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Jeffrey Robert MacDONALD

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


A.K.A.: "The Green Beret Killer"
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: February 17, 1970
Date of arrest: May 1, 1970
Date of birth: October 12, 1943
Victims profile: His pregnant wife, Colette, 26, and their two daughters, Kimberly, 5, and Kristen, 2
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA
Status: Sentenced to three life sentences, to be served consecutively, on August 29, 1979
 
 
 
 
 

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Jeffrey Robert MacDonald, M.D. (b. October 12, 1943), was tried and convicted in 1979 for the February 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters.

Early life

Jeffrey Robert MacDonald was born on October 12, 1943 in Jamaica, New York. In Patchogue high school he was voted both "most popular" and "most likely to succeed", and won a scholarship to Princeton University. While at Princeton, MacDonald resumed a romantic relationship with Colette Stevenson, whom he had dated while in high school. In the fall of 1963, upon learning of Colette's pregnancy, the couple married. Their first child, Kimberley, was born in April, 1964.

After MacDonald graduated from Princeton, he and his family moved to Chicago, IL where he attended Northwestern University Medical School. A second child, Kristen, was born in May of 1967.

The following year, upon his graduation from medical school, MacDonald completed an internship at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, NY. He then decided to join the Army and the entire family moved to Fort Bragg, NC. MacDonald was appointed to the Green Berets as a group surgeon in 1969.

The Murders

At 3:42 a.m. on the morning of February 17, 1970 dispatchers at Fort Bragg received an emergency call from MacDonald, who reported a "stabbing". Responding officers arrived to find Colette, Kimberley, and Kristen all dead in their respective bedrooms. MacDonald was found next to his wife, alive but wounded. He was immediately transferred to a nearby hospital.

Colette, who had been pregnant with her third child, was lying on the floor of her bedroom. She had been repeatedly clubbed, both her arms were broken, and she was stabbed thirty-seven times with a knife and ice pick. Her husband's torn pajama top was draped upon her chest. On the headboard of the bed someone had written the word "pig" in blood.

Kimberley, then age five, was found in her bed. She had been clubbed in the head and stabbed in the neck with a knife between eight and ten times. Her younger sister Kristen, age two, was also found in her bed. She had been stabbed with a knife thirty-three times and stabbed with an ice pick fifteen times.

MacDonald's wounds were much less severe than his family's injuries. In addition to various cuts and bruises, he had what a staff surgeon referred to as a "clean, small, sharp" incision that caused one lung to partially collapse. He was admitted to the hospital, where he was released after one week.

MacDonald's Story

MacDonald told investigators that on the evening of February 16, he had fallen asleep on the living room couch. He was later awakened by the sounds of Colette and Kimberley's screams. As he rose to go to their aid he was attacked by three armed male intruders. A fourth intruder, described as a white female in a white floppy hat, stood nearby with a lighted candle and chanted "Acid is groovy, kill the pigs." The three males attacked him with a club and ice pick.

During the struggle, MacDonald's pajama top was pulled over his head and he used it to ward off thrusts from the ice pick. Eventually, MacDonald stated that he was overcome by his assailants and was knocked unconscious in the living room end of the hallway leading to the bedrooms.

When he revived, MacDonald stated that the house was silent and he could no longer hear the screams of his wife and older daughter. He went to his wife and tried to revive her, but found that she was already dead. He then covered Colette was his torn pajama top and went to check on his daughters. MacDonald told investigators of his attempts to resuscitate each child, but they were also beyond help. He also indicated that he stopped in the bathroom to check on his own wounds, washing his hands while in the bathroom. MacDonald then called the Operator asking for the Military Police and an ambulance.

Investigation

The army's Criminal Investigation Division (C.I.D.) did not believe MacDonald's version of events. As they studied the physical evidence, it did not seem to support the story told by MacDonald. The living room, where MacDonald had supposedly fought for his life against three armed assailants, showed little sign of a struggle apart from an overturned coffee table and plant.

Fibers from MacDonald's torn pajama top were not found in the living room, where he claimed that it was torn. Instead fibers from the pajama top were found under the body of Colette and in Kimberly's and Kristen's bedrooms. One fiber was found under Kristen's fingernail.

The murder weapons were found outside the back door, all three were determined to come from the MacDonald house. The tips of surgical gloves were found beneath the headboard where "pig" was written in blood; they were identical in composition to a supply MacDonald kept in the kitchen.

The MacDonald family all had different blood types — a statistical anomaly that allowed C.I.D. agents to track what had happened in the apartment. Investigators theorized that the fight began in the master bedroom. Colette, they speculated, hit her husband in the forehead with a hairbrush.

As MacDonald retaliated by beating her with a piece of lumber, Kimberley — whose brain serum was found in the doorway — was struck, possibly by accident. Believing Colette dead, MacDonald carried the mortally wounded Kimberley back to her bedroom, with no choice but to finish the job.

After stabbing and bludgeoning her (Kimberley's blood was discovered on the pajama top MacDonald said he hadn't been wearing while in her room), he went to Kristen's room, intent on disposing of the last remaining witness. Before he could do so, Colette — whose blood was found on Kristen's bedcovers and on one wall of the room — regained consciousness, stumbled in, and threw herself over her daughter.

After killing them, MacDonald wrapped his wife's body in a sheet and carried it back to the master bedroom, leaving a footprint of Colette's blood on the way out.

C.I.D. investigators then theorized that MacDonald attempted to cover-up the murders, using articles on the Manson Family murders that he found in a issue of Esquire magazine in the living room. He then took a scalpel blade from a supply in the hallway closet and went to the adjacent bathroom and where he stabbed himself. Putting on surgical gloves from his supply, he went to the master bedroom, where he used Colette's blood to write "pig" on the headboard.

Finally, he laid his pajama top over Colette and repeatedly stabbed her in the chest with an ice pick. MacDonald used the phones to summon an ambulance, discarded the weapons, and lay by the body of his wife while he waited for the military police to arrive.

On April 6, 1970, Army investigators interrogated MacDonald. Less than a month later, on May 1, 1970, the Army formally charged MacDonald with the murder of his family.

Article 32 Hearing

An initial army Article 32 hearing into Jeffrey MacDonald's possible guilt, overseen by Colonel Warren Rock, convened in July 1970 and ran through September. MacDonald was represented by Bernard Segal, a civilian defense attorney from Philadelphia, PA. Segal mounted an effective defense of MacDonald which concentrated on the poor quality of the C.I.D investigation and the existence of other suspects, specifically Helena Stoeckley.

Segal presented evidence that the C.I.D. had not properly managed the crime scene and lost critical evidence, including skin found under Colette's fingernails. In addition, he claimed to have located the woman that MacDonald had seen the night of the murders in his apartment. Her name was Helena Stoeckley, and she was a well-known drug user in the area. Witnesses claimed that Stoeckley had admitted involvement in the crimes and several remembered her wearing clothing similar to what MacDonald had described.

In November 1970, Colonel Rock issued a report recommending that charges be dismissed against MacDonald because they were "not true", and recommended that civilian authorities investigate Helena Stoeckley. However, the post Commanding Officer upon reviewing the Article 32 determined that there was "insufficient evidence" to proceed and dismissed the charges on those grounds.

MacDonald received an honorable discharge from the Army and returned to his home state of New York.

Justice Department

After the Article 32 hearing, MacDonald returned to work as a doctor, briefly in New York and then in Long Beach, California, where he was an emergency room physician at the St. Mary Medical Center.

At this time Freddie Kassab, Colette's stepfather, began to believe that MacDonald had killed his daughter and grandchildren. Initially, Kassab was one of MacDonald's greatest supporters. At the Article 32 hearing he had said, "If I ever had another daughter, I'd still want the same son-in-law".

After MacDonald was discharged from the Army his behavior began to raise the suspicions of his former father-in-law. MacDonald went on The Dick Cavett Show to talk about the murders and made several jokes about the investigation. Kassab also began to receive phone calls from MacDonald, who claimed that he and a group of friends had tracked down one of the killers and put him "six feet under". After studying the Article 32 transcripts, Kassab became convinced of MacDonald's guilt and began a successful campaign to have him brought to trial.

On June 1, 1972 the CID submitted a report of some 3,000 pages naming MacDonald as the chief suspect. The Justice Department had some 30 days to review the matter but did not decide whether or not to prosecute at that time.

Between 1972 and 1974 the case remained trapped within the Justice Department as they struggled over whether or not to prosecute. Finally in July 1974 a decision was made to prosecute and a grand jury was convened in August 1974. The decision to prosecute had largely come about due to the persistence of Freddie Kassab.

Trial and Conviction

A grand jury in North Carolina indicted MacDonald on 24 January 1975 and within the hour MacDonald was arrested in California. On 31 January 1975 he was freed on $100,000 bail pending disposition of the charges. On 29 July 1975, District Judge Franklin T. Dupree Jr. denied MacDonald's double jeopardy and speedy trial arguments and allowed the trial date of August 18, 1975 to stand.

On August 15 1975, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the trial and on 23 January 1976, a panel of that court, in a 2-1 split, ordered the indictment dismissed on speedy trial grounds. An appeal on behalf of the Government led to an 8-0 reinstatement of the indictment by the U.S. Supreme Court on 1 May 1978. On 22 October 1978, the Fourth Circuit rejected MacDonald's double jeopardy arguments and, on 19 March 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review that decision.

The trial lasted July 16-August 29, 1979 in a North Carolina courtroom. MacDonald was convicted of one count of first-degree murder in the death of Kristen and two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Colette and Kimberley. He was immediately given three life sentences, to be served consecutively.

Immediately after the verdict MacDonald applied for bail pending the outcome of his appeal. On September 7, 1979, this application was rejected and an appeal on bail was further rejected by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on 20 November 1979.

Fatal Vision

In June, 1979 MacDonald chose Joe McGinniss to write a book about the case. He was given unfettered access to MacDonald and the defense during the trial. MacDonald expected that the book would be about his innocence in the murders of his family. However, McGinniss' book, Fatal Vision, portrayed MacDonald as a narcissistic sociopath who was indeed guilty of killing his family. The book contains excerpts from court transcripts and sections entitled, "The Voice of Jeffrey MacDonald", which were based on tape recordings made by MacDonald following his conviction.

MacDonald subsequently sued McGinniss in 1987 for fraud based on the fact that McGinniss pretended to believe MacDonald innocent after he came to the conclusion that MacDonald was guilty, in order to continue MacDonald's cooperation with him. After a trial, which resulted in a mistrial, McGinniss and MacDonald settled out of court for $325,000.

