The Continuing Persecution of Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald
From Ken Adachi
November 5, 2005
Ted Gunderson had left a message on my answering machine this
evening (Saturday, Nov. 5) that I didn't find out about until 9:59PM. My
wife said that "Ted had left a message about some 'show' that was coming
on at 10 PM", but she wasn't sure of the details. Ted's message was
recorded over, so I quickly phoned Ted to find out what he wanted me to
see. After being told that he wasn't at home in Las Vegas, I reached him
on his cell phone at his daughter's apartment in Los Angeles.
"Yea, it's on now." he said after I announced myself.
"What channel?" I asked.
"CBS, it just started!".
I knew he wanted to watch the show himself, so I said: "OK,
got it." and hung up.
I didn't know what he wanted me to see, but I knew it was
on Channel 2. I hurried to turn on the TV, but I had to play around with
the antennae on top of the set for quite a while until I got a fairly clear
picture (Channel 2 is the most difficult station to pull in clearly when
you're using built-in rabbit ears antennae).
And there he was, Dr.
Jeffrey Robert MacDonald, being "interviewed" on TV- yet again-
concerning the murders that took place at his home at 544 Castle Dive on
Fort Bragg, North Carolina. in the early morning hours of February 17, 1970
where his pregnant wife, Colette, and two young daughters, Kristen, 2, and
Kimberly, 5, were savagely slaughtered in a horrific triple murder bloodbath.
MacDonald was discovered unconscious and seriously injured,
as he had been stabbed multiple times with an ice pick, a knife, and repeatedly
clubbed with a baseball bat. When he was taken to the hospital, doctors
discovered that one of his lungs had collapsed due to puncture wounds. For
Jeffrey MacDonald, however, his ordeal didn't end with the surgery to restore
the functioning of his right lung- it had barely just begun.
While his lung was being repaired, an Army Criminal Investigation
Division (CID) investigator by the name of William
F. Ivory was gathering evidence at the MacDonald home. The story
of what happened to much of the forensic evidence at the murder scene and
the decisive role that William Ivory played in the pernicious prosecution
and railroading of Jeffrey MacDonald will be explored in a separate
series of articles, but for the purpose of this writing, it's important
to note that the CBS TV program that I was now watching, 48
Hours Mystery, hosted by Bill Lagattuta, was repeatedly
referring back to the explanations and crime scene assessments offered by
the very same "Bill" Ivory , who was being portarayed
on this television program as a heroic, tenacious, and stalwart bulldog
investigator (along with Peter Kearns, another former CID investigator),
explaining to the viewer what really happened that night (we are
told) and MacDonald's true role (we are told) as crafty psychotic
killer and cunning deceptionist.
On August 1979, Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted in a Raleigh,
North Carolina courtroom of killing his wife and two small children and
was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison.
There's only one problem with this picture--MacDonald
didn't do it.
How the CID, FBI, and prosecutor's office (with the help of
a grossly biased trial judge of record, Judge Franklin T. Dupree,
Jr- whose son-in-law, James Proctor, was one of MacDonald's prosecutors)
could twist the facts, set up red herrings to befuddle jurors, suppress,
conceal, and "lose"exculpatory evidence, ignore relevant witnesses,
fail to conduct a meaningful investigation, and brow beat a jury into a
guilty verdict is one of the worst cases of prosecutorial misconduct and
judicial malfeasance in twentieth century America.
What actually happened that night?
At least seven (and possibly eight) members of a local 13-member
satanic/drug cult, most of them high on drugs, had entered MacDonald's
home sometime after 2:00 AM on Feb. 17, 1970 and murdered Colette and the
two young children. The attackers may have inadvertently or intentionally allowed MacDonald
to survive so that he could be blamed for the killings.
One of the newer and youngest members of that satanic drug cult, 16 year
Stoeckley, remorseful after the event, tried to help win MacDonald's
vindication in later years by revealing a portion of what she knew, but
the army's CID, the FBI, the Fayetteville Police Department, the prosecutor's
office, and the judge in this case had very different ideas about what they were
going to allow Helena Stoeckley to reveal before a jury. In May of 1982,
Ted Gunderson and Fayetteville
police detective Prince Beasley arranged for Helena to
sit down in front of a film crew from 60 Minutes and reveal much
(but not all) of what she knew about the murders and the events that transpired
in the MacDonald home on that fateful night. Her filmed
confession also revealed much about the official investigators and their
motivations for framing MacDonald, who turned out to be the perfect patsy,
in order to limit the scope of the investigation to MacDonald only and maintain the cover-up of a lucrative CIA drug
pipeline running from Vietnam into military bases in the U.S using the body cavities of dead American soldiers being returned to America. The 60
Minutes interview was never aired
Helena, after giving birth to a baby boy in June, was found
dead-nude from the waist down-on January 14, 1983. . Her
baby, though dehydrated, was found alive and survived. About two weeks before
the discovery of her body, Helena had placed frantic phone calls with both
Ted Gunderson and Prince Beasley. She had been recently interviewed by the
FBI and now, she reported, she could see two men in black suits were running surveillance on her every
move, 24 hours a day, parked across from her apartment in Seneca, South
Carolina. She told Beasley and Gunderson that she was scared and needed protection,. She told Prince Beasley that she was
prepared to finally tell the whole story about the MacDonald murders- without
demanding immunity for herself- and wanted to "blow the lid" off
Fort Bragg. Ted Gunderson called Beasley and urged him to get down to Helena's
place as fast as he could, but before Beasley could arrange to take the trip, local
newspapers announced that Helena Stoeckley was found dead. The official
autopsy said that Helena had died of pneumonia and sclerosis of the liver.
Ted Gunderson is convinced that she was silenced using one of the many covert,
untraceable assassination techniques known to government intel agencies.A
satanist and CIA insider interviewed by Ted Gunderson identified January
13 as an important date for satanists. They consider January 13 the Satanic
New Year, as January 13th is considered the thirteenth day of the 'thirteenth'
month. The number 13 is an all important satanic number and is used repeatedly
by satanic groups. For example, satanic covens are always composed
of thirteen full fledged members.
On the night of the MacDonald killings, Jeffrey MacDonald was only aware
of the presence of
three males and one female in his living room where he was assaulted
(and left unconscious), but Ted Gunderson believes that eight
cult members had entered the MacDonald home that night: With information gathered from Helena Stoeckley, Prince Beaseley, and other sources, Ted believes that the cult members involved were: 1. Cult leader Francis Winterbourne
(white, deceased), nicknamed "Wizzard", 2. Greg Mitchell
(white, deceased), 3. Shelby Don Harris (white, living),
4. Allen Mazerolle (white, living), 5. Dwight Smith
(black, living), nicknamed "Zig Zag", : 6. Bruce Fowler (status unknown), 7. Helena Stoeckley (white female, deceased),
and 8. Cathy Perry (white female, living). Helena Stoeckley
never implicated Cathy Perry as part of the group who entered MacDonald's
home, but Perry herself admitted to the FBI that she was present at the
murder scene. Ted Gunderson and Prince Beasley have speculated that Helena
was fond of Cathy Perry and wanted to shield her from being implicated in
48 Hours Mystery
The November 5 airing of the MacDonald story by CBS television's 48
Hours Mystery was undoubtedly tied to MacDonald's recent lost bid for
parole. Ted Gunderson has taped many similar 'expose' television shows on
the MacDonald's case over the years since his 1979 conviction and most of
them paint MacDonald as disarmingly cunning, diabolically clever, and Very
Guilty. The one exception was Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack,
which at least attempted to withhold judgment and remain neutral in its
re-enactment of the events that took place that night.
This 48 Hours Mystery program hosted by Bill Lagattuta
was one of the most biased and front-loaded guilty-as-charged slam pieces
that I've yet to witness in a long history of TV slam pieces aimed at MacDonald.
Every word, every phrase, every sentence, every question posed by Lagattuta,
and many camera angles of MacDonald were chosen- carefully chosen-
by editors, writers, and producers of that program to telegraph GUILT and
sinister cunning. If you were new to this story and you didn't know the
background details of the players and the plot line; if you didn't read
Jerry Potter's and Fred Bost's book, Fatal Justice; and if you
didn't have access to Ted Gunderson's eight huge boxes of investigative
files, reports, and government FOIA documents on the MacDonald case, then
you would very likely assume that MacDonald was guilty and belonged in prison-based
on the information presented in the program. But the truth has a way of
surfacing regardless of the power, dominance, and influence of those who
would rule our lives. I'll go over the particulars of this 48 Hours
Mystery slam piece in a separate article, but for the time being, you
can begin to unbraid the heavy tapestry of the media's well funded and orchestrated
deception in the MacDonald case by reading Chapter 3 of Fatal
Justice, reprinted below. After that, you
can read a portion of Jeffrey MacDoanld's trail transcript in which
he describes what he saw and experienced in the early morning hours of Feb.
