Trial Transcripts

August 21, 1979

Sharon Shaw

F U R T H E R  P R O C E E D I N G S  2:30 p.m.

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

THE COURT:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

MR. SMITH:  Your Honor, we call Sharon Shaw as a witness, please.

(Whereupon, SHARON SHAW 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  2:31 p.m.

Q  Ms. Shaw, where do you live?
A  Southern Pines, North Carolina.
Q  How long have you lived in Southern Pines?
A  Seven years.
Q  At any time in the past several years, Ms. Shaw, have you taught any courses at Fort Bragg, North Carolina?
A  Yes; I taught for the North Carolina State University branch at Fort Bragg, from about 1968 through '74.
Q  During any of those years, Ms. Shaw, did you teach Colette MacDonald?
A  Yes, I did.
Q  Do you recall what year it was that you taught Colette?
A  It was late 1969 or early -- very early 1970.
Q  When you say, "late 1969," do you actually mean November or December, that late?
A  November, Decerrber, or January.
Q  Did you ever have occasions, Ms. Shaw, to talk with Colette MacDonald?
A  Yes, I did.
Q  What kind of a student was Colette, and what did you teach her?
A  She was in a course of mine in the American Novel.  She was an incredibly good student.
Q  Do you recall any particular things that she did that you appreciated as a teacher, that is any particular kind of work that she did?
A  Well, one thing that I have remembered as a teacher was a paper she wrote for me on a James Baldwin novel we were talking about.  The thing that struck me about the paper was that it was very sensitive, very insightful, just incredibly well written.
Q  Did Colette participate in class discussions?
A  Frequently.
Q  Would you state whether or not Colette ever came up and visited with you after the classes were over?
A  Occasionally we would chat either after the class or during the break.
Q  Ms. Shaw, have I exhibited to you a photograph of Colette MacDonald?
A  You have.
Q  Is there any question in your mind about whether the Colette MacDonald you taught is the same person about whom we have been conducting this inquiry?
A  None.
Q  Ms. Shaw, do you remember any of the subjects of conversation you had with Colette MacDonald after classes?
A  I can't quote verbatim.  I remember on one occasion she talked to me about the expected child that she was happy about.
Q  And do you remember about when that would have been?
A  It was very late in the term.
Q  And would that again have been late 1969 or early '70?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Ms. Shaw, were you around Colette enough to have any impression about whether she was a happy person?
A  My impression of her was that she very happy, very articulate, very proud of herself and her situation.
Q  Ms. Shaw, do you remember any particular classroom discussion in which Colette MacDonald was a participant?
A  Yes, she was a regular participant in the discussions we had about the novels and work.  An evening that has stayed in my mind almost inevitably was a night there was a lot of anti-Green Beret sentiment on campus at Fort Bragg when I was there; and frequently, not just in the class Mrs. MacDonald was in but in several of my classes, something would trigger -- although as I say, I am an English teacher or literature teacher -- something would trigger some sort of fairly heated outburst about the Green Berets -- anti-Green Beret.  And the night that I think of in relation to Mrs. MacDonald, we had been talking about a novel, and somehow in connection with the novel the subject of violence or ideas about violence came up.  And several students in the class who had been instrumental in publishing Bragg Briefs, which was an anti-military newspaper that some of the GI's were putting out, in relation to the subject of violence, made statements like, "Green Berets are all violent; they're all -- "



Q  You may continue.
A  "That they are all violent; they are all cutting people's ears off," and so forth.  Anyway, the point that has stayed with me is, as one of the students was making this sort of comment, Mrs. MacDonald interrupted the student and with what was to me visible anger but still good-humored anger, said, "My husband is a Green Beret, and he is no murderer."

Q  Did you report this, Ms. Shaw, to anyone after you learned that Mrs. MacDonald had been killed?
A  Yes, sir; I learned of the murder late at night driving back to Greenville from Fort Bragg, and about 8:00 o'clock the next morning I called the SBI wanting to give them this information.  They sent a man to see me that afternoon.

MR. SMITH:  Examine the witness.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Just a moment, Your Honor.


C R O S S - E X A M I N A T I O N

Q  Ms. Shaw, do you know at the time that Colette made this statement to you whether Dr. MacDonald had been overseas specifically to Vietnam or anywhere in Southeast Asia at that time?
A  I don't know.  I knew that he was a doctor and I knew that he was attached to the Green Berets.

MR. MURTAGH:  No further questions, Your Honor.

MR. SMITH:  No further questions from the Defense, Your Honor.


MR. SMITH:  Thank you very much, Ms. Shaw.  The Defense calls Steve Shea to the stand, Your Honor.

(Witness excused.)