"The Journalist and the Murderer", written by Janet Malcolm and published in 1990, is about the relationship between journalists and their subjects, and explores the relationship between McGinniss and MacDonald as an example of the author's thesis that, "EVERY journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible."

Post-Conviction

Appeals

On July 29, 1980, a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed MacDonald's conviction in a 2-1 split on the grounds that the delay in bringing him to trial violated his Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial. On August 22, 1980, MacDonald was freed on $100,000 bail. He returned to work at St. Mary's Medical Center in Long Beach, California as the Director of Emergency Medicine. His job had been held open during the year he was incarcerated.

On December 18, 1980, the Fourth Circuit Court split 5-5 to hear the case en banc and thus the earlier decision stood. On May 26, 1981, the United States Supreme Court accepted the case for consideration and on December 7, 1981, heard oral arguments.

On March 31, 1982, they ruled 6-3 that MacDonald's rights to a speedy trial were not violated. MacDonald was rearrested and returned to prison. Defense lawyers filed a new motion for MacDonald to be freed on bail pending appeal, but the Fourth Circuit refused. MacDonald's remaining points of appeal were heard on June 9, 1982 and his convictions were unanimously affirmed on August 16, 1982. A further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was refused on January 10, 1983.

On March 1, 1985, Judge Dupree rejected all defense motions for a new trial. Lawyers for MacDonald appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld Dupree's ruling and refused to reopen the case. On October 6, 1986 the Supreme Court upheld the lower court's decision.

The courts ruled that Judge Dupree had acted correctly when he refused to let the jury see a transcript of the Article 32 military hearing, and, because this was not an insanity trial, had also acted properly in not allowing the jurors to hear any of the psychiatric testimony. Had he done so, the jurors would have learned that none of the doctors hired by the defense or who worked for the Army or government at Walter Reed Hospital, concluded that MacDonald was psychologically incapable of committing the murders.

The courts have also ruled that the confessions of Helena Stoeckley were unreliable and at odds with the established facts of the case, and that her treatment at trial was correct. During trial, she was arrested under a material witness warrant and testified before the jury that she could not remember her activities on the evening of the murders due to substantial drug use; witnesses to whom she had confessed were not allowed to testify.

MacDonald was granted leave to file his fourth appeal on January 12, 2006. This latest appeal is based on the recent sworn affidavit of Jimmy Britt, a decorated retired United States Marshal who worked as such during the trial. Britt states that he heard the material witness in the case, Helena Stoeckley, admit to the prosecutor of the case, James Blackburn, that she was present at the MacDonald residence at the time of the murders and that Blackburn threatened her with prosecution if she testified.

Stoeckley, however, met with counsel for the defense prior to this alleged meeting with Blackburn, and she told them that she had no memory of her whereabouts the night of the murders.

Defense Attorney Wade Smith advised Judge Dupree that Helena had testified on the stand essentially the same as she had stated in the Defense interviews. Also, important to note that there is record of Helena contacting Judge Dupree to claim she was terrified, not of the prosectors, but of Bernie Segal the lead defense attorney.

On April 16, 2007, MacDonald's attorneys filed an affidavit of Stoeckley's mother, in which she states that her daughter confessed to her twice that she was at the MacDonald residence on the evening of the murders and that she was afraid of the prosecutors. Mrs. Stoeckley's past statements concerning her daughter are at odds with the details contained in her affidavit.

MacDonald has requested to expand the appeal to include all the evidence amassed at trial, evidence which he claims was discovered subsequent to the trial (e.g., alleged prosecution threats of Stoeckley) and the recently completed DNA results.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals granted MacDonald's motion for a successive habeas petition and remanded the matter back to the District Court Eastern Division for a decision. The petition is under consideration by Judge James Fox.

Suppressed Evidence

MacDonald supporters claim that the prosecution suppressed evidence in this case. In the years since the trial defense lawyers have used the Freedom of Information Act to find evidence that the government did not present at trial.

Unidentified fingerprints and fibers found in the apartment were never matched to anyone known to have been in the house prior or after the murders. However, fingerprint exemplars of the children were not obtained and Colette's fingerprint exemplars were of poor quality, as they were taken subsequent to embalming.

Two unidentified 22" long synthetic hairs were found, but not pointed out specifically to the defense. MacDonald's lawyers claim that these hairs were from the wig worn by Helena Stoeckley, but the government contends they more likely came from the children's dolls.

In addition, the hairs differed from each other in composition and were found in a hairbrush, which points to the unlikely scenario that an intruder brushed their hair at the scene and was wearing more than one wig. A spot of blood that was either type O or type B (MacDonald's blood type) was found in the hallway.

MacDonald supporters continue to insist that this was not disclosed to the defense, despite the existence of the trial transcripts online which clearly show this spot was indeed disclosed and discussed. Supporters of MacDonald also point to black wool fibers found on Colette MacDonald's mouth and shoulder as evidence of intruders that the government deliberately did not report.

In 1995, two MacDonald supporters, Jerry Allen Potter and Fred Bost, wrote Fatal Justice, a book meant to both refute Joe McGinniss' Fatal Vision and present the evidence they claimed had been hidden by government prosecutors.

DNA Testing

Lawyers representing MacDonald were given the right to pursue DNA tests on limited hair evidence in 1997 by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. After 8 years, the tests on some 15 exhibits were completed.

DNA test results released March 10, 2006, did not match Helena Stoeckley's nor her boyfriend, Greg Mitchell's DNA. A limb hair found stuck to the bloody left palm of Colette MacDonald's matched the DNA profile of Jeffrey MacDonald. A hair found in Colette's bloody right palm was sourced as her own hair. MacDonald's DNA profile also matched body hairs found on the multi-colored bedspread from the master bed where he generally slept and on the top sheet of Kristen MacDonald's bed where he tried to resucitate her.

An unsourced pubic hair was found between Colette's legs, as well as another unsourced hair in a bedsheet, and an unsourced hair, with root intact was found under the fingernail of 2 year old Kristen. A judicial response to the DNA results is pending.

Parole

MacDonald is currently imprisoned in Cumberland, Maryland at a Federal prison. He has steadfastly maintained his innocence throughout the years. At the urging of his wife and attorneys, he had a parole hearing on May 10, 2005. Parole was denied, with the recommendation that 15 more years be served before another parole hearing, or two years if new circumstances were to arise in the meantime.

References

  • McGinniss, Joe. Fatal Vision. Signet, 1984. ISBN 0451165667

  • Bost, Fred and Potter, Jerry. Fatal Justice: Reinvestigating the MacDonald Murders. W.W. Norton, 1995. ISBN 0393030008

  • Malcolm, Janet. The Journalist and the Murderer. Vintage, 1990. ISBN 0679731830

External links

  • The Jeffrey MacDonald Case This website is maintained by friends and family of Jeffrey MacDonald

  • The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site This website presents trial transcripts, grand jury testimonies, depositions, declarations, CID reports, FBI reports, psychological and psychiatric evaluations and other documents pertaining to the case.
     

 
 

Dr. Jeffrey Robert MacDonald (Born: October 12, 1943), also known as the Green Beret Killer, was a former member of the elite military unit, who was tried and convicted in 1979 for the Feburary 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters

The murders

In the early morning hours of February 17, 1970, a brutal multiple homicide took place in the house of Jeffrey MacDonald, a doctor with the Green Berets (United States Army Captain) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. MacDonald's entire family--his pregnant wife and two young daughters--was brutally slaughtered while he was in the house, while MacDonald survived with some injuries.

Conviction

MacDonald claimed that on the night of the murders, he was attacked on his living room couch by four intruders who also murdered his family. Despite the massive trauma to the rest of his family, MacDonald himself suffered relatively light injuries, save for one serious stab wound which punctured (and collapsed) his right lung. He said that when he washed his hands and checked himself in the bathroom mirror (before making sure that help was on the way) "he did not even have a cut or anything".

However, when he arrived at the emergency room doctors actually did find less serious wounds, including knife lacerations on the abdomen, several shallow stab wounds on his left chest and abdomen, and several bruises at his hairline indicating mild blunt-force trauma.

MacDonald had said that one of the intruders was a woman who was carrying a burning candle and chanting "Acid is groovy, kill the pigs", a style of killings that investigators found suspiciously reminiscent of the recently publicized Manson murders. Three candle wax drippings, which were different from one another in chemical composition, were found in the apartment. Colette was known to be fond of burning candles, though none of the wax could be matched to any candles in the house. Some of the wax was found to be consistent with birthday-candle wax; other wax drippings were studied and found to be old and filled with household debris.

Helena Stoeckley (1952-1983), a heavy user of drugs whom the defense fastened upon as possibly one of the alleged intruders, confessed and recanted many times, and at one point said that MacDonald himself committed the murders. Most interesting with regard to the wax drippings were that Stoeckley claimed that her candle dripped blood, not wax. A polygraph administered by CID in 1971 indicated that Stoeckley at least believed she had been in the house that night, though Stoeckley was well known to have emotional problems.

One of the most damaging pieces of evidence against MacDonald was the fact that, despite his story of using his pajama top to fend off frenzied, ice pick- and knife-wielding "intruders," the punctures in MacDonald's pajama top were found to be perfectly round, with no tearing, indicating that they were placed in the top while the top was stationary.

Moreover, MacDonald claimed that he was wearing his pajama top when he went to sleep and woke to find it still on his body, wrapped around his wrists, yet holes in the pajama top matched holes in Colette's chest. (The defense disputes this, saying that documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)show that while the lab was apparently able to fold the top in such a way that the holes lined up, they could not come up with a configuration that matches both the location and the direction of the punctures, and that only when the technicians decided to ignore the FBI lab's own finding of the direction of the broken fibers on each hole were they able claim success.)

MacDonald also claimed that he had wakened to the sounds of his wife and one daughter screaming, and that at that exact time, he was attacked by three of the intruders each respectively armed with a club, ice pick and knife. Yet it was shown at trial that the weapons with which he claimed to have been attacked were, at the same point in time, being used against his family in other rooms. Additionally, a bloody hair of Colette's was found entwined with a fiber from MacDonald's pajama top, and another fiber from his pajama top was found under his youngest daughter's fingernail.

An initial army Article 32 hearing into Jeffrey MacDonald's possible guilt, overseen by Colonel Warren Rock, convened in July 1970 and ran through September. In November 1970, Colonel Rock issued a report recommending that charges be dismissed against MacDonald because they were "not true", and recommended that civilian authorities investigate Helena Stoeckley. However, the Army's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) believed that MacDonald was guilty, and the charges were instead dropped because of "insufficient evidence".