17, 1970 and glean further details from this July
2000 article written by Jeffrey MacDonald himself.
from Fatal Justice (1995)
by Jerry Allen Potter and Fred Bost
Chapter 3, The Woman in the Floppy Hat
Jeffrey MacDonald said the faces of his assailants seemed
"wasted," as if they were drug users. Yet the CID ridiculed the
very idea that such people could get on post, actually get as far as an
officer's apartment, murder the family, and simply leave without being detected.
But to arrive at this conclusion, the CID agents had to ignore MP Kenneth
Mica's sighting of a woman in a floppy hat and boots, forget about the multiple
bloody gloves, the bloody syringe, the unmatched fingerprints, foreign candle
wax, unmatched blond fibers in a hairbrush, and other things found in the
murder apartment. To flatly rule out the presence of "hippies,"
the agents also had to deny their own knowledge about conditions in the
drug community around Fort Bragg at the time of the murders.
To people who lived on post at the time, the idea of marauding
crazies wasn't farfetched, and the CID agents themselves, trusted with fighting
drug crime on post, knew this personally. At the time of the murders, Fort
Bragg was involved in a deteriorating conflict in Vietnam and bogged down
in an equally hopeless effort against drug crimes at home. In 1970, the
year the murders occurred, the census takers counted more than 53,000 people
in the small city of Fayetteville.
It was an old city, named after the French general Lafayette,
and it had long hosted the military, and served, sometimes reluctantly,
as the civilian consort of nearby Fort Bragg. Although the post housed only
about 52,000 troops, the turnover was so great that some 200,000 soldiers
shipped out annually. Those headed for Vietnam left Fayetteville full of
hope, fear, patriotism, courage. Many returned bled of innocence, disillusioned.
They had witnessed horrors. Some were injured, some mentally undone.
Many of these troubled young people sought solace in marijuana,
LSD, amphetamines, and heroin. By 1968, two years before the MacDonald murders,
drug abuse and its residue of crime gave this anteroom to Southeast Asia
a new name-'Fayettenam'. In 1969 surrounding Cumberland County estimated that
25,000, or 11 percent, of its 225,000 residents were drug offenders; 1,000
of these were considered hardcore heroin addicts. Another thousand people
addicted to heroin lived among many other drug users on the military reservation.
Dealers pipelined the drugs in from New York, Miami, and directly
from the Far East. Hookers and pimps and pushers thrived, but at high cost.
In the fall of 1969 a soldier under the. influence of LSD leaped to his
death from an upper story of the post hospital. On a single day in the following
January two twenty-year-old soldiers died in unrelated drug overdoses in
their own units on post, four miles apart.
According to the post newspaper, the Paraglide, complaints on Fort Bragg
itself were so numerous in 1969 that the military police "blotter"
(the official logbook, using thirteen-inch paper) averaged twenty-two pages
of incidents daily (l) So many prisoners packed the post stockade on Armstead
Street that many slept on cots in the halls. In 1969 thieves stole the ClD's
own evidence safe. Many soldiers carried weapons because of so many armed
robberies on the post itself; in one instance a gunman walked into a barracks
on a payday evening and held up five soldiers at once.(2) Concealed weapons
had become such a hazard on post that the provost marshal had written a
paper on the subject. The month before the murders, someone broke into the
building adjacent to the MacDonald apartment. Nothing was stolen, but Janice
Pendlyshok, the tenant, found her underwear scattered and obscenities written
on a mirror.(3) Aviator James Milne, a MacDonald neighbor, had seen robed,
candle-carrying figures headed for MacDonald's house the night of the murders.(4)
Milne said someone had broken into his car not long before the murders.
Drug users had been caught after breaking into the police car of Fayetteville
police detective Sergeant Prince Beasley. They had been looking for narcotics.
On May 28, 1970, two soldiers died after overdosing on uncut heroin in a
Laundromat restroom in Fayetteville. So strong was the heroin product being
marketed on post that a CID agent interviewed years later remembered finding
"stiffs with the needles still in their arms, the syringes just dangling
By June 7, 1970, the Fort Bragg commander, Lieutenant General John Tolson,
offered amnesty to any drug abuser on post who would step forward to seek
help. (6) Army medics began caring for admitted drug addicts in a hippie-decorated
"halfway house," a clapboard building in the post's old hospital
area.(7) In an effort to gain financial backing for this experiment, dubbed
Operation Awareness, Tolson invited Senator Harold Hughes of Iowa to visit
Fort Bragg. Hughes reported to his fellow senators on September 1, 1970,
that drug addiction at Fort Bragg was heavy among some 9,000 soldiers.(8)
In substantiation of Hughes's assessment, the Washington Post-Los Angeles
Times News Service circulated a September story by reporter Bernard N. Nossiter
saying that.2 to 3 percent of Bragg's troops "are 'strung out' on heroin,
amphetamines, and other hard drugs." (9) General Tolson himself, on
November 27, 1970, would appear before a congressional subcommittee, called
there to explain the disturbing situation at Fort Bragg.
But before that meeting would occur the drug problems had escalated. On
July 9, three days after the army began its Article 32 hearing into the
MacDonald case, a Fayetteville drug dealer was found dead slumped over the
steering wheel of his 1967 Cadillac, two bullets in the back of his head,
bundles of heroin hidden in his socks.(10) And it happened on a Fort Bragg
The following week three soldiers and a Fayetteville youth were charged
with kidnapping a young couple, tying the male to a tree and beating him
to death, then raping his fourteen-year-old female companion.
Fayetteville's Rowan Park, a local recreational area, was overrun with young
people buying, selling, and using drugs. It became commonly known as "Skag
Park." In desperation, on July 6, 1970, the Fayetteville City Council
announced an evening curfew at city parks. Narcotics agents, police officers,
deputies, and army CID men prowled the surrounding neighborhoods, watching
for activity, setting up clandestine meetings with informants, making sudden,
sometimes violent arrests. By August the drug traders became so resentful
of the park curfew that riots occurred. The confrontations with police resulted
in the use of tear gas. Gunshots were fired, multiple arrests were made,
and trials ensued.(11)
The CID agents well knew that the area, on Bragg and off, was rife with
drugs, drug users, dealers, death, and violence. To say otherwise is to,
again, ignore the evidence. In fact, to fight the plague of crime and drug-sponsored
deaths the army in 1968 had cooperated with other law enforcement authorities
to form an Inter-Agency Narcotics Bureau. Officers from the army cm, the
Fayetteville police, the Cumberland County Sheriffs Department, and the
State Bureau of Investigation teamed up to move in pairs amongst the drug
community, prowling, watching, and working with young people who lived with
the drug crowd and risked exposure to inform on dealers. One such young
informant was Helen Stoeckley
An enigmatic teenager, Stoeckley was a daughter of a career army officer.
She attended grammar school in France and high school in Fayetteville, where
her father had retired as a lieutenant colonel. According to her yearbook
she played intramural basketball and volleyball, acted with the school Drama
Club, held membership in the French Club and Latin Club, and sang with the
Senior High Singers and the Mixed Chorus. She was even a volunteer candy
striper at E. E. Smith Memorial Hospital. That's where her apparent normalcy
By her own admission, Helena began running with drug users during her school
days, all older youths. Her parents were alarmed at her behavior and her
"hippie" appearance, but they were unable to curb her activities.
By the time she was fifteen she was hooked on heroin.(12) At first she bartered
syringes stolen from the hospital where she worked, then traded sexual favors
for the drug.
When Stoeckley was sixteen, Sergeant Rudy Studer, a Fayetteville policeman
and member of the Inter-Agency Narcotics Bureau, arrested her and immediately
recognized her intelligence and stoic absence of fear. He gave her a choice:
She could serve .as his informant, or face charges for narcotics possession.
Despite the danger of snitching on users and dealers, she chose to become
his informant and, as such, was free to continue feeding her own addiction
with little fear of the police.
Even in the disruptive atmosphere of her new life she graduated high school
ahead of her age class a week shy of her seventeenth birthday. She moved
into a flat in the Haymount District where she served Sergeant Studer as
an informant. Then when Studer made lieutenant, he passed her to Sergeant
Prince Beasley, also an officer of the Inter-Agency Narcotics Bureau.
Beasley said she was the best informant he ever had, "crafty,"
he said, "sneaky smart and bold." She worked in perilous situations
and once even placed herself in jeopardy yell a warning to Sergeant Beasley
that a dealer he had just arrested, one she secretly had fingered for Beasley,
was about to hit him.(13) With characteristic cleverness, she told the dealer
on the way to jail that the reason she'd yelled to warn Beasley was to keep
the dealer out of deeper trouble for slugging a cop. The dealer, who had
just seen Helena swallow a sealed packet of LSD "to keep from getting
caught with it as the arrest was going down," seemed to believe her,
at least for the moment. In little more than a year's time, she provided
tips that led to dozens of arrests.
Even with the Inter-Agency Narcotics Bureau working day and night, the drug
and crime situation seemed no better. The authorities were losing the battle.
Of the thirty-one murders being tried or prepared for trial in and around
Fayetteville in 1970, the bulk were drug related, and the narcotics officers,
on post and off, could do little to stem the tide.
