August 21, 1979
Scans of original transcript
(Whereupon, DUDLEY WARNER 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 10:24 a.m.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Mr. Warner, would you tell us where you reside, please?
A Manhattan Beach, California.
Q Tell us by whom are you employed and briefly, what you do?
A I am a District Manager for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.
Q How long have you been with Liberty Mutual?
A Fourteen years.
Q Do you know Jeffrey MacDonald, the Defendant in this case?
A Yes, sir.
Q How long have you known Jeff?
A Twenty years.
Q When did you first learn of the murders of the family of Dr. MacDonald?
A I was living in a suburb of San Francisco called Corte Madero, and I was commuting in to work. I was riding across the Golden Gate Bridge and I heard it over the radio.
Q As a result of hearing that, what did you do?
A I went in to the office right away. The only thing I heard on the radio was a Green Beret, Captain MacDonald's family, had been murdered. I don't believe it gave a first name, so I rode in to work, praying that it would not be the Dr. MacDonald that I knew. So I got in the office and called up UPI and AP and tried to get more information. I was not able to. I called Fort Bragg. I don't even remember what number I called at Fort Bragg. I guess it was just an information number. And I really did not get enough information to confirm it. I did not want to get enough information to confirm it, really. So I called a friend in New York. I think people in New York had already heard it and had confirmed that it was the same people.
Q Had you known Colette MacDonald also during that period of 20 years?
Q Did you know the MacDonald children, Kimberly and Kristen?
A Well, I knew Kimberly very well; but Kristen, no. I got married in 1967 and on a visit to Chicago was the first time I had seen Kristen, and she was two months old at the time.
Q After you heard about, and were able to confirm the fact that this was the MacDonald family that you knew, did you have occasion to go to Fayetteville -- Fort Bragg?
A Yes; I went that day.
Q The same day?
Q Did you see Dr. MacDonald there?
Q Will you tell us where you saw him and what happened at that time?
A He was in the hospital. And I was picked up by one of the Army officers, Captain Williams. He took me to the hospital. I went right to the room.
Q Were there other people there when you got there, Mr. Warner?
A Yes; I know who was there. I don't know who was in the room or anything, but there were people in the room and outside the room.
Q What did you do when you got to the hospital room?
A I went in the room, and although I had had about five hours in the air to think about what I was going to say, I could not find much to say. And I broke down and so did Jeff.
Q Did he say anything at all at that time about what had happened or what was going on?
A I think about the only thing that was said was something, you know, "Why us?" or something like that. I could not make much of a response because I was pretty broken up. There was other people in the room, so I left for a few minutes.
Q How long did you remain in Fayetteville at that juncture?
A I believe four or five days. I think I left the day after the funeral.
Q Were you actually at the funeral services that were held for the MacDonald family?
Q Did you have occasion to go to the services with Jeff?
A Well, I was at the services early, because I was trying to -- I don't know, somebody suggested -- I was trying to screen all the civilian people that were coming in the church to keep the curiosity-seekers out. Then I went in after Jeff arrived. I went into the church with him and sat behind him.
Q Sat directly behind him?
Q Did you observe what Dr. MacDonald's attitude was and condition in response to the funeral service for his wife and for his children?
A Well, I couldn't see his face, but his shoulders were heaving. He was crying. There is no doubt in my mind.
Q After the funeral services were over, did you accompany him back to the hospital at that point?
A Yes; I went back -- I can't swear to it, but I think there were two people in the front seat -- both of them CID officers -- and Jeff and I rode in the back seat.
Q Can you tell us about what his attitude was or what, if anything, you said on the way back when he went back to the hospital?
A Well, there was not much discussion. I had my arm around him, and I was trying to fight back tears myself. I just sort of held him in my arms. There was not much discussion at all.
Q Let me ask you -- where did you first meet Jeff MacDonald?
A I moved to Patchogue, which was our home town, in 1959.
Q Patchogue was a small town on the eastern end of Long Island at that time?