After studying the Article 32 transcripts, his father-in-law, Alfred Kassab (who was originally supportive of his son-in-law, believing him to be innocent), became convinced of his guilt and began a successful campaign to have him brought to trial.

A grand jury in North Carolina indicted him on 24 January 1975 and within the hour MacDonald was arrested in California. On 31 January 1975 he was freed on $100,000 bail pending disposition of the charges.

On 29 July 1975 District Judge Franklin T. Dupree Jr. denied MacDonald's double jeopardy and speedy trial arguments and allowed the trial date of August 18, 1975 to stand.

On August 15 1975 the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the trial and on 23 January 1976, in a 2-1 split, the indictment was dismissed on speedy trial grounds. An appeal on behalf of the Government led to an 8-0 reinstatement of the indictment by the U.S. Supreme Court on 1 May 1978. On 22 October 1978 the Fourth Circuit rejected MacDonald's double jeopardy arguments, which was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court on 19 March 1979.

The trial lasted July 16-August 29, 1979 where he was convicted of one count of first-degree and two counts of second-degree murder. He was given three life sentences, to be served consecutively. Immediately after the verdict MacDonald applied for bail pending the outcome of his appeal. On 7 September 1979 this was rejected and an appeal on bail was further rejected by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on 20 November 1979.

On July 29, 1980 the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed MacDonald's conviction in a 2-1 split on the grounds that the delay in bringing him to trial violated his Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial.

On August 22, 1980, MacDonald was freed on $100,000 bail. He returned to work at St. Mary's Medical Center in Long Beach, California.

On December 18, 1980, the Fourth Circuit Court split 5-5 to hear the case en banc and thus the 2-1 decision stood.

On May 26, 1981, the United Stated Supreme Court accepted the case for consideration and on December 7, 1981, heard oral arguments.

On March 31, 1982, they ruled 6-3 that MacDonald's rights to a speedy trial were not violated. Technically, only the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals could revoke MacDonald's bail but Judge Franklin T. Dupree did so anyway. MacDonald shouted to news reporters "they had no right to revoke my bail!" before being driven to the FCI Terminal Island.

After attempting to be freed on a new bail in April 1982, the Fourth Circuit refused. MacDonald's remaining points of appeal were heard in June 1982 and his convictions were unanimously affirmed. A further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was refused on January 10, 1983.

MacDonald lost all of his appeals, and the courts ruled that the judge at the original trial, Judge Franklin Dupree, had acted correctly when he refused to let the jury see a transcript of the Article 32 military hearing, and, because this was not an insanity trial, had also acted properly in not allowing the jurors to hear any of the psychiatric testimony. Had he done so, the jurors would have learned that all of the doctors at Walter Reed Hospital, with the sole exception of Sadoff who was hired by the defense, concluded that MacDonald most certainly could have committed these crimes.

MacDonald supporters have claimed that the prosecution suppressed evidence in this case, but the courts ruled that no suppression had taken place. Unidentified fingerprints and fibers found in the apartment amounted to nothing, since prints and hair samples of the children were never taken, and since every home has many fibers, hairs and fingerprints that belong to no one and no item in the house. Moreover, Stoeckley's fingerprints and hair samples were obtained, compared to the prints and hairs found in the house, and were found not to match.

He is currently imprisoned in Maryland at a Federal prison. He has steadfastly maintained through the years that he would not ask for parole because it would mean he must admit remorse to the parole board. But he finally did apply and had a hearing on May 10, 2005. Parole was denied, with the recommendation that 15 more years be served before another parole hearing.

Publications

Fatal Vision

A best selling book was written about the case called Fatal Vision by Joe McGinnis. The book is made up almost entirely of direct quotations from trial and grand jury transcripts, the signed statements of witnesses, and Jeffrey MacDonald's own words (though his defense charges that McGinniss radically altered the quotes by stringing together sentences from hundreds of pages apart, and misquoting medical texts, in order to make MacDonald sound like the psychotic killer McGinniss was painting him to be). In Fatal Vision, the author suggested that MacDonald killed his family in a fit of psychotic rage due to taking amphetamines. Although this was only a theory, there are items of evidence to support it, including but not limited to MacDonald's own admission that he was using amphetamines, and his telling Dr. Sadoff that it was a "weird coincidence" that his brother Jay had also suffered a psychotic break with reality after abusing amphetamines. The defense claims that MacDonald was tested for drug use, however he was not tested for the presence of amphetamines, as the equipment available to CID was not capable of performing this test.

Fatal Justice

In 1993, another book about the MacDonald case entitled Fatal Justice appeared. Its basic claims are that:

1. The army botched the crime scene, allowing too many people to tramp through it and contaminate evidence. The book does not tell the reader that none of the many evidentiary items found against MacDonald were "contaminated," nor does it explain how any MP, medic or investigator managed to carry away all evidence of intruders while leaving only evidence that pointed to MacDonald as the murderer.

2. The neighbors saw people who might have been the intruders, contrary to the government assertion. The book does not tell the reader that timelines do not match, nor do they emphasize that countless people matched the descriptions of the alleged assailants but none were found to have any involvement in the crimes.

3. There was evidence of other people at the crime scene, including a bloody palm print on the master bedroom headboard that did not match MacDonald (and was listed on reports, and testified about, by the government in such a way as to conceal this fact); brown hairs under the fingernails of the little girls (MacDonald is very blond); a brown hair in the hand of Colette, MacDonald's wife; a blond wig hair (which the government claimed belonged to a doll, but which the authors say was too long--20 inches--to have matched any of the small, short hairs of the girls' dolls); and black wool fibers on the club which could not be matched to anything in the house. The actual case records show that there was no "bloody palm print" found; Potter and Bost had simply taken an unidentified partial print and put it together with other blood found, to make a "bloody palm print." MacDonald was also shown on official reports as having brown hair, not blond. No person ever testified that any hair was found under Kristen's fingernail, and the hair from Kimberly's fingernail scrapings is not talked about in the defense's recent filings. As for "wig hair," nowhere in Janice Glisson's lab notes does she refer to "wig hairs," and in fact the synthetic fibers were of different compositions and were never matched to any wig at all, much less any wig ever worn by Helena Stoeckley.

4. That the government systematically manipulated or surpressed this information--denying the defense the handwritten lab notes that indicated evidence was exculpatory, but refusing to let them test the evidence themselves. They document one case where a lab technician specifically notes that she is not going to turn over potentially exculpatory material, and describe the government repeatedly making evidence physically inaccessable, or accessible in such a way that it was not reasonable to expect the defense to find anything. This also was misinformation for the reader, since study of Janice Glisson's R-11 note shows that the words "will not be reported by me" were actually deliberately taken out of context, and her note actually says she "...did not label all the vials containing fibers and hairs (#1, #7, #8), but gave #'s and slide comparisons to these #'s, since they will not be reported by me." This is because she was not assigned to do those comparisons; Dillard Browning was.

After meticulous examination, the courts determined that the prosecution had not wrongly withheld any evidence: "In short, what MacDonald ascribes to Murtagh's bad faith manipulation of testimony at trial appears to the court to be the result of factors unrelated to prosecutorial misconduct. The court has had the opportunity to observe the conduct of counsel for the government and for MacDonald over the last sixteen years and has found all counsel, without exception, to have performed in a diligent and professional manner. While there have been sharp conflicts over a multiplicity of procedural and substantive issues, the court has not perceived any instance where attorneys for either side crossed the boundary between zealous advocacy and impropriety. Any suggestion that the government engaged in conduct intended to deny MacDonald his right to a fair trial is unsupported by the extensive record in this action."

5. The judge in the case, Judge Dupree, may have been prejudiced against MacDonald because his son-in-law was involved in the initial army case, and at any rate was excessively deferential to the prosecution. The court declared that "Appellant's claims that Proctor interviewed Stoeckley, concluded that MacDonald killed his wife in a heat of passion, went to Washington to persuade the Justice Department to prosecute MacDonald and volunteered to furnish Justice Department files to the Army, are based upon an unsubstantiated newspaper article (see J.A. 1856-58). Such evidence is plainly incompetent to establish the truth of these facts. See, e.g., Fed. R. Evid. 802. In any event, such allegations, even if correct (which they are not), do not alter in the least the fact that Proctor never assumed a protective role in the MacDonald case before or during Judge Dupree's involvement in it." The court twice characterized Judge Dupree's conduct in handling the trial of this case as "admirable."

6. That the government ignored potential perpetrators such as Helena Stoeckley, who had confessed to being in the house to multiple people. This is bolstered by the recent confession of Jimmy Britt, a former US marshal, who said that he was present in 1979 when Helena Stoeckley confessed that she had been in the house on the evening of the murders to prosecutor James Blackburn and others. According to Britt, Blackburn replied "If you testify before the jury as to what you have told me, I will indict you for murder." The following day, Ms Stoeckley testified that she had amnesia about the night of the murders. However, Britt's claim that he withheld this information out of a sense of loyalty to the government and Judge Dupree is tainted by the fact that if true, he allowed his friend to conduct a trial without telling him of this information, and by the fact that Britt retired in 1990, some fifteen years before coming forth with this information. The defense admits that Stoeckley told the same story to them as she told to the prosecutor and jury, thereby undermining and contradicting another of their claims that she told a different story to the court than she told to the defense. Missing in Britt's affidavit are any recollections on Britt’s part that Helena told the prosecutor that she, or anyone else, murdered the pregnant wife and two small daughters of the MacDonald family or any details that might support that Helena was ever in the MacDonald apartment.

7. That given the evidence of possible innocence, and prosecutorial misconduct, MacDonald deserves a new trial. Current copies of the book do not bring the reader up to date by informing him that the courts found no evidence of possible innocence, nor did the court find any prosecutorial misconduct whatsoever.

8. That MacDonald may have been the victim of a coverup by higher-ups at Fort Bragg, whose children were associates of Stoeckley and her friends, and could have been implicated. The scenario would be that they were covering up for their children, rather than trying to "get" MacDonald--but when he was caught up in the net, they did not come forward. This is, however, highly speculative.

