The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site is a compendium of information about the Jeffrey MacDonald case. MacDonald was convicted in 1979 of the murders of his pregnant wife and two small daughters. He is serving three life sentences for that brutal crime.


The Murders of Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald
 

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site

ARTICLE 32 HEARING TRANSCRIPTS
JULY 9, 1970 Specialist Four Dennis Morris (MP)

 

(Specialist Four Dennis Morris was called and testified as a witness by the government, was sworn and testified as follows.)

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Would you state your name, please?
A Dennis Morris.
Q Your grade?
A Specialist Four.
Q Your organization?
A Company A, 503d Military Police Battalion.
Q Your station?
A Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Q And your armed force?
A United States Army.
Q What was your duty on the evening of 16 and 17 February of this year?
A Motor Patrol, consisting of two men in a patrol jeep.
Q What was the weather in the early morning hours of that --
A Rainy and cold.
Q What was your area of patrol?
A Patrol 34 which consists of Corregidor Courts and Anzio acres.
Q Did you, during the course of your patrol that evening pass through Corregidor Courts?
A Yes, sir, I did, sir.
Q Did you at any time during the course of that evening pass by the junction of Castle Drive and North Dougherty?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q And do you have any idea how many times that was?
A Approximately two to three.
Q Did you at any one of those times observe any unusual disturbances or strange unusual pedestrians?
A No, sir, I didn't.
Q Did you have an occasion to hear a radio call relating to 544 Castle Drive that evening?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q What did you do as a result of that call?
A When we received the call we decided we'd better proceed to that area since it was our patrol area, so I put on the emergency flashers and red light and proceeded to 544 Castle Drive.
Q When you got there was any other MP's there ahead of you?
A Yes, sir, there was.
Q Do you have any idea how many?
A Approximately four to five patrols which consists of two each.
Q What did you do when you arrived at 544 Castle Drive?
A We got out of the jeep, my partner and myself headed towards the main porch which all the other MP's were standing at.
Q And did you go up on the main porch?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q Why not?
A Someone shouted out that someone should go to the back door.
Q Who was this someone that shouted out?
A I cannot say, sir.
Q Did you respond to that shout?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q What did you do?
A I then proceeded to run around to the back door.
Q When you got to the back door what did you discover?
A I discovered -- I looked in the back door -- the back door was open -- I seen two bodies laying on the floor. One was a lady laying on her back and a man laying beside her.
Q Now did you observe any other MP's come around that way?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Would you tell us about that, please?
A Sergeant Tevere ran around when I did, and I got to the back door first, and he came up behind me, and he saw what was inside and he turned around and went back to the corner of the house and then four to five more MP's came right behind him.
Q And when you say they came behind him, are you saying he came back?
A Yes, sir, he did.
Q Did anyone enter the house?
A Yes, sir.
Q Can you tell us who?
A Specialist Four Mica, Sergeant Tevere, Sergeant Duffy, the duty officer, and possibly the duty officer's driver.
Q Did you enter the house?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Just before or after those people had entered?
A After.
Q Did you see Specialist Mica enter?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q What did you do when you entered the door?
A I entered the back door and I hesitated inside the utility room.
Q Would you come up to this exhibit, Government Exhibit 1, and on the easel and take a look at this exhibit and orient yourself as to it?

(Witness approached Government Exhibit 1.)

A I came in through the back door and hesitated possibly right here inside the utility room.
Q Now you are indicating a point just north of the door between the utility room and the master bedroom. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did you do after your hesitation?
A I then proceeded down the hallway, down this way; and since the front door was locked, I proceeded down the hallway to open the front door.
Q Okay, you may return to your seat.

(Witness did as directed.)