This is the world Captain Jeffrey MacDonald and his family came into during
the late summer of 1969 when they moved to Fort Bragg. As group surgeon
for his unit, he also was assigned to provide medical counel for Green Beret
heroin addicts. Another Green Beret physician, Dr. Jerry Hughes, invited
MacDonald to moonlight as an emergency physician at nearby Cape Fear Valley
Hospital. A night or two of civilian doctoring per week offered MacDonald
an opportunity to payoff his medical school bills, and it gave him experience
in a variety of medical emergency situations, including drug overdoses.
Not long after MacDonald was assigned duties at Fort Bragg and at the civilian
hospital in the fall of 1969, the Fort Bragg commanders suddenly changed
the long-standing rules of physician-patient privilege. Because of the drug
problem, soldiers were informed that their doctors would now be required
to report the names of drug users. Not surprisingly, given the drug problem
on post, the decision wasn't popular. The number of soldiers seeking counseling
from these army doctors soon dwindled. Like most medical personnel, MacDonald
thought the new move unwise because it turned physicians into policemen,
and it encouraged addicts to seek medical assistance off post.
MacDonald insists that he did not adhere to the new regulation with any
kind of vigor. He says he did talk with one addict's commanding officer,
and, instead of disciplining the soldier, MacDonald and the officer worked
out a way to get the man some help.
In another case, MacDonald says, in lieu of being reported, a soldier brought
in his wife and the two agreed to work together to get the man off drugs.
Yet things were not always that smooth between MacDonald and drug users.
In an incident at Cape Fear Valley Hospital, MacDonald, as the doctor on
duty, was called upon to clear the emergency room when a group of young
people became rowdy. But this was nothing unusual. Aberrant, angry activity
was an unhappy norm in his everyday work with drug abusers.
Sergeant Prince Beasley was well aware that his best informant lived with
a group of young people like those MacDonald had encountered at his emergency
room. Stoeckley's roommates .and fellow travelers were military and civilian
and they were using and selling drugs. But, a few months before the murders,
in the fall of 1969, Beasley learned they had gotten into something else.
One crisp autumn evening he was asked to make a run to the Haymount District,
a once plush area gone to seed. A woman on Clark Street had called the police
because she was alarmed at something up in a tree. Beasley knew the address
well, for his key informant, Helena Stoeckley, lived next door.
When he arrived, the troubled caller pointed up into a tree. There was Helena
sitting on a limb, silhouetted by the light of a fulf moon. Two others sat
with her, a woman Beasley knew and a man he didn't. "What are you doin'
sittin' up there like fools," he called. "Come down from there."
"We're witches," Helena told him, giggling. 'This is how we just
sit." Presuming she was high on something, he talked her and her friends
down and they disappeared, still giggling, into her apartment.
Another neighbor had been concerned about the aberrant behavior of the same
group. William Archbell had moved away because he said that automobiles
and taxis arrived at all hours apparently indicating a brisk business in
drugs. Archbell said Helena's companions were "weird people,"
who urinated outside and sometimes "had sex in the yard."(14)
Soon after the incident in the tree, Helena called the station and told
the dispatcher that "Blackjack" wanted to see Beasley. She gave
the code word for the Presbyterian church in her neighborhood, and that
night Beasley met her there. After giving him leads, she told him that her
group was changing, and not for the better. A man named Candy had assumed
control from Greg Mitchell. Candy was teaching them about black
witchcraft. This new leader was a charismatic sort, she said, and
the others would do anything he wanted them to. Beasley didn't worry much
about this news, at first.
According to Beasley, Helena enjoyed the power her informant duties gave
her. She could point her finger and, poof!, a "friend" would be
picked up, jailed, and sent away for a long time. One day she pointed her
finger toward Candy. Beasley, happy for a chance to nail this guy, got a
warrant and he and his men went in. But they found no drugs. Instead, they
found Candy in a room painted black. On a stairwell wall was a painted rendition
of Christ with his robe pulled up and a hippie on his knees fellating him.
Upon Beasley's expression of disgust, Candy simply laughed. 'Jesus is a
man, too," he said, "if there is a Jesus, and he likes the same
things we do."
In the backyard behind the building with the black room, one of Beasley's
men found the mutilated carcass of a cat. Beasley began to worry about Helena's
attachment to this new breed of drug user.
Beasley soon confronted Helena with the failure to find drugs in Candy's
Hay Street apartment. She explained, simply, "I changed my mind. Candy's
our man." Soon she told Beasley that the group members were using the
sacrifice of cats in their rituals. "They'd hang a cat up in the room,
slit its throat, and have sex on the floor in the warm blood, men on women,
men on men, women on women, it didn't matter," Beasley said. Now really
concerned, Beasley said he tried to get her to get out of the group and
the weird behavior. He said he asked her to just leave them, but she wouldn't
listen to him.
MacDonald's Conflicts with Drug Users
MacDonald did little to endear himself to the drug addicts
on post. He complained that when he assumed his position as group surgeon
of his unit he found medical equipment stacked on the back steps of the
medical area. He asked about it and was told it was going to be taken to
the dump. Upon further examination he found drugs and syringes that he feared
would be salvaged by scavenging addicts. He asked for the policies and procedures
manual, and no one could find it. Master Sergeant Leo Violette, a combat
veteran of Korea and Vietnam, testified at the army hearing that MacDonald's
work, which included restricting access to drug materials, had improved
their unit's performance. But Jim Williams later remarked that due to MacDonald's
hard-nosed stance on drugs the young doctor became known, sarcastically,
On January 16, 1970, a month before the murders, a soldier named Robert
Wallack overdosed on heroin. (15) Instead of taking him to Womack Army Hospital
where his drug habit might be reported to his superior officer, two of Wallack's
friends took him to the Cape Fear Valley Hospital emergency room in Fayetteville.
Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald was on duty that night and performed a tracheostomy
to save Wallack's life. A nurse, learnng heroin was involved, called the
police. The officers who reported to the hospital escorted Wallack's two
friends downtown where the men identified their heroin supplier, a "black
man" who reportedly dealt drugs in a certain pool hall. The black man
was subsequently arrested. (16)
Soon after the arrest of the heroin dealer, Captain Williams warned MacDonald.
that the enlisted medics working in the field now were being told that Dr.
MacDonald was a "fink." But MacDonald had dealt with the almost
daily threats of drug addicts during his internship in New York. He shrugged
off William's cautionary remarks.
On the morning of February 16, 1970, the day before the murders, a young
corporal visited MacDonald's office on post and demanded that the doctor
discharge him from the army because of his heroin habit. When MacDonald
informed him that he had no power to do this, the man flared up and began
yelling at MacDonald. Captain Jim Williams, who worked in the same building,
heard the man and rushed to help. Williams said it took three men to remove
the wildly agitated soldier from the premises.(17)
Again, Williams, knowing many of the drug users had just come from Vietnam,
cautioned MacDonald about his deteriorating reputation among users. These
people were angry and unstable, Williams told MacDonald, and they were armed.
This was something every officer of experience knew. But MacDonald replied
that he wasn't all that concerned about it. In less than a day, his wife
and daughters were dead.
At about 6:30 A.M., mere hours after the murders, Captain
Jim Williams told MPs about the young addict who had become angry at MacDonald
in his office th day before. And he told them that due to the new army regulation
revoking physician-patient confidentiality, MacDonald had been labeled as
a fink. MP Richard Tevere picked up the soldier, but learned he had a sound
alibi for the time of the murders.
No such effort was made in the case of another suspect who matched, to an
uncanny degree, MacDonald's description of the female intruder. Even though
military policeman Kenneth Mica told the provost marshal, Colonel Kriwanek,
about the woman with the floppy hat and boots he had seen standing on the
street corner, Kriwanek and the CID investigators told the FBI there were
no civilians involved. But agents at CID headquarters had other ideas. In
particular, the CID agent (18) and drug investigator who had worked. with
Stoeckley and Beasley in town on the !nter-Agency Narcotics Bureau wasn't
convinced. He says he and other agents discussed the descriptions MacDonald
had furnished and they immediately came up with a name for the woman MacDonald
had described. That name was Helena Stoeckley.(19) "Her name was on
a lot of tongues that morning," the former CID agent said.(30)
The CID agents weren't the only law officers thinking about Helena Stoeckley
and her friends on the murder morning.
At 7 A.M. on February 17, 1970, Sergeant Prince Beasley awakened to the
ring of his telephone. Captain J. E. Melvin of the Fayetteville Police Department
apologized for calling at this hour since Beasley had worked late the night
before and hadn't gotten to bed till 4 A.M.
"What've we got?" Beasley asked him.
Melvin told him about the murders, then Beasley asked him
what they knew about the assailants.
"Three men, two white, one Negro. The Negro was wearing an Army field
jacket with sergeant's stripes, Prince. And, something else-there was a
blond girl with a floppy hat and boots egging them on."
"You say it was a Negro with a field jacket?"
"That's how the doctor described them," the captain told Beasley.
"Captain, this sticks in my throat, but that description of the woman
matches your neighbor on Valley Road, the Stoeckley kid. She was dressed
that way last night, wearing a blond wig. I saw her. And one of the guys
she was with last night was black wearing a field jacket with stripes. That's
not a combination you see just everywhere."