The authors do not go into MacDonald's behavior subsequent to the murders, such as his appearance on the Dick Cavett show, which at the very least betrayed a staggering lack of normal affect, and his even stranger decision to tell his father-in-law that he had actually tracked down and killed one of his wife's murderers. Nor do they really address the possibility that Stoeckley was simply a hysterical young girl--akin to the batty college roommate who thinks she's a witch. They offer "evidence" that Stoeckley knew about the broken rocking chair in the house, which they say had not appeared in any news reports, but in fact, a picture of the horse had been published in the newspaper the morning after the murders, and a picture of the horse was shown to Stoeckley by MacDonald's lawyer, Bernard Segal, during the trial in 1979.

The authors claim that psychiatrists, both military and civilian, had examined MacDonald before the Army's Article 32 hearing in 1970 and said he was sane and normal. However, examination of the facts shows that all of the doctors at Walter Reed Hospital concluded that MacDonald indeed was completely capable of committing these horrific crimes, and only one doctor -- who was hired by the defense -- disagreed.

It was implied that no bloodstains were put on MacDonald's pajama top before it was torn. Stombaugh (FBI) testified at trial that despite MacDonald's story of waking in the hallway after the attack, with his pajama top still wrapped around his wrists, the pajama top was stained with Colette's blood before it was torn. The authors argue, however, that by the time of the trial, Stombaugh himself was unable to discern any spot on which the bloodstain continued across the tear onto the other side; Stombaugh's explanation was that the stains must have faded in the 9 years between the murder and the trial.(Fatal Justice, p. 146) The book also argues that Judge Dupree should have allowed the defense wider latitude to impeach Stombaugh's credibility, since other technicians in the lab disagreed with his findings, and because his credentials were in question:

"During preliminary quesitoning at the trial . . . Stombaugh said he received his bachelor of science degree in 1949 from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry . . . a defense reseracher contacted Furman University seeking facts. Thus, when Segal began his cross-examination, he was armed with new information and attempted to show through questioning that Stombaugh had received only one year of instructin in chemistry, that his chemistry grade had been minimal, and his grade in physics had been even worse. But Judge Dupree, visibly angry at such attempts to discredit the former head of the FBI lab's chemistry section, quickly cut the effort short."

MacDonald's lawyers accepted Stombaugh as an expert, and the jury found Stombaugh to be credible.

Potter and Bost also make some mention of gloves found in the apartment, implying that these were worn by "intruders." These gloves were, in fact, oven mitts. They also make much of the fact that Stoeckely and friends match his description, even though MacDonald may have seen them elsewhere, and thus could have based his description on real people. Potter and Bost do not inform the reader that the summer before the murders, MacDonald was seen with people (the so-called "New York Four") who matched the descriptions he later gave, nor do they inform the reader that in December 1970, ten months after the murders, MacDonald viewed the arrest records of the New York Four and, despite the fact that they matched his descriptions, he said nothing about it to anyone.

DNA test results released March 10, 2006, showed that neither Stoeckley's nor Mitchell's nor any other "intruder's" DNA matched that in any of the "crucial" exhibits chosen by the defense. The results also showed that the hair which MacDonald has repeatedly described as being "clutched" in Colette's hand and which he has claimed for 36 years could only have come from her murderer, was found to be his very own.

 
 

THE JEFFREY MACDONALD CASE - GREEN BERET MURDERS

AUTOPSY REPORTS

Certificates of death were obtained for each of the decedents. The certificates were all dated February 17, 1970 and reflected that Colette, Kimberly and Kristen MacDonald died in their home at Fort Bragg, North Carolina located in Cumberland County at an unknown time.  They were pronounced dead by Dr. William Neal.

The following information is taken from the finding of that report:

Dr. George Gammel was the doctor at Womack Army Hospital who performed the autopsy of Colette Kathryn MacDonald and reported that she died as a result of blood loss resulting from multiple stab wounds of the thorax and neck area. Three types of weapons were used in the attack of Colette, a blunt object, a knife and a sharp object described as an ice pick type weapon. At least two weapons were used in the stabbing of her, one being a paring knife and the other an ice pick type weapon. Colette’s injuries was described as three deep lacerations, one at the right temple which had a piece of tissue missing, this was surrounded by a large black and blue area coving the right eye.

The second laceration was located over the left temple and the third at the midline of the forehead. There was a smaller laceration about the right ear, a small superficial laceration of the upper lip, bruising on the right and left side of the chin with more bruising on the right side.

There were nine deep incisional wounds on the front of her neck, seven additional incisional wounds found located on her chest. Four of the later stab wounds were found in the upper chest. The remaining stab wounds were found on her right chest. Twenty one small puncture type wounds were found on the left chest mostly over the breast area. Three small puncture wounds were found on the front of the left arm.

Numerous bruises and superficial abrasions were found on her body. Her right wrist was fractured and the inner aspect of her arm there was extensive bruising and superficial abrasions. Her right hand and fingers had black and blue areas associated with abrasions. Her left arm was fractured in two places, one on the lower part of the arm resulting in the bone being pushed in an upward motion that broken again just below the elbow causing the bone to penetrate the skin. There were several excoriations/scratches on the right lower leg.

Two distinct types of penetrating wounds were identified. Twenty one of the small round wounds that was present over the thorax area and left upper arm penetrating to a depth of 4 cm. The stab wounds were describe as sixteen elliptical gaping incisional wounds with sharp edges, 1.5 cm in length and penetrating to the maximum of about 4 cm in depth. Most of the wounds appeared perpendicular to the surface of the body.

There was a skull fracture present beneath the center of the forehead. It is true that some of the head wounds she sustained she could have survived them if she had immediate treatment but mostly likely would have left her cosmetically disfigured as a result of them.

She was found to be pregnant with a male fetus, four to five months gestation with no gross deformities noted. There is no record or the blood type for the fetus. A vaginal smear revealed degenerating spermatozoa heads without tails which is indicative of sperm being deposited seventy two hours prior to the smear being done on February 17, 1970. There is no record of any test done on the sperm to determine the blood type.

Her laboratory results reported that there was a small amount of Benadryl present in the liver and urine and a small amount of alcohol present 0.3mg/ml in the blood. All other toxicological test was negative for dangerous drugs and narcotics.

The time of death was placed at 3:00 am but only as an approximate time.

Dr. William Hancock was the doctor who performed the autopsy on Kimberly Kathryn MacDonald and reported that she had received multiple blunt blows to the right side of her head. It is thought that the first blows were received standing near or within the doorway of the master bedroom based on the amount of her blood found in that location as well as brain serum. She sustained further injuries which are thought to have taken place in her bed where she died. The number of blows cannot be known for sure, but it is apparent that there were at two and possibly more. The direction of the blows is slightly equivocal, but appeared that they varied from the horizontal by only a few degrees. It was also reported that it was impossible to determine if the blows were sustained from the front or back nor was it possible to determine the position of the body at the time the blows were sustained. The blows were sufficient to result in a concussion, comatose state and possible instant death.

Lacerations of the trachea in part were thought to be inflicted prior to death and in conjunction with the head blows were also sufficient to cause death. The head wounds were the first to have been sustained. The blows to head resulted in multiple fractures at the base of the skull; the right calvarium was slightly dislocated and fractured through the entire thickness. The color and contused areas of the brain are consisted with blows to the right lateral skull and frontal area.

There were eight to ten penetrating wounds overlapping each other making it somewhat difficult to count the exact number on the center right neck area. These lacerations were consisted with stab wounds caused by a single edge sharp instrument resulting in them being an inch wide and penetrating to at least 5 cm in depth. The stab wounds appear to have entered at the right angle of the prone body. The size and pattern are consisted with being inflicted with a paring knife.

Her right eye was recessed, her nose broken and deviated to the left her jaw was fractured. There were overlapping irregular abrasions and bruising on the right check, right ear and right mastoid area. She had a minor bruise on her left thigh and one on each shin area.

The report concluded that the time of death for Kimberly could vary from early evening of February 16 to 3:42am February 17, 1970. Her death could have occurred before, close proximity to or later than the other two victims. Cause of death was loss of blood. No toxicological examination was done.

Three types of weapons were used in the attack of Kimberly, a blunt object, a knife and a sharp objection described as being ice pick like weapon.

Dr. William Hancock was also the doctor who performed the autopsy on Kristen Jean MacDonald and reported that she sustained multiple stab wounds. She sustained all her injuries in her bedroom and there is no evidence to refute the assumption that they were all sustained while she was in her bed. The ones in the chest and one in the neck was described as gaping. Five circular type wounds penetrated deep into her chest. There were ten similar shaped wounds on the right chest area. These wounds did not penetrate deeply.

The neck had two circular wounds similar to the previous ones mentioned and was shallow on the right and center areas of the neck. There were multiple small pen point hemorrhage areas on the skin, bruising on the left lateral neck area and a small bruise on the left side of her chin. The right lateral neck had superficial abrasions and the superior portion of the right shoulder as well.

The anterior and posterior neck wounds appear to be right angle to the prone body in its head to toe plane, but from multiple angles from side to side. The rotation angle of the weapon varied and spacing of the wounds was in no pattern other than being primarily in the body midline and in a group of four to five wounds per group. The gaping posterior gaping wounds were more bruised than the anterior chest wounds.

The neck and trachea showed minor spaced hemorrhage and the intra-trachea bloody fluid was not clotted. This would suggest that the stab wounds to the neck, trachea and anterior chest were sustained after dead or when she was in the final stages of death.

The circular puncture wounds did not penetrate deep enough to be considered lethal. The angle of these wounds is at right angles to the plane of the prone body in two direction, north to south and east to west. Ten of those wounds were in the upper posterior back and two were over the shoulder blade. Contusions on the left side of the neck of the neck, left chin, right buttocks and right elbow show no superficial markings. Cause most likely by contact with a soft object of variable force. The abrasions on the right side of the neck and upper shoulder described as being caused by a blunt object and those on the shoulder show a heaping of the skin at the lower edge of the abrasion which suggests the blows were sustained in a downward motion.

On the right hand there was a through and through laceration in the middle of the ring finger and three superficial on the back of the same finger. On the palm surface of the right index finger there was a triangular flap of skin that had been incised from the subcutaneous tissue. In the web between the thumb and index finger on the right hand a superficial incision with sharp border 1.0 cm in length.

The time of death placed from early evening of February 16, 1970 until February 17, 1970 when the MP’s arrived. The pathologist could not place the time of death in relation to that of the other decedents, that there is no specific data related to the murders and that variable influencing judgment of time of death are numerous and of considerable magnitude.