Q What were the lighting conditions in the master bedroom? Was there a light on or not?
A Yes, sir, the light was on.
Q Who did you say you saw in the master bedroom?
A I saw a woman laying on her back and a man laying beside her.
Q Did you see Specialist Mica go anywhere near these people?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Which one of them?
A Captain MacDonald, sir.
Q I show you a picture which has been labeled Accused Exhibit A-6, and ask you to look at it if you will, please. Can you tell us what room that represents?
A The master bedroom, sir.
Q At 544 Castle Drive?
A Yes, sir it is.
Q Can you see the body of the woman on the floor in that picture?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is that the woman's body that you saw that morning?
A Yes, sir, it is.
Q Do you see a blue cloth object lying on that woman's body?
A Yes, sir, I do.
Q Did you see an object like that the morning that you were in the master bedroom?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did -- is that the position you saw it in, or did you see it in some other position?
A At first, sir, when I went in, Captain MacDonald was laying next to her. At that time I couldn't see it. And then, after his body had been moved, it was more noticeable. That is the position I seen it in.
Q Now you say you went down the hall. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you go into the living room?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q Did you look into the living room?
A Yes, sir.
Q From what vantage point did you look in the living room?
A I was standing on the stair steps there going into the living room.
Q What were the lighting conditions in that area?
A The lighting conditions were very light.
Q Are you saying that there was a light on?
A Yes, sir, somewhere in the house. It wasn't dark.
Q Do you know where that light was?
A No, sir, I don't.
Q I show you a picture which has been labeled Exhibit 9 and ask you to look at that picture, please. What does -- what room does that represent? Do you know?
A It is the main living room, sir, at 544 Castle Drive.
Q Does that picture represent -- well, let me withdraw that. Is that picture similar to what you saw that morning?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you note in that picture any differences between what you saw that morning and what that picture represents?
A No, sir, I don't.
Q Do you see a white object in that picture?
A Yes, sir.
Q Near the end of the table?
A Yes, sir.
Q What would you say that object is?
A A flower pot, sir.
Q Did you see that flower pot that morning?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q What position is that flower pot in that picture?
A It is standing up, sir.
Q What position was that flower pot in when you saw it that morning?
A Standing up, sir.
Q Is that the place it was when you saw it?
A Yes, sir, it was.
Q Now before you went down this hall, did you see Specialist Mica go down that hall?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q Where did Mica go, do you know?
A He went to Captain MacDonald.
Q I see. What did you do there at the stairs of the hallway?
A Well, sir, I went down that hallway to open the front door. The front door had already been opened. I proceeded back down the hallway to the master bedroom and someone said that someone should guard the back door, and that's what I proceeded to do, guard the back door.
Q Do you know who said that?
A No, sir, I don't.
Q And when you say you guarded the back door, what do you mean by that?
A To keep the public from going in and out.

CPT SOMERS: I see. Your witness. If I may, pardon me, there is one or two more questions.

COL ROCK: Surely.

Q While you were in the house, Specialist Morris, did you touch or move any item in the house?
A No, sir, I didn't.
Q Did you see anyone, any MP or anyone else touch or move anything in that house with the exception of Captain MacDonald?
A No, sir, I didn't.
Q Did you see any debris, mud, or foreign matter on the floor of the master bedroom?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q Did you see any of these materials on the floor in the living room?
A No, sir.

CPT SOMERS: No further questions.

Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Are you telling the investigating officer in this case that you made an examination of the living room floor?
A No, sir, I glanced at it, at the living room floor.
Q You never went into the living room, sir, did you, on that morning?
A No, sir, I did not go into the living room.
Q And that glance was made from the top of the two steps leading into the living room so you were actually standing in the hall at that time?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you are not suggesting to the investigating officer, Mr. Morris, that your glance would have given you any accurate observation about the details of that room, would it?
A No, sir.
Q Now how was it that you happened to take notice of the position of the white flower pot at that time?
A The light, sir, and my eye caught the flower pot.
Q Was there anything special about the flower pot other than it was standing on the floor to hold your attention to it?
A No, sir.
Q If I were to tell you that other witnesses have testified that they were also present in the living room and observed the flower pot lying on its side at or about the time that you might have been there, would you believe their observations was more correct that your own, or would you persist in your own observations?
A I would persist in my own observations.
Q What else did you observe in that living room at that time other than the white flower pot?
A That's all, sir, except the table had been turned upon its side.
Q Anything else about the table that you noticed?
A No, sir.
Q Did you see anything on the floor besides the flower pot and the overturned coffee table?
A No, sir.
Q At that time where was that light emanating from that you were using to make your observations?
A I'd say from the master bedroom, sir.
Q The light was coming from the master bedroom?
A Yes, sir.
Q You didn't observe any light in the living room or the kitchen at that time did you? You didn't observe any light coming from the dining room at that time, did you?
A No, sir.
Q You didn't observe any light coming from the kitchen at that time, did you?
A No, sir.
Q You weren't in a position to observe whether there was dirt or debris in that living room, were you?
A No, sir.
Q So it was adequate light, so far as you were concerned?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now you aren't the person who opened that front door, are you?
A No, sir.
Q However, a few minutes ago you told the investigating officer that you went to the front door and unlocked it?
A No, sir. I proceeded down the hallway to open the front door.
Q Am I incorrect in my recollection on direct examination -- am I incorrect in my recollection you said a few minutes ago that you went to the front door and opened the front door?
A No, sir.
Q You did not say that?
A No, sir.
Q Who was the first person to say that?
A I do not know, sir.
Q As a matter of fact, wasn't it Specialist Dickerson, who opened it?
A I couldn't tell you, sir.
Q Do you recall being interviewed in connection with this case by both Lieutenant Malley, sitting to my left here, and Captain Douthat, sitting to my right?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you recall how long ago that was?
A Approximately three weeks, sir.
Q About three weeks from today?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you recall at that time telling them that Specialist Dickerson beat you to the front door and opened the front door instead of yourself?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q You did not say that or you don't recall saying that?
A I don't recall saying that, sir.
Q Do you have any recollection at this time whether it was Specialist Dickerson who opened the front door?
A No, sir, I don't know who opened the front door.
Q At the time that you came to the top of those two steps leading into the living room, Specialist Morris, were there any other people in the living room?
A Yes, sir, there was.
Q Do you recall at that time, off hand, who they were?
A No, sir, I don't know.
Q I assume that they were military policemen?
A Yes, sir.
Q And is it fair to say that there was two or more military policemen?
A Yes, sir, there was.
Q Would you give us any estimation as to how many there were altogether at that time?
A I would say, sir, approximately four to five.
Q Were in the living room at that point?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is it fair to say when you observed those men you saw no need for yourself to remain there?
A No, sir, I did not stay.
Q And did anyone order you to leave, or did you just make a judgment there was no purpose for you to be in the living room?
A I made a judgment, sir.
Q At that point to return to what portion of the house?
A The utility room, sir.
Q And who was it that told you to go to the utility room?
A I do not know, sir.
Q Was there, in fact, some person who did suggest to you or order you to go and stand in the utility room?
A Yes, sir, and go out the back door, or guard the back door.
Q Did you guard the back door from inside the utility room or outside?
A I stayed in the utility room, sir, approximately ten to fifteen minutes, then I went out on the back porch for the rest of the time.
Q During the period of time you were standing at this door to the utility, either inside or outside the back door, did you -- can you indicate to the investigating officer how many other military police personnel came into the MacDonald house that morning?
A I'd say approximately four, sir.
Q Four more passed you besides the ones that you've already observed in the house?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now if I understand your testimony correctly, you believe there were approximately four military policemen in the living room when you left?
A Yes, sir.