"How soon can you move?" Melvin asked.
Within fifteen minutes Beasley was in his car. He drove to
Stoeckley's usual habitats, the apartment she had taken on Clark Street,
Candy's pad a few blocks away on Hay Street, and he checked out the Village
Shoppe where he had seen her the night before, only hours before the murders.
It troubled him that she had been dressed in boots, her floppy hat, and
the blond wig. Failing to find her, he headed for police headquarters to
arrange for a warrant to search a house trailer where Stoeckley had told
him drugs would soon be stashed. If the group was on the move, Beasley hoped,
they might try to get their drugs out of town, too.
Corroboration Around Town
The Averitt Sighting
On that same murder morning various people in the community saw interesting
things. At about 8 A.M., Mrs. Dorothy Averitt entered Mrs. Johnson's grocery
store on Murchison Road and found a black man and a girl as the only customers
inside, and Mrs. Johnson was clearly nervous. Averitt immediately understood
why. She had seen this pair before, and the memory wasn't a happy one. At
that previous time the girl wasn't wearing a blond wig as she was now. But
it was the same girl, and the same man. Averitt delivered newspapers for
a living, and on that day a week or so before, she had been delivering in
the rear of the Hickory Trailer Court when the black man swung a baseball
bat and deliberately hit a ball at her. (21) She remembered that the brown-haired
girl had apparently been high on drugs because she laughed and screamed
at the baseball's near miss.(22)
The grocery store they were in was only two blocks away from that trailer
court. The girl was dressed differently now, with a plastic raincoat and
go-go boots, but the man wore the same army field jacket he had worn the
day of the bat-and-ball incident. When the man walked to a refrigerator
in the back of the store, Mrs. Johnson whispered to Averitt, "Don't
leave me alone with them."
Mrs. Averitt tried to engage the girl in small talk, but she appeared to
be drugged. "Where'd you get all that mud on your boots?" Dorothy
Averitt asked. "I've lived in this country all my life and I've not
seen mud that looked like that." Although Averitt had been a newspaper
carrier for twenty-seven years, she had also once worked as a nurse's aide
and her father had butchered hogs on the farm where she had grown up.She
thought the girl projected a familiar stench of blood. When the black man
returned from the back of the store, he saw Averitt talking with the girl.
He put a milk carton on the counter and said, "Let's get out of here."
The girl held out some candy. "I want these."
"Let's get out of here," he said again, pushing her toward the
"No. I want these." The man threw a wad of money
down on the counter and they left.
Under oath Dorothy Averitt would later identify a 1970 photograph
of Helena Stoeckley as the girl she had seen with the black man and baseball
bat at the trailer park, the same girl she had seen wearing the wig in the
grocery store. (23)
The Sonderson Sighting
The next known sighting of such a group occurred a little later on the morning
of the murders. While the bodies of Colette, Kimberly, and Kristen were
being autopsied, and while MacDonald was undergoing surgery for his collapsed
lung, only a few miles away Joan Sonderson, a carhop at the Chute Drive
Inn restaurant on Fort Bragg, reported early for her 9 A.M. shift. She noticed
an automobile parked under the overhang in her service area. She thought
it was empty, but about an hour later she saw a pair of "white or beige"
muddy poots of someone who appeared to be sleeping in the front seat. The
boots belonged to a girl with blond hair and a floppy hat.
When the girl got up and got out of the car, Sonderson asked
her if she wanted some coffee. "No," the girl replied. "The
MacDonalds were murdered last night. Did you know that?" Sonderson
said she didn't. "And that MacDonald is in the hospital and his wife
and children are dead?"
The right rear passenger door opened and a black male stepped out of the
car. He wore an army fatigue jacket and dark civilian pants. He told Sonderson
he was just going to use the men's room. She noticed another white male
slumped down in the seat behind the wheel, but she couldn't see him well.
The girl and the black man used the restrooms, then returned to the car
and they all drove away.(24)
In the Sonderson sighting, as in that of Dorothy Averitt, the blondhaired
girl exhibited curious behavior, as if she were drugged, but the black man,
in each case, seemed in control. MacDonald, too, in describing the female
intruder and the black man, said that the female was chanting in a monotonous
voice, "Acid is groovy; kill the pigs," as if she were drugged,
but the black man who used the baseball bat did not appear to be so influenced.
The Stoeckley Tip
By the early afternoon of the murders, detective Beasley had acquired a
warrant for a drug raid on the trailer in the Hickory Trailer Court where
he thought Stoeckley and her friends might be hiding. This was the same
small trailer park where the black man hit the baseball at Dorothy Averitt.
It was located down the street near Mrs. Johnson's grocery store where Averitt
saw Stoeckley and a black man that same murder morning.
Stoeckley's earlier tip, that Beasley would find drugs stashed in the trailer,
proved characteristically fruitful. Beasley and his fellow officers broke
in the trailer door at about 2 P.M. on Tuesday, February 17, the same day
of the murders. And they found the drugs in cellophane packets, hidden behind
a wall panel in the trailer. Neither Stoeckley nor her friends were present.
The small trailer house had been rented by two white men and a black man
who wore an army field jacket with sergeant's stripes.(26) A resident living
in an adjacent trailer, Bill Guin, recalled seeing the men come to the trailer
in the company of a girl at about 5:30 A.M. on the morning of .the. murders.
(27) After hearing the descriptions given by MacDonald, Guin realized that
his neighbors matched those descriptions.(28) He recalled that the neighbors
usually traveled in a light-colored car and a small foreign sports car.
Over the years the MacDonald defense team has compiled a file on other sightings,
most of them having occurred in the hours before the murders, most of them
involving a group of people like Stoeckley and her friends. On Monday night,
well before the murders occurred, a teacher, Edith Boushey, said she saw
Colette MacDonald being harassed by several young people at night school
on Fort Bragg. Mrs. Boushey had to pass the group as she was leaving the
North Carolina University Extension Campus, and noticed how Colette had
been backed defensively against a wall in the ground-floor hallway by a.
young man speaking to her.
In 1983 Ray Shedlick showed Mrs. Boushey a large collection
of photos and the teacher pointed to the picture of Greg Mitchell (Stoeckley's
boyfriend at the time of the murders) as the man who had been intimidating
Mrs. MacDonald that evening. (29)
Detective Beasley had seen Stoeckley and the black man in a blue Mustang
fastback the night before. Shortly after Beasley's sighting, and approximately
three hours after the incident at the university extension building described
by Mrs. Boushey, a group of young people who fit the MacDonald descriptions
in dress, hair color, and racial mix was seen at about midnight at Dunkin'
Donuts on Bragg Boulevard in Fayetteville. The young woman with the group
appeared to be high on drugs.(30)
James Milne's sighting of three people wearing sheets and carrying candles
occurred at about 12:30 A.M. on the morning of the murders. At Dunkin' Donuts
about an hour after the Milne incident, another woman, Marion L. Campbell,
saw a group of young people. The young woman was blond and wore a floppy
hat. The white man appeared to be "in another world. He was just staring
vacantly out the window as if there was absolutely nothing around. It didn't
even look as if he was blinking his eyelids."
Campbell observed that the black man, who wore "an olive drab field
or fatigue (3l) jacket," was standing there not saying a word to either
of them. "He acted more aware, more like he was in charge." Campbell
says the black man glared at her angrily when he saw her staring at the
group. The black man walked "very erect" as the group left. (32)
At an undetermined time in that early morning near the MacDonald residence,
First Lieutenant Edwin Casper II and his wife, Winnie, were awakened by
people giggling outside as they apparently splashed through rain puddles.
There was at least one female and at least two males. The group seemed to
be moving through the yard from Bragg Boulevard, which ran behind the building,
toward the MacDonald building, about 200 yards away. Neither of the Caspers
could fix the time precisely, but they knew it was sometime between 11:45
P.M., when Mrs. Casper joined her husband in bed, and 3:45 A.M., a time
she noted when she was awakened by her two-year-old daughter.(33)
Another resident in the same building as the Caspers was able to place the
time more precisely. Captain James Shortill and his wife, Rita, who lived
two doors down from the Casper residence, were also sleeping with their
bedroom window open. Mrs. Shortill heard the same group go by and noted
her clock said 2: 10 A.M. She said she heard "at least three people
speaking and laughing. I heard a female voice and at least two male voices.
I also heard footsteps." The Caspers and Shortills were never aware
of each other's information.(34)
Several hundred yards from the MacDonald home, Green Beret captain Kenneth
Lamb and his wife were awakened by someone fumbling at their back door.
By the time Lamb got to the door, whoever had been there had vanished.(35)
Also early on the murder morning of February 17, half a block from the MacDonald
residence, Jan Snyder had been asleep in her secondfloor apartment at 308
Castle Drive (the MacDonalds lived at 544) when she was awakened by the
sound of a loud muffler.(36) She went to the window to see a light-colored
car, its headlights on, standing next to the curb directly in front of the
building. The muffler was not just loud, it was impertinent. Because it
might awaken her child, she watched with relief as it pulled away. But when
she returned to her bed, she heard the car returning. This time she flicked
on her bedroom light before going to the window. The noisy car and a jeep
beyond it were side by side facing up the hill, their lights on a Mustang
in the nearest parking slot. People got into the Mustang and the vehicles'
occupants were talking back and forth.