Again discussing the time of death for the victims it was impossible to reconstruct accurately the time of death or time span when the victims were assaulted or the time of the assault. Dr. Neal reported that there was distinct cooling of the remains when he examined them which suggest that the victims had been dead for more than one hour at the time of his examination on early morning February 17, 1970.

It is impossible to determine where Colette was when she received her fatal injuries, many may have been received somewhere else other than where she was found. There was a burn type abrasion encircling her right bicep was reported that it resembled a rope burn. Government records report that it could represent a hard impact from the sharp edge of the wooden club which could have flattened the underlying muscle as well as some kind of stretching or pulling of her pajama shelve tightly encircling her arm.

Abrasions to her mouth indicate that they were caused by a blunt impact, injuries to her forearm indicates blunt blows by the club.

The knife wounds to Colette’s chest would have been rapidly fatal. The injuries caused by the blunt object was enough to cause death, but not necessarily fatal in a few minutes.

As to Kimberly, the blunt injuries to the head or the knife wounds to the neck were most likely fatal. An exact number of blows struck to the head and face is impossible to determine. Judging from the injuries the amount was at least half a dozen or more.

Some of the ice pick wounds on Kristen’s chest did not penetrate deeply as the knife wounds had. This is somewhat strange because an ice pick has the handle and the length of the pick with the sharp edge, therefore making it penetrate deep if delivered with the same force to that used with the knife. It is almost like they were hesitation type wounds just to add around the other ones that of course would cause pain, but not life threatening.

The stab wounds to her back were perpendicular to the body lying in a prone position.  There is nothing to indicate as has been surmised by the investigators that she was removed from her bed, placed over Jeffrey’s lap and stabbed in her back. There is nothing to indicate that her injuries were not sustained in her bed.

In making a determination as to whether the assailant (s) stabbing the victims the victims were right or left handed could not be made since the relative position of the assailant (s) to the victims is unknown. The only one in which there is a suggestion of position is in Kimberly where an impression is that the wounds extended to the neck area. If she was on the right side of the bed as found during the crime search and lying on her back, then it is suggested that these wounds were inflicted by a right handed person.

 
 

US DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
FAYETTEVILLE DIVISION
 
No. 75-26-CR-3, No. 90-104-CIV-3-F

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
JEFFREY R. MACDONALD, Appellant

Filed August 29, 1997
Decided September 2, 1997

DISPOSITION:

[**1] MacDonald's Motion to Reopen 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Proceedings and for Discovery DENIED. Government's Motion to Dismiss 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Petition for Lack of Jurisdiction and Suggestion, in the Alternative, to Transfer to the Court of Appeals, DENIED IN PART and ALLOWED IN PART. MacDonald's Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Affidavit ALLOWED.

JUDGES:

JAMES C. FOX, Chief United States District Judge

OPINION BY:

JAMES C. FOX

OPINION:

[*1058] ORDER

This matter again is before the court on Jeffrey MacDonald's "Motion to Reopen 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Proceedings and for Discovery," filed April 22, 1997 ("motion to reopen"). MacDonald has filed an extensive memorandum of law and hundreds of pages of affidavits and exhibits in support of his motion to reopen. In response, the Government filed on May 12, 1997, a motion to dismiss and suggestion, in the alternative, to transfer the matter to the Court of Appeals, along with a memorandum of law. MacDonald replied to these Government filings on May 27, 1997. Also pending before the court is MacDonald's motion for leave to file a supplemental affidavit, which the Government opposes.

The undersigned drew this matter following the death of the Honorable Franklin T. Dupree, [**2] Jr., who presided over the trial and all subsequent proceedings herein until his death in December, 1995, and the recusal of the Honorable Malcolm J. Howard by Order of April 25, 1997. The court has waived the page limitations for supporting memoranda so that both parties might fully present their positions. The undersigned has carefully read and considered everything the parties have filed. Neither party has requested oral argument on the motion to reopen, and the court finds that none shall be necessary for a resolution of the motion. n1 Local Rule 4.09, EDNC. While the court DENIES the motion to reopen, the court TRANSFERS this matter to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for consideration of certification as a successive motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. 28 U.S.C. § § 2255, 2244, as amended by Pub. L. No. 104-132, Title I, § § 101, 105, 106, 110 Stat. 1217, 1220 (1996). Accordingly, the Government's motion to dismiss and suggestion, in the alternative, to transfer to the Court of Appeals, is DENIED IN PART and ALLOWED IN PART. Finally, MacDonald's motion for leave to file a supplemental affidavit is ALLOWED.

n1 The court will not grant MacDonald's request for an evidentiary hearing, MacDonald's Reply at 1, because, as explained fully below, he has not shown sufficient evidence of a "fraud upon the court."

I. Statement of the Case

By his motion now before the court, MacDonald seeks to reopen the proceedings on his petition for post-conviction relief, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on October 19, [*1059] 1990 ("the 1990 petition"). Judge Dupree denied that 1990 petition by Order dated July 8, 1991. United States v. MacDonald, 778 F. Supp. 1342 (E.D.N.C. 1991). The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed. United States v. MacDonald, 966 F.2d 854 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 1002, 121 L. Ed. 2d 542, 113 S. Ct. 606 (1992). This court will not again repeat in detail the circumstances of the murder of MacDonald's family, his subsequent conviction for those murders, or the numerous appeals and other legal proceedings herein. However, a brief recitation of the history of this famous case and, particularly, the proceedings on the 1990 petition which MacDonald seeks to reopen by his motion, is necessary to an understanding of the motion and its resolution.

MacDonald was an Army physician living at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with his wife, Colette, and two young daughters, Kimberly and Kristen. In the early morning hours of February 17, 1970, Colette, [**4] Kimberly, and Kristen were brutally clubbed and stabbed to death in their home. MacDonald, who was present in the home, told military police officers who responded to his call for help that he and his family had been attacked by a group of drug-crazed hippie intruders consisting of several men and a blond woman wearing a floppy hat. He has stood by this story ever since. In fact, shortly after the murders, a woman named Helena Stoeckley surfaced who generally fit MacDonald's description and who related to several individuals her belief that she had been involved in the crime.

However, because of the physical evidence found at the crime scene, Government investigators became convinced that MacDonald himself had committed the murders. The crime scene yielded forensic evidence which was inconsistent with MacDonald's story that he struggled with intruders who murdered his family and wounded him. Following numerous legal twists over the course of many years, MacDonald came to trial in Raleigh in July, 1979, for the murder of his family. A crucial moment in the trial came when the defense called as a witness Helena Stoeckley, whom authorities located in South Carolina and took into custody [**5] pursuant to a material witness warrant. Stoeckley did not confess on the witness stand; rather, she testified that, due to heavy drug use on the night of February 16, 1970, she had no memory of the critical hours. She did admit, however, to owning a floppy hat and a blond wig, which she had burned shortly after the murders for fear that it might link her to the crimes.

As Stoeckley did not testify as MacDonald had hoped, he sought to call as witnesses those to whom Stoeckley had earlier related her belief of her involvement. Judge Dupree, however, after a voir dire examination of these proposed witnesses, would not allow the testimony because of the utter unreliability of Helena Stoeckley and the lack of any corroborating evidence of her presence in the MacDonald home on the night of the murders. On August 29, 1979, the jury convicted MacDonald of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder, and this court sentenced him to three consecutive terms of life imprisonment. Following further legal proceedings, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari on MacDonald's final direct appeal in 1983.

In 1984, MacDonald filed his first post-conviction motions [**6] for a new trial and for a writ of habeas corpus, on the basis of newly discovered evidence and other grounds. Judge Dupree denied the motions, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed. United States v. MacDonald, 640 F. Supp. 286 (E.D.N.C. 1985), aff'd, 779 F.2d 962 (4th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 813, 93 L. Ed. 2d 22, 107 S. Ct. 63 (1986). n2

n2 For a list of citations of all previously reported opinions in this matter, see MacDonald, 778 F. Supp. at 1345.

II. The 1990 Petition

MacDonald filed a second petition for a writ of habeas corpus on October 19, 1990, the petition which he now seeks to revive by the motion to reopen. In the 1990 petition MacDonald sought "to vacate his conviction on the grounds that the prosecution... withheld laboratory notes written by government agents which would have aided the defense, and exploited the suppression of the... lab notes by knowingly presenting a false [*1060] and perjurious picture of the evidence and the underlying facts." 778 F. Supp. at 1344. MacDonald based [**7] his petition in part on handwritten laboratory notes regarding unmatched blond synthetic hairs, as long as 24 inches, found on a hairbrush taken from the MacDonald home. He argued that the prosecution's failure to turn over to him these lab notes prior to trial violated the doctrine of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215, 83 S. Ct. 1194 (1963), and its progeny, because the notes and the synthetic hairs themselves would have corroborated his account of the murders, that a group of drug-crazed hippies, including Helena Stoeckley in her blond wig, broke into his house and attacked him and his family. MacDonald, 778 F. Supp. at 1349. MacDonald also argued that the prosecution's manipulation of the trial testimony of expert witnesses to conceal the existence of hair and fiber evidence violated his constitutional rights under Alcorta v. Texas, 355 U.S. 28, 2 L. Ed. 2d 9, 78 S. Ct. 103 (1957), and its progeny. MacDonald, 778 F. Supp. at 1349.

In denying the 1990 petition, Judge Dupree first determined that the allegedly suppressed evidence was not material-- that is, that the jury would not have acquitted MacDonald had his lawyers been aware of the allegedly [**8] suppressed lab notes at the time of trial. The court wrote,

Close analysis of the actual fiber evidence at issue reveals that the fibers provide little, if any, support for MacDonald's account of the crimes. In order to formulate its response in this action, the government submitted the fibers and hair at issue to an FBI forensic examiner, Michael P. Malone, for reexamination. According to Malone, the blond synthetic fibers found in Colette's clear-handled hairbrush and discussed in the lab notes were not consistent with blond wig hairs from any known wig fibers currently in the FBI laboratory reference collection. Of the four synthetic fibers from the brush which have been analyzed, one matches a grey wig reportedly owned by Colette and three are composed primarily of "saran," a substance which is not suitable for human wigs, but is used to make mannequin and doll hair, dust mops, and patio screens. MacDonald has presented no evidence that blond saran fibers have ever been used in the manufacture of human wigs. While MacDonald argues that Stoeckley's blond wig, which was described by one witness as "stringy," may have been a mannequin wig, such speculation is unsupported by [**9] any evidence in the record.

Id. at 1350-51.