Q And when you went back did you see any other military policemen in the other bedroom?
A Yes, sir.
Q When you took up your position in the utility room, can you estimate how many other people were in back of you or behind you, people who were still in the house?
A I'd say approximately four in the bedroom.
Q Four in the bedroom?
A Yes, sir.
Q Specialist Mica would be among those, and in addition to the four in the bedroom, is it your belief that there were also about four in the living room too?
A Yes, sir, when I went down the hallway, sir.
Q Now, of course when you left that hallway, the front door has already been opened?
A Yes, sir.
Q So, if other military policemen had come in after you left, you wouldn't know about that, because you weren't there at that point?
A No, sir.
Q Now when you first went into the master bedroom, you indicated that there was light on in that room?
A Yes, sir, there was.
Q Can you tell the investigating officer what the source of that light was?
A I would say, sir, it was a light from overhead.
Q You have been shown a picture by counsel for the government which I believe is A-6; have you ever seen this particular photograph before or a photograph similar to it?
A Yes, sir, I have.
Q When was that?
A Approximately six or seven weeks ago, sir.
Q And who was it who showed you a photograph like this?
A Captain Somers, sir.
Q Did anyone show you a photograph like this other than Captain Somers?
A Maybe Lieutenant Malley, sir. I can't remember.
Q Did you speak with Lieutenant Malley or Captain Douthat after you spoke to Captain Somers?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now you indicated in regard to Captain Somers, when questioning you, that when you initially came into the master bedroom, Captain MacDonald was lying on his side along side Mrs. MacDonald. Is that right?
A Yes.
Q And at that time you did not observe this blue item that you are talking about. Is that right?
A No, I did not.
Q Did you see Captain MacDonald's body removed from the master bedroom?
A I saw the body removed, sir.
Q And who moved his body?
A Specialist Four Mica.
Q Anybody else assist him?
A Not until he started to give him mouth-to-mouth with Sergeant Tevere.
Q Well, when is it that you first observed this blue cloth?
A When I came back up the hallway, sir.
Q When you came back up the hallway?
A Right, sir.
Q When you came up the hallway, where was Captain MacDonald's body?
A Approximately right in front of the hallway, sir. It had already been moved.
Q He had been moved?
A Yes, sir, he had.
Q About how far had he been moved from his original position that you saw him?
A Approximately five to six feet.
Q In which direction?
A Towards the hallway. His head was facing down the hallway.
Q When you originally saw his head, his head was where?
A The first time I seen him?
Q Yes, sir.
A Laying on his wife's body.
Q And then you came back from the end of the hallway toward the master bedroom, his body had moved approximately five to six feet?
A Yes, sir.
Q And his head was now pointed in the direction, you say, of what?
A Towards the living room, sir.
Q At that time what did you observe with regard to the blue cloth about Mrs. MacDonald?
A That it was laying right next to her body, sir, part of it on her body.
Q How about the portion of this cloth which trails along side of her? Was it in that position at that time?
A Yes, sir, to my knowledge.
Q Are you sure about that?
A Yes, sir.
Q You were asked about this blue cloth, but you were not asked about another piece of cloth that appears to be on Mrs. MacDonald's body. Can you observe a piece of white material over her midsection as I am holding now?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you see it at that time?
A No, sir.
Q As a matter of fact, weren't you able to see a portion of Mrs. MacDonald's midsection near that point?
A No, sir, not to my knowledge.
Q Did you see any portion of Mrs. MacDonald's body other than her extremities, her feet?
A No, sir.
Q Do you have any doubt in your mind, however, that you did not see this white object which appears to be a towel?
A Not to my knowledge.
Q Did you ever see anybody place that on Mrs. MacDonald's body?
A No.
Q Have you any idea how it got to be there by the time this photo was taken?
A No, sir, I do not.
Q Do you know how Captain MacDonald's body came to be changed from the original position when you came in, from having his head on some portion of Mrs. MacDonald's body to the position where you observed his head pointing down the hall?
A Specialist Four Mica had pulled him away from his wife.
Q Did you actually see Mica pull him away? How did you conclude that that is what happened to Captain MacDonald's body?
A I assumed, sir, that Specialist Four Mica had pulled him away to give him first aid.
Q Do you remember how Captain MacDonald was dressed at that time?
A Pajama bottoms, sir.
Q Do you recall the color of those pajama bottoms?
A I believe that they were blue, sir.
Q Did he have anything else besides bottoms -- pajama bottoms?
A No, sir.
Q Now when you left the master bedroom and went down the hall did you look into the other rooms on your way down? Did you observe anything unusual or strange in the hallway on your way to the head of the hallway?
A No, sir.
Q I gather by that that you did not observe anything unusual or strange on the floor or the ground?
A No, sir, I didn't.
Q You made no observation of unusual objects or marking on the hall at that time?
A No, sir.
Q Now did you actually go down on any of the steps at the head of the hallway or stand at the top of the stairs at the hallway?
A I stood at the top of the stairs, sir.
Q Now, Specialist Morris, would you be good enough please to go to the chart that is located here on the easel and point out to us where you stood in the hallway near the living room?

