Trial Transcripts

August 1, 1979

Mildred Kassab

F U R T H E R  P R O C E E D I N G S  9:30 a.m.

THIS CAUSE came on for further trial before The Honorable Franklin T. Dupree, Jr., United States Chief District Judge, and a jury, on Wednesday, August 1, 1979, at Raleigh, North Carolina.

(The following proceedings were held in the presence of the jury and alternates.)

THE COURT:  Let me see the lawyers, please.

B E N C H  C O N F E R E N C E

THE COURT:  I am going to allow the extramarital evidence and the Esquire magazine.  It is not without some reservations, but I believe it is probative, and the Government has asked for it.  And if they have invited error, they will just have to live with it.  But I think it is right; and so that will be my ruling on that.
     The next thing, on the jury view, I propose -- any use to report this?

(Discussion off the record.)

(Bench Conference terminated.)

THE COURT:  Members of the jury, this is not all socializing, but something that affects you in  the later days of this trial.  We will have you an annoucement about it very shortly.
     Did I understand you had another witness in this case?

MR. BLACKBURN:  Yes, sir; we have at least one more.

THE COURT:  All right; call him or her, as the case may be.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Mrs. Mildred Kassab.

(Whereupon, MILDRED KASSAB was called as a witness, duly sworn, and testified as follows:)

D I R E C T  E X A M I N A T I O N  9:42 a.m.

