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 10, 1970
July 10, 1970: Specialist Michael Newman, Clinical Specialist/LPN
 

COL ROCK: Is counsel ready with the next witness?

CPT SOMERS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: Please bring him forward.

CPT SOMERS: The government calls Specialist Newman.

(Specialist Six Michael D. Newman was called as a witness by the government, was sworn, and testified as follows.)

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Would you state your name, please?
A Michael D. Newman, sir.
Q Your grade?
A I'm Specialist Six Class.
Q Your organization?
A Medical Company, Womack Army Hospital.
Q Your station?
A Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Q Your armed force?
A United States Army, sir.
Q What is your military training in the Army?
A I have had approximately a year of military medical training.
Q Have you received any sort of certificate of recognition as a result of this?
A Right, sir, I've been awarded the MOS of a Clinical Specialist by the Army, and also I am licensed as a practical nurse.
Q What was your duty on the 16th and 17th of February of this year?
A I was in charge of the Emergency Room at Womack Army Hospital.
Q Did you have occasion that evening to see Captain MacDonald?
A Yes, I did, sir, on the morning of the 17th.
Q How did that come about?
A He was brought into the emergency room by one of our ambulances.
Q And would you tell us what happened then? Did you see him yourself?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Where was this?
A In the Emergency Room.
Q When he was brought in, what was done with him?
A He was taken back to the operating room there in the Emergency and treated for his wounds.
Q Did you see him in that room?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Would you describe those wounds for us?
A He had three lacerations; one to the left arm, one to the left abdomen, thoracic area, and one to the right thoracic area.
Q Would you describe the wound on his right thoracic area?
A It was a laceration, sir.
Q What was its length?
A Approximately an inch long.
Q Was there any other injuries to the head or the face?
A Yes, sir, he had a knot on the left side of his forehead with an abrasion.
Q What did his general condition seem to be when he was brought in?
A Very good condition, sir.

MR. EISMAN: Now I am going to object to the description, or the term "very good condition" coming from a -- Specialist Newman. We have the benefit of competent medical testimony from a physician describing what their medical judgment was as far as Captain MacDonald's condition. As far as coming from Specialist Newman, any medical judgment of his would be improperly received at this time, since he has not been qualified as a physician, doctor, this would be merely the layman's view with some degree of training, but not a medical view, and he could not give a view or an opinion as to the condition to a medical certainty, and if the investing officer is following the -- is trying to follow the normal dictates of procedures regarding expert opinion, I don't believe that question will be competent. At least, this witness will not be competent to give that type of opinion.

CPT SOMERS: If I may respond to that.

COL ROCK: Yes.

CPT SOMERS: I think it's clear that this witness saw Captain MacDonald before Doctor Straub saw him. He's not attempting to give us any detailed medical knowledge. He's not attempting to say in any great medical detail what Captain MacDonald's condition is. He's trying to give us a simple general description of his apparent condition when he saw him.

MR. EISMAN: I think that this witness is only competent to say what he saw and in regard to physical facts concerning the condition, not give a conclusion or a medical opinion, and the only reason this type of opinion would be offered would be in some way influence the investigating officer or to impeach the testimony of the prior medical physician, and I don't think this would be the proper time to do either.

CPT SOMERS: I'm not attempting to impeach the testimony of the doctor.

COL ROCK: The objection is overruled. I am taking cognizance of the degree of specialty of the two individuals involved and it is obvious that greater weight will be given in the details of any examination to that of the physician as compared to that of the Specialist. Proceed.

Q Did you hear Captain MacDonald say anything while he was in the emergency room?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Would you describe to us what he said? What did you first hear him say?
A He was asking about his wife and children.
Q And was he given an answer?
A No, sir, he was not.
Q Did he at anytime describe what had happened to them?
A Yes, sir, he did.
Q Would you tell us how this was done? What did -- what words did he use? How do you describe it?
A Well, he simply stated what had happened at the home that night, that morning.
Q Would you tell us as best you can remember what he did say?
A Well, he stated that four people had come into the house and that the incident had occurred, that they had carried out this incident.

COL ROCK: Excuse me, Specialist Newman. Try to use his words, not your summation of what he said, if at all possible.