She remained at the window and watched as the three vehicles disappeared
from sight up the hill. She was trying to make up her mind whether to return
to bed or stay up for the baby's feeding when the Mustang came back down
the street and drove slowly past the Snyder apartment again before it headed
down the hill toward North Lucas Drive.
Was this coincidence? Beasley had seen Stoeckley and the black man in a
Mustang that night. Two days after the murders, on February 19, a Fayetteville
police officer cited Greg Mitchell, Helena Stoeckley's sometime boyfriend,
for having a !oud muffler on his faded pale yellow 1964 Plymouth.
Upon learning of the murders, Mrs. Snyder immediately told her neighbors
about the loud car that had awakened her and of what she had seen in those
darkened morning hours. She later said she told an investigator about it
and he told her someone would come back and take a statement, but no one
At sometime between 2:05 and 2: 15 A.M. on the morning of the murders, military
policeman Carlos Torres had just left work at the NCO Club at Fort Bragg.
He stopped for a traffic light on Honeycutt at Bragg Boulevard in the MacDonald
neighborhood. While waiting for the light to change he observed a dark blue
van, which he believed was a Volkswagen, parked on Bragg Boulevard about
60 to 75 yards from the intersection. (Marion Campbell, who saw a group
at Dunkin' Donuts, said some of the kids left in a blue van.) Torres made
a left turn onto Bragg Boulevard toward his home at Spring Lake. At that
moment he saw three white males running out of the trees toward the van.
Two of the men had long hair; one had a military-type haircut and wore a
dark brownish jacket (37)
Also early that morning, at a time between 1:30 and 2:30 A.M., Martha Evers, 38
driving on Bragg Boulevard, saw a blue Mustang parked on the shoulder of
the road approximately 200 feet west of Honeycutt Road in the MacDonald
neighborhood. The trunk of the vehicle was open. A white female wearing
a wide-brim white hat stood toward the rear of the vehicle. A white male
squatted nearby facing the bushes. Another stood near him also facing the
In an apartment across the walkway next to the MacDonald
residence, Janice Pendlyshok was awakened early on the murder morning by
the barking of her German shepherd dog, then she heard a woman screaming
and two children crying. The screams soon stopped and she drifted back to
In the apartment next to the MacDonald residence, in the bedroom directly
over the MacDonald living room, sixteen-year-old Pamela Kalin was awakened
momentarily by the sounds of laughing, sobbing, or conversation, she couldn't
be sure, apparently coming from the MacDonald residence, but the noises
didn't seem important. She went back to sleep.(40) She and her family would
initially tell the CID agents that they heard nothing.
Cumberland County sheriffs detective John DeCarter had been alerted by phone
of the murders at Fort Bragg and was on his way from his
home to the sheriffs department early that morning when he stopped for a
red light at Stamper Road and Bragg Boulevard. While waiting for the light
to change, a small foreign sports car jammed with people crossed his headlights
on the otherwise deserted Bragg Boulevard, headed toward town. This type
of little two-seater sports car was rarely seen in the Fayetteville area.
Years later, MacDonald's defense team would learn that Raymond Cazares,
a member of the Stoeckley group, owned a small foreign sports car at the
time of the murders, and, of course, Mr. Guin at the trailer park had said
the men who lived there had a small sports car.
On that same murder morning, pre-dawn, a night man at.Dunkin' Donuts claimed
to have seen a black man and white woman enter his establishment.(41) He
said they came in to wash their hands in the restrooms. He said they had
something on them which he thought was blood.
William Posey, a next-door neighbor of Helena Stoeckley (whom he knew as
"Helen"), also saw something on the morning of the murders that
made him wonder whether the girl and her friends were involved in the murders.(42)
Posey's story of seeing "Helen" coming home that morning would
soon become a focal point in the case.
The First Stoeckley Admissions
After the drug raid on the house trailer on the day of the
murders, Beasley went home to get some sleep for the rest of the afternoon.
That night while eating supper, he read the story of the murders in the
afternoon edition of the Fayetteville Observer. Under the subhead "Victims
of a Hippie Cult?" the front-page headline was big and bold: "Officer's
Wife, Children Found Slain At Ft. Bragg." The opening paragraph in
the story by Pat Reese stated, "An Army doctor's wife and their two
young children were stabbed to death in their Ft. Bragg home early today,
apparently victims of a 'ritualistic' hippie cult:"
Beasley read the story, paying particular attention to the woman assailant
described by MacDonald. The description matched the one given to Beasley
by Captain Melvin on the phone, but there was one additional item. According
to the paper the female intruder was said by MacDonald to be carrying a
candle. Melvin either had forgotten to mention that or hadn't known it.
Beasley knew Helena's apartment to be full of candles. He
read further. If the paper was accurate, the victims had been stabbed "over
and over again." But the only possible weapon mentioned by the paper
was an ice pick found with a club outside the home. Another informant had
told Beasley that Helena carried an ice pick in her clutch bag.
Beasley arrived back at his office at about 7:30 P.M. Tuesday
night approximately sixteen hours after the murders had occurred. He asked
about the stakeout at the trailer on Murchison Road. No one had shown up
Cuyler Windham, boss of the Inter-Agency Narcotics Bureau, had left a verbal
message for Beasley and the other members. "Cooperate with the army,"
Windham had ordered, "but otherwise don't get sidetracked from your
own drug job." Beasley understood his point. The city council had told
Windham they intended to close Rowan Park if drug activities there weren't
curtailed. The army and FBI would handle the MacDonald murders.
But Stoeckley was his drug informant, Beasley reasoned, and he had a right
to talk with her. When he went back to work he made a quick cruise through
Rowan Park, observing nothing unusual, then, a little after 8 P.M., he headed
for Helena's pad on Clark Street. After checking to see that no one was
in the apartment, he parked his Ford in a dark spot up the street where
he could watch the old house in relative comfort. He relaxed as best he
could, his police radio on the seat beside him. The vigil developed into
a long wait in the darkness as he watched Stoeckley's apartment.
According to Beasley, he had already gotten his first look at the inside
of Stoeckley's pad. A month earlier he had entered the one-room apartment
with a warrant to arrest an AWOL soldier (for which he received a reward).
He found his soldier, lying naked with two nude women, all basking in the
glow of a circle of lighted candles on a coffee table near the bed. All
the furniture in the room, including the refrigerator, was painted bright
green. "Hippie" pictures of dubious religious significance were
everywhere, and a zodiac circle dominated one wall. All the light bulbs
had been painted blue, adding an unearthly cast to the flickering candlelight.
Many unused candles were stacked in a wicker basket near the zodiac wall.
Now as Beasley watched the house, he lay his head back, his eyes still open.
He was stretching his arms about 2:30 A.M. when he heard a loud car approaching.
He knew that sound; it was Greg Mitchell's light yellow Plymouth with the
blaring muffler. Helena had told him to watch out for Mitchell, that he
was "mean as a snake." Headlights approached Beasley from the
comer down the block, and, as he expected, they turned into Helena's driveway.
Beasley hit the starter on his Ford and brought the engine to life. He surged
forward and braked across the driveway.
Beasley saw occupants unloading from both sides of the automobile. He realized
that there were more people than he had anticipated. One of them, a female,
was already disappearing into Helena's apartment. Beasley hastily scanned
the silhouettes of the others milling in the driveway as they looked warily
in his direction. He spotted Helena and quickly counted five males, including
the nervous, lean Greg Mitchell. The black man with the field jacket wasn't
"Hey, you've got to move that car," one of them
yelled at him. "You're blocking us."
"I want to talk to Helena," Beasley yelled back. He stepped around
the Ford, his radio in his left hand, his right hand free to reach for his
"That's a pig," he heard someone grumble.
"I only want to talk to Helena Stoeckley."
"Get lost!" one of the shadowed men shouted at him just as he
saw Helena step forward, separating herself from the group. Some of the
others began following menacingly behind her. Beasley says he then placed
his hand on the pistol at his hip, gripping the butt loosely, slowly, making
sure the motion was seen. Helena turned and waved her arm drunkenly at the
others. "Hey, guys, everything's cool," she giggled. Beasley realized
she was high.
She ambled out to the street while the others held their distance.
"I know what you're looking for, Mister Beasley," she said nervously,
the giggle still in her voice, her eyes barely focusing on his face. "You
wanta see my ice pick."
"Stop it, Helena!" he growled. He moved to keep
the men in view behind her. 'Those children aren't anything to joke about!"
Beasley said her lopsided smile disappeared. Tears formed.
She lowered her head, but he put a finger under her chin and forced her
to look up at him. "Have you heard the descriptions they're broadcasting?"
he asked her.
She nodded, looking at him through tears. Her lips trembled
and her shoulders shook.
"I saw you last night, Helena-you and the black guy."