Q  Please state your name for the Court?
A  Mildred Kassab.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, I think that you are probably going to have to speak a little bit louder.
A  Yes.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, you are the mother of Colette MacDonald; is that correct?
A  I am.
Q  Do you know the Defendant Jeffrey MacDonald?
A  Oh, yes.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, how long have you known the Defendant in this case?
A  I should say since about the age of 12 or 13.
Q  And how did you come to know him?
A  He was a boy in school, the one whose picture Colette carried, and that type of thing.  I think she was in love with Jeff from the time she first met him.
Q  She met him at about that age -- the age of 12?
A  Yes.
Q  Did he ever come to visit you at your house?
A  Yes; to any parties that we had.  There weren't too many, but he also did the lawn occasionally or the driveway.
Q  You mean, the driveway when it snowed?
A  Yes; brought Colette a bouquet on her birthday every year.
Q  Now, you say that Colette was probably in love with Dr. MacDonald from the time they first met?  Did they have an occasion to date off and on during high school?
A  Yes and no; my husband had a rather Old World idea about children going out together.  And at any time -- if they went to a movie -- he insisted that either he take them or Mrs. MacDonald take them, and the other pick them up and bring them home.  I don't think they actually dated until after Colette was 16, as far as going out alone.
Q  Now, did they date steady through high school, or off and on?
A  No; I think perhaps a couple of years, but there was always another girl that was sharing a girlfriend, if you know what I mean.  And about the third year in high school they broke up temporarily, and Colette was going with another boy, and Jeff with another girl.
Q  Now, when it came time for each of these people to go to college, what effect, if any, to your knowledge did that have on their relationship?
A  I believe it was toward the end of the first year of college -- perhaps the summer of the second year -- that they met again and began to go out again.
Q  Where did Colette begin her college?
A  Colette went to Skidmore and Jeff went to Princeton.
Q  When did they become married?
A  September 14th of, I believe, '63.
Q  This was while Colette was at Skidmore?
A  Yes; we were living in New York, and they were given a wedding at the Fifth Avenue Hotel down in the Village.
Q  During this time, how did you personally feel toward Jeff MacDonald?
A  I thought he was one of the greatest boys -- a great American boy.  In fact, I defy you to find anyone who says otherwise at any time -- a great fellow.
Q  Now, what year in college was Colette when they got married?
A  She would have started her junior year.
Q  As the result of their getting married, what effect did that have on her college studies?
A  Well, she dropped out of college and went to live in Princeton.  And they took an old house on Bank Street, filled it with beds and Colette at once began to take in roomers on weekends -- make 14 beds every weekend.  Jeff pushed the vacuum cleaner around the bare floors.
Q  This was to earn money?
A  Earn money.
Q  Did you have occasion to visit them when they were in school and married?
A  Yes; I went down when Colette was going to have the baby.  She didn't have it that weekend, but the next week Jeff called me and said that she had had the baby, and it was a Caesarian; and it wasn't easy.  We went down immediately and I prepared to stay the full time.
     In fact, I stayed a month, just leaving one day.  I had an appointment.  She had the baby on Saturday. On Monday, I had to go to Long Island.  Jeff put me on the train.
Q  This baby to whom you refer was Kimberly; is that correct?
A  Yes.
Q  Now, after they got married and after Princeton, where did they go next?
A  Well, the first summer they went out to Long Island to live with the MacDonald family.  Jeff worked.  I believe that may have been the summer that everyone excepting myself knew Jeff had an affair with some girl, and the girl was fired at Montauk.  It may have been that summer, or it may have been the next.
Q  After he left Princeton, to your knowledge, where did Dr. MacDonald go next?
A  Northwestern in Chicago.
Q  Excuse me?
A  In Chicago.
Q  How long did they live there?
A  For the remainder of his medical training.  I believe it was the second year there that Kristen was born, and I at that time went to stay for a month with them.
Q  What kind of delivery, if you know, did Colette have with Kristen?
A  Well, this was worse than the former one, because they assumed she might be able to bear the child naturally.  And after several hours, they performed the Caesarian.  And that night -- they didn't take her out of recovery at all for 14 or 15 days -- but that night she started to bleed internally.  And Jeff told me that he discovered it, alerted the hospital, and her life was saved.  But, of course, I did not hear that from anyone else other than Jeff.
Q  During the time that they remained in Chicago, did they ever have, to your knowledge, any difficulty with respect to break-ins or thefts or anything of that nature?
A  Not in Chicago, not through the front way actually.  Colette kept the doors locked at all times, because the first time they left to come home for a visit all of their clothing was stolen out of the car, everything they owned including the babies' clothes.
     Then when they moved to the next house, Colette put all of the new clothes out on the fire escape right at the kitchen door to be taken down to the cellar, and they were also taken.  She always kept the doors locked as I did when I lived in New York.  In a city you always lock your doors like that.
Q  Now, after they left Chicago, where did they go next to live?
A  The next stop was in New Jersey.
Q  Which city in New Jersey, if you can recall?
A  It won't come to mind at the moment.  It is just across the bridge from the hospital, so that Jeff could take the car and be there in a very short time.
Q  For what purpose did they go?
A  Bergenfield.
Q  Bergenfield is the name of the city?
A  Bergenfield, yes.
Q  For what purpose did they go to New Jersey?
A  Jeff was going to intern at Columbia.
Q  How long did they stay there?
A  Just a year, because his intention had been always that he would go next for his residency.  Then one day Colette called me very upset, and she said, "They called him in the Army.  Don't be upset, Ma, he'll probably be able to get out it."  We all discussed it, whether he could avoid it and so forth.
     It wasn't until much later I learned that he had not indeed been drafted -- he had volunteered.
Q  During this time that they were in Bergenfield in New Jersey, what kind of neighborhood --
A  (Interposing)  It wasn't a good neighborhood.  Bergenfield has its lovely spots, but it also has its places otherwise.  It was quite a squalid apartment, as they had all been before.
Q  Well, you know, with respect to Colette, what kind of attitude did she -- to your knowledge   -- did she present to her children as far as taking care of them was concerned?
A  She was extremely maternal.  She spent more time reading to them, playing with them, taking care of them than she did anything else; because while she lived in the other places she always took children in to help make more money and so forth.
     She had less time for them.  In fact, she also had two children that she was boarding daily in Bergenfield, and she was very protective of them, locked the doors at all times.  As a matter of fact, there was one night when the door wouldn't close.  The apartment had a door that opened directly to a stairway that went up, opening into a well opening into the living room; and the door to the street wouldn't close.  It was ajar.
     I don't know why she didn't call us.  We lived over a hundred miles away, but we would have done something; but she was so frightened when we came to see her the next day.  She said that she sat at the top of the stairs all night with an axe and something else, a hoe or rake or something, I don't remember what -- the only tool implements of help she could find.
     She sat in a chair at the head of the stairs so that if someone came in she could protect the children.
Q  When did you first learn that Colette was expecting another child?
A  Thanksgiving.  She called and I asked her what she thought about it, and she said, "Well, I am not at all happy, but everyone here is very happy" -- all of the MacDonald family was there for Thanksgiving.  She said, "They are all very happy about it, but I am not.  But Jeff doesn't have to leave -- his commanding officer likes him very much."
     Of course, I wasn't very surprised at that.  She said, "He likes him very much, and as long as Jeff is here he will take care of things -- get my records from the hospital and everything.  It will be all right."
Q  Did you ever have occasion to give Colette any monetary funds or anything like this?
A  Oh, yes, when she was married I said as soon as my house was sold -- I had put the Long Island home up for sale -- I would give her $5,000, which I did.  One sister gave them $2,000, the other $500.  I think one of their friends gave them $500, and the rest was small bequests from the college friends.
     They had a cushion, I think, of somewhere around $9,000, which is nothing today; but in '63 it should have helped.
Q  Well, during the fall of 1969, or up until the end of 1969, did you ever have an occasion to give any small amounts of money to Colette?
A  Oh, yes; at any time if there was any difficulty, even in Chicago.  Colette wrote to me on a couple of occasions and I sent money.  Also, in the fall of '69, I believe the MacDonalds had a party or something and took up a collection, and Jeff gave rent money.
     He was going in the Army in another week. I advanced Colette, I think it was $225 or something for that.  I don't remember the amount.
     Also, Jeff came to see us when his brother was in the hospital.  Colette phoned and said, "Mom, is the floating money there."  See, I used to keep a fund; we called it a floating fund, because when she borrowed money I let her put it back to save that hurt, hang-dog feeling that people get when they don't pay things.
     And so she called and says, "Is the floating money still intact, Mom?"  I said, "Yes, certainly."  "Well, can Jeff stop by and pick up the money.  He has to fly up to see Jay."  I believe he was in Puerto Rico at the time, so I said, "Yes, certainly."
     Jeff came over and we gave him the money.
Q  Excuse me, what if anything did Colette ever say to you concerning her feelings toward Jeff MacDonald?
A  She loved him so much she never would say anything.  In fact, Colette did nothing but praise Jeff to anyone.  I saw many things that I personally thought were petty, small, selfish, but I did not mention it because if Colette loved him, no one is perfect, it was all right.
     One time I did mention -- I thought this was a little bit too much -- when the car my sister had paid for went with Jeff all the time, and Colette did her shopping with an express wagon.
Q  Now, directing your attention to December of 1969, did you and your husband have an occasion to visit Jeff and Colette at Christmas?
A  Yes, we went down at Christmastime.  Colette wasn't herself.  I thought it was because of her pregnancy.  She was very subdued and quiet.  As a matter of fact, little by little Colette ceased to be the bouncy, happy person she had been at the beginning; but with all of the money problems -- one can only help to a certain extent -- I thought it was that -- but she wasn't herself.
     Then Christmas morning when the gifts were opened, Jeff said with his mother's gifts, "Didn't she send money?  I told her not to buy gifts; why didn't she send money?"  So, I thought perhaps there was a new emergency.
     I went inside and wrote a check and put it on the Christmas tree, thinking that if something is wrong -- it wasn't for much.  It was for $100, but I had already bought the gifts and things and that is what I could spare at the moment.
     There is also an incident in the afternoon.
Q  Go ahead.
A  Jeff wanted to call guests down from upstairs.  There were these people who lived upstairs; we didn't know them.  We rode several hundred miles to come see Colette and Jeff and the children, and he wanted to call the people from upstairs down; and Colette said no.
     We already had the dinner in progress.  It was around 4:00 o'clock.  She was making a special dinner then and the dinner would be ruined, but Jeff had to have it done as he wanted, so he called them down.
     We took turns.  I made eggnog and drinks in the kitchen and run in and sit for a moment, and run to the kitchen again, do a few things.  Colette would take her turn, and they finally left about 8:00 o'clock.
     We had a dried-up dinner.  We didn't say anything about it, made the best of it -- put it on the table.  It wasn't until I realized there was a heavy, heavy silence -- I saw a couple of tears going down Colette's face.
     She wasn't saying anything, but just two big tears.  I said, "What is wrong?"  Her children were saying nothing.  Jeff got up -- his chair flew over -- and said, "She's always that way," and so forth; and I said, "What way?"
     "Well, with guests, the way she acts and so forth."  I said, "You're being very childish, Jeff.  You were told we didn't want guests."
     We reseated ourselves at the table and proceeded with our Christmas dinner the best way we could.
Q  During the time that you were in the kitchen area this Christmas occasion, did you ever have occasion to go in the refrigerator or the ice part?
A  Definitely; I made some puff pastry, hors-d'oevres and I brought them down and, finding no place that was cold enough, I had to use an ice pick to jimmy some ice trays out.
Q  Now, where did you get the ice pick?
A  Out of the kitchen drawer.
Q  Now, during this time, did you ever have occasion to see the pony that was bought for the children for Christmas?
A  Yes; the following morning -- Christmas morning -- there was a big surprise.  We waited anxiously to see what it was.  We went down a few miles from the house.  It was a little Shetland pony that Jeff had bought from one of his officers who was transferred.  There was a little shack to keep it in.  I remarked to Colette, "This is the first part of your dream of the big old house with the dogs, cats, ponies, and so forth."  She burst into tears.  I thought it was tears of joy, but mothers always look for the best.
Q  Now, when did you all leave to go back home?
A  Very early; I believe it was Friday morning -- no, Saturday morning.
Q  It would have been two days after?
A  Yes; the day after Christmas Colette was going to take me on a ride around to see the Fort and so on, but Jeff asked to have her stop and pick up some angelfish for his fish tank.  So, we didn't get any further than that because they were so crowded.  I said, "Let the fish go," but Colette insisted "No."  She would wait.  We waited there all afternoon to get the two fish.
Q  When was the last time you ever talked to Colette?
A  I called her 48 hours before she was dead.  I called her the day after Valentine's Day for one reason: I wanted to know if they had received my Valentines.  My husband called her on his WATS line every week so we didn't write letters at that time.  Before that we always had letters every week, but at this particular time he was calling and telling me what she said.  He said she didn't sound herself.  Perhaps she was hurt over something, so I called her on Sunday afternoon.
Q  This would be February 15th?
A  That was the 15th.  She said the children had gotten their Valentines and loved them.  It was the first time she had never sent Valentines -- always Valentines with the children's little scrawl on it and so forth.  And Freddie's birthday, for the first time, the 19th of January -- she had never forgotten that even if she had to just knit some little thing for him or something.
Q  Who was Freddie?
A  She had forgotten his birthday.
Q  Who was Freddie?
A  Mr. Kassab.
Q  That was Colette's stepfather?
A  Yes; she was very close, very fond of him, so she didn't send a card that year.  We thought it odd but "She is pregnant, she is worried, she is upset -- forget it."  That has to be the reason.
Q  What, if anything, during that phone conversation, did she say to you about coming to visit?
A  First of all, I asked her how she was.  She said, "Not too well."  Jeff was working at Hamlet, I believe.  She was home alone with the children.  And I said, "Well, have you taken yourself to a doctor yet?"  No, she had not been to a doctor.  She was waiting because -- she was going to have to have an Army doctor.  Of course, I said that was out of the question to have an Army doctor.  She said, "Well, that isn't the only thing.  Jeff won't be here.  They are going to take him and send him to Russia, possibly behind the Iron Curtain, and I won't even be able to get in touch with him, and he won't be back until four months -- probably the end of July."  Her time was supposed to be the 18th.
Q  The 18th of what?
A  Of July.  She was very worried about it because she would be alone.  She asked me, "Will you be there, Mom?"  I said, "Nothing will ever keep me from being there."  I was there on the 18th, too.  However, she said, "I would like to come home.  We took someone yesterday.  We went to the airport, and Kimmie said, 'When are we going to see Grandma?'"
     She said, "I would have given anything to get on that plane and come home."  My answer was, "No, wait until spring," because we had just had -- before we had this huge 40-foot pool dug.  They dig it much bigger than ordinarily when they are just going to let it settle.
     Looking at that great hole, I just had a feeling that someone was going to be hurt in that.  And then, the day before I called Colette, we had about 24 hours of heavy snow, and all the hills and mounds in the back yard were covered and they looked like wonderful sleigh ride hills, and the top of the pool just had -- it was a piece of netting.  It was completely covered.  I said, "Colette, you can't come home because something will happen to the children.  They can't possibly miss or avoid that."
     She said, "Well, we can keep them in the house."  I said, "No, it would be impossible.  They would get out.  They couldn't possibly avoid falling.  Wait and come in spring."
     At that time the two children came on -- before that I asked, "Have you gotten your records from Dr. Barnow (phonetic)?  Have you gotten any records of your last delivery?"
     She said, "No, we don't know where Barnow is."  Now, the children came on, one on each phone.  We talked for a moment and then gaily hung up; said, "Bye, Gram."  I didn't speak to Colette again.  I thought we would discuss this doctor thing and call her back.
Q  Why was there some concern about the doctor?
A  Well, the doctor had said at the time perhaps he should tie off her tubes when Kimmie was born -- Kristie, rather.  But Jeff said, "No."  He and Colette would not want that because she wanted to have a boy for him.  My husband frankly told her, "If you have another child, I will cut your throat."  So, when she called up Thanksgiving, she said, "Tell Freddie he can cut my throat."  But the doctor said, "If you should have another pregnancy, by all means you will have to have your records.  The child cannot be taken from below the abdomen the next time since you have already had two there, and you should have the very best of care."
Q  Now, directing your attention to the 17th of February, 1970, did you or your husband have a telephone call from Fort Bragg, North Carolina?
A  Yes; at 5:00 in the morning the phone rang.  I answered it.  Freddie was in the shower and didn't hear it.  The doctor said -- rather, the captain said, "I am a captain calling from Womack Hospital in Fayetteville, and we would like to speak to Mr. Kassab," and I said, "Is it necessary?  He is in the shower.  You can tell me.  I am not a hysterical person."
     He said, "Well, I can't tell you anything except -- first of all, get in touch with Mrs. MacDonald.  She has moved to a new apartment.  We have tried the number.  She isn't there, and get down here on the very first plane."  And he gave me the number of the apartment to call.  My husband came in at that point and I told him.  He called back, got the number of the hospital, and called back hoping to find out a little more, but he didn't.  They didn't tell him anything.
     By the way, at the time I said to him, "Mrs. MacDonald and the children -- are they there?  Where are they?"  And he said, "They are here," because I thought it was a miscarriage.
     So, I packed my bag with babysitting clothes and things, and we called the new number of the apartment two or three times without answer.  So, I waited until about 7:00 o'clock and I called Jeff's grandmother and gave her the excuse that I would like to speak to his mother before she went to school and if she knew where I could reach her.
     She said, "She hasn't moved yet.  She is still across the street."  So, I called that number.  The first time I didn't get her.  The second call I did get her.
     I told her we had already called the plane, made reservations, to get over as soon as possible, and she was over by about 8:15.  We took off.  The Expressway is always very bad, but we got in, and we had to take a helicopter or something to Newark to get the plane.  It never occurred to us to put the radio on.
     We knew nothing yet.  Freddie went off to pick up the tickets and found out we had to get a small taxi plane that would take us over to Newark.  So, we did that.  We got to Newark just in time to get the plane to Fayetteville.
Q  What time did you arrive in Fayetteville?
A  It was after 1:00.  I don't know exactly.  We were picked up by an Army officer, and I chatted small talk all the way to the hospital, trying to push the inevitable news away.  We knew it had to be bad, but we didn't know really what had happened.
Q  Now, after you got to the hospital, where did you go first?
A  We went directly into -- I guess, a ward.  I don't know what kind of room you would call it, but it had a glass partition in it, and walking behind the partition -- Jeff was in bed, and he immediately blurted out, "They are all dead."
     Mrs. MacDonald began to scream.  Someone took her out into the hall.  I asked what had happened.  Jeff said, "I thought I was dreaming.  I sat up.  I heard them screaming and calling to me, and I thought it was a dream."
     "I saw -- there were three people -- a black" -- he didn't use the word "black" -- "color and two white men, and a girl with long blonde hair and a big floppy hat and white boots.  She had a candle.  She was chanting in a low monotone, 'Acid is groovy; kill the pigs.'"
     Meanwhile, I was stroking Jeff's head, trying to comfort him, because I saw he had just a tube in his side.  It frightened me.  I am not accustomed to seeing these various things they put on people in hospitals.  Other than that, he had a scratch -- abrasive blue mark on his forehead.  It looked like scratches here and there.  I thought probably the "pig" girl had put some scratches on his chest.
Q  How much of his chest could you see?
A  Down to the waist.  He was uncovered, but he didn't have any bandages or Band-Aids or anything on. There was a light -- I suppose you could call it a cut, such as you could do in slicing bread or something, but it didn't have anything on it -- on his stomach across the abdomen.
Q  What was his emotional condition at that time, as best you could observe?
A  He was weeping.  He let out a long string of curses against these people.  He said, "You gave her to me, and I couldn't save her."  I said, "If anyone could have saved them, Jeff, you would have saved them."
Q  Would you speak up a little bit louder, and repeat what you said?
A  I said, "If anyone could have saved them" -- he said, "You gave her to me, and I didn't save her."  I said, "If anyone could have, Jeff, you would have saved them."  He said, "She was so good.  She was so soft.  She was so kind."
     I walked to the window.  He said something else that I thought sounded very odd, because he said, "She was screaming, 'Jeff, Jeff, what are they doing to me?  Why are they doing this to me?"'
     I went to the window, looking out.  I wasn't seeing anything; but I was thinking, "What an odd thing to say -- 'Why are they doing this to me?' -- conversationally, when you are being killed, into the next room.  He must have misunderstood -- unless she said, 'Jeff, what are you doing to me?' or the man, 'John, what are you doing to me?' or something of that nature.  But he misunderstood."
     So I turned around, and I said, "We'll find them, and when we do, I will tear her eyes out and tear her tongue out."  And Jeff looked terribly shocked, and I suddenly felt very ashamed of myself, because I thought, "What a bloodthirsty thing to say after what he had seen."  But I was feeling those emotions, and I thought he most likely was too.  But I was shocking him.
     About that point, I believe my husband and I left the room, because the doctor came in and said that Jeff had refused sedation before that, because he was waiting for us, and he wanted to give him a sedative.
Q  Did you have an occasion to go back to visit with Dr. MacDonald again that day?
A  Yes; that day -- people began to arrive from all over, and as a rule -- you see, we told everyone of ours who had called, "Don't come down.  We want to be alone."
     But the MacDonalds have always been gregarious people, with a lot of friends.  And people began to arrive from all over.  We were in officer's quarters.  We had our apartment and she had the one down the hall.  So we stayed right in our own room, rather than venture out and be questioned or talked to by people.
     But they all went together every night to the Officer's Club to eat while we stayed in our room.  This was an opportunity.  The first night, we went over the see Jeff, to see how he was.
Q  How was his emotional condition the next time you saw him?
A  Oh, he was all right.  We were very encouraged.  I thought, "At least one of them will live," because the bed was turned up, and he was having his dinner.  He ate all of his dinner, and he seemed in fairly good condition.  As a matter of fact, we no longer felt that the entire family was gone.  There was one left.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, may I have just a moment?


MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this point I would mark for the Government's identification Exhibit Number 19.

(Government Exhibit 19 was marked for identification.)

Q  Mrs. Kassab, let me hand you what has been marked as Government Exhibit Number 19, and ask you to take a look at it.  If you need to, take it out of the bag -- you are free to -- and tell us whether or not you can tell us what it is?
A  It is a hairbrush that I forgot Christmas morning.  I didn't forget it, but we left in the darkness the day after Christmas, and I could not find my hairbrush in the dark.  We were in Kimmie's room, so I took her little hairbrush, took it home with me, told Colette later that I had taken Kimmie's toothbrush (sic), because I couldn't find mine.
Q  That is your hairbrush?
A  It is my hairbrush; yes.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, we would move this exhibit into evidence.

(Government Exhibit 19 was received in evidence.)

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this time we would mark Government Exhibit Number 12.

THE COURT:  All right.

(Government Exhibit 12 was marked for identification.)

Q  Mrs. Kassab, let me hand you what has been marked for identification as Government Exhibit Number 12 and ask if you can tell us what it is?
A  This would be a letter to Freddie from Jeff in regard to the Army -- what they were doing.  However, he says --
Q  (Interposing)  Excuse me; let me interrupt.  What I would like for you to do --

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, I would move that letter into evidence at this time.

THE COURT:  All right.

(Government Exhibit 12 was received in evidence.)

Q  What I would like for you to do, Mrs. Kassab, in as loud a voice as you can muster, if you would read that letter, please?
A  "Fred, enclosed is the first draft of Malley's request for investigation leading to charges is Kriwanek, Thompson" --
     I don't get the next name --
Q  (Interposing)  Let me do this, Mrs. Kassab.

THE COURT:  Can you read it?


THE COURT:  Why don't you read it, then?

MR. BLACKBURN:  I think I can short-circuit this whole thing.

THE COURT:  All right.

Q  Turn to page four of the letter -- the first full paragraph -- if you could, read that, please?
A  Oh, yes.
     "...The time will come, and it will only fall on death" -- Oh, I am sorry.  You see, this isn't the original, and I can't read it --
     " get maximum exposure, in other words" --
Q  (Interposing)  This right here.
A  "...I will deny our phone conversation of today."  That refers to the tape we took; right?
Q  If you would read that paragraph?
A  "...In regard to the phone call of today, if anyone ever asks, I will say -- and I am sure you can figure out why what must be done, must be done."
Q  Mrs. Kassab, do you know to what Jeff MacDonald was referring when he said he would deny the phone conversation of today?
A  Yes.
Q  What is that, please?
A  On several occasions, Jeff told us that he -- rather he said, "We always go out on Saturday night, looking to find the murderers."  Our answer to that was, "Don't be silly.  You won't pick them up on the street, and you may be hurt yourself."
     One night he called and he said, "One down, three to go."  Freddie heard that and talked right over it, because we had become a bit paranoid at that point.  Jeff told us our phone was tapped.  His was tapped.  Everybody's was tapped -- "Let's not discuss things," and so forth.
     So Freddie said, "Don't tell me anything."  He said, "Did you get what I said?" Freddie said, "Yes; call me tomorrow at the office, where we have many phones, and tell me."
Q  Do you know -- when he says, "One down, three to go" -- do you know what that means?
A  We knew at once he was talking about four people.  Freddie -- you know, I was frightened and I thought, "What is he going to tell me on the phone?" if it is tapped.  In his office, with the trunk lines coming in, he would bequite free to talk, so he said, "Call me at the office tomorrow."
     So he took his tape recorder along.  He always taped everything, because that way I could hear whatever Jeff was saying.  I was terribly anxious to hear and to know what was going on, so he took the tape along.  And when he came back, he played the tape for me.  We played it over a few times, because it was rather horrendous.  Jeff had gone out -- "We went out.  We found one of them, and we killed him."  Freddie asked what happened -- "What did you do?" -- or "Where was it?"  He said, "It was in the papers, and they said it was robbery.  We threw his wallet away."
     Freddie asked him what happened.  He said, "Well, I just beat him and then shot him."  Freddie said, "Well, if you thought, why didn't you find out something else?"  He said, "Well, on the spur of the moment, what must be done, must be done."
     We waited -- in fact, we let one neighbor hear it, and then we decided we would speak to Jeff about it the next time he came out.  We were quite worried.  The next time he came out, it was a stopover.  My sister-in-law had sent a donation.  They were running a fund for Jeff for money in Patchogue.
Q  When did these phone conversations take place, if you recall?  What time of year?
A  It was just before he was released from the Army.  He had been cleared of -- I wouldn't say "cleared" -- I mean, they dropped the investigation for lack of evidence, was the way they put it.  It was right after that before his release.
Q  This was in 1970?
A  Right.
Q  Did you ever, subsequent to this time period, have a conversation with Jeff MacDonald himself concerning this?
A  Yes.
Q  When did that take place?
A  This time that he came over to pick up the check --
Q  (Interposing)  You say, "when he came over."  Where are you referring to?
A  To my house.  He was visiting his mother on a weekend away from Fort Bragg.  He came over, and he also brought all of his slides, so that we could have them copied.  I wanted to know more about this.  In fact, I supposed it was still my feeling of getting these people.
     I said, "Jeff, tell me about it.  I want to know about what happened.  What did you do?"  And he looked around the room a bit and said, "Oh, this guy -- he really didn't know what it was all about.  He was so full of drugs.  He said he heard the shouting, he was there in the house, but he doesn't know why or what went on."  I said, "How about the woman?"  He said, "Oh, she is called, 'Willie the Witch."'
Q  Called who?

THE COURT:  I'm sorry?

THE WITNESS:  "Willie the Witch."

Q  "Willie the Witch."
A  The woman was called "Willie and Witch."  And she had left town.  She was no longer there.  And I believe the mustache went with her -- the mustached man of the pictures.
     At any rate, I said, "What did you do?"  He said, "Oh, we killed him, because it was just one of those things.  You couldn't get anything more.  By the time we got through with him, he would have told on his own mother.  But he didn't know anything."
Q  Did he say what they had done to him?
A  They beat him.  He said they beat him and shot him, and they made it look like a robbery.
Q  Where was this supposed to have taken place?
A  Fort Bragg; and he said, "They think it is a robbery."  About a week or two past, with us trying to digest it, we believed it at first; but it was unsettling to think of one deliberately killing someone who could lead to the others.
     Freddie took a plane down to Fort Bragg, to Fayetteville, and went through all the back issues and went through a couple of other newspapers in other towns; and he only found one murderer that day.  It was an Army man.
     We came back and talked it over, and he decided that he would let the Army know about it without involving Jeff, because we still did not have a transcript or anything, only the daily conversations.  We phoned Fort Bragg, spoke to Jeff daily.
Q  Now, this visit that you spoke of when Jeff MacDonald came to your house -- what year was this in?
A  That would still be '70, just before he got out of the Army.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, may I have just one moment?


MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this time we mark Government Exhibit Number 5.

(Government Exhibit No. 5 was marked for identification.)

Q  Mrs. Kassab, did you ever have an occasion to receive any letters or anything from Colette?
A  Oh, I received many letters from her, almost every week from the time she was married.  I saved most of them the first few -- I still have some from college.
Q  Well, would you recognize her handwriting if you saw it?
A  Most certainly; she's left-handed.
Q  Let me hand you what has been marked as Government Exhibit Number 5, and take a look at it and tell us whose handwriting that is, please.
A  Without my glasses, it is Colette's.
Q  Without your glasses, it is who?
A  I said without the glasses I can see it is Colette's.  This is one of her schoolbooks evidently.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, we would move Government Exhibit Number 5 into evidence.

THE COURT:  All right.

(Government Exhibit No. 5 was received in evidence.)

(Counsel confer.)

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this time we would mark for identification Government Exhibits Numbers 2, 3 and 4.

(Government Exhibits Nos. 2, 3 and 4 were marked for identification.)

Q  Mrs. Kassah, let me hand you these Government exhibits and ask whether or not you can identify what they are?
A  Oh, you have that picture just before Colette -- had to be a week or so before -- by her pregnancy.  This is Colette the way she looked in her happy marriage.  This is Kimmie and Kristen.  This was in back --
Q  I'm sorry?
A  I don't recognize it --
Q  (Interposing)  Well, do you recognize who that is?
A  It could be -- by her legs it could be Colette.  However, I can't -- I have never seen that picture before, but I can see that it is evidently Colette.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this time we would move these into evidence.

THE WITNESS:  This is the way Colette looked at that time.

MR. BLACKBURN:  And ask that these be published to the jury.

THE COURT:  All right.

THE WITNESS:  Beaming with happiness.

(Government Exhibits Nos. 2, 3, and 4 received into evidence.)

(Exhibits passed among the jury.)

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, just one more moment.


MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, we would like to mark for identification Government Exhibit Number 1(a).

(Government Exhibit Number 1(a) was marked for identification.)

Q  Mrs. Kassab, let me hand you what has been marked for identification as Government Exhibit 1(a).  Just briefly, if you would, take a look at it and tell us whether or not you can tell us what it is?
A  This would be the letter that Jeff wrote from Chicago.  "Dear Freddie -- "  Shall I read it?  I can read this because it is the original.
Q  Okay, if you would, please?
A  "Dear Freddie, I am answering your incredibly rude, illogical and fortunately (sic) wrong letter because I know deep down that the only reason you wrote it was because you did love Colette and (sic) Kim and Kristy (and hopefully me) so much.
     "That love would not be apparent from your letter, and I can only hope it is your frustration at not seeing justice done that propels you to write such trash.
     "I was in Long Island -- LI -- several weeks ago for two days (1/2 day traveling to and from airport, 1/2 day at the graves, 1 day with mother/family/supposed friends and relatives).  I have been in Long Island on several occasions in the last 3 months, usually not to see my family but to continue work on finding 3 (or possibly 4, 1 more might be added according to current stories in hippie family #2 in North Carolina) fugitives.
     "I find I accomplish more when less people know I am around.  I am also very adverse to radio and (sic) newspapers at this time (sic), and your frustation (sic) with the media helps keep me distant -- your preoccupation (sic) with it -- keeps me distant at this point (sic).  I must say, also, your apparent faith in Army investigators is puzzling to say the least, when it is grossly apparent to even the most casual observer -- usually --  1) usually they are inept (sic) -- incompetent if not criminal in motion (sic) and 2) if not" --
Q  (Interposing)  Let me direct your attention if I might?
A  Yes, it is a long letter.  I remember the letter.  It condemns many people.
Q  Directing your attention to this line on page five, beginning with the word "I," I wish you would read the rest of that paragraph, please.
A  "I will do it.  I have done some (1/4 or 1/5) of it.  Don't try to bullshit me about not caring.  Our aim is the same -- don't let frustration drive you down.  I have been so frustrated at times in the last year that you couldn't believe it.  I'm sorry if this letter is too honest -- just remember it is honest."
Q  Mrs. Kassab, when you spoke of the one-fourth or one-fifth and "I have done it," do you know to what he is referring?
A  Well, naturally, the so-called perpetrators.  At this time, I was still believing -- Freddie was not.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Just one second.


MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this time, we would move Government Exhibit 1(a) and Government Exhibit 12 into evidence, if Exhibit 12 is not already in evidence.

THE COURT:  Very well.

(Government Exhibit Nos. 1(a) and 12 were received in evidence.)

Q  Mrs. Kassab, at the time of their deaths, how old was Kimberly?
A  She was five.  She would have a birthday in two months.
Q  How old was Kristen?
A  Kristen was three.  She would be four on May 8th, the day after Mother's Day.
Q  Now, you say you came down to Fort Bragg on the 17th of February; is that correct?
A  Yes.
Q  When did the funeral take place?
A  The end of the week.  I believe it was Saturday.  We asked, if possible, to keep it as private as possible.  Only my son and his wife came down, so there were four of us.
     We went to the church.  There was a burial service -- a Catholic and a Protestant -- and Jeff sat next to us.  I think Freddie let him in.  I am not sure.  I know that he was perspiring profusely.  We left.  I did not even have a hat on.  I didn't bring clothes with me for a funeral.
     We asked that photographers be kept away.  They were.  However, someone labeled me -- managed to walk out with my head up high and I didn't cry.  There was a picture of Mrs. MacDonald with a long veil on and tears, and they said this is Mrs. Kassab, the victim's mother.  So, my dignity was shot after all.
Q  When were the bodies interred?  When was that done?
A  The next day we left for New York.  We took them back to my family plot.  There was some talk about where they would be buried and I asked for their bodies to go back home.  Freddie said he would take care of all details.  He would take care of the funeral, take care of all their expenses.
     However, there was a funeral policy of Colette's that her father had taken out when she was six months old, and we always paid, but we gave it to Colette and said, "You should have this and change the beneficiary on it."
     We were still paying for it.  It was a nominal sum.  It was, I think, a $1,000 policy, so Freddie took care of all the caskets and all the expenses and told the undertaker -- he paid him with a check.  "You will have the balance when Captain MacDonald gets the check from the insurance people."  We went back and buried the children.
     The next day, Mrs. MacDonald went back to Fayetteville and Jeff got a few days or a week -- I don't remember -- off and they both went for a little vacation.
     I anxiously awaited her return because I am afraid I was very eager to get after these people.  I said, "What did you find out?"  She said, "Nothing.  We never discussed it."  "Didn't you ask him anything?"  She said, "No, I was there to comfort him.  We never discussed it," and she asked me if I would like my mother's ring back or anything.  I told her that I wanted all of the clothes, that no one must ever wear them and the pearls that I had given Colette on her high school graduation, a little charm bracelet and ring.  It didn't matter, but I wanted her clothes.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Just one second.


MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, that completes our direct examination.  The Defense may cross-examine.

THE COURT:  All right.

C R 0 S S - E X A M I N A T I O N  10:48 a.m.

Q  Mrs. Kassab, your husband -- your current husband -- Alfred or Freddie Kassab, he is not the father of Colette, though; is he?
A  Not the physical father but Colette's father died at an early age.  She missed him very much --
Q  (Interposing)  Excuse me, Mrs. Kassab.  We will go into all of these things, but it will be very helpful if you would just try to answer some of the questions that I need information from; all right?  Thank you.  Alfred Kassab or Freddie Kassab is not the father of Colette; is that right?
A  Not her natural father; no.
Q  All right; how old was Colette when you married Alfred Kassab?
A  I believe about 12.
Q  And Colette went off to Skidmore College at about 17 and a half?
A  No; she was 18 in May and went to Skidmore the following September -- closer to 19.
Q  Now, when Jeff and Colette married, they moved to Princeton; is that right?
A  Right.
Q  I need a yes or no for the stenographer, please.
A  Yes.
Q  They lived in Princeton for one year; you know that.
A  No; it wasn't a year.  They went in September and they left in June.
Q  During the course of that year, you made two visits to Colette and Jeff at Princeton; is that right?
A  Right.
Q  That is about 50 miles from your home.  Your home was in Long Island, and Princeton was about 50 miles away.
A  Yes; correct.
Q  Then Jeff and Colette went to Chicago where he did his medical studies at Northwestern; right?
A  Right.
Q  They were there for four years?
A  Correct.
Q  During the course of four years, you visited Colette and Jeff twice; is that correct also?
A  No.
Q  Beg your pardon?
A  No; that is not correct.
Q  All right; tell us in four years how many times you recall.
A  I visited them once when Kristen was born, and I stayed for a month.  That is the only time.  Colette visited us many times.
Q  I see.  But in Chicago when Jeff and Colette were there, you visited just one time, not twice as I thought?
A  Just once.
Q  Then, Jeff and Colette lived at Bergenfield, New Jersey, while Jeff was doing his residence at Presbyterian Hospital; right?
A  Right.
Q  During the course of the year they lived in Bergenfield, you visited,them about three times; correct?
A  Oh, no; that is quite incorrect.
Q  Tell us how many times?
A  I would see Colette, possibly, every two weeks, and stayed over -- because Jeff came home rarely.  He had 48 hours at a time, I believe -- something like that.  Colette would come out for a few days.  She brought the laundry.  We did the laundry, and she would take it back --
Q  (Interposing)  Excuse me, Mrs. Kassab.  It would be helpful, if you would tell us, to the best of your recollection, how many times do you think you visited Colette and Jeff while they lived in Bergenfield?
A  Well, let me see.  They were there from late June, and Jeff left the following June.  There are 52 weeks in a year.  Any time we saw one another, it was for two or three days.  It would have to be at least 40 times.
Q  How much?
A  At least 40.
Q  Forty times while they lived in Bergenfield?
A  Very often three days at a time, here and often there and all.
Q  I see --
A  (Interposing)  I didn't see Jeff those times.
Q  Beg your pardon?
A  I did not see Jeff 40 times -- very rarely.
Q  But you think you visited Jeff and Colette's home 40 times in the one year they lived --
A  (Interposing)  Between her coming to my home and me going there, it had to be.  It was almost weekly.
Q  My inquiry really is to the number of times --
A  (Interposing)  The number of times I actually drove --
Q  (Interposing)  Mrs. Kassab, please excuse me.  I appreciate your interest and concern with this case, but we also need some facts from you.  Now, will you please try and give me information?
A  I most certainly will, if you ask them clearly.
Q  The question is, how many times do you think you visited Jeff and Colette's home in Bergenfield when they lived there?
A  Actually drove there?  Perhaps 25 times.
Q  That was what -- about an hour's drive from your home or less?
A  About an hour.
Q  Then, when Jeff and Colette lived at Fort Bragg for half a year, you visited them that one time at Christmas?
A  Just once.
Q  You were aware, were you not, that in May of 1969, Colette made a will in which she said that if Jeff died before her and she died, that the children, Kristen and Kimberly, should be placed not in your care, but in the care of Mrs. MacDonald?  Were you aware of that?
A  No; I wasn't.
Q  And when the charges were brought against Jeff MacDonald by the Army in 1970, is it not true that your husband Freddie became Jeff's most outspoken supporter; isn't that right?
A  He, in fact, offered another daughter, if I had one.  I thought that was going a little far, that he would give the second daughter to Jeff, if we had one.
Q  You would not say it was unfair, if I characterized Alfred Kassab's support in 1970, that he was Jeff's most outspoken supporter?
A  Definitely; all of us.
Q  You were aware, were you not, that your husband, Alfred Kassab, was holding press conferences and radio and television interviews almost daily from about May and June, 1970, through the military proceedings?

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, we would OBJECT

THE WITNESS:  No; I only read yours.

MR. BLACKBURN:  We withdraw our objection.

Q  You mean, you are aware that I had something to say?
A  Every day.  We got the papers as fast as we could, because you were doing such a marvelous job with the press.  He, of course, if he had the opportunity -- but he was only a father -- a stepfather -- they didn't bother with him particularly at that time.  It was later that  they bothered with him.  At that time you were doing a great job.
Q  I see; then when I stopped doing a great job, Mr. Kassab picked up and started giving interviews; right?
A  After Christmas, and after the arrival of the transcript and reading it many times, that is when Mr. Kassab began to interview.  He gave many then.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, I want to know from you -- are you telling us that you have no awareness that your husband, Alfred Kassab, from about June of 1970 through September, 1970, when the hearings ended, was regularly giving radio and television and newspaper interviews about his opinion of the case?  You are not aware of that?
A  To anyone who would listen, but not many people were interested in us at that time.
Q  I see; but he was certainly trying --
A  (Interposing)  Trying to help him, certainly.
Q  Were you also aware that I was regularly calling your husband and telling him to stop interfering with the conduct of the case by giving unauthorized interviews?  Were you not aware of --


THE WITNESS:  No; you usually called to ask what had happened, who we had reached, what success we had with it.

Q  You are not aware, then, that I had asked your husband to stop meddling with the case and trying to be Jeff's biggest supporter?



THE WITNESS:  No; not at all.

Q  By the way, your husband would have wanted to be present at the Article 32 proceedings, wouldn't he?
A  Yes; he did want to.
Q  That's right.  And the reason he wasn't present is because, on the first day of the proceedings, the Army -- the Government -- ordered the hearings closed.  You were aware of that, weren't you?
A  Yes.


THE WITNESS:  He stayed the entire time of the Article 32, as he did here -- waited outside, so that he would have first-hand knowledge of what was going on.  We were very, very sorry for Jeff.  We wanted to help him.

Q  And you know, of course, that I and Jeff and everyone else connected objected to the Army keeping those hearings closed, and keeping people like Freddie from being present?  You were aware of that, weren't you?
A  We were; yes.  We didn't know that had it been open, it would have been a trial, not a hearing, so we didn't understand the reason.
Q  But you were aware that I wanted the hearings open and Jeff wanted the hearings open, so that Freddie and anyone else could be there?
A  I believe you made speeches to that effect, and we ran around malls getting petitions signed to open the hearings, not understanding that the Army could not open the hearings --
Q  (Interposing)  You are aware, of course, that I called your husband and asked him to stop running around having petitions -- that there was a lawsuit that I had filed to force the hearing open?  You were aware of that, weren't you?
A  Definitely, no; because Mrs. MacDonald had friends of hers running around, too.  They were all getting petitions, so she should have known and told us.
Q  But you said you have no knowledge that I did not want anyone to interfere with the conduct of the lawsuit; is that right?
A  Why, one would always assume that the attorney would be conducting the lawsuit.
Q  One would assume that, except in the case involving your husband.
A  There was nothing at that time --

MR. BLACKBURN:  (Interposing)  We would OBJECT to this line of questioning.

