"The charges against Captain Jeffrey R. MacDonald
are not true."... Colonel Warren V. Rock, ranking Army officer
in charge of the three month long 1970 Article 32 Army hearing which declared
Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald free of all blame in the murders of his wife and
two small children
By Jeffrey R. MacDonald, M.D.
Article reproduced with permission from Soldier of Fortune
Magazine, July 2000
[Note from Ken Adachi: There are so many relevant an important
statements made in this short magazine article written by Dr. Jeffrey
MacDonald concerning the persons and decisions which played a role in
setting him up as the patsy to take the blame for the brutal murders of
his wife and two young daughters in the early morning hours of February
17, 1970, that I felt it was important to insert bracketed explanations,
underlined words, bold text, and italics to emphasize and expand the reader's
grasp of the facts presented. The original Soldier of Fortune
magazine article contained none of my underlinedand highlighted
words or bracketed [..]explanations]
It was late October 1970, and this finding of the Article
32 hearing, until then the lengthiest in the history of the U.S. Army
[July 5- Oct. 13, 1970], proved the claims against me to be false.
Fort Bragg officials had charged me with the 17 February 1970
murders of my pregnant wife, Colette, and my two daughters, Kimberly, 5,
and Kristen, 2, in our quarters at 544 Castle Drive, Fort Bragg, N.C.
At the time I was a medical doctor, a captain, in the U.S.
Army Special Forces. The hearing officer, Colonel Warren V. Rock,
after hearing 56 witnesses and reviewing more than 2,000
pages of evidence, saw I was innocent and suggested the focus be
turned toward a young local woman, an undercover law enforcement asset named
Stoeckley. He officially recommended that appropriate civilian authorities
investigate her whereabouts and actions on the day of the murders.
The Rock investigation had been far-reaching and efficient.
Since he also wanted to hear from others besides defense psychiatrists,
he even sent me to Walter Reed Army Hospital for an intensive two-week evaluation
by the three top Army psychiatrists. He then went to the crime scene
with his legal officer and reenacted some events, determining that the CID’s
theory of a "staged" crime scene was false. His 90-page
report explicitly detailed the reasons why the charges against
me were "not true." With the hearing over, I was released from
"restriction to quarters", having been locked in my BOQ [Barracks
Officer's Quarters] and guarded by five armed MPs for seven months.
The facts as I know them are: I had been sleeping on the couch
that night because my younger daughter had wet my side of the bed in the
master bedroom. I was awakened by the screams of both my wife and older
daughter, and was immediately confronted and attacked by three men accompanied
by a female with long blonde hair and a floppy hat. The black male carried
what seemed to be a baseball bat; he was wearing E-6 stripes on a field
jacket. He used the bat on my head. Two white males in civilian clothes
were simultaneously attacking me from the front.
Medical and court records substantiate that I was knocked
unconscious, received 17 stab and puncture wounds
from knives and an ice pick, and suffered blunt trauma to my head,
left shoulder and arm. My right lung collapsed from one
of the stab wounds and required two surgical procedures. Yet,
the CID claimed, and still claims, that my injuries were self-inflicted.
The first arriving MP, Specialist Ken Mica,
gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Once revived, I described my assailants.
Mica immediately suggested that someone "Check the female in the floppy
hat", an individual he and his partner had spotted a few blocks away
[at the corner of Honeycutt Road and Lucas Drive, about three blocks away
from MacDonald's home] at 0355 [AM] on that cold, rainy, murder morning,
as they sped to my home in response to my emergency call. However, testimony
later revealed that First Lieutenant Joe Paulknever
issued an order for someone to investigate the mystery woman. Instead,
Mica was ordered by his superiors not to mention that he had seen her standing
in the winter rain on the desolate street corner.
[here we get the earliest indication that the CID might
be engaging in a sham investigation. The first CID investigator on the
scene, Joe Paulk, inexplicably ignores MP Mica's report of the
suspicious woman in the floppy hat and fails to issue an order to go looking
for her. This scene is taking place within approximately 15 or 20 minutes
of Mica's spotting of the woman in the floppy hat on the corner. It's
not reasonable to conclude that an honest criminal investigator
would ignore such an important clue in the opening moments of the discovery
of grisly murder scene. The oddity and strangeness of the woman in the
floppy hat and raincoat standing on the corner at 3:30 in the morning
on that cold and rainy night just 3 blocks away from MacDonald's home
fairly shouts out suspicion and the need for investigation-yet Paulk does
nothing about it. Why? What did CID Paulk know that MP Mica didn't
know on the morning of Feb. 17, 1970?
When Mica is later ORDERED by his superiors to not mention
the women in the floppy hat in his written reports or at the official
hearing, then it becomes more obvious that the CID is actively trying
to suppress evidence which would open the door to suspects beyond their
chosen patsy-Jeffrey MacDonald. ]
18th Airborne Corps commander, Lieutenant General
John Tolson, wanted the grisly post crimes resolved. But because
the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) had focused immediately and solely
on me as responsible, my acquittal suddenly became an embarrassment.
Targeting me meant that at least four violent murderers were roaming free
on post, the streets of Fayetteville, or points beyond.
Colonel Francis B. Kane, my CO in the 6th
Special Forces Group (Airborne) and an astute political observer, was
certain that the CID would persist in a vendetta against me.
Captain Jim Williams had been at the crime
scene early that terrible morning, and he had also testified on my behalf
at the hearing. It had been Williams who pointed out to everyone that
Fort Bragg military doctors, myself in particular, were viewed by drug-using
troops as "snitches." It wasn’t until years later that
Helena Stoeckley told an ex-FBI agent that her group had gone to my house
that night "to teach the arrogant captain a lesson about what happens
when you’re not sympathetic."
