August 22, 1979
James Frank Moore
Scans of original transcript
THE COURT: Did you have any more evidence for the Defendant?
MR. SMITH: Yes, sir, Your Honor. We have called for a witness now, and he will be here.
THE COURT: All right.
(Whereupon, JAMES FRANK MOORE 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 11:47 a.m.
BY MR. SMITH:
Q Again, for the record, sir, state your name.
A James Frank Moore.
Q And are you called Frank by your friends?
A Yes, sir; I am.
Q What is your rank in the military, sir?
A I'm a Major.
Q What is your duty station now?
A Redstone Arsenal down in Huntsville, Alabama, sir.
Q Do you know Jeff MacDonald?
A Yes, sir; I do.
Q Did you know Colette MacDonald?
A Yes, sir; I did.
Q When did you meet him?
A In 1969, probably September, I think. It was a month exactly when they first came to Fort Bragg.
Q Do you remember the first time you met Colette?
A Yes, sir; Captain MacDonald and I were in the medical section there in the Special Forces Unit and I had a cook-out out at my house -- a barbeque -- and all the fellows brought their wives and what have you to this cook-out and that's when I met Colette.
Q Again, about when was that, Major Moore?
A Well, it was probably late in September, the first of October when this -- it was still warm weather. It wasn't cool yet and it was shortly after they arrived there.
Q Did you have children at that time?
A Yes, sir.
Q How many?
A I have two children.
Q At that time, how many did you have?
A I had two then. My daughter was about the age of Jeff's oldest child.
Q And that would have been at what age then; do you recall?
A Oh, probably about six.
A My son was approximately 13 or 14 at the time.
Q At some point after you and your wife and Colette and Jeff met, would you state whether or not your daughters became friends?
A Yes; they did and they visited each other quite frequently. His children spent time at my home. I lived off the post and had kind of a large yard, and my daughter spent time at their house and, in fact, she spent the weekend there before all this took place.
Q You are saying then that your daughter spent the weekend with the MacDonalds just prior to the time that Colette died?
A Yes, sir.
Q After the cook-out you described, how often would you and your wife see Colette and Jeff?
A Well, my wife and I would only see them occasionally but we -- you know -- maybe twice a month. I saw Jeff every day because we worked together.
Q Did Jeff talk about his children?
A Yes, sir. Yes, sir -- quite a bit as we both did.
Q Did you ever go over and visit their home with just Jeff?
A Well, since I lived about 10 miles away from where we worked, I would go with Jeff on many occasions -- probably four or five times a month -- over to his house and have lunch. His wife would fix sandwiches and a glass of milk for lunch.
Q Were those, as far as you knew, unannounced visits?
A Yes; they were and -- you know -- I'm older than Jeff and have been married a lot longer than him but I kind of learned something from those visits. His wife always accepted them real well.
Q She did not fuss that he brought somebody home without announcing it?
A Well, I kind of figured out why she did because he was always so nice about it. He would always compliment her -- you know -- even if the sandwiches were a little dry and not too good, he would always say, "Thanks a lot. They were good sandwiches." Me being a guest I guess I was expected to do that but -- (pause) --
Q What would the children do when you would drive up on those unannounced visits?
A Well, the kids would always be -- if they ever saw us or knew that we were driving up or when they noticed that we drove up, they would squeal and holler and run out and climb on him and hug him and I remember thinking at the time when I get home my kids would say, "Well, he's back again." His children were really affectionate to him.
Q Do you ever remember going over on an unannounced visit for lunch and having any conversation with Colette about being pregnant?
A Well, on one occasion we went over for lunch and Colette came out of the house and the kids were out of the house and -- you know -- they all kind of met us out towards the car, and Colette was very happy and she says, "The doctor has confirmed that I am pregnant," so I assumed that she suspected before but it had been confirmed at that time.
Q What happened with Jeff at that moment, if anything?
A Well, they hugged each other and he kind of picked her up, and the kids were climbing all around. During the meal when we were eating the sandwiches, they talked with the children about the fact that they were going to have a daughter -- a brother or a sister -- and the kids were happy about it and were talking about "Well, it's" -- you know -- "a little brother, a little sister -- that's going to be great."
Q Do you remember about when that happened? You may not remember precisely but if you do, it would help us.
A Well, it was still warm weather. I remember it wasn't cold yet so probably October or the end of October. I can't say for sure, sir.
Q Would you state whether or not around Christmastime or shortly after Christmastime you and your family and the MacDonald family ever did any particular things together?
A Well, one thing that I remember specifically is Jeff had bought the kids a pony -- a little Shetland pony -- for Christmas and a bunny rabbit, and we visited quite a lot, and my daughter and his daughter rode the pony and played with the rabbit, and we would go out where the pony was kept and, of course, when this all happened, Jeff gave my daughter the pony and said, "I'd like for you to have the pony," and gave it to her.
Q After the family died?
Q How often would you go out and see the pony and play with the pony?
A Well, it would be hard to say how often. We went several times. I can't really say how often. It was, you know, like more than two or three. It was probably five or six times we went out where the pony was.
Q Was the pony nice and cooperative with you?
A No. It was a little Shetland stallion, and if anybody knows anything about Shetland ponies, they are not always that agreeable and a stallion even makes it worse, I guess. One thing I do remember is that Jeff had a lot more patience, I guess, with the horse and the kids than what I did because he would work with them and coax them and show them how to use their legs and the reins to make the pony respond. His children as well as mine responded real well to his assistance and guidance, and he worked with them real well.