THE COURT:  I will SUSTAIN the objection.

Q  Mrs. Kassab, now after the hearing was over -- by the way, let's get that cleared up.  You stated on direct examination that the Army dropped the investigation.  Is that what you said?  Do you recall saying that?
A  Right.
Q  As a matter of fact, you know that what happened was that the Army filed a report that said the charges would not --



MR. SEGAL:  If Your Honor please, the door was opened by the Government.  They brought it out by the witness in direct, sir.

THE COURT:  No; they did not.

MR. SEGAL:  I beg to differ with the Court.  I would like to have the transcript read back.

THE COURT:  All right; you started asking your question.  There was an objection.  I sustained it.  Next question.

Q  Did you read the report of the Army investigation you say was dropped?


THE WITNESS:  No; I don't believe I read the report --

MR. SEGAL:  (Interposing)  Excuse me --

THE WITNESS:  (Interposing)  It was double-talk.

MR. SEGAL:  When the lawyer objects, you have to wait for a ruling.

THE COURT:  I OVERRULE the objection.  She said she didn't read it.

Q  You didn't read it?
A  Most likely not.  I later became more familiar with legal jargon.  At that time, I wasn't.  I was told what was in there.
Q  But you are telling us you didn't read -- by the way, who provided you with a copy of the Army report?
A  Well, we tried to get it.  Freddie was going to fly down, then you told Jeff he couldn't release it, or he would be court-martialed.
Q  Until he was out of the Army?
A  Until he was out of the Army.  Well, he was out of the Army, on Christmas Day.  Mrs. MacDonald was going to some friends for Christmas.  We ceased to have Christmas, so she dropped it at our house, and between Christmas and New Year's, we both read the report.
Q  Excuse me, Mrs. Kassab; I think we have the answer.  The answer is that Mrs. MacDonald, the mother of Jeffrey MacDonald --

MR. BLACKBURN:  (Interposing)  we would OBJECT.

MR. SEGAL:  I know I am entitled to an answer on cross-examination, Your Honor.

THE COURT:  What is your question?

MR. SEGAL:  Isn't it a matter of fact that you got the report of the Army proceedings through  Jeffrey MacDonald?  His mother dropped it off to you; isn't that correct?

THE WITNESS:  Yes; after some coaxing.

THE COURT:  She just said that.

MR. SEGAL:  Circumlocution, Your Honor, doesn't necessarily constitute an answer.  Now, I am entitled to a precise answer.

THE COURT:  Let me see.  Let me ask her.  Did you say that Mrs. MacDonald brought that transcript over there to you for Christmas?

THE WITNESS:  Yes; I did.

THE COURT:  That answered the question, I thought.  Next question.

MR. SEGAL:  Yes, Your Honor.

Q  However, after that time, after December of 1970, when Jeff was released from the Army, he came back to the New York area, didn't he?
A  He did.
Q  And your husband was constantly discussing with Jeff how he and Jeff would fly down to Fayetteville and prowl the bars looking for the killers.  You were aware of those discussions, weren't you?
A  A direct lie.  Nothing ever -- may God take Colette's soul -- or the Devil take her soul, I should say, if that was ever discussed, Mr. Segal; and you must know it is untrue.
     Never -- we saw nothing of the man after that.
Q  Are you done?
A  I am.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, I asked you, are you telling us that to your knowledge your husband never suggested to Jeffrey MacDonald that he wanted to fly down with Jeff --
A  (Interposing)  Never.
Q   -- to Fayetteville to prowl the bars looking for the killers?



THE WITNESS:  Absolutely not.

Q  Mrs. Kassab, didn't your husband say that he was pleased that Dr. MacDonald was going to do a residency at Yale Medical School, which would be quite close-by to where you lived in New York City?
A  He was.  However, a friend of mine who is on the staff said that they had turned Jeff down.
Q  Do you know, as a matter of fact, that he was in fact accepted for orthopaedic surgery residency?
A  Earlier, yes.
Q  So that your friend was absolutely wrong?
A  Not after 1970; she was right, she was on the board.
Q  Well, let's get back to my questions.  Mr. Kassab was pleased that Dr. MacDonald was going to nearby Yale to study orthopaedic surgery?
A  No, I don't think we expressed anything at all on that.
Q  "Not as far as you know," is the answer, is that right?
A  I would know.
Q  You would know?
A  I would know, yes.  We have always discussed everything.
Q  Now, your husband was interested, in 1971, after this investigation had been dismissed -- your husband was interested in pursuing the question of who the killers were, wasn't he?
A  Very.
Q  And he constantly talked about it to you and to Jeff and to anybody else who would listen, didn't he?
A  He couldn't talk to Jeff very much because Jeff wasn't there.  He talked to Jeff's mother about it.  We talked to our friends about it, but he didn't only talk.  He at once formulated a plan and got started, because it looked very much as though the whole thing was going to be forgotten; and we were not willing to have it shelved.
Q  Do you know what the World Trade Center in New York City is?
A  Yes, Jeff worked on it.  It was a very gory, bloody job, I would think, after what he had been through.
Q  You mean, he was a physician for the workmen who were building --
A  (Interposing)  Anyone who fell and was crushed.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, please listen to the question, and I will let you answer all you want.
A  Sorry.
Q  Dr. MacDonald, after he was released from the Army, became a physician at the construction site for the World Trade Center.  You were aware of that?
A  Yes.  He lived in New York.
Q  You lived in Long Island; New York, also, is that right?
A  Uh-huh (yes), right near his mother.
Q  Did you know of the luncheon meetings that your husband, Freddie, had with Jeff MacDonald in February, March --
A  (Interposing)  Yes.
Q   -- April and May with Dr. MacDonald?
A  Not March, April and May.  He took Freddie to lunch, I think, on two occasions.
Q  And were you aware or did Freddie tell you --

MR. BLACKBURN:  OBJECTION to this line of questioning, Your Honor.

THE COURT:  I will SUSTAIN it.  I don't see the relevancy of that.

MR. SEGAL:  It goes to her statement, if Your Honor pleases, as to her knowledge of everything her husband said.  It goes right back to her statement that she claimed there was no discussion between Kassab and Dr. MacDonald about going to Fayetteville to prowl the bars for the killers.  I want to put to the Witness the question about what she knows of those meetings at the World Trade Center.

THE COURT:  Ask your questions.

THE WITNESS:  Did you say, "Ask them"?

THE COURT:  I said, "Ask your questions."

Q  Did your husband ever tell you --
A  (Interposing)  Yes.
Q   -- about discussing with Dr. MacDonald during those meetings at the World Trade Center that he wanted Jeff to go with him to Fayetteville?
A  Never.
Q  Never?
A  Because by that time we were -- he was this way on whether Jeff was the man.
Q  This is in February --
A  (Interposing)  In February, after we had read the transcript.  Freddie was no longer counting on Jeff's help.
Q  Of course, at the same time, Freddie was writing letters to congressmen, to the Justice Department and --
A  (Interposing)  Right.
Q  Wait a minute; let's get the question about Mr. Kassab.  This husband who was "this way" in January and February of 1971 --
A  (Interposing)  Never.
Q   -- was writing letters to the Congress demanding that they investigate the Justice Department and the CID, wasn't he?
A  January of 1971, Freddie was not this way.
Q  All right, tell us when he became "this way."
A  He never became that way.  He changed from a supporter of Jeff's to doubting.
Q  What's that -- doubting?
A  Became a doubter.
Q  When did that happen?
A  I should say after he had read the transcript for the fourth time or so.  He read it constantly, finding all of the holes.
Q  He was preoccupied with the subject, wasn't he?
A  Well, would you be, Mr. Segal?
Q  Well, let's start with the question whether Mr. Kassab, Freddie, was preoccupied with the subject?
A  As any father would be.
Q  He wasn't Colette's father, though, was he?
A  He was Colette's father in Colette's eyes, and in my eyes, and in his eyes.  In fact, Colette became angry at her christening when someone said, "Give the baby to his grandfather," and when she went to hand him to Freddie, the grandmother piped up and said, "That's not his grandfather."  Colette said, "It most certainly is."
Q  All right, now, you say your husband read this transcript four times and then he had some kind of doubt, is that right?
A  Yes.
Q  When did he finish his fourth reading of the transcript?
A  It is hard to tell because the beginning was the end, the end was the beginning.  It just continued.  Our -- all other things stopped.  We gave up our friends and entertainment of other kind, and devoted ourselves completely to finding perhaps something in there that someone said that wasn't noticed.
     We felt it must be right before our eyes, and we both continuously pored over it.  The more we looked the more we found wrong with it.
Q  And you proceeded to do that for nine years up to this very day, isn't that right?
A  Oh, yes; my husband can tell you what page a certain thing is on.  I think he's better informed than perhaps anybody.
Q  And you continued, both of you, more or less in isolation from friends and other social contacts?
A  Yes.
Q  And matter of fact you pride yourself so much upon the fact that you have devoted your last nine years to this that you're willing to tell the newspapers and People magazine this week about the same thing?


THE WITNESS:  As Jeff did last -- two years ago.  Mr. Segal, you perhaps do not know, but I devoted six years of pregnancy to having Colette, so I could certainly devote nine years to finding her murderer and tracking him down.  It took six years before I had a live baby girl.

Q  Now, Mrs. Kassab, then your husband did in fact want Jeff MacDonald to assist him looking for killers, didn't he?
A  No.
Q  He didn't want to do that?
A  My husband had no intention of looking for killers.  You don't find them by walking out and peering around.  There are detectives for this sort of thing.  We spoke with attorneys about detectives.  We found that we could not afford it.  But we could -- we had no intention of peering around in the bushes ourselves.
Q  So that you thought it would be appropriate to ask the Government to investigate --
A  (Interposing)  Certainly.  It was their job.
Q  And you were aware that from January -- well, in December of 1970, when Dr. MacDonald got out of the Army, and in January of 1971 -- that he went to the U. S. Justice Department and tried to get just the same thing?
A  No, I wasn't aware.  In fact, we asked them and they said no.
Q  You asked "them" who?
A  The Justice Department.
Q  Whether MacDonald had ever been there?
A  Whether he had ever been there or written.
Q  All right, were you aware --
A  (Interposing)  The answer was no.
Q  Were you aware that Congressman Allard Lowenstein went --
A  (Interposing)  Yes, we got him to be interested.

THE COURT:  Let him finish the question, please.

THE WITNESS:  I'm sorry.  Beg your pardon.

Q  Were you aware that in December, January-December 1970, in January 1971, that Congressman Allard Lowenstein from New York went with Dr. MacDonald to the Justice Department to try and get an appointment with the Deputy Attorney General Henry Petersen; did you ever know that?
A  My husband spoke to Allard not too long ago about that.
Q  To whom?
A  To Allard Lowenstein.  You see we contacted him to begin with, and he had lunch.  He said no --
Q  (Interposing)  Excuse me, I want to know whether you were aware that Dr. MacDonald went with Congressman Lowenstein?

