic, witness the lost, changed and ignored evidence of many types at the crime scene.
33. The list of destroyed or lost evidence handled, by the C.I.D. is astonishing. It includes, among others:
a. Fingerprints, at least seven, intentionally destroyed
b. Fingerprints "inadvertently" destroyed, such as at least two on the door of entry to the master bedroom used by the assailants
C. Bloody syringe -- now "lost"
d. Piece of skin -- now "lost"
e. Bloody clothing and boots -- now "lost"
f. Pajama bottoms of Dr. MacDonald -- now "lost"
g. Wet leaves and grass from inside the crime scene -- never collected
h. Blood evidence from the exact spot where MacDonald struggled with assailants -- hidden by prosecution (not recorded on crime scene chart at time of trial)
i. Fibers, crucial evidence from the exact spot where MacDonald struggled with assailants -- never collected
j. Bloody footprints in child's bedroom destroyed as C.I.D. agents tried to saw floor to transport to crime lab.
34. In addition, the C.I.D. was responsible for almost innumerable failures to follow up on legitimate leads, including leads of real value given to the C.I.D., each on several occasions. Clearly, their focus was Dr. MacDonald, and any evidence not consistent with their theory was discarded, ignored or changed.
Unfortunately, the small amount of investigation they did do was woefully lacking in completeness and in expertise. For instance, to this day large areas of the crime scene have never been processed for fingerprints. Crucial items, such as the flower pot and a baby bottle found near one child, were not processed for fingerprints.
And absurd events occurred in the crime scene, such as the theft of a wallet after the arrival of C.I.D. investigators; and VIP tours of the crime scene for high ranking "brass" prior to crime scene forensic investigations being performed.
The absurdity of the crime scene work is evidenced by an Esquire magazine, alleged by the prosecution to be important since it mentioned the Manson killings in California, and since it allegedly had blood on it. What the C.I.D. didn't make clear until years later was that the Esquire magazine had been picked up and looked at by multiple investigators at the crime scene, for a total of three days prior to the alleged discovery of blood on the magazine. It was only then (over a lab person's objecting statement that the magazine couldn't possibly be considered evidence) that the Esquire magazine was collected as "evidence" against Dr. MacDonald. The majority of the fingerprints eventually found on the magazine were, indeed, investigator prints, yet to this day an unidentified print remains from this "exhibit."
35. The government contends "fabric impressions" and blood stains on a sheet imply Dr. MacDonald, for whatever bizarre and unsupported reason, carried Colette to the master bedroom from one of the children's rooms.
Evidence uncovered by Raymond Shedlick, Jr. conclusively proves a witness in the house at the crime scene saw the sheet on Colette prior to crime scene photographs. Other witnesses saw Colette not under the sheet before and after those events. This evidence destroys any validity n the fabric impressions, since a crime scene person was the individual who placed the sheet in contact with Colette, not Dr. MacDonald.
36. It is known from sworn testimony that the telephones were used by not only Dr. MacDonald but also by the MPs in calling for help. Therefore, someone at the crime scene wiped the phones clean while the investigators were there, contrary to the C.I.D. theory that Dr. MacDonald wiped the phones.
37. Similarly, witnesses at the crime scene have stated under oath they saw a knife with a bloody blade in the master bedroom. The C.I.D., however, states the blade was clean and says Dr. MacDonald was lying about removing a knife from Colette's chest. Obviously, with witnesses seeing a bloody knife at the scene after Dr. MacDonald was removed to the hospital, someone other than Dr. MacDonald wiped the blade. In fact, C.I.D. reports now released indicate blood smears on a towel that are consistent with a wiped blade.
38. No inventory was ever taken of the contents of the MacDonald house, and the C.I.D. admitted that it never thought to ascertain whether any jewelry was missing. Possible blood and an unidentified fingerprint were found on the jewelry box in the master bedroom. Two family heirloom rings are still missing. Dr. MacDonald learned about this loss later, in the five-month Army Article 32 hearing.