The court also found, however, alternate, independent bases for denying the 1990 petition. Judge Dupree found that the Government attorneys had not violated the requirements of Brady because, prior to trial, they afforded MacDonald's experts the opportunity to examine and test the actual fibers at issue, and because the Government attorneys had not read the lab notes regarding the fibers and were not aware of any potentially exculpatory material therein. Id. at 1353-54. Finally, Judge Dupree found the 1990 petition barred by the doctrine of abuse of the writ, since the lab notes, the information upon which the 1990 petition was based, were in MacDonald's possession in 1984, when he filed his first petition, and MacDonald had failed to show "cause and prejudice" or "that a fundamental miscarriage of justice would result from a failure to entertain the claim." Id. at 1356-60 (quoting McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U.S. 467, 113 L. Ed. 2d 517, 111 S. Ct. 1454 (1991)). Thus, the court denied the 1990 petition on three separate and independent grounds-- that the "new evidence" would not have been material to the outcome of [**10] the trial, that the mandates of Brady were not violated by the Government attorneys, and that the 1990 petition was procedurally barred by the doctrine of abuse of the writ.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on only the third ground, abuse of the writ, declining to reach the merits of the petition.

We find that MacDonald does not meet the stringent requirements of McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U.S. 467, 113 L. Ed. 2d 517, 111 S. Ct. 1454 (1991), necessary to overcome dismissal of a second or subsequent collateral claim for abuse of the writ.... Accordingly, we affirm that portion of the district court's opinion dismissing MacDonald's petition as an abuse of the writ [*1061] and decline to reach the merits of his petition.

United States v. MacDonald, 966 F.2d 854, 856 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 1002, 121 L. Ed. 2d 542, 113 S. Ct 606 (1992).

III. The Motion to Reopen

MacDonald seeks to have the 1990 petition re-opened on the ground that the government submitted to this Court affidavits of FBI Special Agent Michael P. Malone which were materially false and misleading concerning facts which were central to this Court's [**11] dismissal of the 1990 petition, and to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' affirmance of that dismissal, namely, whether or not certain long blond fibers made from a substance called Saran, found at the crime scene, were used in the manufacture of wigs for human cosmetic purposes prior to the time of the crime.

(Mot. to Reopen at 1.) MacDonald attacks two affidavits of Michael P. Malone, senior examiner of the Hairs and Fibers Unit of the FBI Laboratory in Washington, D.C. The Government had submitted the saran fibers in question to Malone for analysis in preparing its response to the 1990 petition, and Judge Dupree cited Malone's testimony in his Order denying the petition. MacDonald, 778 F. Supp. at 1350-51.

Malone testified in those affidavits, in substance, that the saran fibers likely came from a doll and not from a wig. In his first affidavit, dated February 14, 1991, he stated,

All of these saran fibers... are consistent with the type of fibers normally used in the production of doll hair and are similar to a known sample of saran doll hair from the FBI Laboratory reference collection.... These fibers... are not consistent with the type of fibers normally [**12] used in the manufacture of wigs, and based on my comparisons, are not like any of the known wig fibers currently in the FBI Laboratory reference collection."

(Aff. of Michael P. Malone, Ex. 1 to Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1, at 7.)

Also, Malone testified in a May 21, 1991, supplemental affidavit as follows:

4. To the extent that petitioner contends that the "22-inch blond synthetic" fibers... are consistent with having originated from a cosmetic blond wig allegedly owned by Helena Stoeckley, there is no factual or scientific basis for this conclusion. I base my statement on the following facts and observations.

5. One [saran fiber] matched the FBI Laboratory's known saran doll hair reference exemplar... and did not match any wig exemplar in the reference collection. FN1. Similar examinations performed on [another saran fiber] revealed a single light blond striated saran fiber, which was 22-inches in length, and also did not match any wig exemplar in the FBI reference collection. ...Therefore, I can state that the only blond synthetic fibers which are 22 inches or longer and which were removed from Exhibit K, E-323 [the clear-handled hairbrush], [**13] are saran, which does not resemble human hair, and not modacrylic, which does resemble human hair.

FN1. The FBI Laboratory's reference collection of fibers has been maintained for over forty years. Among other items, it contains numerous samples from wigs, all of which I have personally examined and none of which revealed a known wig exemplar of saran. Rather all of the known wig exemplars are composed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), modacrylic or human hair.

6. In addition to performing physical examinations in this case, I have consulted numerous standard references (see Exhibits 1-6 attached to this affidavit) which are routinely used in the textile industry and as source material in the FBI Laboratory, concerning the industrial applications for fibers, including saran. None of these standard references reflect the use of saran fibers in cosmetic wigs; however, they do reflect the use of saran fibers for wigs for dolls and manikins, in addition to such uses as dust mops and patio screens. [Citation omitted].

7. Further, based upon my own investigation and research in this case, I can state that saran has the following physical characteristics which make it [**14] unsuitable for use in cosmetic wigs, in which the objective is to have the wig hair appear indistinguishable [*1062] from natural human hair. Saran is very straight, is only manufactured as a continuous monofilament, does not lay or drape like human hair, and is also too shiny to resemble human hair. Lastly, saran can not be manufactured as a "tow" fiber, which is essential to the cosmetic wig manufacturing process. FN3.

FN3. A "tow" is a large group of continuous filaments, without any definite twist, which is cut into definite lengths.

8. Based upon these factors described above, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I conclude that the 22 and 24 inch blond saran fibers in this case are not cosmetic wig fibers.

(Supp. Aff. of Michael P. Malone, Ex. 2 to Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1, at 2-4.)

MacDonald's attack on the credibility of this testimony began even before the conclusion of the proceedings on the 1990 petition, and culminates in the motion now before the court. Following Judge Dupree's denial of the 1990 petition, and in the course of their appeal therefrom, MacDonald's defense team uncovered two standard reference texts on textiles that, contrary [**15] to Malone's assertions, did state that saran could be manufactured in "tow" form and was used in the manufacture of wigs. MacDonald's lawyers cited these texts, Dembeck and Stout, in their appeal to the Fourth Circuit, (Exs. 3-6 to Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1), but that court did not address the controversy in its decision.

After the Fourth Circuit affirmed Judge Dupree's denial of the 1990 petition, the MacDonald defense team continued its investigation into Malone's testimony and the characteristics and uses of saran. It now claims that the Government had acquired, prior to filing its response to the 1990 petition and Malone's affidavits, information which contradicted, first, Malone's claim that saran was not and could not be manufactured in a form suitable for use in wigs, and second, the Government's "repeated assertions" that the saran fibers at issue had likely come from a doll owned by MacDonald's daughters.

Briefly, this contention is based upon the following: 1) evidence that the FBI had in its own reference collection the Dembeck and Stout texts that stated that saran could be manufactured in tow form and was used in wigs, 2) evidence that Government agents [**16] interviewed a textile industry executive who would not testify, as they wished, that saran could not be manufactured in tow form and was not used in wigs n3, and 3) evidence that Government agents interviewed two doll experts in California who told them that 22 or 24 inch saran fibers probably did not come from a doll. MacDonald now claims that this evidence indicates that Malone and the Government committed a fraud upon the court when, in 1991, Malone testified in his affidavits that saran could not be manufactured in tow form and was thus not suitable for use in wigs. He also cites an article from the Wall Street Journal and a report of the Department of Justice Inspector General critical of the work of Malone and the FBI laboratory in other cases.

n3 As explained below, this textile industry executive did not express the opinion that saran could be manufactured in tow form and was used in wigs, either. He simply declined to sign an affidavit Government attorneys drafted for him because he did not consider himself an expert on saran.

[**17]

Finally, MacDonald offers affirmative evidence, recently accumulated by his defense team, that saran was used in wigs prior to 1970. This new evidence, consisting of the statements of wig and fiber industry executives only recently located by MacDonald, is not relevant to MacDonald's claim that Malone committed a fraud upon the court in 1991. Rather, he submits this new evidence in an attempt to demonstrate his factual innocence.

On his fraud claim, MacDonald argues that Judge Dupree and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals relied on Malone's testimony in concluding that evidence of the saran fibers would not have changed the outcome of the trial and thus could not serve as a basis for habeas relief, and that the court therefore should reopen the proceedings on the 1990 petition. MacDonald seeks discovery, including access to various items of physical evidence examined by Malone and the FBI lab, as well as other items such as unsourced hairs found in critical locations at the crime scene, for testing using new DNA technology. [*1063] Ultimately, he seeks allowance of the 1990 petition and a new trial. For the reasons discussed below, MacDonald is not entitled to reopen the 1990 petition. [**18]

IV. Discussion

MacDonald bears a heavy legal burden on the motion to reopen. Under principles governing an analogous motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(3), MacDonald, as the moving party, must establish fraud by clear and convincing evidence, and he must show that this fraud prevented him from fully and fairly presenting his case on the 1990 petition. "The motion will be denied if it is merely an attempt to relitigate the case or if the court otherwise concludes that fraud or misrepresentation has not been established." 11 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2860 at 314-15 (1995). Further, as the late Justice Brennan wrote when sitting on the New Jersey Supreme Court,

Testimony that warrants disturbance of a final judgment must be shown by clear, convincing and satisfactory evidence to have been, not false merely, but to have been willfully and purposely falsely given, and to have been material to the issue tried and not merely cumulative but probably to have controlled the result.

Shammas v. Shammas, 9 N.J. 321, 88 A.2d 204, 208 (N.J. 1952).

As the court discusses below, MacDonald [**19] has shown neither that Malone's testimony was material to the outcome of the litigation on the 1990 petition, nor clear and convincing evidence of any fraud.

A. Malone's testimony was not material to the disposition of the 1990 petition.

First, and most significantly, MacDonald grossly overstates this court's and the Fourth Circuit's "reliance" on Malone's affidavits in their decisions on the 1990 petition. (Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Reopen at 3-7, 17-18, 20-21, 38.) As noted above, Judge Dupree denied the petition on two alternate and independent grounds, neither of which is called into question by the motion to reopen. Mention of these alternate and independent grounds is conspicuously absent in MacDonald's voluminous filings. Nor does MacDonald acknowledge that the Fourth Circuit affirmed the denial of the 1990 petition only on grounds of abuse of the writ, declining to reach the merits of the petition. Moreover, MacDonald called to the attention of the Fourth Circuit in his appeal in 1992 Malone's alleged "selective citation" of textile reference texts which omitted "wigs" as an end use for saran, as well as the Dembeck and Stout texts which did note that saran [**20] was used in wigs. (See Exs. 3 & 4 to Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1.) Apparently finding it unnecessary to address the controversy, the Fourth Circuit held only that MacDonald's petition was barred by the doctrine of abuse of the writ, because he could have raised his claims in his earlier petition for habeas corpus.