THE COURT:  Well, I will SUSTAIN the objection as to the form of the question.

THE WITNESS:  May I answer the question, Your Honor?

THE COURT:  Well, no.  I sustained the objection.  It assumes that you would say that he did  go or that he did go and that you would be aware of it.
     You may ask her if she knows whether or not he did.

MR. SEGAL:  All right, Your Honor, I said that, "Mrs. Kassab, do you know whether Dr. MacDonald and Congressman Lowenstein went to the Justice Department to try and speak to Deputy Attorney General Henry Petersen?"

THE COURT:  Just say "yes" or "no."

THE WITNESS:  I [don't] know whether they went or not, Your Honor.

THE COURT:  Well, answer the question "yes" or "no."

THE WITNESS:  They did not.

THE COURT:  Very well.

Q  You know that they did not?
A  They did not.

THE COURT:  All right, now let me see you just briefly.

(Bench Conference - unreported)

THE COURT:  Members of the jury, we are going to take our recess and I am going to ask you to consider a question while you are out and just let us have your vote on it.
     There is a motion before the court to have the jury to visit the MacDonald residence at 544 Castle Drive, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and view the crime scene.  This is a permissible procedure which courts sometimes allow to be followed; but in determining whether to allow the motion in this case, it would be helpful to the Court to know whether you feel it would assist you in reaching a better understanding of the case if you should be permitted to visit the crime scene.
     Please indicate below the number -- and this will be a little questionnaire -- just take a poll and see how many would vote to go and how many would vote not to go, and let us have your answer to that.
     Of course, the decision as to whether or not you will go is still with the Court, but it would be helpful to the Court in making the decision.  If this is done, of course, transportation will be furnished.  We will all go in a body to the scene.
     When you come, there will be no questions and answers and that kind of thing, but it will just be a matter of the jury viewing.the crime scene.  Basically that's what it is.  Give that to the jury.
     We will take a recess now until 11:30.

(The proceeding was recessed at 11:12 a.m., to reconvene at 11:30 a.m.,this same day.)

F U R T H E R  P R O C E E D I N G S  11:30 a.m.

(The following proceedings were held in the presence of the jury and alternates.)

THE COURT:  All right, let Mrs. Kassab come back to the stand.

(Whereupon, MILDRED KASSAB, the witness on the stand at the time of recess, resumed the stand and testified further as follows:)

C R 0 S S - E X A M I N A T I O N  11:31 a.m. (resumed)

Q  Mrs. Kassab, you told us this morning that sometime in '71 that you and your husband got this phone call and subsequently a letter from Jeff describing or saying that something had been done to certain people in North Carolina; is that right?  You told about that this morning?
A  I don't think it was '71; I think it was '70.  I could be wrong on that, but I believe it was before he got out of the Army.
Q  Well, we will come back and we will get the date in a few minutes.  But you also told us that that letter said that "we" -- apparently Jeff and some friends -- had killed one of these perpetrators.  You also said this morning you found that "unsettling"; isn't right -- that was the word you used?  Please say yes or no for the stenographer.
A  Yes.
Q  The reason you said you found that unsettling was because that would have meant that somebody would have been killed who could lead to other members of this group; isn't that right?
A  Correct.
Q  You were not appalled at all that somebody had been murdered, though?



Q  Well, were you appalled that a murder had been committed?
A  Yes.
Q  But all you could say was that you were unsettled because that person could have led to other individuals or suspects; is that right?
A  Perhaps it was an understatement.  We were unsettled because Jeff would be putting himself in danger by doing this.  Someone else couldn't be found. After you have a certain number of murders in your family, you are not too concerned with the person who has done them.
Q  You mean you are not concerned what happens to them?
A  It depends on what happened to them -- who has done it.  We did not want him to be in trouble.  He had had enough trouble, we assumed.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, you and Freddie pretty soon decided you really did not believe that story; did you?
A  No.
Q  That Jeff or his friends had done anything to anybody?
A  Correct.
Q  It pretty much did not take much to figure out that that was just a story to get you and Freddie to stop harassing Jeff to live in the past; isn't that what you concluded?
A  No, sir; we did not conclude that.  We thought it should be investigated, and we did.  We found --
Q  (Interposing)  I want to ask you if you remember receiving this letter addressed to "Dear Mildred," March 22, 1973.
     "Dear Mildred, I am sorry to be writing to you under such distressing circumstances again.
     Needless to say, the recent press, T.V. and radio inquiries have again ruined any chance I had for some small measure of privacy and/or sanity.  Knowing the source of publicity, The New York Daily News, of all cheap places, via Freddie, of course, only add to my distress.  Of all people, I thought you would be the one who would understand my move out to California. You and I talked about it and it, in effect, is simply a logical extension of 'getting away from it all' as was your around-the-world cruise after your personal tragedy many years ago.  I don't wish to re-discuss the whole case again and again.  I live it all the time.  But please let me say several things to you.  They are true, I mean them, and I hope you reflect upon them.
     The first thing is that I was a good husband and father.  Colette and I shared a love that was truly great.  Few people ever had the fun and contentmentve had together.  The second thing is that I did not commit any crimes or sins; that is, I did not have any part in the murders on Fort Bragg.  Believe what you will, but that is the only truth.  I loved Colette, Kim, and Kris with all my heart.  The garbage and crap that keeps coming up does not mean that I was involved in the killings.  There are some confusing aspects of the case.  None are as confused as me when you ask why.
     But please don't decide that because they are confusing things, that I must be guilty.  I did tell Freddie some things after I left the Army that were not 100 percent true.  If these things were partly true, I magnified them too, and I guess helped my own feelings of inadequacy and also I hoped to isolate myself from these comments and allow my mental status to clear.  Unfortunately, Freddie has mis-read the importance of these comments.  He is striking out in any direction and willing to hurt anyone and everyone with no thought of what is important and what is not important.
     I tried to find solutions, could not, and also discovered that, no matter what happened, Colette was not coming back.  So, I moved down here and began working for a living, giving up a career Colette and I had both hoped for at Yale.  Mildred, I was going to go on and on, but I don't think it is any use.  The letter doesn't read well.  I guess I never do communicate well except in medicine.  I truly hope that those absurd tales Fred told me on the plane about girls are daydreams.  They certainly are not true facts.  I never lied to you about extramarital affairs.
     I never had an affair, but I did see, date, sleep with a very rare girl away from home.  You knew that because we discussed it.  Freddie knew it also.  The rest is complete garbage.  No one else ever mattered to me except Colette.  I was going to write letters to Helen and Fred tonight also, but it seems extraneous.  My mind is really in a turmoil again.
     Please take care of yourself.  I do love you.  I know I don't exhibit it well, but even my mother complains of that.  I love Fred also.  I do feel extremely tense and anxious and too plus mildly hurt about him showing transcripts and letters and phone calls to any creep who will listen.  We all express our grief in different ways, and I think Fred feels I am wrong because I don't show it exactly like him.  If there was a legitimate point to be gained, fine, but the record is clear now.  The second CID again, if you remember, investigation nicely dovetailed into the first fiasco except it made even clearer that I was not involved in the crimes.  Do I now have to spend another year in purgatory for $50,000 or $100,000 to finally be left with memories of my departed family."

MR. SMITH:  Your Honor, may I continue reading for counsel or may we take just a moment?


THE COURT:  What is the problem?

Q  "What price do I have to pay to be left to exist?  Please give my love to Helen.  Helen was the light of Colette's eyes, probably her very favorite person of all time.  Try to tell Fred that I am in agony also.  I just don't think shouting at the press will solve anything at this stage.  I hope your health is good.  Love, Jeff."
     You received that letter and you read it; didn't you?
A  I thought it was a masterpiece.  I did read it; and it has served its purpose evidently.
Q  Now, Mrs. Kassab, you were also talked to about your feelings in this case by Agent Ivory of the CID in March of 1970; were you not?
A  I did not hear the question.
Q  I am sorry -- my fault.  I will repeat it.  You were also talked to about this case on the 19th of March, 1970, by Agent Ivory of the CID; do you recall that -- he went up to your home?
A  Yes, he and Mr. Shaw.
Q  I beg your pardon?
A  He and Mr. Shaw came; yes.
Q  Okay.  Agent Robert Shaw and Agent Ivory came to see you?
A  Yes.
Q  This was approximately one month after the deaths of Colette and the children; is that right?
A  Correct.
Q  When you and Mr. Kassab were asked about the relationship between Jeff and Colette, did you not say at that time that you were convinced that Jeff was a dedicated father and husband; did you say that at that time?
A  Yes.
Q  Did you also not say that you pointed out to those agents his giving of gifts to the children and Colette -- especially the gift of the pony to the girls at Christmas -- as examples of his devotion as a father and as a husband?
A  I also didn't mention the ice pick or the hairbrush.
Q  I couldn't hear you?
A  I also didn't mention the ice pick or the hairbrush.
Q  All right, I would like to ask you about that in a bit, but let's, if we can, deal with the specific subjects that were raised at that time.  Now, the business about the pony, Mrs. Kassab, your daughter, Colette, she always wanted a horse, too, didn't she, to have with the farm and other animals that she dreamed of having in Connecticut?
A  I think every little girl has.
Q  As a matter of fact, though, in December of 1970 [sic; 1969], when that horse was given by Jeff to the children, it brought a great deal of pleasure and happiness to your daughter, too?
A  And to me.
Q  Right.  You all recognized it as a gift from the heart of Jeff MacDonald?
A  gift; yes.
Q  Did you also not state on 19 March, 1970, to Mr. Ivory and Mr. Shaw that it was inconceivable in your mind to think that Jeff had methodically killed Colette and his children?
A  I certainly did.
Q  You also said as a result of questions that you were asked by Mr. Shaw and Mr. Ivory that even if you could imagine Jeff having killed Colette for some reason, that you could never believe that he would have killed Kristen or Kimberly; didn't you say that?
A  No, I don't believe I would admit to him killing Colette at that time.
Q  Let me suggest to you that I am reading from a report --
A  (Interposing)  Excuse me.
Q  Yes, ma'am.
A  May we go back to the letter, though?  Quite a few inconsistencies are in the letter that are not true -- if we could take it back again.
Q  Let me finish this and I will be glad to go over the letter with you in further detail if you would like.
A  Thank you.
Q  I will give you the letter and let you read it paragraph by paragraph and you can explain it away if you want to in any fashion that you desire.
A  Very good; thank you.
Q  Let's proceed with this.  Let me suggest to you that the statement that I read to you that indicated that you were asked by the CID whether you could imagine that perhaps or imagine the situation that Jeff had murdered Colette?
A  Never.
Q  You said even if you could imagine that, you could never picture him having killed Kristen or Kimberly; you say that is not correct?
A  No, I did not say that.  I would not imagine him killing Colette either.  No one could imagine such a thing about Jeff.

MR. SEGAL:  If you will bear with me one second, please.