(Witness complied.)

A Approximately right here, sir.
Q You are indicating toward the north wall.
A Yes, sir.
Q Now if you will turn around, please, sir, and observe the stage behind you, and assume that this is the end of the hallway, and that the place you are standing is the first step, would you indicate to us how close you came to the edge of the hallway before the step?

COL ROCK: Request the witness just to stand up there.

Q Would you be good enough, Specialist Morris, if you would now indicate as if that were the hallway, and that was the step at the end of the hallway, where you stood in regard to the stair.
A Say this was the wall, I stood approximately here.
Q Is it fair to say that you are about a foot from the step leading into the living room?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now standing where you were, did you observe anything on the floor in the immediate area of the hallway where you were?
A No sir, I did not.
Q Do you have any doubt about that, sir?
A No, sir.
Q Would you have noticed anything as large as say a blanket or a robe that was lying on the floor at that point?

CPT SOMERS: I object, that calls for a conclusion.

A Very well. Step down, Mr. Morris, and resume your seat, please.

(Witness did as directed.)

CPT BEALE: Are you going to withdraw that question?

MR. SEGAL: Yes, I am not going to pursue this.

Q Now while you were guarding the back door to the house, Specialist Morris, did you have occasion to observe the condition of the screen door, there, sir?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q And what observation did you make at that time?
A It appeared to me that the screen, right on the edge of it, had been maybe tried to push in or something. Looked like it had been stretched a little bit.
Q Now, was this screening material bent toward the inside of the house, or was it bent toward the outside of the house?
A I don't recall, sir.
Q But it was obvious to you that part of the screen material had been damaged?
A Yes, sir, it looked like it had.
Q Did you observe any one of the investigators or personnel assigned to assist the investigators take any photographs of the rear of the MacDonald house while you were there?
A No, sir. Yes, sir, I did.
Q And what time was that, Specialist Morris?
A I'd say approximately eight o'clock that morning, sir.
Q Now what area of the house was photographed in your presence?
A The bush where the ice pick and knife were found laying and the club or piece of wood laying beside the porch.
Q And when the photographs were taken was the club or piece of wood laying beside the porch?
A I can't recall, sir.
Q Now, how long -- how long were you at the door, the back door of the house before you had occasion to notice that club outside?
A Approximately twenty minutes, sir.
Q I beg your pardon?
A Approximately twenty minutes.
Q And at that time some of the MP's were coming in and out of the house through the back door?
A Yes, sir.
Q And it wasn't until you had been there for some time, as a matter of fact, it occurred to you that perhaps that piece of wood on the ground might have some relevance to what happened in the MacDonald house?
A Yes, sir.
Q Up to that point you had not assumed it had any particular significance?
A No, sir.
Q Now what did you do when it occurred to you that that stick might have some relevance as to what happened in that house?
A At that time, sir, I was walking back and forth at the back door, and a CID agent and another MP came around the corner of the house. At that time I was walking that way and I noticed two objects laying underneath the bush.
Q You noticed two objects under the bush?
A Yes, sir.
Q And what were the objects you noticed?
A An ice pick and a knife.
Q And were you walking with anyone at that time?
A No, sir, I was not.
Q Did you notice Sergeant Duffy anywhere in the area?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q When you saw the objects under the bush did you call it to anyone's attention?
A Yes, sir, the CID agent had just come around the corner of the house.
Q And do you recall who the agent was?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q You say he was with a military policeman?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you know who that military policeman was?
A Yes, sir, I do. Sergeant Caldwell.
Q Sergeant Caldwell?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did you do in regard to these two objects that you saw in the bush?
A I pointed them out to the CID agent.
Q And did you observe what, if anything, they did with regard to these objects?
A Nothing at that time, sir.
Q Were you given any instructions regarding these objects?
A Yes, sir, not to let anyone bother them or disturb them.
Q And what did you do after they gave that instruction?
A I carried out the order. I stayed around the back.
Q Did you move and continue looking for things on the ground or did you stand by the bush?
A No, sir, I continued looking, then I came back and then I noticed the club -- it had lighted up -- and it had something dark on the end of it.
Q Well, what did you do about not letting anyone touch the objects after you were given that instruction?
A I just continued to guard it, sir.
Q Well, were you guarding the objects or are you still looking on the ground for other matters?
A I guarded and looked around, looking for other matters at the same time. No one else was around there at that time.
Q You mean there were no other MP's out looking for anything?
A No, sir, not at that time.
Q Were there any other MP's out looking for, you know, unusual items on the lawn at any time while you were there?
A Yes, sir, there was.
Q When did that happen?
A This was while it was still dark. The sun had not come up yet.
Q Are you saying it happened before you found the --
A This was before, right.
Q Had you been assisting in that search before it came light?
A No, sir, I did not have a flashlight at that time.
Q And you were just assisting in the utility room door when you observed other MP's conducting a search of the ground?
A This was while I was outside, sir.
Q This was outside the utility room?
A Yes, sir.
Q Then thereafter it became more light out side and you apparently undertook a search also of the ground?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q At whose instructions was that?
A Myself, mine, sir.
Q In other words, there was no specific order given you?
A No, sir, it wasn't.
Q You thought since you were standing outside you might as well look around?
A Yes, sir.
Q And at that point you walked toward the end of the house and saw the bush?
A Yes, sir.
Q And without the aid of a flashlight you were able to see the ice pick and the stick?
A Yes, sir, it was light at that time.
Q May I ask how far apart these two items were?
A I couldn't say, sir.
Q Can you give us any indication at all, whether they were five inches away, five feet away from each other? You have no idea? We have no idea, unless you can tell us, Specialist Morris.
A They were fairly close together, sir. I couldn't say exactly how close.
Q Would you indicate with your hand what you think the approximate distance they were?
A I'd say approximately this close. I couldn't say for sure.
Q You mean the length of your finger?
A Approximately three to four inches.
Q Could it have been as much as five inches?
A Yes, sir, it could have been five.
Q So that's how close they were?
A Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: We are referring here to the distance between the knife and the ice pick. Is that correct?

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

MR. SEGAL: May I see the black and white photos? (Approaching Captain Somers' desk.)

Q Specialist Morris, did you also have occasion to observe in or about the yard area, and particularly the bush where you say you found these two items, the telephone pole?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q And do you recall the telephone pole being close by the bush that we are talking about?
A Yes, sir, I do.

MR. SEGAL: I ask to have marked one of the black and white photographs that was supplied by the government this afternoon that represents to be the outside of the MacDonald house, sir.

COL ROCK: It is marked Exhibit A-22.

Q Specialist Morris, I would ask you to look at a photograph that has been marked A-22 for identification, and ask whether that seems familiar to you in any way?
A Yes, sir, it does.
Q What does that appear to represent to you?
A It appears to represent the bush which these items were found underneath.
Q And do you recognize this as the placement of the house, the MacDonald house?
A Yes, sir.
Q Right to the side and right behind?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is there a pole that is also depicted in this photograph?
A Yes, sir, it is.
Q Now with those points of reference, could you indicate to us, and I will hold the picture up for you, where you found the ice pick?
A Approximately right here.
Q And approximately how close by that point did you see the stick?
A It was next to the porch, the back porch.
Q Now if I may, so the record will reflect what we are talking about, would you point again, please?

(Witness complied.)

MR. SEGAL: The witness has indicated on the photograph that has been supplied by the government an area that I would say is -- do you have a tape measure, James? I would estimate two to two and a half inches from the right of the photograph, and approximately two inches from the bottom edge of the photograph.