MacDonald argues that, had Malone not testified as he did, the court would have viewed the 1990 petition and the entire evidence in a different light, perhaps invoking the narrow exception to the abuse of the writ doctrine for a "fundamental miscarriage of justice." (MacDonald's Reply at 2-6.) He contends, "In defending against MacDonald's 1990 petition, the government misled this Court, the Court of Appeals, and the defense by (1) withholding critical exculpatory evidence which was clearly material to the outcome of the proceedings, and (2) painting a false picture by claiming that the source of the blond Saran fibers found at the crime scene could not have been a wig for human use, as opposed to a doll." (Mem. at 37-38.) MacDonald claims this conduct violated his rights under Brady and under Alcorta v. Texas, 355 U.S. 28, 2 L. Ed. 2d 9, 78 S. Ct. 103 (1957), [**21] respectively. Ironically, this contention mirrors MacDonald's argument six years ago on the 1990 petition itself, that the Government attorneys knowingly withheld critical evidence (the handwritten lab notes documenting the saran fibers) which was clearly material to the outcome of the proceedings (i.e., which would have provided the missing forensic support for MacDonald's version of the facts), in violation of Brady, and by painting a false picture of the known forensic evidence, in violation of Alcorta. But in 1991 Judge Dupree rejected MacDonald's argument based on Brady and Alcorta that the lab notes and the existence of the saran [*1064] fibers would have changed the tenor of the entire body of evidence, persuading the trial judge to admit Helena Stoeckley's out of court "confessions," and, in domino fashion, thereby producing in the jurors' minds more than a reasonable doubt as to his guilt. And this court now rejects MacDonald's argument that the evidence the Government attorneys allegedly "withheld" in 1991 would have produced in Judge Dupree's mind the notion that dismissing the 1990 petition for abuse of the writ would result in a fundamental miscarriage of justice. [**22]

For this reason, the Government's conduct in defending the 1990 petition did not violate MacDonald's Due Process rights under either Brady or Alcorta. Even if the Government can be said to have "withheld" evidence in its possession, consisting of textbook references and witness statements that saran could be manufactured in tow form and was used in wigs prior to 1970, there is no "reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding [on the 1990 petition] would have been different." Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419, 433, 131 L. Ed. 2d 490, 115 S. Ct. 1555 (1995) (quoting United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667, 682, 87 L. Ed. 2d 481, 105 S. Ct. 3375 (1985) (opinion of Blackmun, J.) (withheld evidence must have been material for Constitutional error under Brady to have occurred)). Nor is there "any reasonable likelihood that the false testimony could have affected" Judge Dupree's, or the Court of Appeals', decision. See Bagley, 473 U.S. at 679-80 n.9.

B. MacDonald has shown insufficient evidence of a "fraud upon the court".

Second, this court finds MacDonald's allegations that Malone committed [**23] a "fraud upon the court" and that his testimony was "knowingly false and misleading when made" cavalier and unverified. Again, MacDonald bases his allegations on three "revelations" resulting from his Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") requests of the Department of Justice following the conclusion of the litigation of the 1990 petition: 1) evidence that the FBI had in its own reference collection the Dembeck and Stout texts that stated that saran could be manufactured in tow form and was used in wigs, 2) evidence that Malone and other Government agents interviewed a textile industry executive who would not testify, as they wished, to the contrary, and 3) evidence that Malone and other Government agents interviewed two doll experts in California who told them that 22 or 24 inch saran fibers probably did not come from a doll. The court shall address each item in turn.

MacDonald's "evidence" that the FBI's reference library included the Dembeck and Stout texts prior to Malone's execution of his affidavits consists largely of an identification stamp and a handwritten notation, both of unknown origin or significance, on the cover page of the FOIA-released Dembeck excerpt. (Aff. of Philip [**24] G. Cormier No. 1 at 24-30.) This "evidence," even construed in the light most favorable to MacDonald, does not expose any statement in Malone's affidavits as knowingly untrue when made. Malone testified in paragraph 6 of his supplemental affidavit only that he had consulted "numerous standard references," not "every standard reference in the library," and there is no indication Malone or anyone else for the Government consulted the Dembeck or Stout texts and decided to ignore them. Moreover, as noted above, MacDonald called to the attention of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals the Dembeck and Stout texts and his belief that Malone had "selectively cited" standard references to suit the Government's purposes. That court failed to address the issue-- probably not because of "the power of the FBI Lab's long-standing reputation for probity and accuracy," (Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. to Reopen at 20), so much as because the texts were not a part of the record on appeal and because the court rested its decision on the doctrine of abuse of the writ. See Tr. of Oral Argument, Ex. 3 to Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1; MacDonald, 966 F.2d 854.

Similarly, MacDonald's complaints that [**25] the Government's 1990 field investigation into the end uses of saran unearthed "exculpatory" information that contradicted Malone's later testimony are unconvincing. First, MacDonald claims that on December 4, 1990, Malone, accompanied by other Government agents, contacted A. Edward Oberhaus, Jr., an executive at Kaneka America Corporation, [*1065] which produces modacrylic (non-saran) fibers for use in wigs and doll hair. Reportedly, Oberhaus told the agents that, "based on his limited knowledge, Saran fibers were used in the doll industry, but that this did not mean that Saran was not used in the wig industry as well." (Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Reopen at 26.)

Oberhaus refused to sign an expert affidavit drafted for him by the Government agents to the effect that saran was not used in wigs because it could not be produced as a tow fiber, and that saran was primarily used in the manufacture of doll hair, even though an FBI Form 302, Report of Interview, completed by the interviewing agent shortly after the 1990 meeting with Oberhaus, reflects that Oberhaus did so state in his interview. Rather, Oberhaus submitted an affidavit of his own drafting, which the Government did not use. Oberhaus' [**26] affidavit stated only that "Wigs and hairpieces during the period 1960 to date have most often been manufactured with human hair, modacrylic fibers, other fibers or a combination of any of these filaments." (Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1 at P 50, emphasis supplied.)

However, neither MacDonald nor Oberhaus has questioned the accuracy of the FBI Form 302, Report of Interview, completed shortly after the 1990 meeting with Oberhaus. This Report of Interview closely resembles the draft affidavit which Oberhaus refused to sign because he did not consider himself an expert on saran. (Compare Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1, Ex. 12 with Ex. 10 and Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1 at 31-38; see Opp'n of the United States to Mot. to Reopen at 41.) Whether Oberhaus reflected on his interview with the agents and later decided he had not been precise in his spoken statements, the court cannot know. In any event, the court does not view Oberhaus' statement or his refusal to sign the draft affidavit as exculpatory, with a concomitant duty incumbent upon the Government attorneys to disclose the same.

Next, on December 5, 1990, Malone and other Government agents interviewed Judith [**27] Schizas and Mellie Phillips, two employees of Mattel, Inc. knowledgeable about dolls. MacDonald's defense team claims to have learned, from the Form 302 Reports of Interviews obtained through FOIA requests, and from new affidavits obtained directly from Schizas and Phillips, that these ladies "provided [Malone and the agents] with... information which directly contradicted the subsequent sworn claims by Malone, filed by the government, as to the provenance of the 22 inch and 24 inch Saran fibers found at the crime scene." (Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Reopen at 28.) Reportedly, Phillips told the agents that saran was made in tow form. Both Schizas and Phillips told the agents that they were not aware of any doll made by Mattel that had saran hair fibers as long as 24 inches. Schizas told the agents that "while it was 'possible' [that the 22 inch and 24 inch saran fibers had come from a doll], it was 'not probable,' because even if fibers of that length were used in a doll, it would be very difficult to pull out an entirely intact fiber because of the way that the fibers are rooted...." (Id. at 30-31.)

MacDonald decries, None of the information which Phillips and Schizas [**28] state they imparted to Malone and the other government investigators, including Schizas' and Phillips' FBI 302s [reports of interviews], was ever disclosed to the defense nor included in any government filing with this Court. The defense never knew that the government had even spoken with Schizas and Phillips, let alone that they had provided the government with exculpatory information which put the lie to the government's claims that the source of the long blond Saran fibers found at the crime scene was a doll.

(Id. at 31-32.) As to Schizas' and Phillips' being unaware of any Mattel doll with saran hair as long as 24 inches, and as to Schizas' explanation of why the fibers did "not probably" come from a doll, the court knows of no obligation incumbent upon the Government to disclose this information to the court or to MacDonald. The information was not "exculpatory" in the true sense, in that it did not tend to show MacDonald's innocence. Rather, the information tended to disprove a collateral Government theory regarding certain evidence, which theory the Government posited as one alternate to MacDonald's theory of the origin of the saran fibers. This [*1066] controversy [**29] is one step removed from the question of MacDonald's guilt or innocence.

Moreover, in addition to the information Schizas and Phillips gave the agents which MacDonald seeks to highlight, these ladies also told the agents that "one might possibly find a doll hair fiber that long [22 or 24 inches] if the fiber were doubled over in the hair rooting process to produce two 11-12 inch hairs...." (Id. at 30; see Opp'n of the United States to Mot. to Reopen at 42.) Further, Schizas and Phillips contradicted each other. Phillips told the agents that her best recollection was that Mattel never made any doll, other than a Barbie doll with 3 and a half or 4 inch hair, using saran type material, and that no other doll manufacturers used saran. In contrast, Schizas told the agents that, prior to 1970, the longest length saran used by Mattel was in the "Charmin' Chatty" doll and was 16-17 inches long, but that Mattel used saran as long as 18 inches in a doll manufactured in approximately 1973. (Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Reopen at 29 n.11.) When these ladies' complete statements are considered in context, they do not "put the lie to the government's claims that the source of the long [**30] blond Saran fibers found at the crime scene was a doll."

The only contradiction MacDonald has shown between what any witness reportedly told Malone and the substance of Malone's affidavits is Phillips' current recollection that she told the Government agents, during her December, 1990, interview, that saran was made in tow form, and Malone's testimony that saran could not be made in tow form. (See Ex. 14 to Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1 at 2.) But Phillips' purported statement is not recorded in the FBI Form 302, Report of Interview (Ex. 1 to Ex. 14 to Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 1), and-- not to cast aspersions on Phillips' credibility-- memories inevitably fade and warp with the passage of time. Further, even if Phillips did tell the agents that saran could be manufactured in tow form, this contradicted Oberhaus' statement that it could not, as recorded in the Form 302 report of his interview. (Opp'n of the United States to Mot. to Reopen at 42-43.)

