Trial Transcripts

July 31, 1979

Discussion in chambers re: Motions

Webmaster note: 
The original transcript is missing the first page(s).

MR. SEGAL:  (Interposing) Mr. Murtagh, just stop.  We never intended to raise that.

JUDGE:  It just comes out of his imagination about these things.

THE COURT:  Okay, not to be raised.

MR. SEGAL:  I did not want to let him go on, Judge.

THE COURT:  Thank you.  How about this girl with the floppy hat on who was in that house that night, named Helena Stoeckley alias something else?

MR. SEGAL:  I think that has resolved itself, Your Honor.  The Government has now introduced her fingerprints in evidence and identified them through Mr. Medlin.

MR. MURTAGH:  To prove they weren't found at the crime scene, Your Honor.

THE COURT:  No; this had to do with statements made by them.

MR. MURTAGH:  That is the motion.  But Mr. Segal is saying that we have resolved it by introduction of her fingerprints.  We have done no such thing.  We have shown that her prints were not found at the crime scene.  And what we are concerned with about in the motion is Helena Stoeckley --

THE COURT:  (Interposing) With this limited search that this guy Medlin made, you --


THE COURT:  With that limited walkthrough that this Medlin made, you didn't find them.  That is what you mean.

MR. BLACKBURN:  As he was eating his cheeseburger.

THE COURT:  Yes; that is right.

MR. SMITH:  And feeding the cat.

MR. MURTAGH:  Judge, it was MacDonald's cat.  We couldn't do anything about it.
     We feel that these are two issues with the Helena Stoeckley thing: one, we anticipate that the Defense is going to say that because she is apparently unavailable to them, or they haven't found her, that the statement should come in.  Well, without regard to her availability or lack thereof, we think that the statements themselves, because of their inherent lack of credibility and because they are being sought to be introduced -- they are hearsay statements that are being sought to be introduced by the Defense to the truth of the matter stated.  You know, she thinks she did it; therefore, the Defendant couldn't have done it -- you know.
     We don't think they are admissible, Your Honor, based on the authorities cited in our motion.

THE COURT:  Well, that is still a live motion, then.

MR. MURTAGH:  Yes, sir.

THE COURT:  All right, I will put that one over there in something to do after court.

MR. MURTAGH:  Your Honor, I might add that those statements were first made, as I understand it, by Helena to Mr. Ivory.  I would represent to the court that I have spoken to Helena Stoeckley in years past and -- you know -- you say, "Well, why do you think you were there?"  And she says, "Because I think I was there."  You known, you go round in circles on that one.
     We have no physical evidence whatsoever to tie her to the crime scene.  The Defense, during the Article 32 investigation, was shown a photograph of Helena Stoeckley taken around 1970 -- I believe it was Government Exhibit 105 -- in which he did not recognize her as the female intruder.

MR. SEGAL:  Your Honor, I think the appropriate time to deal with that motion is when we get to the Defendant's case, but I suggest that -- but just not to leave hanging -- you know -- Mr. Murtagh's hint, there are two things you ought to know about.
     It is true, in 1970 Dr. MacDonald was shown a Polaroid snapshot of a woman who was represented to be Helena Stoeckley, without the long blonde wig that she owned and had worn and threw away the day after these murders, and without the floppy hat -- which was the only way MacDonald ever saw her.
     We now have another photograph of Helena Stoeckley, just very recently obtained.  It could be exceedingly valuable in determining whether or not Helena Stoeckley -- you -- has any part in this case.
     Now, I do think that before we get to the Helena Stoeckley issue, that we want an opportunity to more fully brief the question for Your Honor.  We will certainly have our brief filed by the beginning of the Defendant's case, and she will not be a part of the early days of the Defendant's case.
     We have already made our opening statement, so that is not a question about the opening statement, Your Honor.  I do think we may have another afternoon of an hour or so to dispose of similar motions when we get closer to the evidence.

THE COURT:  All right.

MR. MURTAGH:  Your Honor, our only concern was during the cross-examination -- specifically of Mr. Ivory -- we are over the hill on that one, but we still have other witnesses.  And we would hope that Your Honor's ruling would continue to be that up until such time as the Defense puts in whatever case they choose to, it's not being elicited through cross-examination.  Certainly we are not going to bring it out on direct.

MR. SEGAL:  Your Honor, that is not quite correct.  That is not the record in this case.  First of all, today -- gratuitously -- the Government has said to Mr. Medlin, "Have you checked for the fingerprints of Helena Stoeckley to see whether you can find any?"  He said, "No."  They made that issue.  That is direct examination.
     Secondly, Your Honor, Mr. Connolly volunteered among the things he did was to go out and -- you know -- check with groups of people, including -- you know -- they made an allusion to various persons he was checking out for their involvement.
     They have opened the question of whether other persons are involved.  Mr. Ivory, in the most guarded of references, was allowed to leave when he made the statement, "I checked out five civilians."
     I don't think that the Government -- you know -- can prevent us from cross-examining other Government witnesses now, if they have anything to do with Helena Stoeckley.  They put her fingerprints in.  They said, "Look, we have proved that she was not there."
     Oh, yeah?  Well, there are other ways of proving that she was there.

MR. MURTAGH:  Your Honor, I believe the name "Helena Stoeckley" first got in front of the jury when Mr. Segal asked -- and I right now can't recall whether it was Mr. Connolly or not -- but he asked one of the Government witnesses on cross-examination, "Did you ever hear of somebody named Helena Stoeckley?"  I don't know for what weight the jury took that --

THE COURT:  (Interposing) All right.  I am going to let that one -- I am just going to put that one on "hold", but I will ask the Defendant to let me have their Reply Brief to that motion as quickly as they conveniently can.
     Let's go to the Sadoff In Limine Motion.  Is that still alive?

MR. MURTAGH:  Yes, sir.

THE COURT:  What is the status?

MR. MURTAGH:  Well. Your Honor, we -- the benefit of the press and everybody back there.

MR. MURTAGH:  Your, Honor, I think there may be some technical problems with that, in the sense that I think -- I may not be correct -- it may cut out some of the earphones.  But we will work on that problem.  We have no reason to deny the press an opportunity to hear, but we are most concerned about the jury, the Court and Counsel, and the reporter.

THE COURT:  Wade, how many people do you have manning the phone back there to take down all these folks that saw the intruders that night?

MR. SMITH:  Judge, we are managing to handle that with, say ten or twelve people answering the phone, and probably 100 messages a day, which we check out at night

THE COURT:  I imagine your office gives the appearance of one of these talk-a-thon things -- these fundraising --

MR. SMITH:  (Interposing) Telethons?  I, of course, exaggerated that.  But it is remarkable how many phone calls we are getting from all over the country -- everywhere.

MR. BLACKBURN:  I think it was a week ago Friday night about midnight, I got a call from somebody in Arkansas trying to get in touch with Wade Smith.  I, of course, told them that he was up at that hour.

MR. SMITH:  She probably called me from Bald Knob, Arkansas at midnight.

MR. MURTAGH:  Your Honor, I believe we have had one confession which includes the demise of the Defendant.

THE COURT:  Well, anything else this afternoon, lady and gentlemen?