Q  Mrs. Kassab, did you not also tell the CID in that interview on the 19th of March, 1970, that you did not know of any family problems between Jeff and Colette; isn't that right?
A  I never heard of a problem.
Q  And you talked to your daughter regularly on the telephone; isn't that right?
A  Never made a ripple in the household -- everything was serene.
Q  I appreciate your evaluation, but what I am asking is if you talked to Colette regularly on the telephone?
A  She had her girlfriend that she was very disturbed about who had a husband who was giving her a lot of trouble.  In my stupidity -- finally, I was a little bit sick of the stupidity of this girl.  Why didn't she get rid of him?
Q  All right, now, Mrs. Kassab, you said to us a little bit earlier that this third pregnancy that Colette was having was one that was really making her unhappy and disturbing her; isn't that a correct characterization of what you have said?
A  Yes, indeed.  She was worried.
Q  Let me suggest that what you said to Mr. Ivory and Mr. Shaw in 1970, was as follows: I will read you the entire paragraph -- what they said so you can tell us whether they got your words down correctly or not.
     "They," referring to the statement made by you and Freddie, "They did not know of any family problems between Jeff and Colette, and, in fact, they talked on Sunday before the murders."  It should be "with Colette on the phone."  "She was not worried and appeared to be happy.  Her only apparent fear was about her pregnancy and the idea that it may be a multiple birth."
     Isn't that what you said to Mr. Ivory and Mr. Shaw?
A  No.  I am quite sure they misunderstood.  Colette never thought of a multiple birth, I don't think, to me.  I know she never spoke of a multiple birth in her life to me.  I was minimizing -- I was helping Jeff to the greatest extent that I could -- making a lovely picture.  You have made one here.
Q  Excuse me, Mrs. Kassab.  I thought you had finished.  In other words, the statements I have read here from the CID Report, in your recollection, is incorrect?
A  In my recollection, that is incorrect; yes.
Q  Now, do you also recall at the same time being present, hearing your husband make the following statement and agreeing to it:
     "He (Mr. Kassab) stated that he was very close to Colette and was sure that if she had any problems ...  " the unfortunate type here doesn't say what, if any, problem, but he said, "if she had any problems, he would have known it."
     Isn't that what they said you said and Mr. Kassab said?
A  He did.  We were doing the most we could to help.
Q  I didn't hear your answer.
A  I said that we truly believed in Jeff.  We truly believed everything that he told us.  We were helping.
Q  Did you believe what Colette told you also?
A  At the moment, I put it aside.  The thing now was to save Jeff from these unjust accusations.
Q  Does that mean you would make a false statement to save him from an unjust accusation?
A  I am sorry, but I would.
Q  You would?
A  I would; to save him, I would.
Q  You are still of that opinion today that you would make an unjust statement if you thought it would serve the proper purpose; is that right?
A  No, because I know I must speak the absolute truth here.  If I do not, and we are tripped up on one thing that wasn't right, the whole thing will be ruined.  Therefore, I shall not make one statement that I am not positive of, or one thing that isn't true -- be assured.
Q  Do you agree, though, with the statement that Mr. Ivory and Mr. Shaw reported was made by Mr. Kassab or that you concurred in, that if there had been any problems in Colette's relationship with Jeff, that he, Freddie, would have known about it?
A  Yes.
Q  Now you have another child besides Colette, do you not, Mrs. Kassab?
A  Yes, I have a son I rarely see.
Q  I beg your pardon?
A  I have a son that calls me every week, but I very rarely see him.
Q  His name is Bobby Stevenson; isn't that right?
A  Correct.
Q  Does Bobby Stevenson happen to have two children by his wife?
A  He doesn't happen to, he does.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, we would OBJECT.


Q  All right, let's put it this way.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, may we approach the bench?

THE COURT:  Well, yes; come up.

B E N C H  C O N F E R E N C E

MR. MURTAGH:  Your Honor, where we believe Mr. Segal is going at this time is a statement, which is perhaps taken out of context.  Apparently at some time -- apparently at some time, Mrs. Kassab was having a conversation, I believe it was with Dr. MacDonald, in which she said something to the effect of, "Well, if it were Pep's children -- that is, Mrs. Stevenson, Robert Stevenson's wife -- it wouldn't be so bad."
     The context of the thing is that she was closer to Colette and her children than she is to her daughter-in-law and their children.  I think, frankly, it is a cheap shot.  I think it adds nothing to the facts in this case.  It is outside the scope; it does not affect Mrs. Kassab's credibility.

THE COURT:  If you made an objection on relevancy ground.

MR. MURTAGH:  We OBJECT on the grounds of relevancy.

THE COURT:  Well, why don't you just object?

MR. SMITH:  Judge, it is at least as relevant as whether Jeffrey MacDonald ever slept with any woman.

THE COURT:  Now you brought that out yourself.

MR. SMITH:  But Your Honor had already indicated to us that you were going to let them proceed to talk about that and to present evidence.  I would submit also, it is at least as relevant as some magazine article that was found in the house.

THE COURT:  But yes, you have the witness on cross-examination.  Now you can do two things.  You can question her as to facts, or you can do something to attack her credibility.  I don't see that asking her about her other children and what she may have said about them or felt about them would serve either purpose.

MR. SMITH:  I think it shows a callous disregard for human life.

THE COURT:  She is not on trial for murder.

MR. SEGAL:  But her opinions about human life have been asked repeatedly by the Government, Your Honor.

MR. MURTAGH:  I don't believe they have.

THE COURT:  Now wait a minute.  I do not recall there was a single objection to anything that she said.  So what I would have ruled is now completely moot.

MR. SEGAL:  Your Honor, we have taken the position and I think it is pretty clear that we accept Your Honor's dictum in this case.  Let it all hang out, and I think if it is going to be a trial where Esquire Magazine can come marching in, or some event that happened nine months after the deaths can come in, why, in the name of heaven, can a woman who is one of the people who has a lot to do with the case being here today, that her mental state, whether she is a sane person worthy of belief -- let it come out.
     My point is, Your Honor, I think it reflects on her credibility that she would say as she walks into the hospital, "Oh Jeff, I am so sorry it wasn't Bobby's children instead of yours."
     I think, Your Honor, her credibility has to be measured in view of the broad range of opinions she has been allowed to state about whether Colette was happy or unhappy with Jeff, whether there was love or a good relationship.  The jury has a right to know that this lady's view of life includes that it would have been better to shift the murders to one set of children than another.
     I mean, that says something.  She volunteered that she and her husband were paranoid.  I think the jury ought to know what kind of mental state; that is credibility, Your Honor.

THE COURT:  Well, you can show anything that you want to show bias or prejudice against this man here.  You have built up a case in which she was willing to falsify in order to save him, and now, apparently, she is on the other side of the fence from that.
     But there are just some limits under 403 in which we should go in this kind of thing.  If it is just of such minimal probative force, you just get us too far afield, we are taking an unusually long time to try the case anyway.
     But no question is before the house right now.  When there is one, I will rule -- if there is an objection.

MR. SEGAL:  I will say, Your Honor, that it is not an issue that I would ask more than two questions about.  I mean literally two.  Not actually, if we get to that.

THE COURT:  Go ahead.

(Bench conference terminated.)

Q  Mrs. Kassab, I think I asked you whether your son, Bobby, had two children in 1970?  Did you answer yes to that?

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, we would OBJECT.


Q  Mrs. Kassab, when you told us under direct examination about your arrival at the hospital, at Womack Army Hospital, what day in February was that in 1970?
A  What day did we arrive?
Q  Was it the 17th or the 18th?
A  The day that we arrived at the hospital when Jeff was in the hospital?
Q  Yes, ma'am?
A  That would have been Tuesday morning.
Q  Later the same day you were notified about the deaths of the family; is that right?
A  Yes, we called our family -- three people.
Q  And you also told us about some of the things that went on when you walked in the hospital; isn't that right?
A  Correct.
Q  Into Jeff's room.  Isn't it a matter of fact that at that time, when you walked in you said, "It is a shame that it was Colette and Jeff's --



Q  Tell us all the things you said when you went into the hospital room on February 17th, Mrs. Kassab?
A  Well, one remark was pretty silly; I was very excited, and I said, "This is just like waiting Christmas morning to open the packages.  They won't tell us a thing."  That is the only foolish thing I remember saying.
Q  You said it was like Christmas --
A  (Interposing)  I said it was like Christmas morning, waiting for the packages because we kept asking people what happened.  I was in an upset state and it sounds terribly foolish and irrelevant now, but walking down the hall, I said, "This is like waiting Christmas morning for the packages."  It is stupid.
Q  That was in the hallway walking back to where Jeff was in the room; is that right?
A  That's right.
Q  That was the intensive care unit?
A  That is correct.
Q  Now when you walked in, did you see some people there?
A  There was a doctor and Jeff.  That is all I noticed.
Q  Did you say something to him at that time about the loss of his children?  Tell us all the things you said to him at that point, that you can now remember?
A  I don't think I said very much at that point other than to listen and stroke his head, and say about the people, at that point, because Kimmie and Kristie and Colette, of course, were my whole life, and I just wouldn't let go of my emotions.  I spoke to Jeff, feeling that he was feeling that terrible turmoil that I was feeling.  I don't think I spoke of the children at that moment.
Q  I missed?
A  At that moment, I don't believe I spoke of the children -- at that moment.
Q  Do you remember when the first time was that you spoke to either Jeff or to his mother, Mrs. MacDonald, in that room that day about the children?
A  I don't believe I did, sir.
Q  When was the first time at all that you spoke about the loss of Kristen and Kimberly then on December 17th (sic)?
A  I still don't think on that day -- I was in shock more or less at the whole thing -- trying to keep my emotions.  I don't believe at that time -- I spoke of them many times and always because I loved them very dearly and probably spoke of them or thought of them every day for years, but that particular day, I was concerned with Jeff.
Q  Well, did you, on any succeeding day, the next day, December 18th (sic), have occasion to mention -- February 18th, 1970 -- did you have occasion to mention Kristen or Kimberly?
A  I don't believe I went back to the hospital after the first day.  It was full of people.  It was filling up to the point that if you went in, you would have to greet various people and discuss things.  I stayed in my room until the funeral.
Q  Did you mention the children on that second day to anyone?
A  My sister on the phone, my husband.
Q  Did you mention Bobby's children on the next day?


THE WITNESS:  No.  You must have your dates mixed.  As in the letter, you have a lot of inaccuracies.

Q  I was not talking about the letter.
A  No, but I mean, you, yourself, are undoubtedly uninformed, Mr. Segal, or misinformed.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, let me show you the letter that you are concerned about.

MR. SEGAL:  Your Honor, we are going to mark the letter as an exhibit in this matter, and with leave of court and by agreement of counsel, ask to substitute a photocopy hereafter.

THE COURT:  It will be all right.

MR. SEGAL:  May we have the Clerk mark a four-page letter and envelope as Defendant Exhibit 37.

(Defendant Exhibit 37 was marked for identification.)

Q  This is the letter I read to you, Mrs. Kassab, and you say that it is full of inaccuracies?
A  Yes.  Shall I point them out?
Q  Only if you want to.  Is that your desire at this time?
A  Well, you are quite disturbed, and I would like to set your mind at ease on several points.  It is really a very fine letter, but there are some things that are wrong.

THE COURT:  Is this the letter which was previously read as a part of a question?

MR. SEGAL:  Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT:  Very well.