Q Did he describe those four people?
A Yes, sir, he did.
Q Would you tell us what description he gave in as closely as you can in his words?
A He said that there were two colored males, one white male and one white female.
Q Was there any further description given?
A Yes, one of the males had on an Army jacket.
Q Any further description of the female?
A No, sir, not that I recall.
Q Did he describe at all how his injuries and the injuries of this family were accomplished?
A He said that he was on the couch asleep and when he woke up, someone was beating on him.
Q Did he say what woke him up?
A Someone beating on him woke him up.
Q During the time you saw Captain MacDonald was he having any apparent difficulty breathing?
A Not to my knowledge, sir.
Q Have you had some training in recognizing the symptoms of shock?
A Yes, sir, I have.
Q In your opinion, as you saw him, was Captain MacDonald in shock?
A No, sir, he wasn't.

CPT SOMERS: I have no further questions.

Questions by MR. EISMAN:
Q Specialist Newman, you were working in the emergency, is that correct, on the morning this took place?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was your connection regarding Captain MacDonald as he came into the emergency room? What were your duties?
A My duties was to see that he was properly taken care of.
Q You were not the treating physician, were you, Specialist Newman?
A I am not a physician, sir, I am a clinical specialist.
Q Did you do anything regarding the care or treatment of Doctor MacDonald, Captain MacDonald?
A Yes, sir, I did, I carried out the orders that I was given by the doctor.
Q And what were they?
A Well, we cleaned him up, the extent of his injuries.
Q What else?
A Well, we got the wounds cleaned up and the doctor checked him out.
Q What doctor are you referring to?
A There were two doctors there in the emergency room, sir. I don't recall which one. At first there was only one there, then they were both there.
Q Approximately how long was -- did you come in contact with Doctor MacDonald after he left the emergency room?
A He left the emergency room, he was carried to x-ray. I went over to x-ray and he was brought back over to the emergency room, and then he was taken up to intensive care on 2B, and I went upstairs with him.
Q When was Captain MacDonald able to tell his story?
A When he came in, sir.
Q How soon after he came in?
A He was talking when he came in.
Q Talking to whom? Was he talking to you?
A Not specifically, no.
Q Was anybody else carrying on a conversation?
A No.
Q He was just talking?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did he appear excited or upset?
A Yes, he was excited.
Q Did he appear upset?
A Yes, he was upset.
Q As a matter of fact I think you testified that he was asking about his wife and children. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Was Captain MacDonald ever standing or was he always horizontal on a stretcher or a moveable hospital bed?
A He was on a stretcher, sir.
Q Now as Captain MacDonald was speaking, what were you doing? Were you there to listen to what he was saying or were you there to perform the duties to which you had been assigned?
A I was there to perform the duties.
Q And would it be fair to say that you were more concerned with performing your duties or listening to what Captain MacDonald was saying?
A Performing my duties.
Q Did you take any notes as to what Captain MacDonald said?
A No, I did not.
Q Immediately after this incident did you write down anything Captain MacDonald said?
A No.
Q Did Captain MacDonald, in your presence, receive any intravenous fluids that you recall?
A I don't recall.
Q Whose duty would it have been to administer such intravenous fluids if they had been received in the emergency room?
A If the order had been given one of us would probably start the IV.
Q And you were specifically not given those orders. Is that correct?
A I don't recall.
Q But in any event you did not administer intravenous fluids to Captain MacDonald, did you?
A No.
Q Did Captain MacDonald appear to be having difficulty breathing?
A No.
Q Do you ever using the word hypoventilate? Do you ever recall telling anybody?
A Yes, I do.
Q Who do you recall telling that to? That term to?
A I told this to the CID and the FBI and also to others who I was questioned by.
Q According to your knowledge of medical terms, what does hypoventilate mean?
A Hypoventilating is breathing too rapidly, too shallow.
Q Do you recall also telling anyone that Captain MacDonald was crying a little when he came into the hospital?
A Very little.
Q Was Captain MacDonald crying when he came into the hospital, Specialist?
A No.
Q Do I understand he was not crying at all or crying a little?
A This was after he went into the OR.
Q Well, I'm sorry -- let me ask you the question this way. When was MacDonald crying when you saw him, or when did you see him crying?
A In the OR.