Beasley pointed at the loafers on her feet. "You were wearing boots
last night, and your wig and hat. The descriptions fit you and your black
friend to a tee."
She didn't reply. She hung her head again.
"Helena, tell me the truth," he said, quietly,
trying to get through her stupor. "You've never lied to me before.
Were you involved in those killings?" He looked over her head toward
the angry group, milling ever nearer.
Helena stood unmoving until he began to think she intended
to ignore the question. Again he glanced toward the men near the other car.
"Helena," Beasley insisted. "Were you involved?"
She wiped a hand across her eyes without looking up. "I
Mister Beasley-" She began to cry. "1 was spaced our last night-so
spaced out-but my mind-in my mind I may have been there. I see things happening-awful
things." Beasley realized that something had shaken this usually cool
and deliberate informant, and he worried that she might actually have seen
"Now listen to me carefully, Helena. Be sure of what
you're saying. This is serious. It won't end here."
She nodded her head without looking up, swaying a bit as she
moved again to brush her eyes with her arm.
Beasley lifted his radio to his mouth and called for the
police dispatcher. The voice of Faddis Davis answered almost immediately.
"Get in touch with the CID at Fort Bragg," Beasley
told Davis. 'Tell them to send someone to 1108 Clark Street. I'm holding
people for questioning who may have been involved in the murders out there.
Got that? (44)
Helena looked up at Beasley as Davis acknowledged the instructions.
"A bad trip-bad trip," she wept.
"Don't say anymore now," he says he cautioned her. "Wait
until the army guys come. It's a federal case. I don't have any jurisdiction
in it. It'll be better if you wait and tell them."
Helena nodded, and continued to cry softly.
Beasley says he left Helena leaning against the fender of his car as he
moved toward the group of angry men in the driveway. "I have backup
officers on the way," he told them. "Cooperate with me and there
won't be any problems."
They obeyed his instructions as he moved from one to another
demanding identification. He began listing their names in his notebook,
writing in large block letters to compensate for the near darkness. According
to Beasley, he wanted the names for his report, knowing that once the CID
arrived he might never have an opportunity to gather identifications.(45)
He says that the first man he braced, a man he knew as Don Harris, was stoned.
The man was nervous, slightly incoherent, but fully cooperative. As Beasley
spoke to a second man, he noticed another member of the group moving impatiently,
edging closer. It was Greg Mitchell, his eyes angry, his face hard. Another
informant had told Beasley that Mitchell was dangerous and unpredictable,
"not playing with a full deck." And Helena had once told him,
"Always keep an eye on Greg Mitchell. He considers himself a protector
of the group. Never turn your back on him."
Beasley stepped around to face Mitchell as he continued to
list names. "What's the hassle for?" Mitchell demanded. "This
is gestapo stuff. We haven't done anything. This is private property and
nobody's made a complaint here!"
Beasley says he ignored the words as he stepped up to the last man. "Let's
see some identification."
"I ain't got any!" the man retorted belligerently. Mitchell moved
to the left, which forced Beasley to reposition himself to keep the man
he was addressing between them. The move hadn't gone unnoticed. According
to Beasley, at that moment he felt he had lost the psychological advantage.
"Stay here," he ordered. He placed his right hand on his pistol
and stepped backward toward his car and to Helena, who hadn't moved from
her position at the fender. He pulled her to the other side of the car and
placed her near the door where she would be better shielded if he were fired
He lifted his radio again and called impatiently for the dispatcher. When
Davis responded, Beasley says he asked angrily, "What's with the CID?"
"Bragg's been notified," Davis answered. "They're probably
halfway there now."
Beasley grunted acknowledgment and put the radio down on the car hood, his
eyes intent on the group of men bunched in the alley. Minutes
dragged by as everyone waited tensely. Beasley said the men seemed to be
gathering resolve. Some of them went into Helena's apartment, slamming the
door violently. Beasley said he wondered if they had a gun in the house.
More time passed. Still no sign of the CID agents.
The men came out of the apartment again and joined the others
in an irate, murmuring huddle. Beasley raised his radio to his lips and
complained to his dispatcher.
"They're not there yet?" Davis asked.
"No, they're not." Beasley says by this time he
was very angry. "And I can't hold this thing together much longer.
I got half a dozen people here. If the CID doesn't show soon, I'm going
to have to drop it."
Cursing quietly, he lowered the radio. Mitchell had sidled
closer and Beasley was certain the man had overheard him. Mitchell went
back and began talking quickly with his friends, occasionally gesturing
"Listen," Beasley told Helena, "this is bad stuff. You've
got to keep from getting in any deeper. If the CID doesn't get here, and
if I have to leave, I want you to call Fort Bragg in the morning and tell
them everything you know. Understand? I can't afford to take you with me
when I leave. They'll know you've been working for me. If I have to go,
tell them I picked on you because somebody saw you in your wig last night.
Now call the CID in the morning. Understand? It's for your own good, Helena.
It's the only way. Do you understand me? Tell me you understand."
He says he saw real fear in the girl's eyes. "Mister Beasley-I'm so-.
It was such a bad trip."
At that moment men began to move out of their huddle. They fanned out across
the driveway, facing Beasley, moving toward him, obviously no longer cowed
by the threat of his pistol. "We're not staying here any longer, pig,"
Mitchell called. "We're driving out. So get that fucking car out of
our way!" .
Beasley backed off. His orders were that if he found anything, he was to
notify the CID. He had done that. He gave Helena's arm a reassuring squeeze;
then he slipped into his car, tossed his radio on the seat in disgust, and
started the engine. As he pulled away, taunts and jeers followed from the
driveway behind him.
When Beasley again reported for duty late that afternoon, on Wednesday,
February 18, he immediately called CID headquarters to determine if Helena
Stoeckley had contacted their agents or if they had contacted her.
"I'm sorry," said the person who answered, "but all of our
agents are busy right now." (46)
William Ivory, though, had received Beasley's insistent message about Stoeckley,
(47) a woman he apparently knew well according to later testimony.(48) According
to an agent who worked with Ivory, (49) he and Ivory picked up Helena Stoeckley
two nights later and escorted her to a safehouse where, according to this
agent, Ivory interviewed her. (50) Ivory made no report of the interview
and the CID didn't let Beasley know they had interviewed her.
Stoeckley and the FBI
According to an army report,(5l) soon after Ivory's alleged interview with
Helena Stoeckley some unknown person apparently recommended her to the FBI,
who at that time was searching for suspects amongst the hippie community.
But Stoeckley wasn't given to them as a suspect. The FBI had asked for help
and, incredibly, Stoeckley was offered under another name, as a trusted
.informant, this even though some CID agents and local police believed she
might be connected with the murders. (52)
So it happened, in a case in which she was already a key figure and would
remain so for many years, that Helena Stoeckley helped the FBI search for
a woman in a floppy hat, blond hair, and boots-a description of herself
on the murder night.
While she "aided" the FBI,(53) Stoeckley was placed "off
limits" to local police officers. They were told by a superior in the
Fayetteville Police Department that only "the government man"
was to talk with her. (54) Nevertheless, Beasley saw her again that week
after Ivory and a partner picked her up, and, now apparently to prove to
Beasley that her earlier admissions were groundless, she showed Beasley
her wig and hat. She insisted that he'd find nothing on them tying her to
the murders. He told her he couldn't see the objects in the dark car and
would have to take them with him. The next day he phoned the CID and asked
them to lab-test the items. He says they refused, there was no need. He
then asked his boss, Rudy Studer, to have them tested in the police lab.
Studer also refused. Beasley returned to his office and immediately got
a phone call from an angry Stoeckley demanding that he return the items
to her. He did so, and she later reported that she burned them. Studer then
specifically ordered Beasley to stay out of the case unless he was asked
But the FBI agents, under orders from Hoover to investigate local drug users,
were not yet convinced. For the next few days the Bureau remained busy taking
statements from young "hippie types" in the local area, some of
whose names were given them by Stoeckley. The FBI agents photographed the
potential suspects she gave them, and they sometimes had the females speak
into a tape recorder, saying, "Acid is groovy; kill the pigs. "(55)
According to Ivory's later statement during the army hearing, Stoeckley
herself was among those "hippies" interviewed by the FBI. Yet,
strangely, Jeffrey MacDonald was never shown a single such photograph, nor
was he ever asked to listen to a tape recording.
The FBI at Cape Fear Valley Hospital
During this hectic week of FBI activity the agents went to
the places MacDonald had frequented in an effort to find someone who had
a grudge against him. They soon learned about the overdosed soldier MacDonald
had treated at Cape Fear Valley Hospital a month before the murders, and
they found out about the police interogation of that soldier's two friends
and the arrest of their heroin dealer. Agent Vernon Spessert of the CID
interviewed the nurse who had phoned the police the night of the incident.
An FBI report detailing Spessert's interview says:
Emergency Room, Cape Fear Valley Hospital, advised that in regard
to (BLACKED OUT) who was received in that hospital on January 16, 1970,
from an overdose of heroin, that she personally called the Fayetteville,
North Carolina, Police Department and reported same. She advised that
(BLACKED OUT) was treated by Doctor JEFFREY MC DONALD [sic] and was brought
into the Emergency Room by two white males whom she described as hippie
types, who told her that they had given him mouth to mouth resuscitation.