A Yes; and I lived up the street from Jeff on Washington Avenue. There was only one high school and we both went to that high school.
Q Were you both classmates at that point?
A Yes; we were in an accelerated learning class, and it was a small class of anywhere from 25 to 30 students. We went to most all of our classes together.
Q Did you and Jeffrey remain as classmates through the next three years in high school?
Q Did you meet Colette MacDonald while you at Patchogue High School?
A Yes; she was in the same classes.
Q So it would be fair to say that you met Colette about the same time that you met Jeff?
Q Could you tell us something about the behavior and the conduct of Jeff MacDonald during high school years, that you observed when you were his classmate?
MR. BLACKBURN: Your Honor, we would OBJECT to this.
THE COURT: That seems to be rather remote to the Court. You can ask him character traits and so forth. If you want to go back that far I will let you.
MR. SEGAL: Yes, Your Honor; I would appreciate the opportunity to do so.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q I am particularly interested in your own personal knowledge and personal experiences at that point, and we will get to other points also, Mr. Warner. But I am interested in what you know personally to share with us about the character traits of the violence and non-violence of Jeff MacDonald, particularly for women, particularly for children, about whatever information or experience.you had during those three years that you could share with us would be helpful?
A Well, he was very popular in school. I noticed no traits or leanings toward violence. If he had any he expressed them in athletic competition, but like I said he was well-liked. He treated the girls in the class very well. He was well-liked by all of them. He was just an allAmerican boy, I suppose you would say.
Q Did he hold any offices or positions in his class?
A Yes; he was Class President for at least one year.
Q And that was an election by both boys and girls, I assume?
Q Now, did you have an occasion to see Jeff and Colette socially during the high school period?
Q Would you tell us about that; what was the nature of their relationship and how often or what occasions you had to see them together?
A Well, I -- Jeff dated Colette when I first went there around 1959. Then they broke up and he was dating other people and she was dating somebody else. However, they remained friends and the MacDonald household was the center of activity during holidays, parties, whatever. So we would see them;even though they would be dating different people they would be at the parties together, and so I would see them basically at the MacDonald household.
Q During this period of time when Jeff and Colette were seeing other people, what was Jeff's attitude toward Colette, and what was Colette's attitude toward Jeff?
A Very warm. I doubt if I could go to a party with an ex-girlfriend and be very comfortable; yet that was -- they were very comfortable around each other.
Q You mentioned that Dr. MacDonald was active in, I think, athletics in school?
Q What athletics was he involved in?
A Football and baseball and basketball.
Q Did you have occasion to see him engaged in those sports?
Q Was that in intra-school -- I mean between-school competition -- between the formal teams of the schools?
Q Did you ever see him express any extreme violence or assaultive behavior toward any other player or any other opponent, or any member of his own team during the period of time you saw him competing?
Q What position did he play as a football player, do you know?
Q Now, at the end of the high school period, did you both continue to go to school together or see each other thereafter?
A No; he went to Princeton and I went to the University of Tennessee.
Q During the year that Jeff was at Princeton and you were at some other school -- you never attended Princeton, I assume?
Q Did you have contact with Jeff and with Jeff and Colette?
Q Tell us, you know, how often you had contact; how did you maintain your relationship with them?
A Well, we got a lot closer in our senior year because we had common interests. I started off at the University of Tennessee as a pre-med student, and Jeff was going into -- Jeff was going into pre-med, so I -- like I said, we had common interests. We kept in touch; and again on holidays when we all came home, the MacDonald home was the place where everybody gathered. We even gathered when Jeff wasn't around. It would be the first stop on our vacation.
Q Did you learn of -- did you know when Jeff and Colette MacDonald got married?
Q Do you know when that was?
A 1973, September. I don't know the date.
Q 1973 or 1963?
A 1963, I'm sorry.
Q Were you present at the wedding?
A Yes, I was an usher.
Q Who invited you?
A Jeff and Colette.
Q I may be asking the obvious, but what was their attitude toward each other at that time?
A They were extremely in love.