COL ROCK: Excuse me; what is OR?

WITNESS: The operating room, sir.

Q Was this before treatment was given?
A This was while treatment was going on.
Q Were you with Captain MacDonald at all times while he was in the emergency room, in the x-ray room and the operating room?
A No.
Q What was Captain MacDonald wearing, Specialist?
A A pair of pajama pants.
Q Who was responsible for the care of the garments which Captain MacDonald was wearing in the hospital?
A I don't understand what you mean?
Q Were you the orderly assigned to this case. Is that correct, Specialist Newman?
A I was in charge of the emergency room, yes.
Q And of the people under you in the emergency room, who would be responsible for the handling of the clothing of the patients who come in? Would that be yourself? Would you be the person directly responsible?
A Yes.
Q What happened to the pajama bottoms that Captain MacDonald was wearing, Specialist Newman?
A They were bloody and they were torn and they were thrown in the garbage can.

MR. EISMAN: I have no further questions.

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Who threw them in the garbage can?
A I don't recall. I took the pants off of him. They were dropped on the floor. They were later picked up and thrown in where the garbage is taken out.
Q Did you do that?
A No, I don't recall whether I did it myself; there was myself and two other men that were working with me that night. All of the men cleaned up so I don't actually recall who threw them in the garbage.
Q Did the carrying out of your duties prevent you from hearing what Captain MacDonald said?
A No.
Q Now you have described four people whom you said Captain MacDonald described. Is that the way he described them?
A Yes, the first time he described them, that was the description given.
Q Did he describe them again?
A Yes, he did.
Q Was there a difference the second time?

MR. EISMAN: Now I am going to object to this line of questioning. This was not the subject of my cross examination. I think this would be improper now to permit the prosecutor to open up a new field of questioning in redirect.

CPT SOMERS: I think the rules as to that -- as to evidentiary questions are somewhat relaxed in this proceeding; however, I would persist --

CPT BEALE: You mean you withdraw your question?

CPT SOMERS: No, I don't withdraw the question.

CPT BEALE: The objection will be sustained. You may proceed to another area, if you like.

CPT SOMERS: No further questions, sir.

MR. EISMAN: If I may, just briefly.

Questions by MR. EISMAN:
Q The pajama tops which both myself and -- the pajama bottoms which both myself and Captain Somers questioned you about, could you tell us why they were probably thrown in the garbage can, Specialist Newman?
A It is a standard thing, that when clothes are torn up, they are usually thrown in a garbage can and the individuals usually do not want them, so they are deposed of.
Q Would you say that the reason these pajama bottoms were thrown in the garbage was because they were torn badly and bloody, according to your recollection?
A Yes.
Q Were they very bloody that you recall being torn up?
A No, there was one large tear in them and there was a moderate amount of blood.
Q Where was the large tear?
A In the crotch area along the seam.
Q And you saw the ripped seam. Approximately how long would you estimate -- if you can't recall, just say, I don't recall.
A I don't recall.
Q Did the pajama bottoms appear to you to be new, a new pair of pajama bottoms, or some pajama bottoms which appeared to have been worn for a long time?

CPT SOMERS: Object.
Q If you do know. If you can't say, you can --

CPT SOMERS: This is clearly beyond the scope of the redirect.

MR. EISMAN: I believe Captain Somers, the first question you asked -- in this regard -- your redirect was concerning the pajama bottoms, and that is why I am asking these questions.

CPT BEALE: The objection is overruled.

MR. EISMAN: Answer the question if you can, Specialist.
A They looked as though they were old, or had been washed a few times.

MR. EISMAN: I have no further questions.

COL ROCK: Specialist Newman, were you the first individual from the emergency treatment room to see Captain MacDonald or were there nurses that saw him, or what?

WITNESS: There was one nurse and my other corpsmen were there also when he was brought in.

COL ROCK: How many other corpsmen were there besides you?

WITNESS: Two, sir.