39. In 1982, Ted Gunderson submitted to the FBI a four-volume report containing his investigations to date. The response of the FBI was, unfortunately, not to consider Gunderson's work, but to attack the motives of Gunderson and retired police detective Prince Beasley, who cooperated in obtaining the initial Stoeckley confessions. Since that time, information has been developed from F.O.I.A requests that the FBI conducted four separate investigations into of Gunderson after he entered the case as opposed to any real investigation into the evidence uncovered in the MacDonald case.
40. The "pivotal" piece of evidence, according to the prosecution, in the entire case is the pajama top of Dr. MacDonald. Brian Murtaugh, a prosecution lawyer, asked Paul Stombaugh of the FBI laboratory, in 1974 to see if he could "match up 48 holes in the pajama top from ice pick thrusts with the 21 ice pick wounds in Colette's chest." The government theory, as bizarre as it sounds, is that for some reason Dr. MacDonald put his pajama top on Colette and stabbed her through the garment.
Not surprisingly, two weeks later, Stombaugh said, yes, he could match up 48 holes in the pajama top with 21 holes in Colette's chest. This became the infamous "pajama top experiment" that was so convincing to the jury.
The pajama experiment is a fraud. There are approximately 12 reasons why the pajama top experiment is false information, but perhaps the clearest is the government's own evidence. Stombaugh had determined with a microscope the "directionality," i.e., the exit and entrance, of 13 of the holes in the pajama top (by fibers broken one way). However, in order to comply with layer Murtaugh's request for "evidence," he had to ignore this proven directionality fact, he reversed six of the 13 directions in order to "match up" the 48 in pajama top holes with 21 wounds on Colette.
There are additional important reasons why the pajama top experiment is fraudulent, including Stombaugh ignoring Colette's pink pajama top; other wounds on Colette; and the massive discrepancy between the depth of wounds necessary in Stombaugh's experiment as opposed to the depth of wounds as determined by autopsy. Yet the pajama top experiment was seen by the jury and believed, and was admitted by Judge Dupree despite overwhelming evidence it was totally false. In essence, a man today sits in federal prison convicted by knowingly false and misleading "evidence" manufactured in response to a lawyer's plea for "new evidence."
41. An unexplained doll head and feathers were found in the house, Gunderson, who is considered a satanic cult expert, advises that when satanists commit a murder they leave signs at the scene. Gunderson believes that the doll head and feathers and stab wounds on one of the children's chest were satanic signs.
42. Stoeckley stated her cult was active in a drug operation that was bringing drugs in plastic bags in the body cavities of the dead GIs from southeast Asia to the U.S. in military planes. Her cult murdered the MacDonald family without the permission of the leaders of this operation. The leaders, some of whom were in the military, were afraid. that if the cult was identified as involved in the murders, it might expose the drug operation, so they framed Dr. MacDonald.
Today there are roughly 40 witnesses who strongly corroborate Dr. MacDonald's version of events. This is in addition to the seven witnesses excluded at trial in 1979. Shockingly, the group he described existed, was drug and violence-oriented, was seen going to and coming from the house, was seen in bloody clothing, and fits his descriptions. Insider information and independently arrived at forensic information ties the group of assailants to the crime scene. And, most incredibly, three of the group of assailants have confessed and other admissions of guilt were overheard by third parties. Dr. MacDonald has passed a polygraph and five legitimate forensic psychiatric examinations. He suffered multiple wounds in the assault, at least one of which could have been fatal.
The "evidence" convicting him in 1979 was simply "forensic" evidence of a confusing nature that did no more than place him in his own home on the night of the murders. There is no evidence that says he committed murder -- and there is voluminous evidence that points to the guilt of Helena Stoeckley, Greg Mitchell and their co-assailants. Yet, as of this date, Dr. MacDonald remains in federal prison, a victim of injustice of the worst sort.
Additional evidence was recently developed that further corroborates Dr. MacDonald's innocence. This evidence was presented in the U.S. District Court. Judge Dupree ruled in favor of the government. The decision was then appealed to the Fourth Circuit. They also ruled in favor of the government. An effort will be made to appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.