Q After the wedding, Jeff and Colette returned to Princeton, I believe, is that right?
Q And you went back to school yourself?
Q Did you make any contact with them thereafter; did you see them thereafter?
Q How often, and where did you see them at the time that they remained at Princeton University?
A Well, I'm not a very good letter writer, but occasionally I would write a letter and then I would see them on holidays when we were, you know -- any time school was out I would see them.
Q After they were married and lived at Princeton, did you observe any change in their attitude toward each other and the way they treated each other?
A Not at all.
Q When Dr. MacDonald thereafter went off to medical school in Chicago, did you have any contact with them when they were in Chicago?
A Yes; in 1967 -- well, I kept in touch by, you know, mail; and then again I would see them on vacations but the time I saw them in Chicago in April of 1967, my company transferred me from New York to San Francisco, and on the way cross-country I stopped and saw Jeff and Colette.
Q And how long -- that was in Chicago?
Q And how long did you spend with them?
A Two days, I believe; two or three days.
Q And at that point they had how many children in their household?
A Just one.
Q That was Kimberly?
A Kimberly, that's right. Colette was pregnant at the time.
Q What was her attitude toward her second pregnancy as far as you could tell?
A Very excited. They were happy about it and the time was getting near, so there was even more excitement.
Q Did you have occasion to see how Jeff and Colette treated Kimberly at that point?
Q Will you tell us about that?
A Well, Jeff was the type that would always -- rather than scold Kimberly, he would explain things to her, why she might not be able to do this, or why she shouldn't do something; and Colette was probably more the disciplinarian, in a good way. I mean, she would, you know, say "no" and maybe not explain things; but they were -- they, I felt, handled their children very well.
Q After that visit with the MacDonalds in Chicago, did you continue to maintain contact with them; and if you did how did you do that?
A Yes; I flew back to New York in July to get married, and we drove cross-country on our honeymoon and stopped in Chicago.
Q You with your wife?
A My wife and I, right.
Q Did Dr. MacDonald have any effect on you or influence on your getting married to your wife?
MR. BLACKBURN: Your Honor, we would OBJECT to this on relevancy grounds.
MR. SEGAL: I think it will become obvious in a minute what their relationship is.
THE COURT: Go ahead.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Go ahead, Mr. Warner.
A Yes, I was dating my wife and I wanted to get married, and she wasn't as enthusiastic about it as I was. And -- well, we had had -- in a small town you knew about every divorce -- young couples -- that happened. And so my wife was a little skittish about it, so I thought the obvious -- the best way to convince her that marriage was good was to expose her to a good marriage. So we double-dated a lot with Jeff and Colette whenever we had the opportunity. We went to New York together and spent a lot of time with them.
Q Did you in fact succeed in persuading that lady to marry you?
Q To her everlasting regret?
Q After Dr. MacDonald left Chicago and went to New York for his internship, did you have contact with him there?
A Yes; we took a summer vacation -- my wife and I -- and we called them. I believe Jeff was living in New Jersey at the time. We met them in New York City for dinner.
Q What did you observe -- anything that had changed in the relationship between Jeff and Colette?
A Nothing; they were still getting along super. We just had a great evening with them. Nothing had changed in my mind.
Q In between the actual physical visits, how did you maintain contact, if you did?
A Just by letter. I would write to him and he would call me, or he would write to me and I would call him, or whatever. And Colette, she always put the notes on the Christmas cards or Easter cards, or whatever.
Q Did you subsequently learn that Dr. MacDonald was entering the Army?
A Yes; I knew he was entering the Army.
Q How did you learn that?
A Well, in a letter or phone call -- I knew he was joining the Army. Then I got a letter from him. It was a big letterhead with "Special Forces" or "Green Berets" or something on it. That was his way of telling me he had joined the Green Berets.
Q Did he at any time express what his attitude was toward going into the military -- military service, particularly with the Special Forces?
A Obviously, he was proud of it. The letter was all letterhead, practically, so he was very proud of it.