Q Major Moore, did you sense in those days, after Christmas of 1969, that anything was happening in that family that was bad?
MR. ANDERSON: OBJECTION.
THE COURT: OVERRULED.
THE WITNESS: My contact with them -- my experience with them was never anything other than that they had a beautiful family, a happy relationship, and like I mentioned before, I learned some things from them about married life and how to get along.
MR. SMITH: You may examine the witness.
C R O S S - E X A M I N A T I O N 11:54 a.m.
BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Major Moore, I believe you testified on Direct Examination that your daughter -- by the way, what is your daughter's name, sir?
Q Rebecca, your daughter, Rebecca knew Kimberly; is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Was she a classmate of Kimberly's?
A No, sir.
Q But they were friends?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did they go to the same school?
A No. I lived ten miles away.
Q Did they play together often under the circumstances?
Q I believe you testified that your daughter spent the weekend before the murders, which would have been, I guess, the first weekend in February at the MacDonald home; is that correct?
A It was the weekend before this happened; yes.
Q Now, did there come a time when the CID sought to interview your daughter?
A That is hard to answer, yes and no. I was approached by the CID about my daughter; yes.
Q Did they approach you to gain permission to interview your daughter?
A It was not to interview my daughter. They wanted fingerprints and footprints from her.
Q Did they also want to talk to her?
A The agreement that the CID agent made with me was that he would not talk to her about the MacDonalds because I asked him not to, and the reason I asked him not to was that she was quite emotional over the fact she had lost her friends. He said there was no need to talk to her; that all he wanted was footprints and fingerprints, and I agreed to that.
Q Would it be accurate to say, Major Moore, that you did not want the CID to talk to your daughter who had spent the weekend previous to the murders at the MacDonald house?
A Well, I wish you wouldn't say it that way because that is not the way it really is. You are distorting it.
Q Well --
MR. SMITH: (Interposing) OBJECTION to not permitting the witness to finish answering the question.
THE COURT: Please, both of you don't talk at once.
THE WITNESS: May I comment on that?
MR. MURTAGH: Let me --
THE WITNESS: (Interposing) You don't want me to comment on that? All right.
MR. MURTAGH: I don't want to interrupt you.
THE COURT: We will just get back on track now. You ask a question, and you answer it.
THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Let me rephrase my question, sir. Is it a fact that your daughter spent the weekend previous or prior to the murders at the MacDonald house? Could you answer that, sir?
A Yes, it is a fact.
Q And did the CID come to talk to you?
A On several occasions.
Q Did you ask them not to talk to your daughter about this in any way other than obtaining fingerprints and footprints?
A After Jeff was out of the Army -- after the Article 32 --
Q (Interposing) Excuse me --
MR. SMITH: (Interposing) OBJECTION.
THE COURT: Yes, I will let the counsel interpose. Major Moore, please answer his question. It appeared you were going to answer something that he didn't ask you and that always gets us into trouble. Answer his question, but now if you have any explanation, you will be afforded ample opportunity to explain your answer, but just first answer directly the question that he asked. I know it is a little hard for witnesses, but that is the way we have to do it when they interpose OBJECTION. Now, ask it again and let's start over.
BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Major Moore, did you object or did you tell the CID agents not to question your daughter in any fashion -- only that you would agree to her being fingerprinted and footprinted?
MR. MURTAGH: Thank you. No further questions.
THE COURT: In fairness to this witness, if he has any explanation of that, I want him to give it. I want him to have an opportunity to give it is what I mean.
MR. SMITH: May I explore that, then, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Well, you can do it.
R E D I R E C T E X A M I N A T I O N 11:59 a.m.
BY MR. SMITH:
Q Major Moore, would you like to explain the answer that you just gave?
A Yes, I would because that leaves the wrong impression.
Q All right, why don't you tell us what happened?
A When this all happened and the murders took place, the CID did not talk about my daughter. I told the agent that interviewed me at that time that she was there. There was no comment made about it. Months later after Captain MacDonald was out of the Army and a civilian, a CID agent called me from Washington, D.C., and wanted to talk to me.
He came to my office and we talked. I mentioned the fact -- well, he mentioned to me that there were footprints and fingerprints they could not identify. I said, "That does not surprise me because my daughter's fingerprints are not on file anywhere in the world, and she was there the weekend before this happened." I said, "A little kid touches things and they are probably there." He said, "Well, good, could I take the fingerprints and footprints from your daughter?" I said, "Sure. Anything I can do to assist, I will," but I said, "Because of her emotional upset about this case, her friends being killed, I wish you wouldn't talk about the children and the MacDonald family and the killing." That is what I asked him not to do and he agreed. There was no pressure from him whatsoever to talk to her or question her about her visit or the MacDonald family.
He said, "All I want..." -- and that was on my suggestion that he even took the footprints and fingerprints. The way your question set me up to say was that I refused --
MR. MURTAGH: (Interposing) I OBJECT to that.
THE COURT: You need not go into that. That is an argument.
THE WITNESS: I am sorry, sir.
THE COURT: We have got enough lawyers here to do that.
THE WITNESS: Okay, sir, I am sorry.
MR. SMITH: That is all the questions we have of this witness, Your Honor.
MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, one question on Recross, if I may.
R E C R O S S - E X A M I N A T I O N 12:01 p.m.
BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Major Moore, do you know what other friends of Kimberly's, if any, fingerprints might be found at that house?
A I have no idea, sir.
THE COURT: Call your next witness.
MR. SMITH: Thank you, Major Moore.