COL ROCK: Let's have the witness and counsel to come here so I can see this a little bit clearer.

(Witness and counsel for both sides, approached Col. Rock's desk.)

Q Specialist Morris, would you again put your finger on the point where you found the knife?
A Approximately right there, sir.

MR. SEGAL: I would say there is on this picture, under the bush, sir, appears to be a single leaf, and that about a half inch to the leaf of that is where Specialist Morris is pointing.

COL ROCK: Specialist Morris, are you aware that there is an ice pick in this photograph? Would you please point that out to him, counsel?

COL ROCK: The ice pick is in the photograph here and the knife is not far from it.

WITNESS: Yes, sir, I see the ice pick now, sir.

Q Does that appear to be the location, Specialist Morris, where you saw the ice pick?
A No, sir, not at that time.
Q Is it your recollection that it was more to the right as you have already pointed out?
A Yes, sir.

MR. SEGAL: Have your seat, please.

(Witness did as directed.)

Q Did you see anyone move either the ice pick or the stick?
A Yes, sir, I seen them put it into a plastic bag.
Q Which items did you see put into a plastic bag?
A The ice pick and the knife, and the club later on.
Q Now to be perfectly clear, were the ice pick and the knife picked up one at a time, and the other at a later time, or were all three at the same time?
A They picked the ice pick and the knife up and then they proceeded to pick up the club.
Q So within a moment or two after picking the first two items up the club was picked up?
A Yes, sir.
Q And did you observe anything else in the way of markers being put on the ground?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was put on the ground?
A There was some small sticks put up beside the club that was on the ground.
Q Had the ice pick and the knife which were located at the bush been photographed to your knowledge before they were picked up and placed in plastic bags?
A Yes, sir.
Q You observed the photographer doing that?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Was the stick on the ground or the club on the ground also photographed before they picked it up and put it in a plastic bag?
A Yes, sir, I believe it was.
Q To the best of your recollection, Specialist Morris, were these photographs being taken just before the items were picked up and placed in plastic bags?
A Yes, sir. They made one before they picked it up and then afterwards where the objects had been covered.
Q I don't follow what you mean. You said the objects had been covered?
A The ice pick and the knife had been covered with a box to keep the rain off of it, I believe.
Q How long had that happened before the -- they were photographed?
A Approximately a half hour, sir.
Q Do you know who did that?
A The CID agents.
Q And was the stick likewise covered?
A I don't recall, sir.
Q Were the pictures taken before the boxes were placed on the items?
A Yes, sir.
Q And then they came around, I gather from what you are saying, removed the box, and put those two items in a plastic bag, or did they take another picture again?
A To my knowledge, they took another picture of the box underneath the bush.
Q And then the box was removed, did they take -- did they take again a picture of the knife and the ice pick on the ground?
A No, sir. To my knowledge, they had taken the picture of the ice pick laying under the bush first, and then the box was placed on top of it.
Q Was the board still lying in its position when these pictures were being taken?
A Yes, sir, when the pictures were taken.
Q That was before the box was placed on the ice pick?
A Yes, sir.
Q It was half an hour before they came around and picked up all the items and put them in plastic bags?
A I would say so, sir.
Q Specialist Morris, while you were standing in the vicinity of the back porch, did you observe anything unusual on the back steps?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Would you tell the investigating officer what you observed?
A It appeared to me -- like paint or some object had faded into the back porch. I couldn't say exactly what it was.
Q Did you also think initially it might have been blood as well as paint?
A Yes, sir, it could have been blood.
Q And that you actually don't have any personal knowledge whether it was paint or it was blood?
A No, sir, I don't.
Q Was it a dark substance that was on the back steps?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did it appear to be relatively recent or fresh in anyway?
A No, sir, it did not.
Q Could you give us some description of the stick you saw lying out on the back porch?
A It was approximately this long.
Q You are holding your hands apart indicating roughly two feet?
A Yes, sir.
Q And what about it can you describe?
A It had some dark object on it, maybe blood or paint or something.
Q And did that appear to be moist or wet on the stick?
A I couldn't tell, sir.
Q Did you actually ever examine the stick closely?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q How about the stick? Did you observe anything on it such as splinters?
A No, sir.
Q Were the ends of the stick sawed off neatly or were one of more of the ends broken?
A I couldn't say, sir.
Q Specialist Morris, at any time in the connection with the investigation of this case, were you interviewed by Captain Thompson, a military legal officer?
A Yes, sir, I was with Captain Somers.
Q It was Captain Somers, or with Captain Somers?
A With Captain Somers.
Q And at that time were you shown -- you say some of the pictures of the master bedroom?
A Yes, sir, I was.
Q Now I want to show you a photograph marked A-5 again, and at this time I direct your attention to the bed which appears depicted in this scene, and ask if you will describe the sheet on this bed and the mattress on the bed?
A The sheet on the corner looked like it has been folded back, and part of the sheet lying on the floor.
Q And it exposed a portion of the mattress and the box springs?
A Yes, sir, it does.
Q Were you shown a photograph like this or this particular photograph?
A Yes, sir, I was.
Q And you were also shown another photograph of the body of Mrs. MacDonald which depicted the sheet on the bed in a different fashion?
A Yes, sir.
Q And how was the sheet depicted in the other photograph you were shown?
A They were laying back down covering the mattress.
Q You say they, you mean the sheet?
A Yes, sir.
Q So in the photograph you were shown neither the mattress nor the box springs were exposed as they are in this particular photograph. Would you tell the investigating officer how you recall the sheets were on that bed in the MacDonald's house on that morning? In the manner seen here in A-5?
A Yes, sir.
Q And when you were shown another photograph which had the sheets covering the mattress and box springs, was Mrs. MacDonald's body there in the photograph also?
A I don't remember, sir.
Q You don't recall that her body was there?
A No, sir.
Q You do recall the portion of the sheet though?
A Yes, sir, I do.
Q Were you asked at any time which condition was the correct one so far as your observation was when you came in the bedroom?
A Yes, sir.
Q And did you indicate the one where the sheets were back as the correct one?
A Yes, sir, I did.