Q Did you see or have contact with Jeff and Colette MacDonald while they were in the Army prior to February 17, 1970?
A Yes; just mainly correspondence and phone calls.
Q Before we get into that, I meant to ask you -- you told us that you married the lady that you double-dated with Jeff with. When was your wedding?
A 1967 -- July.
Q Was Dr. MacDonald or Colette MacDonald present at your wedding?
MR. BLACKBURN: Your Honor, we would OBJECT.
THE COURT: OVERRULED.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Yes, Mr. Warner?
A Could you repeat that, please?
Q Yes; were either Dr. MacDonald or Mrs. MacDonald present at your wedding?
Q Had they been invited?
A Jeff was going to be my best man and Colette had had a difficult delivery with Kristen two months prior. She was not up to making the trip. He called me and said, if he could beg out, why he would, because he did not want to leave her alone.
Q Had you asked him to play any special role in your wedding?
A Yes; he was going to be the best man.
Q But you said because of Colette's condition and the pregnancy --
A (Interposing) Right.
Q Did you get a message from them in regard to your wedding?
A Yes; the day I got married I got a telegram at my in-laws' house.
Q Did you save it?
Q Why did you save the message from them?
A Well, it was a nice sentiment on my wedding.
MR. SEGAL: We will share this sentiment with everybody.
BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Let me show you Defendant 93 and tell us if you know what it is, Mr. Warner, and then share it with us, please?
(Defendant Exhibit 93 was marked for identification.)
A I know what it is. This is a copy of the telegram, and it is to Mr. and Mrs. Dudley Warner in care of Fred Blume. "...Our best thoughts and wishes to both of you on this most happy and important day. See you soon. Love, the MacDonalds."
Q What is the last message you ever received from Colette MacDonald?
A My daughter was born December 9th of 1969. I either called them when she was born, or we sent them an announcement. Colette sent a card and I believe a gift with it. I don't recall what the gift was. Colette put a note on the back of the card.
Q Let me show you what has been marked as Defendant Exhibits 94 and 94(a). Could you tell us, first of all, Mr. Warner, what 94 is, please?
(Defendant Exhibits 94 and 94(a) were marked for identification)
A This is the actual card.
Q That you received when?
A The end of December -- around Christmastime.
Q And is 94(a) a photocopy of the same card?
Q Would you please read us the message written on that card by Colette MacDonald?
A "...We were so thrilled to hear the good news (at last, as Dudley probably told you as you were in the labor process, pray next time it can't be as bad). I had a premonition and mentioned to Jeff that the baby was due and you must be just about ready to pop -- a gross expression, but you know what I mean. You will love having a girl. They really are so much more fun, I think, but then I am doubly prejudiced. We are -- a-hem -- expecting again, and I hope we have a boy for Jeff's sake, although Kim and Kristie fill the bill as fishermen and ball handlers. In fact, every time we go fishing, Kim always catches the most fish and Jeff the least. We are hoping to make it there really next August for an orthopedic convention. Sounds thrilling, doesn't it? Jeff doesn't care about the convention at all, but the Army will pay his way and we really want to see you guys. Oh, I just mailed a gift -- no box, lousy wrapping. The PX doesn't give boxes when you buy something. I hope it reaches you safely. C."
Q Did you have some occasion to ascertain what the attitude of Jeffrey MacDonald was toward women other than his wife in terms of your own experiences, your own advice?
A Yeah; when we went on our honeymoon to Chicago, my wife was as reluctant a bride as she was a fiancee. We had been married -- she will kill me -- we had been married for about three days, and I went to Jeff for a little brotherly or fatherly advice. He told me to just be patient, be -- you know -- understanding and things will all work out. And they did.
Q Is it fair to say the essence of his advice was what?
A Just to be gentle and patient.
Q Based upon all your contacts with Dr. MacDonald over 20 years, what is your opinion as to him as being a peaceful, non-violent, non-assaultive man?
A He is non-violent. There has never been anything that I would consider to be violent.