COL ROCK: Now I believe you stated that when Captain MacDonald came in he was talking. Is it your impression that he was just, what I might describe, as just rambling along in this conversation, that he was not talking to anyone specifically, but just talking? Is that generally true?

WITNESS: I don't know, sir. There was two ambulance drivers with him.

COL ROCK: I see. When you were with him, was it your impression that he was talking specifically to you or just rambling on talking?

WITNESS: There were people in there questioning him. We were also getting information to fill out the standard forms for his treatment.

COL ROCK: Who asked questions of the -- of him, that is officially asked questions of him during this period?

WITNESS: The CID was there, Colonel Pernell

(ph) asked questions concerning his social security number, name, rank and such.

COL ROCK: The Colonel you mentioned -- who is that? What is his job?

WITNESS: Colonel Pernell is one of the nurses who was there at the time. She is the night supervisor.

COL ROCK: Now this occurred during what period of time, or -- strike that. How many minutes, approximately, was Captain MacDonald in the emergency room, according to your recollection, the first time? That is, when he was initially rolled in?

WITNESS: Approximately thirty minutes, sir.

COL ROCK: Approximately thirty minutes the first time he was rolled in? Is that what you are saying?

WITNESS: Yes, sir. The little OR we have is there in the emergency room. He was taken in there, and we had him there twenty to thirty minutes, before the time he was taken to the x-ray. I don't recall the exact time.

COL ROCK: Then the OR you consider to be a part of the emergency room complex?

WITNESS: Yes, sir, it is just a separate room in the treatment room itself.

COL ROCK: I see. Is there an x-ray machine there?

WITNESS: No, sir.

COL ROCK: When Captain MacDonald was first wheeled in, how long did he remain in the emergency room complex until such time as he was moved to the x-ray room?

WITNESS: Approximately twenty to thirty minutes, sir.

COL ROCK: How long was he in the emergency room the first time before a doctor attended him?

WITNESS: A very few minutes, sir. The doctor came right back. He came in with him as we took him into the OR.

COL ROCK: How long do you think the doctor was in attendance with Captain MacDonald until he was then wheeled into the OR?

WITNESS: Sir, I don't recall whether the doctor was standing there as Captain MacDonald was brought in or not.

COL ROCK: My question is, after the doctor arrived the first time to attend to Captain MacDonald, to examine the extent of his wounds, how long did that process take before Captain MacDonald was then moved to another area, approximately?

WITNESS: I don't recall, sir.

COL ROCK: Would you say it was five minutes, half an hour, or could you say?

WITNESS: The examination that he was given by the doctor took approximately ten minutes for a thorough exam, to check out, to make sure that there was -- to determine the extent of the injury.

COL ROCK: But in your recollection it was a period of time from say fifteen to thirty minutes before the patient was taken to the x-ray room?

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: I have no further questions of the witness. Does either counsel?

Questions by MR. EISMAN:
Q Do you remember Doctor Straub being one of the doctors in attendance at the time, prior to him being moved to the x-ray room?
A I don't recall which two doctors specifically were down there on duty as the POD's. I do remember the surgeon was called down immediately and there were three doctors there with him.
Q If I told you that Straub has testified here that he was one of the doctors; would you disagree with his testimony?
A I don't recall if it was Doctor Straub or Doctor Neal. One of the doctors went out and came back in, and one of the doctors stayed there, and I don't remember which one it was.

MR. EISMAN: I have nothing more at this time.

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q How long did it take to clean up the room and so forth, the cleaning job you referred to?
A About ten minutes.
Q About what time did Captain MacDonald come into the emergency room?
A Between 4:15 and 4:30, sir.
Q Do you have any idea what time it was that he was taken to the x-ray room with the radiologist?
A No, sir, I don't.

CPT SOMERS: I have no further questions

MR. EISMAN: I have no other questions.

COL ROCK: Specialist Newman, you are advised that you will discuss your testimony with no person other than either counsel for the accused or counsel for the government. Do you understand that?

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: You are excused, subject to recall.

(The witness saluted the IO and departed the courtroom.)

COL ROCK: I would suggest at this time that we take a recess in order to establish our phone contact and get the technicians in here.

The hearing recessed at 1415 hours, 10 July 1970

 

 

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