In the late spring of 1971, now a civilian and just before
I was to start a residency at Yale, I was offered a position in Long Beach,
Calif., by former Captain Jerry Hughes, another former Special Forces physician.
I accepted his kind offer and began practicing and teaching in the then-new
specialty of Emergency Medicine.
Not surprisingly, the exhaustive inquiry by Col. Rock did
not deter the CID. After my military discharge, I criticized the lead
CID investigators on national television, calling them perjurers, and,
along with my ex-father-in-law, I lobbied Congress to investigate the
CID's handling of the case.
CID’s response was to come after me with a vengeance.
I was now a civilian, no longer subject to military jurisdiction. Under
the Posse Comitatus Act, it was illegal for the CID to investigate me, but
they ignored the law and monitored my every movement, my mail, my phone
records, and my bank statements; also, my remaining family, friends, and
my civilian attorney, Bernard Segal, of San Francisco.
The CID "reinvestigation" took all of 1971, and
part of 1972. Ironically, when the CID conclusions were first presented
to the United States Department of Justice by an Army lawyer,
Capt. Brian Murtagh, the Department refused to take
the case because of the amount of exculpatory evidence that remained in
In time, however, with evidence being manipulated and
withheld, I was indicted by a federal grand jury in 1975, and tried
in 1979. I was convicted and am currently serving my 20th year of a triple-life
The 1979 trial was a travesty. The defense
had been prevented from doing any laboratory testing on evidentiary material
or conducting any minute examinations - an unimaginable event in most murder
trials. We made 24 motions to allow examinations, and were denied all
24. In contrast, the prosecution won seven of their eight evidentiary
It wasn’t until four years after trial that ex-FBI agent
Ted Gunderson, found a
possible reason behind Judge Dupree’s rulings: Dupree was the father-in-law
of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Proctor, in
Fayetteville, a key engineer of the 1971 reinvestigation. Both men
later admitted that this case was the most important case "in their
Many years later we discovered how the defense, the jury,
and the judge were prevented by prosecutors from seeing the extensive evidence
of outside assailants collected at the crime scene as revealed in CID laboratory
notes. This critical material - my entire defense, if you will - remained
hidden. As later proven in documents acquired through the Freedom of Information
Act, the critical CID lab notes had been carefully collected by prosecutor
Murtagh, who left the Army to build his career on my case. He had kept the
lab notes in his briefcase in the courtroom throughout my seven-week trial.
Murtagh’s fellow prosecutor, James Blackburn, repeatedly
told the court, "Where is the evidence of outside assailants? Where
is the evidence that Helena Stoeckley was ever inside 544 Castle Drive?"
Our cross exam of government lab experts about evidence analyzed
from the crime scene was hamstrung by the court’s refusal to let us
see their notes. In essence, the jury was given an edited and false picture
of the so-called scientific evidence of hair, fibers, and blood. To make
it worse, the powerful psychiatric evaluation - including the three favorable
exams from the government’s own Walter Reed Army Hospital - were ruled
inadmissible by Judge Dupree, who also ruled inadmissible Col. Rock’s
report and the testimony of seven witnesses who were in court to tell of
Helena Stoeckley’s statements of watching the murders.
Despite Colonel Rock’s belief that she might be implicated.
Dupree ruled Stoeckley "unreliable", as though reliability was
a criterion for committing murder.
In the late 1990s we learned the full, sour truth of the government’s
deception. There are now upwards of 40 witnesses who placed Stoeckley and
her boyfriend, Greg Mitchell (an ex-82nd Airborne trooper and heroin addict),
and their accomplices in the vicinity of my home on the murder morning.
Some of the assailants were even seen in bloody clothing and boots shortly
after the murders in a Bragg Boulevard doughnut shop; and later that morning
in a Murchison Road grocery store. Several other persons, including Greg
Mitchell’s own niece, heard him confess soulfully to taking part in
Helena Stoeckley (who died in January 1983) was the daughter
of a retired Army lieutenant colonel, and a drug user, and drug dealer.
William Ivory, the lead CID investigator, was closely
acquainted with her. (Read Fatal Justice, co-authored by Jerry Allen
Potter and retired SF Sergeant Major Fred Bost. W.W. Norton, 1995, hardcover;
1997, updated paperback).
Potter located an ex-CID agent who had been a former partner
of Bill Ivory at the time of the murders. The ex-agent told Potter of how
investigators from the very beginning were talking about Helena Stoeckley
possibly being involved; of how he and Ivory sought out Stoeckley and took
her to a safehouse for questioning, and how Ivory questioned her alone,
just two days after the murders, the results of which have never been disclosed.
Witnesses heard Stoeckley tell of wearing a blonde wig that
night, and of being worried the rain would ruin it. Twenty-two-inch and
24-inch synthetic blonde wig fibers were found in a hairbrush at the murder
scene, their existence kept hidden. Long-suppressed CID lab notes now confirm
the presence of black wool fibers on Colette’s mouth, her shoulder,
and on a splintered club used as one of the murder weapons. No one in my
family was wearing black wool; no matching black wool was found in my quarters.
A hair, dissimilar to my hair, was found clutched in Colette’s
hand along with a splinter from the club. Even more important, hairs were
found under the bloody fingernails of my daughters. The CID tried to match
these hairs to me; when that failed, they promptly hid the hairs’
Today, I work daily on my case while in federal prison in
Sheridan, Ore., awaiting DNA tests which the courts finally
ruled were my right under law. (We had asked to test all the biological
exhibits - perhaps 50 - but the court saw fit to limit us to 15.)
So far, Mr. Murtagh has delayed and obstructed these tests
- tests which were ordered by the court two-and-a-half years ago [court
ordered in 1997].
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the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.
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