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 14, 1970: Master Sergeant Hilyard Medlin
(CID Fingerprint Technician)

 

CPT SOMERS: The government calls Sergeant Medlin.

(Master Sergeant Hilyard O. Medlin 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, sir.
A Hilyard O. Medlin.
Q Your grade?
A Master Sergeant E-8.
Q Your organization?
A U. S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory.
Q Your station?
A Fort Gordon, Georgia.
Q Your armed force?
A U. S. Army.
Q What is your duty at the laboratory there?
A I am a fingerprint technician, sir.
Q What training have you had in your field?
A In 1957 I graduated from the Institute of Applied Science correspondence course. I attended the CI course at Fort Gordon in 1963, and was assigned to the laboratory for a two-year residency training as a fingerprint technician under a full qualified fingerprint examiner.
Q How long have you been working in this field?
A I have been in police work in one manner or another since 1947, sir.
Q How long specifically in this fingerprint work?
A Since being assigned to the laboratory as a trainee in 1965.
Q How many fingerprint technicians does that lab have?
A In 1963 when I was assigned there at the beginning of my training, there were only two authorized.
Q Have you ever written any articles in this field?
A In 1967 I had the pleasure of presenting a paper to the annual conference of the International Association for Identification of which I am an active member. This article was subsequently published in our monthly magazine. I've also had articles published in the Military Police Journal pertaining to identification work, and also the monthly magazine of the Institute of Applied Science.
Q What professional organizations are you a member of?
A Besides the International Association for Identification, I also belong to the Military Police Association.

CPT SOMERS: Does the defense care to examine?

MR. EISMAN: Yes, I have a couple of questions.

Questions by MR. EISMAN:
Q Sergeant Medlin you testified you began specific training in fingerprints when?
A I was assigned to the laboratory in October of 1963. I attended the 8 week course in CI school. Upon graduation from there I was again -- since I was already assigned to the laboratory, I began my training in '63 and completed it in '65, and was assigned there as a fingerprint examiner in the fingerprint division.
Q Is this a credit course you were given or just on-the-job type of training?
A This is an approved POI -- excuse me -- Program of Instruction, approved by CONARC.

MR. EISMAN: I have no further questions.

CPT SOMERS: At this time the government offers this witness as an expert in the field of fingerprint identification.

COL ROCK: He is accepted.

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q At this time, Mr. Medlin, I like to ask you, have you worked on the case involving the MacDonald matter?
A Yes, sir, I have.
Q Do you have a supplemental fingerprint report from the laboratory with you?
A I have some copies here that we call Laboratory Reports, repeat Number 7, pertaining to those.

CPT SOMERS: Thank you very much. At this time the government offers this report as Government Exhibit --

COL ROCK: That is Government Exhibit 28. It is a supplemental lab report, U. S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, Fort Gordon, Georgia, Number FA-P-C-FP-82-70-R-7.

Q At this time, Sergeant Medlin, I hand you Government Exhibit G-28, and Government Exhibits 7 and 8. Look if you will, at Government Exhibit 7 and 8. Did you participate in the preparations of those reports?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Sergeant Medlin, when did this matter first come to your attention?
A On Monday morning, I received instructions from the Chief of the Division to prepare to come to Fort Bragg to assist in the process of the crime scene. We were flown to Fort Bragg by the Chief of the Aviation Section from Busch Field, Fort Gordon, Georgia; arrived at the Military Terminal Airport here at Fort Bragg and was brought to or taken to the scene.
Q Excuse me, do you know the address of the scene?
A I believe it was 540 Corregidor Courts, where we were received and briefed by the investigators from the Fort Bragg investigation office.
Q Did you participate in the collection of evidence at that scene?
A Pertaining to fingerprints, yes, sir.
Q And were you working with someone else to do this?
A Yes, sir, a Specialist Seven Ralph Turbyfill accompanied me here.
Q And did any of the investigators here accompany you as you were gathering evidence?
A Mr. William Ivory and I worked as a team, along with Specialist Turbyfill who is a trainee at the fingerprint division at Fort Gordon.
Q Would you describe for us, sir, how you go about gathering this evidence of latent fingerprints?
A At the very beginning we limited ourselves to processing areas for latent prints that would not interfere with the processing of the area by the chemist. This involved processing certain pieces of evidence such as the door facings, the dressers, and the walls, where there no stains or markings or discolorations noted that might be of value to the chemist at a later time.
Q Now what process do you record evidence of latent fingerprints if they are found on the wall, for instance?
A We use contrasting powder, black on white surfaces and silver or gray on black surfaces. In this instance, using a camel hair brush, we processed an area, and in the event there are impressions that come from the processing of the area, then we have the photographer to photograph the area to place it on film.
Q Did you, during this process of collecting evidence in this fashion at the scene at 544 Castle Drive, have the occasion to dust the telephone in that residence for fingerprints?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q What did you find?
A In the master bedroom, described to us as having contained the body of a deceased woman named Mrs. MacDonald, I processed the telephone. There were smudges and a few markings on the receiver part of it.
Q Were these smudges and markings readable and matchable or identified?
A No, sir. They were only just smudges and smears.
Q What about the other telephone, did you dust it in the same manner?
A The telephone in the kitchen area was dusted, and I got no legible prints, sir.