MacDonald has submitted extensive legal arguments that the court has the power to reopen a judgment final for years to rectify a fraud upon the court. This the court does not doubt. n4 But as the court has discussed, MacDonald [**31] has not made a sufficiently strong showing of any fraud to cause this court to doubt the integrity of the predicate for Judge Dupree's 1991 decision. Unlike the cases cited by MacDonald in which the wronged party produced irrefutable evidence of fraud, see Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Reopen at 40-44, MacDonald here has produced only possibilities, amplified by hyperbole. In one of the cases cited by MacDonald, the Supreme Court wrote,

This is not simply a case of a judgment obtained with the aid of a witness who, on the basis of after-discovered evidence, is believed possibly to have been guilty of perjury. Here... we find a deliberately planned and carefully executed scheme to defraud not only the Patent Office but the Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hazel-Atlas Glass v. Hartford Empire Co., 322 U.S. 238, 245-46, 88 L. Ed. 1250, 64 S. Ct. 997 (1944). Here, however, MacDonald has not shown a "deliberately planned and carefully executed scheme to defraud;" he has at the very most raised the specter of "a judgment obtained with the aid of a witness who, on the basis of after-discovered evidence, is believed possibly to have been guilty of perjury." n5 Id. The law [**32] in this regard raises much more substantial obstacles to, and presumptions against, revisiting the prior judgment. See, e.g., United States v. Custis, 988 F.2d 1355 (4th Cir. 1993), aff'd, 511 U.S. 485, 128 L. Ed. 2d 517, 114 S. Ct. 1732 (1984) (setting forth five-prong standard for granting new trial where newly discovered evidence tends to show witness may have committed perjury at criminal trial).

n4 The court need not address the Government's jurisdictional arguments, Opp'n of the United States to Mot. to Reopen at 33-38, due to the failure of the motion to reopen on its merits.

n5 As the court has shown, even that characterization applied to these facts would be exaggerated.

Finally, MacDonald outlines evidence of what he calls a "pattern of deception" by Malone in other cases, evidence which includes excerpts from the Final Report of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael [*1067] R. Bromwich, The FBI Laboratory: An Investigation into Laboratory Practices and Alleged Misconduct in Explosives-Related [**33]  and Other Cases, dated April 15, 1997; and an April 16, 1997, article from the Wall Street Journal, attached to Aff. of Philip G. Cormier No. 2 as Ex. 3. and Ex. 1, respectively. This thin and collateral "evidence," however, does not persuade the court any more than the evidence discussed above that Malone has committed a "fraud upon the court." (See Opp'n of the United States to Mot. to Reopen at 45-48.)

On the basis of Malone's "suspect" conduct, MacDonald also seeks access to all items of physical evidence on which Malone conducted laboratory examinations, and other items of physical evidence not examined by Malone, "but which contain unsourced hairs, blood debris and fibers, found in critical locations such as underneath the fingernails of the victims, which may very well contribute toward a demonstration of Dr. MacDonald's factual innocence." (Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Reopen at 69.) MacDonald seeks access to these exhibits to conduct independent laboratory analyses, including new DNA tests not previously available. However, since the court will not reopen the proceedings on the 1990 petition and, as explained below, has no authority to consider the question of MacDonald's [**34] factual innocence based on all of his exculpatory evidence plus his new evidence regarding the possible origin of the saran fibers, there is no basis on which to allow MacDonald discovery. Moreover, the significance of the items other than the saran fibers has been fully litigated in the past, and nothing now presented impugns the validity of the Government's conclusions concerning them. (See Opp'n of the United States to Mot. to Reopen at 51-52.)

C. MacDonald's new evidence that saran was used in wigs prior to 1970 is irrelevant to the motion to reopen and cannot now be considered by the court as evidence of MacDonald's innocence.

Finally, MacDonald's attorneys have, since the conclusion of the prior litigation of the 1990 petition, located several individuals in the fiber and wig manufacturing industries who aver that saran fibers were manufactured in tow form, and were used in wigs, prior to February, 1970. MacDonald recounts this newly discovered evidence, not in support of his claims that Malone and the Government committed a fraud upon the court, but to show that some of Malone's claims in the 1991 affidavits were objectively false. But this contention, even [**35] if true, is inappropriate to the court's limited area of concern on the motion to reopen-- which is simply whether to reopen proceedings on the 1990 petition due to the possibility of fraud. As the Government cogently explains, the court is barred by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 n6 from considering whether this new evidence, added to the weight of MacDonald's other exculpatory evidence previously amassed in a trial and two habeas proceedings, finally tips the balance in his favor so as to warrant a new trial. (See Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Reopen at 52-65 & MacDonald's Reply at 19-38, recounting evidence of MacDonald's innocence collected over the years and arguing that this evidence, in conjunction with what is now known about the saran fibers, demonstrates that he is entitled to a new trial; [*1068] Opp'n of the United States to Mot. to Reopen at 33-35.)

n6 The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 amended 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to add the following:

A second or successive motion must be certified as provided in section 2244 by a panel of the appropriate court of appeals to contain--

(1) newly discovered evidence that, if proven and viewed in light of the evidence as a whole, would be sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence that no reasonable factfinder would have found the movant guilty of the offense....

104 Stat. 1220, Title I, § 105. In turn, as amended by the 1996 Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2244 provides in pertinent part as follows:

(3)(A) Before a second or successive application permitted by this section is filed in the district court, the applicant shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the application.

(B) A motion in the court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider a second or successive application shall be determined by a three judge panel of the court of appeals.

110 Stat. 1221, § 106.

[**36]

In that respect, the motion to reopen is, as the Government argues, akin to a third habeas petition. MacDonald's apparent inability to comprehend this is demonstrated by a footnote explaining the difficulty his defense team has met in investigating, since 1991, whether the two saran fibers could have come from a wig:

Conducting such an investigation has been extremely difficult, due to limited resources, the passage of time and the difficulty in locating witnesses in an industry which was comprised of many relatively unorganized, marginal businesses, and the fact that much wig manufacturing during the relevant time period took place outside the United States. This being said, at this late date, it is the government which should bear the burden of proving definitively that the long blond Saran hair-like fibers found at the crime scene did not come from a wig, as it is the government which withheld from MacDonald during the pre-trial stages of this case, the exculpatory handwritten laboratory notes which documented Janice Glisson's initial discovery of the long blond Saran fibers.

(Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Reopen at 32-33 n.14.) This court has never suggested that the Government [**37] had "definitive proof" as to the origin of the saran fibers, and the court in 1991 gave two other good reasons why MacDonald's claim that the Government had "withheld" from him during the pre-trial stages of this case the handwritten lab notes did not entitle him to a new trial. MacDonald histrionically mischaracterizes both the nature and magnitude of the dispute now before the court.

Further, no matter how weak Malone's testimony now, six years later, appears to be, it was the only evidence before the court in 1991. Judge Dupree, in his Order denying the 1990 petition, so noted after reciting the substance of Malone's affidavits. "MacDonald has presented no evidence that blond saran fibers have ever been used in the manufacture of human wigs." MacDonald, 778 F. Supp. at 1350. And later, "Without any evidence that saran is used in the production of human wig hair, the presence of blond saran fibers in a hairbrush in the MacDonald home would have done little to corroborate MacDonald's account of an intruder with blond hair or a blond wig." Id. at 1354. Following the amendment of 28 U.S.C. § 2255 by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the court cannot consider [**38] MacDonald's presentation of such evidence now, but must transfer this matter to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for consideration of certification of MacDonald's argument as a successive habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § § 2244 and 2255. If that court remands the matter for consideration of the merits, only then could this court address the weight of the evidence.

D. MacDonald's Motion to File Supplemental Affidavit

In his motion for leave to file supplemental affidavit of Philip G. Cormier, MacDonald calls to the attention of the court twelve pages of documents of unknown origin sent anonymously to MacDonald in prison. According to MacDonald, the documents "appear [to be] briefing documents used by the Department of Justice Inspector General's Office or the FBI for the purpose of answering inquiries concerning the April 15, 1997 report issued by Inspector General Michael Bromwich on his FBI Laboratory Investigation." (Mot. for Leave to File Supp. Aff. at 2.) MacDonald specifically directs the court to a paragraph in the documents that reads

We are aware of one Lab employee (Michael Malone) who may have overstated his conclusions in several [**39] cases including the appeal of former Green Beret, JEFFREY MACDONALD. The Task Force is reviewing each of Malone's past cases, including the MacDonald case, and if his scientific analysis/testimony is found flawed, appropriate disclosures will be made.

MacDonald questions how the Government's omission of this "fact" (Id.) from its response squares with its position that Malone has committed no wrongdoing.

In response, the Government correctly points out the shortcomings of the documents as "evidence," and submits further affidavits of the Inspector General himself and the Deputy Assistant Attorney General supervising [*1069] the Criminal Division Task Force on the FBI Laboratory to the effect that "neither is presently investigating the professional activities of Malone in connection with the Defendant's preceding habeas petition." (Opp'n of the United States to Mot. to File Supp. Aff. at 2-3.) Nevertheless, as the court has carefully read and considered every page filed herein, MacDonald's motion for leave to file supplemental affidavit is ALLOWED, and the Clerk is DIRECTED to file that document. The Supplemental Affidavit and the twelve pages attached do not impact the court's [**40] disposition of the motion to reopen, for the reasons stated above.

V. Conclusion

In conclusion, MacDonald has not convinced the court that Michael Malone's testimony was material to the disposition of MacDonald's 1990 habeas petition, or that Malone or any other agent of the Government committed any wrongdoing in defending against the 1990 petition. Thus, MacDonald's Motion to Reopen 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Proceedings and for Discovery is DENIED. His claim that newly gathered evidence that saran fibers were in fact used in the manufacture of human wigs prior to 1970, added to the weight of previously amassed exculpatory evidence, demonstrates his factual innocence and that he is entitled to a new trial, is TRANSFERRED to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Thus, the Government's Motion to Dismiss 28 U.S.C. § 2255 Petition for Lack of Jurisdiction and Suggestion, in the Alternative, to Transfer to the Court of Appeals, is DENIED IN PART and ALLOWED IN PART. Finally, MacDonald's Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Affidavit is ALLOWED.

SO ORDERED.

This 29th day of August, 1997.

JAMES C. FOX

Chief United States District Judge

 

 

 
 
 
 
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