MR. SEGAL: I have nothing further at this time, sir.

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Specialist Morris, you say you were guarding the ice pick and the knife?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you allow the ice pick or the knife to be moved before they were put in the bag?
A No, sir.
Q And you say you remember some sticks being put in the ground next to this one stick?
A Yes, sir, I do.
Q Were those sticks put there before or after the stick was picked up?
A Before the stick was picked up, sir.
Q Yes, it was before or after that?
A It was before.
Q Do you know what the purpose of those sticks were?
A To mark it, sir, the exact place where it was laying.
Q You did not allow the knife or ice pick to be picked up?
A No, sir, I didn't.
Q Until such time they were put in the bag?
A Yes, sir.
Q Were you actually involved in the process of taking pictures?
A No, sir, I wasn't.
Q Were you consulted in the business of the taking of those pictures?
A No, sir, I wasn't.
Q Have you ever seen the pictures that were taken of the outside?
A No, sir, I haven't.
Q Can you say for sure how many pictures were taken?
A No, sir, I cannot.
Q Can you say for sure what was in those pictures?
A No, sir.

CPT SOMERS: Nothing further.

COL ROCK: May I see those black and white photographs -- I believe two of them showing the ice pick.

CPT SOMERS: You want those who are not marked now, sir?

COL ROCK: The ones that we have been using here recently. The one that is marked and the two that are not. (The IO was handed the photographs.)

COL ROCK: Specialist Morris, I have several questions I want to ask with relationship to time and sequence of actions. I am a little bit confused. Do you know approximately what time it was when you reached the house the first time, that is when you drove up when you were on patrol? Did you have occasion to look at your watch?

WITNESS: Well, sir, I'd say somewhere after 3:30.

COL ROCK: Okay, now you testified that someone said go around to the rear, or go to the back door, you went to the back door and looked in and saw two people on the floor.

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: Did you go through the back door to see the bodies? That is, did you go into the house?

WITNESS: No, sir, I did not.

COL ROCK: You did not. Was, to your knowledge, anyone else in the house at that time? That is, military policemen.

WITNESS: Not to my knowledge, sir.

COL ROCK: Do you think you were the first person of the military police that observed the bodies?

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: When you saw the bodies, what did you do next?

WITNESS: It just stunned me, sir.

COL ROCK: Right.

WITNESS: And then about that time the rest of the MP's came up behind me.

COL ROCK: So that's when Sergeant Tevere got into the act?

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: Who first went into the house as far as you know?

WITNESS: I can't say, sir.

COL ROCK: Roughly how many people went into the house before you went in?

WITNESS: I'd say four to five, sir.

COL ROCK: Approximately how long were you in the living room area or the steps, or adjacent to the steps there in the hallway?

WITNESS: Just a few minutes, sir, a few seconds, sir.

COL ROCK: After you came back down the hallway, into the master bedroom area, did you see either in the hall looking into a bedroom or did you stand in the master bedroom?

WITNESS: Sir, I went through the master bedroom to the utility room.

COL ROCK: To the utility room. All right, approximately how long would you estimate you were guarding the rear door before you stepped out and went around the bush?

WITNESS: You mean while I was out on the back porch?

COL ROCK: While you were on the back porch guarding, how long did you guard from that location, until such time as you stepped off to go down to the bush, where you saw the object?

WITNESS: Approximately an hour, approximately when the sun light came out and it started getting light.

COL ROCK: I see. So in fact when you went down to view those two objects it was light enough from the sky that you could see them?

WITNESS: Yes, sir, it was.