THE WITNESS:  There is a part in here about our discussing Jeff's family lapses.  I can't imagine how he could possibly say such a thing to me. He had to believe it.  We never -- Jeff never at any time hinted.  He said, "When Ivory and Shaw and those people came out, all they are trying to do is make it look as though every woman I looked at I slept with."  I just felt, "Oh, isn't that ridiculous."  He would never do that.  We never discussed -- I am a small person, but had he discussed the fact that he was chasing around with women while married to Colette, I would have forcibly some way or other hit him with a chair or something and thrown him out of the house.  I would not let him tell me that he was chasing around.  As a matter of fact --
Q  (Interposing)  Anything else you want to correct, Mrs. Kassab?

THE COURT:  She had not finished correcting that one yet.  Let her finish.

THE WITNESS:  That was never discussed.  It was never mentioned.  I am sorry that you did not know that.  Another thing about my trip around the world, I never went around the world.  I had a little trip after the lawyers and I were finished with a case where I lost my husband --

Q  (Interposing)  Excuse me, Mrs. Kassab.  Let's stop there for a minute.  Your husband -- your first husband died in what year?
A  1952 -- Christmas -- '53, in January.
Q  With the proceeds of the insurance money, you did not make a substantial trip to recover your feelings and emotions?
A  Good heavens, no.  I had plenty of stocks and other things.  I did not have to use the insurance money.  When the attorneys finished, I went to visit a friend in California, and from there, my geography being pretty poor, I thought, "I am right next to Hawaii.  I will just run over there for a few days."  I went to Hawaii and came back.  I was gone all of four weeks.
Q  That is the only trip you made?
A  That is all.
Q  You never told people that you made an around the world trip to recover from the loss of your first husband, Mr. Stevenson?
A  Never.
Q  All right, what else do you want to correct?
A  Well, the other incorrect things are statements by him that I knew to be untrue, but I don't think they are admissible in saying what a lovely life they shared and so forth.  By this time, in 1973, I had heard the real effects of the marriage and was terribly unhappy to know that Colette was not happy.  I had thought she was, but as most girls, she did not tell me.  Everything was smooth when I was there.  By 1973, I knew all of that was untrue -- the happiness that was shared.  I simply laid the letter aside as feeling it had a purpose, but it did not serve the purpose.
Q  Anything else, Mrs. Kassab?
A  Let me see.  I don't want to take the Couut's time reading the entire letter, but there are a few.  As to all of the publicity, at this particular time, we were trying very much to get the investigation going into the thing.  You could not do it without publicity.
Q  I could not hear you again.
A  At this particular time, we were trying to get a new investigation started in 1973, and were writing to Congressmen; and, in fact, the Services Committee, I believe, took up the cause.
Q  Ma'am, is that a correction?
A  Those are the things you were referring to?
Q  Is that a correction in the letter that you are giving us now?
A  This is in reply to the publicity.
Q  Oh, I see.  All right, go right ahead.
A  The trip to Florida and the broken hand -- that is in here; isn't it?  The trip to Florida and the $2,000 spent -- no, it is $1,000, and a broken hand, and looking for some people.  That, I believe, was a medical convention; was it not?
Q  Anything else you want to correct, Mrs. Kassab?
A  No, that was all.  Thank you.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, you told us how you helped them financially at the beginning of Jeff and Colette's marriage; is that correct?
A  Correct.
Q  The way you helped was that you set up a loan fund; isn't that correct?
A  No.  We gave Colette money -- cash -- many times.  In fact, Mrs. MacDonald told us that she was helping, too, but Colette didn't know it.  I had a couple of letters from Colette saying, "Mrs. MacDonald has just paid back the money she owed."  We thought it was very funny that she would borrow money, and later learned, that she was, indeed, sending a monthly rent check as we were, but Colette, perhaps, just fell upon one or two of them and thought they were paying for a loan.
Q  I thought I heard you say this morning that you had a "floating fund"?
A  That was later.  That was besides helping with clothes.  When Colette wanted to come home for a trip or they were coming Christmas, we sent money --
Q  (Interposing)  Excuse me, Mrs. Kassab.  I was not questioning your generosity.
A  I thought you were.
Q  I want to ask you: you did have a "floating fund," is that right?
A  Yes.
Q  In other words, you took money out and you lent it to Colette; is that right?
A  No.  It wasn't lending it to her.  It was saving her feelings.  The money was always in the one spot.  She could have it whenever she wanted it.
Q  And Colette would make repayments into that "floating fund," isn't that right?
A  Yes, and a month later, she would get it out again.
Q  And she would repay that from the earnings of Jeff and whatever money Colette may have earned; isn't that right?
A  Correct.
Q  Now, as a matter of fact, you and your husband, Freddie, borrowed money from Colette and Jeff off of the gifts that they received from their wedding; isn't that right, Mrs. Kassab?
A  No, it is not right.  I don't think the MacDonalds ever could have raised that money.
Q  No, I said the wedding money.  Didn't you borrow $1500 from Jeff and Colette's wedding money so you could pay your rent for you and Mr. Kassab?
A  Never.
Q  Never?
A  Never.
Q  All right, let me ask you about one last matter.
A  Excuse me, sir, perhaps you are referring to the $1500 for the boat that Jeff took out for his father.  That was $1500.
Q  I am asking you whether or not after Jeff and Colette were married, right after the children came back from their honeymoon in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, that you and Freddie had to borrow $1500 of the wedding money?
A  No.
Q  And you never paid it back either?
A  No.  We never borrowed any money from them in our lives.  We gave them money.  My house sold four weeks after they were married and I took a check to them for $5,000, in their mother's home; and every member of the family was present.
     When Kimberly was born, I gave Colette a cash check of $500 and paid everything that came into the house for a month, including dry cleaning, food or anything, as I did in Chicago.
     Never, at any time, was any money ever borrowed.
Q  Now, one last subject matter --
A  (Interposing)  We never had the need.
Q  Finished?
A  Finished.
Q  All right, thank you, Mrs. Kassab.  I want to proceed to one last subject matter with you if I can.  You were asked by the Government on direct examination about using an ice pick in Jeff and Colette's home when you were there, and you described such as incident, is that right?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Now, when you testified in this case before the grand jury in September of 1974, do you recall being shown a photograph by the Government's attorney which had an ice pick and a knife in it?  Do you recall that?
A  At the grand jury?
Q  Yes, ma'am.
A  Yes.
Q  And do you recall when you were shown the ice pick and knife that you answered in regard to whether you knew that to be from Jeff's house or Colette's house as follows:
     "I would say," referring to the photo, "that this could be the ice pick, but I would say that it could not be this one, because I've never seen one with that type of heavy handle.  This type of ice pick is all over -- you see them all over, and I would say theirs would have been that kind."
     Is that your testimony?
A  That's right.  I used an ice pick, but I didn't know which one it was.
Q  Is that what you think you testified to the grand jury?
A  Well, one, as I remember, was a big bulbous one, and I have never seen of those around, I didn't think.  I said it wouldn't -- it may have been the other one, but I don't think it was this one.  I used an ice pick; I didn't note what type of ice pick it was.
     I believe I said I didn't recognize the knife.
Q  Did you not also tell the grand jury at that time, Mrs. Kassab, when you looked at the picture of the ice pick, that the handle -- the big, bulbous handle of the ice pick -- did not look familiar to you?
A  I may have.  I used an ice pick.  I said I don't know what it looked like; I used an ice pick.
Q  Mrs. Kassab, you were also shown a little paring knife with had the name "Old Hickory" on it, weren't you?
A  I replied -- you want the answer?
Q  You were asked whether you knew whether that knife had been in Jeff and Colette's home.  Do you recall that?
A  Uh-huh (yes).
Q  Again, please, "yes" or "no" for the stenographer.
A  Yes, I'm sorry.
Q  And you said that you didn't know whether or not the Old Hickory knife came from Jeff and Colette's house.
A  And added, "because there are several in every house."
Q  Several what in every house, paring knives?
A  Paring knives.  Everyone has a half a dozen.
Q  You had given Jeff and Colette some kitchen knives -- paring knives and other knives -- yourself, hadn't you?
A  I doubt it.  I gave them anything they needed, but most of their things came from -- they would move from one house to the next.  They didn't have money to go out and buy things, and if they found a knife in a drawer or anything else -- I bought them many things, vacuum cleaners, big things like that, but I don't think I bought knives.
Q  Well, let me suggest to you that it was page 24, lines 24 and 25 of the grand jury testimony, you said -- the question was referring to whether you recognized the knives, "And no one of them would necessarily stick in your memory at this time?"  Your answer was, "No, only any one that I happened to give them myself, but their cutlery was gathered here and there.  If they moved some place and there was a can opener in a drawer, they owned a can opener.  If somebody had something that they were throwing out, they had a knife.  It was rather a catch as catch can furnishing."
     But in the first part of it, you did refer to giving them some cutlery, didn't you?
A  If I gave them a knife, I said.  I believe I gave them a carving knife that belonged to a set of ours, a large carving knife.  I may have been referring to that.  But I am sure I didn't bother to give Colette little five and dime things.  They could buy those.
Q  Lastly, Mrs. Kassab, you were aware that your husband Freddie flew down from New York to Fort Bragg in the summer of 1970, to testify at the Article 32 proceedings, is that right?
A  Correct.
Q  Your husband told you, as you described to us, what he's testified to in the proceedings?
A  That is right.
Q  And he said that if he had another daughter -- stepdaughter -- that he would want that daughter --
A  (Interposing)  I think that is high-handed.
Q  Beg your pardon?
A  I thought that a little high-handed.
Q  "A  little high-handed"?
A  Yes, to give my second, non-existent daughter.
Q  In other words, you didn't agree with Freddie when he --
A  (Interposing)  No, because even though I wouldn't believe Jeff, I wouldn't take anyone's word for it that he was guilty.
     I was not enamored with him to the point of giving him a second daughter, because I found many little things, as every mother-in-law does, that I didn't think were great.
Q  As a matter of fact, you complained to Colette that you thought that she was too agreeable when Jeff wanted, say, the house to be kept a little neater and straighter?
A  No, that wasn't when.  It would be when he complained about her not returning soda bottles to the store; when he used her car she would have to carry them in the express wagon; and she replied, "Please never take issue with Jeff, he cannot stand criticism, Mom."  So, I didn't.
Q  And you told her that that's not the way you would have related to Jeff, isn't that right?
A  No, we didn't follow it.  I loved Colette very much, and her children, and if she wanted it that way then --
Q  (Interposing)  Excuse me, the question is: you didn't agree with the way your daughter related with Jeff and you told her so?
A  I don't think I said more than, "You are too easy, it's your car.  You let him take the bottles back."  That is when she replied, "Never take issue with Jeff."  From then on I noticed she never did.

MR. SEGAL:  All right, thank you, Mrs. Kassab, thank you very much for your cooperation.

THE WITNESS:  You are quite welcome.

MR. BLACKBURN:  We have no further questions.

THE COURT:  Call your next witness.

MR. BLACKBURN:  She may be excused.

MR. MURTAGH:  Your Honor, the Government calls Dr. Craig Chamberlain.

(Witness excused.)
Webmaster note: 
The original stenographer's misspellings of Stephenson and Peterson were corrected to Stevenson and Petersen, respectively, in this transcript.