She further advised that (BLACKED OUT) had on his arm a lot of scars from
injecting himself with heroin and that Doctor MC DONALD saved his life
by performing a tracheotomy. She stated that Doctor MC DONALD, to the
best of her judgment, had no hostility or sympathy for these drug users
and was in her opinion a good doctor. (56)
This report posed a tantalizing mystery for MacDonald's defense team when
they learned about it through FOIA releases many years later. They reasoned
that if the drug users involved had jumped to a conclusion that it was MacDonald
who had called the police, the arrest could have served as a motive for
revenge. Yet the team was stymied in their efforts to follow the idea any
further; the FBI documents which attested to the essential facts of the
event showed the names of the officers and suspects blacked out, and there
was nothing in the local newspaper concerning the arrest of the black drug
dealer. It wasn't until mid-1990 that Fred Bost was able to see an unmarked
copy of that same FBI report, 57 and discovered that the overdosed patient
was Robert Wallack and that the two friends were named Larry Cook and Thomas
If the FBI had continued a coordinated probe, it is probable that the federal
agents would have learned a number of interesting facts. For instance, Larry
Cook was either a part of, or very tight with, the Stoeckley crowd. An item
in a CID case file quoted army chaplain John P. McCullagh as saying that
Cook and Greg Mitchell were close friends and had been in the drug program
Operation Awareness together. (58) Mitchell, who had been Helena Stoeckley's
boyfriend, would later say he met Cook after the murders (59); however,
the stories offered to the FBI by Cook and Brown suggest otherwise.
Brown told the FBI agents that he spent the night of the murders in a house
on Haymount Street. There is no Haymount Street in Fayetteville, but there
is a Hay Street, which runs through the center of the then drug-plagued
Haymount District. According to Helena Stoeckley, her group conducted ceremonies
in Candy's black-painted pad at 908 Hay Street near Stoeckley's pad on Clark.
That is the place where Beasley's fellow officer found the carcass of the
dead cat in the weeds behind the house.
Larry Cook, on the other hand, told the FBI agents that he spent the night
of the murders with friends at a trailer on Murchison Road near a foreign
car garage. Hickory Trailer Court, the home of the black man with the field
jacket, and the location of the drugs Beasley found in the raid, was on
Murchison Road near the only foreign car garage in the area, and across
the street from Johnson's store where Averitt saw Stoeckley and a black
man the morning after the murders.(60)
These statements meant nothing to the FBI at the time. Yet if they had been
allowed to continue their investigation in depth, they might have discovered
that Cook was connected with the Stoeckley group through yet another close
friendship, one suggesting equai significance-a friendship with Richard
Fortner. Helena Stoeckley is on audiotape describing how her group got angry
with Fortner one day when he spilled their liquid opium during a group "shoot-up"
at 1108 Clark Street.(61) William Posey, Stoeckley's neighbor, also knew
Fortner and had seen him with the Stoeckley circle. Another documented fact
ties Cook to the Stoeckley group. He and Fortner were arrested together
with two other men for group possession of eighty-seven capsules of heroin
on May 11, 1970.(62)
So there is some indication that those in the Stoeckley crowd
were aware of the hospital incident of January 16, 1970. Two men-one of
them being a group friend or compatriot, Larry Cook-took a sick friend to
MacDonald at the hospital and were immediately taken into custody where
they revealed their drug dealer. (63) Their black drug dealer was arrested,
and he no doubt wondered who had called in the police.(64) A month later
Jeffrey MacDonald told of being attacked by a black man wielding a baseball
The MacDonald defense team could locate no document which
gave them the name of the black drug dealer who had been arrested as a result
of the emergency room incident, but the FBI report said the man was "a
Negro male who hangs around the Action Poolroom and Bar and who is described
as being five feet nine inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, and age twenty-nine
Interestingly, the description given by MacDonald that would run in a newspaper
ad published by Bernard Segal that summer, seeking help in finding the assailants,
shows a sketch of a full-cheeked, thick-necked black man, described by MacDonald
as five feet eight inches tall and weighing about 165 pounds.
It seems that CID agents knew much more about Stoeckley, about
her admission to Beasley, about her mode of dress on the night of the murders,
and about her drug-dealing friends than they were admitting. And they were
well acquainted with MacDonald's own troubles with the drug community. Yet
this Helena Stoeckley, even though she matched the descriptions given by
MacDonald and Mica, even though she had no alibi for precisely the hours
in question on the murder morning, and even though she said she might have
been in the home and saw "awful things," this strange girl was
allowed to continue her travel within the circles of law enforcement and
the underworld at will, as if she enjoyed a special brand of immunity.
On April 6, 1970, seven weeks after the murders, the CID finally revealed
that Jeffrey MacDonald, and only Jeffrey MacDonald, remained their target.
Reference Notes for Chapter 3
1. The paper was dated Monday, November 17, 1969.
2. This robbery occurred on Wednesday evening, September 30, 1970.
3. Witness Statement,John William Reynolds, March 1, 1971, at CID headquarters
in Washington, D.C., 2 pages, with oath administered by agent Benjamin D.
4. More about Milne's sighting later.
5. From an interview with a CID agent who asked that his name not be used.
6. This drug amnesty program was first publicized in the Fort Bragg newspaper,
the Paraglide, on June 11, 1970. It was described in the March 1971 issue
of Army magazine by author Fred Bost.
7. The Operation Awareness halfway house was opened on June 7, 1970.
8. Visitors to Fort Bragg on August 27-28, 1970, were Senator Harold Hughes,
D-Iowa; Senator Richard S. Schweiker, R-Pennsylvania; and Senator Peter
H. Dominick, R-Colorado.
9. The Fayetteville Observer, September 25, 1970.
10. The murder of Albert Chavis.
11. The park riots occurred on August 29 and 30, 1970.
12. Medical records show that Helena Stoeckley was admitted to North Carolina
Memorial Hospital at age fifteen for heroin addiction.
13. Beasley said this was the arrest of Allen Mazerolle, a dapper little
dealer, who, on Helena Stoeckley's lead, was detained and booked for possession
14. Interview of William Archbell by Prince Beasley, March 31, 1983.
15. FBI Investigative Report dated February 27, 1970.
16. While this event is documented in the FBI report cited above, the black
drug dealer's name wasn't included. In an attempt to learn the dealer's
name, Fred Bost made queries at the Fayetteville Police Department,
but the record apparently had disappeared, and no mention of the arrest
appeared in the local newspapers.
17. Green Beret Captain Jim Williams had served as one of MacDonald's escort
officers during his house arrest during the Article 32 proceedings. He had
been the officer who blocked the CID's first attempt to take hair
samples from MacDonald. Disgusted with McGinniss's book, Fatal Vision,
and still chary of the press, Williams was reluctant to be interviewed by
us. He agreed, however, to write a letter to Jeffrey MacDonald, who was
free to share it with us. In that letter Williams recalled the key events
of that period. He was very concerned that the army had placed MacDonald,
a green and idealistic young doctor, into the position of dealing with hardened
troops addicted to heroin, and then had made it mandatory that MacDonald
turn in the names of heroin users who had come to him for counseling. From
a letter by Lt. Colonel Jim Williams, U.S.. Army (Retired), to Dr. Jeffrey
R. MacDonald, and a copy to Jerry Potter, March 31, 1988.
18. This agent requested to remain anonymous in this book.
19. In his December 15, 1970, statement, CID chief Grebner said that the
CID knew Helena Stoeckley even before the murders and knew that she was
a drug user.
20. This information is based on a 1989 interview with the former Fort Bragg
agent conducted by BBC producer Ted Landreth, and a subsequent interview
by Jerry Potter on May 9, 1990.
21.Jeffrey MacDonald claimed that the black man who attacked him was wielding
a club that was smooth and felt to him like a baseball bat.
22. Mrs. Averitt's account comes from her sworn witness testimony in federal
court, Raleigh, on September 19, 1984, as part of Jeffery MacDonald's bid
for a new trial.
23. Dorothy Averitt would later testify for the defense in Raleigh on September
19, 1984, during Jeffrey MacDonald's bid for a new trial based, largely,
upon Helena Stoeckley's confessions.
24. Signed and sworn statement of Joan Green Sonderson, September 21, 1983.
25. This drug raid and the participants are substantiated by both police
and court reports, as well as a newspaper story published the following
day, February 18, 1970, in the Fayetteville Observer, p. 2. The drugs confiscated
were marijuana, hashish, and LSD.
26. The manager of the trailer court confirmed this in a 1979 interview,
saying she had no trouble recalling it because it was the first time she
had ever rented a trailer to persons of mixed race.
27. Guin first told his story to Fred Bost during an interview on July 23,
28. Guin said he hadn't bothered reporting his sighting of the young people.
He knew the trailer had been raided that afternoon, and assumed the raid
had been motivated by authorities seeking the tenants as murder suspects.