COL ROCK: When you were out there guarding on the back porch, did you see any military police with flashlights looking around?

WITNESS: Yes, sir, I did.

COL ROCK: Did you hear anyone say that they had seen those two objects, that is, the ice pick and the knife before you saw them?

WITNESS: No, sir, I did not.

COL ROCK: Did you think you were the first person to see those objects?

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: But there was enough light from the sky for you to see them?

WITNESS: Yes, sir, there was.

COL ROCK: How much sunlight was there -- when I say sunlight, I realize perhaps you could not have seen the sun -- how much light was there or had it gotten as light as it would be on a normal morning?

WITNESS: No, sir.

COL ROCK: Or just barely light, or how would you describe it?

WITNESS: About halfway light.

COL ROCK: About halfway light. During the time you were guarding the rear entrance from your location there on the back stoop; did you notice anyone coming out of the house from the other rear door, a little bit further down to the direction of the living room area?

WITNESS: Another back door, sir, to the house?

COL ROCK: Right.

WITNESS: No, sir, I didn't.

COL ROCK: Are you sure there is another back door?

WITNESS: No, sir.

COL ROCK: I have no further questions. Does either counsel desire to elicit questions?

CPT SOMERS: None by the government.

MR. SEGAL: I have none, sir.

COL ROCK: You are advised that you discuss your testimony with no person other than counsel for the accused or counsel for the government. You are excused subject to recall. Do you understand these instructions?

WITNESS: Yes, sir, I do.

(Witness saluted the IO and departed the hearing room.)

COL ROCK: At this time I would like to take a five minute recess in place while the legal advisor can check to determine what action has been taken on your request to the Judge Advocate General.

(The hearing recessed at 1626 hours, 9 July 1970.)

(The hearing reopened at 1643 hours, 9 July 1970.)

COL ROCK: The hearing will come to order. Let the record reflect that all parties that were present at the recess beginning are now present. I am now prepared to make a ruling on the question of an open hearing. I wish to inform both counsel that a decision has been reached on the defense request that an exception of paragraph 4, Army Regulation 345-60, be granted in accordance with paragraph 4c(3) concerning opening these proceedings to members of the press and the public. The Judge Advocate General has stated it is his opinion that my actions which closed these proceedings is consistent with the provisions of the applicable regulation. Furthermore, this Department of the Army message does not state that an exception to this rule was granted. My appointing authority, Major General Flanagan, has stated that he believes these hearings should remain closed to the public. Therefore these proceedings will remain closed to the press and the public until further notice. Concerning the defense request that Mrs. MacDonald be permitted to attend, in accordance with the Department of the Army message and the recommendation of my appointing authority, I do deem it appropriate to permit Mrs. MacDonald to be in attendance at these proceedings. For defense information, a copy of all relevant correspondence reference these matters is now provided. Provided to you in a letter to me from Major General Flanagan, a copy of the original message from Major General Flanagan's headquarters to Department of the Army, attention Judge Advocate General, and the reply from the Judge Advocate General. The copy of the message from Major General Flanagan to the Judge Advocate General, I have it only in one copy. I request that after you have viewed it and made a copy, would you please return that one to me.
Are there any further matters to be brought before this hearing today?

MR. SEGAL: One matter, sir, in view of the testimony of Specialist Morris, in regard to photographs of the wooden stick that had been previously referred to, I would renew again my request that the prosecution be made to provide to this investigation and to counsel for the accused copies of photographs showing this stick in position as observed by the investigators and as photographed by them.

CPT SOMERS: I have assured this hearing before and I assure it again that no such photographs exist and the man who directed the taking of the photographs will testify here.

COL ROCK: This satisfies me that no such photographs exist. It is entirely conceivable that Specialist Four Morris could have misconstrued the number of photographs or which ones had been taken. Are there any other matters to be brought?

MR. SEGAL: I have nothing further, sir.

CPT SOMERS: Nothing by the government, your honor.

COL ROCK: We will adjourn until 0830 tomorrow morning.

(The hearing adjourned at 1648 hours, 9 July 1970.)

 

 

Home  -  Contact  -  Scholarship Fund  -  New Upload  -  Christina's Corner  -  Resource Page
Chronology  -  Claims vs. Facts  - 
Various Documents  -  CID Records  -  FBI Records
April 6, 1970 Interview  -  Article 32 Hearing  -  Psychiatric/Psychological Data  -  DNA Results
July 23-24, 1970: John Cummings' exclusive interview with MacDonald  - 
Polygraphs
Affidavits  -  Grand Jury Transcripts  -  1979 Trial Transcripts  -  MD License Revoked
1987: MacDonald v. McGinniss  -  Mildred Kassab sues MacDonald  -  Court Records

 Parole Hearing  -  Kassab's Work  -  Bob Stevenson Answers Your Questions
Photograph Pages 

 


Go to top