Q Based upon all your experience and contacts with Jeffrey MacDonald, what would you say his attitude was toward the care of children and how they should be treated -- how they should be dealt with?
A Well, like I mentioned before, as far as disciplining, he does a whole lot more explaining than I do with my children. He is gentle, loving, openly affectionate with his children.
Q Based upon all your contacts and all your knowledge of Jeff MacDonald, what is your opinion of him as to being a truthful man?
A I think he is truthful. I put my house up for bail for him. I have no doubt to his truthfulness at all.
MR. SEGAL: Thank you, Mr. Warner. You may cross-examine.
MR. BLACKBURN: May we have just a moment?
MR. BLACKBURN: Your Honor, before we do, may we approach the Bench a moment?
THE COURT: Yes. I was about to penalize you for taking too long in your huddle.
B E N C H C O N F E R E N C E
MR. SMITH: Judge, did Your Honor ever make a decision or ruling on our motion that they be denied the right to ask the sex questions on cross-examination of our character witnesses? We talked about it briefly, you remember, back in chambers, but we never have approached the Bench and asked Your Honor what Your Honor wanted to do about that.
THE COURT: Well, to answer your questions in sequence, I have no recollection of the ruling, but if I can reconstruct it in my mind, it would have been this, I suppose: that if there was no evidence in the record concerning extramarital activity, then it would be improper to question witnesses -- character or otherwise -- about it. I ruled that the evidence was admissible on the motive thing, I suppose, was the basis for that. I held them to a relatively short period of time. We ruled out the August, 1970, affair of which there is evidence. At least, I said I would not let it come in at that time, as I recall. And as far as the character witnesses are concerned, of course, there was no objection to that on the first witness who was asked about it. If it is your proposal to object now, of course, it would be based upon -- it would be based, I take it, on the fact that there is nothing in direct examination about it.
However, I believe that the rule which allows cross-examination in reference to extrinsic acts -- isn't that correct -- the burden would be on you. If you say that it would be objectionable -- if that is the purpose of this visit -- then it is up to you to show what rule.
MR. SEGAL: Your Honor, there is a motion in limine that we filed on this with a lengthy memorandum of law. I can get another copy, if you want. We laid out all the authorities that said that cross-examination on a character witness has got to be in reference to character qualities that are relevant. We briefed at great length about this precise issue. There has never been a formal ruling on that motion, but it does spell out all the authorities that support our position.
THE COURT: Well, now, wait a minute. I carry forward a live motion calendar.
MR. SEGAL: One of Ms. Rouder's works of art. Perhaps I can get my copy more easily.
THE COURT: Wait a minute. I've got something on it. Incidentally, just as a matter of curiosity, was Ms. Rouder the lawyer that went down to Greenville to see Stoeckley?
MR. SEGAL: No; Ms. Rouder is Caucasian. She has a dark complexion, that is all.
THE COURT: I have got another one a shade darker. I am very much impressed with Ms. Rouder.
MR. SMITH: She is as smart as she can be.
THE COURT: There was a case -- the Aaron case -- which limits cross-examination of character witnesses to rumors involving character traits connected with the crime. Is that what you propose to go into with this witness? I would be inclined to sustain an objection to it.
MR. BLACKBURN: I will just wait until the Defendant takes the stand.
THE COURT: Listen, you are not going to make any points regardless of what his answer is. You've got the thing already in. There is no use in taking that chance. I don't think the Government even wants to, really. Stay away from it.
(Bench conference terminated.)
THE COURT: Are you going to ask this witness any questions?
MR. BLACKBURN: One or two.
C R O S S E X A M I N A T I O N 11:02 a.m.
BY MR. BLACKBURN:
Q Mr. Warner, I believe you testified on direct that in 1970 when you heard of the murders, you were on the Golden Gate Bridge, is that correct?
Q You do not have any personal firsthand knowledge, do you, of what went on in the house at Fort Bragg on February 17, 1970?
MR. BLACKBURN: No further questions.
THE COURT: Call your next witness.
MR. SEGAL: Thank you, Mr. Warner. You may step down.