29. The government claimed that Mrs. Boushey's story is contradicted by
Elizabeth Ramage, who was driven home from night school by Colette MacDonald.
In a 1984 statement responding to questions from government agents, Ramage
did not recall being separated from Colette MacDonald that night and didn't
see the scene Mrs. Boushey describes. (Affidavit of Elizabeth Ann Ramage,
May 17, 1984, City of Victoria, Province of British Columbia, Canada. Witnessed
by Robert Mulligan, Commissioner for Taking Affidavits, Province of British
Columbia.) However, in a 1992 interview, Mrs. Ramage was asked whether,
after class, she went to the restroom. She remarked that she'd never even
thought about it, but that she and Colette were both pregnant, Colette due
in May, Mrs. Ramage in June. She agreed that she must have gone to the washroom
after the two-hour class. She also allowed that she and Colette might have
been separated for a few moments at this time. (Telephone interview of Elizabeth
Ann Ramage by Jerry Potter, September 13, 1992.) The women's restroom in
that building was on the second floor. Colette was allegedly seen by Mrs.
Boushey, halted by the surrounding young people near the first-floor landing,
en route from the second floor to the building's exit. If Colette had gone
to the restroom and then made her way down the steps before Ramage had exited
the restroom, there is room for a scenario in which Colette would have been
alone, on her way down to the first floor, when Boushey saw her.
30. A businesswoman, Eleanor Danson (not her real name), stopped at Dunkin'
Donuts on Bragg Boulevard in Fayetteville. At about midnight, four "hippies"
came in, a white female and three males, two white, one black. One of the
males was holding on to the young woman. The four stood and waited
for a booth to open. The woman wore a large, light-colored floppy hat and
a light-colored jacket. She carried a large shoulder bag and held it tightly.
She had blond hair and appeared to be high on drugs.
31. A field jacket, which is a heavy coat soldiers use in the field, is
not the same as a fatigue jacket, which is actually a shirt, the top part
of "fatigues," which are, in essence, army work clothes. Many
non-military people, however, confuse the names of the two garments.
32. Sworn statement of Marion L. Campbell to private investigator Raymond
Shedlick, Jr., June 24, 1983.
33. See the Article 32 transcript, testimony of Mrs. Winnie Casper, pp.
1033-1045, and testimony of Edwin George Casper II, pp. 1601-1607.
34. Affidavit by Rita B. Shortill, signed and notarized on June 13, 1991.
35. Kenneth Lamb made this statement to private investigator John Dolan
Myers, August 6, 1979.
36. The details mentioned here were given in a statement to private investigator
Ted L. Gunderson, former FBI bureau chief, Los Angeles Bureau, by Mrs.Jan
Snyder, on December 13, 1980. Her original statements to neighbors, made
on the day of the murders, telling of seeing the group, were corroborated
by one of those neighbors, John Chester, who appeared as a witness at the
Article 32 hearing, 1970. Mrs. Snyder herself appeared later at the hearing
and denied seeing anyone. In her 1980 statement to Gunderson, she said she
so testified because she was fearful of her life.
37. Declaration of private investigator Raymond R. Shedlick, February 24,
1984, following his interview of Carlos Torres.
38. Real name withheld by
39. FBI Witness Statement of Janice Pendlyshok, February 18, 1970.
cm Witness Statement by Agent John William Reynolds, March 1, 1971. Telephone
interview with Fred Bost, June 21, 1988.
40. Article 32 testimony of Pamela
41.James Douthat and Michael Malley, army lawyers on the defense
team, investigated claims during the army hearing. The claim of the night
man at Dunkin' Donuts was among these. All that now exists of this report
is a note in MacDonald's diary. Malley and Douthat remember it, but don't
remember the man's name, and the notes they took have apparently been lost.
42.Article 32 testimony of William Posey.
43. Account of Beasley's encounter with Helena and the group is taken from
Fred Bost's interviews with Beasley and from Beasley's statements to former
FBI bureau chief Ted Gunderson. In contrast, Beasley had signed a
fourpage statement for the CID on March 1, 1971, in which he referred briefly
to this encounter by writing, "At this time she did not state to me
that she could not remember what happened that night. I don't believe the
question came up." Beasley would later say that the document was prepared
by the CID and he gave it only a cursory reading before signing it.
44. Faddis Davis, the police dispatcher on duty that night, is deceased.
Corroboration of Beasley's call for the CID that night is from a statement
by former deputy sheriff Blaine O'Brien who was on duty and monitored the
call. A CID agent who worked on the Inter-Agency Narcotics Bureau with Beasley
also corroborated Beasley's concern that the CID pick Stoeckley up for questioning.
Sheriffs detective John DeCarter also told Fred Bost that Prince Beasley,
on the week of the murders, told him about Helena's admissions of involvement
in the crimes.
45. Detective Beasley's notes were filed at the police station. Years later
when he tried to retrieve them, he learned that they, and all other records
of members of the Stoeckley group, seemed to have disappeared. (From
an interview by Fred Bost and Jerry Potter with Prince Beasley, July 1989.)
46. Prince Beasley has described this event to numerous persons, testified
to it at the trial, and told of it during various television interviews.
47. It would be incredible that Ivory, the lead investigator in this highly
visible case, would not have been told about a call from Beasley, a fellow
member of the Inter-Agency Narcotics Bureau, especially since that
call was about detaining possible suspects in the MacDonald murder case.
On May 9, 1990, Jerry Potter and Prebble Potter, Jerry's wife, interviewed
a CID agent who had worked with Ivory in response to that call. The agent,
now retired, didn't want his name used in the book. He implied that Ivory
indeed had learned of Beasley's call. "Because of Beasley," the
agent said, he and Ivory picked up Helena Stoeckley at a two-story drug
rehabilitation center and took her to a safehouse. The agent remembered
this happening two days after the murders.
48. In his army hearing testimony Ivory told Colonel Rock he knew her friends
well enough to know they would kill her if they found out she had informed.
In his grand jury testimony William Ivory described her life-style in a
manner which could only have come from someone who knew her well, or was
attempting to be seen as someone who knew her well. He also said that even
before the murders he had "field-interrogated" Helena a couple
of times. Beasley also said he had seen William Ivory, Helena Stoeckley,
and Beasley's boss, Rudy Studer, together in a car. To our knowledge
no one in the CID has gone on record to deny that Stoeckley was .their informant,
as well as Beasley's.
49. The CID agent and May 9, 1990, interview referred to in Note 47.
50. In his December 15, 1970, statement, Ivory's boss, Joe Grebner, said
that Helena had been talked to within the first few days following the murders,
army hearings, months earlier, then interviewed again during the hearings.
Also during the hearings Ivory himself admitted that it was he who had interviewed
her twice. He also told the hearing officer that she had no alibi.. 51. The report was made in 1971 to Congressman Emanuel Celler in response
to demands by Celler for explanations of alleged irregularities in the CID
52.An FBI interoffice teletype was sent from Charlotte to Washington, D.C.,
on February 18, 1970, the day after the murders, stating in part: "All
drug addicts in area of Fort Bragg and Fayetteville, N.C., being questioned
and all informants of all law enforcement agencies being contacted."
53. Report to Honorable Emanuel Celler, House of Representatives, by Colonel
Philo A. Hutcheson, in response to the Michael Malley allegations of CID
misconduct, p. 43, response to allegation number 20, that the CID failedto
pursue leads about Helena Stoeckley. "She was questioned early in the
investigation by members of the Fayetteville Police Department and FBI agents-not
as a suspect, but because of her knowledge of the local 'hippie' community."
54. Retired Fayetteville police sergeant Charlie House is one of those persons
who recalled this order. He made it known to Fred Bost during an interview
in August 1989.
55. These actions by the FBI have been confirmed by numerous former residents
of the area, some of whom were photographed and tape-recorded. Also, William
Ivory alluded to such FBI activity during his second testimony at the Article
32 hearing in 1970.
56. This report was typed on February 27,1970, FBI File Number CE-70-3668.
57. On May 7, 1990, Fred Bost, while reading documents in the army CID Records
Holding Facility in Baltimore, Maryland, found the report on the hospital
arrest with names intact.
58. See the cm Case Progress File, dated April 7, 1971, comment by Mahon.
59. Greg Mitchell's interview with William Ivory, May 25, 1971, in which
Mitchell says that Cook was a heroin addict. Mitchell adds, "I met
him at Operation Awareness on Fort Bragg."
60. The Hickory Trailer Court was located at 3840 Murchison Road; Matthews
Foreign Car Service was located at 4410 Murchison Road.
61. This revelation was taped by Fred Bost during an interview conducted
on February 6, 1981.
62. Fred Bost found a reference to this May 11, 1970, arrest when he visited
the U.S. Army records depository in early May 1990.
63. CID agent Robert Shaw alluded to such an incident during his pre-Article
32 hearing deposition with MacDonald's lawyers.
64. Citing the Privacy Act, the FBI declines to divulge the names of the
men in the report, and they only describe the black man without naming him.
The black man thus far remains unidentified because the local newspaper
failed to publish the arrest, and the local arrest records for the period
have since been lost or destroyed.
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