MR. EISMAN: No what prints?

WITNESS: No legible prints, no prints.

MR. EISMAN: Thank you.

WITNESS: Nothing.

Q You say nothing?
A Normally when you process an instrument of this type, a stark white surface with black powder, there are some type of discolorations will come up when an individual has handled the object. In this instance I remarked to Mr. Ivory that it was rather odd that it was completely stark.
Q Did you process the walls in the hall for fingerprints?
A We processed the hall on both sides from the entrance way leading from the living room down to the doors of the children's bedroom.
Q And at what heights did you do this?
A Just about six inches higher than my head, sir. Around six feet high starting with 18 to 24 inches from the floor, and then working our way down to the floor in the hallway.
Q In what direction did you work down to the floor?
A Starting at about the six foot level and working our way on down.
Q Did you find any latent fingerprints in the hallway itself in the areas between the doors to the bedroom and the living room?
A At the edge of the wall, approximately 18 to 24 inches from the floor was what appeared to be ridges, a few ridges and that is all.
Q Were those identified?
A No, sir. They were not sufficient for identification.
Q Did you find anything else in the way of latent fingerprints in that area of the hall?
A No, sir.

COL ROCK: Would -- may I interject -- would you consider that also to be relatively unusual in your work?

WITNESS: I have found in the past events where at least there would be outlines on occasion of fingers and hands.

COL ROCK: And also from your experience, when there are small children in the family, do you tend to find children's fingerprints in the hall?

WITNESS: Sometimes we have on occasions found prints on the baseboards where a child possibly has crawled and placed their hands.

COL ROCK: Excuse me. When I say small, these would be not children of crawling age, but of walking age.

WITNESS: This will vary, sir. Sometimes they will have -- leave an outline of an impression where they have foreign objects such as jam on their hands. The powder will adhere to this and will be a blob.

COL ROCK: Thank you. Proceed, please.

Q How many latent fingerprints did you find that were identifiable?
A We added a total of 44 latent fingerprints and 29 latent palm prints, and one latent -- what we thought was a palm print at the beginning, turned out to be a latent footprint.
Q How many of the fingerprints have you identified?
A We have identified 21 of the latent fingerprints.
Q And of the palm prints?
A Six latent palm prints, and the latent footprint.
Q And to whom did the prints that you identified belong?
A Only to Mr., excuse me, Captain and Mrs. MacDonald.
Q Now among the unidentified prints, can you rule out Mrs. MacDonald as having made those prints?
A Unfortunately the record prints that we have of Mrs. MacDonald are incomplete in some areas, and I could not say whether they were made by her or not.
Q You cannot exclude them as having been hers?
A No, sir, I cannot.
Q Now if a person were to walk, for instance, in the hall of that house and you have been in the hallway?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where they walked down the hall, scraping a shoulder or some part of his anatomy against the hall, would this show up in your examination?
A Normally in halls of this type, with a surface such as it was, we have occasion to process crime scene that resulted in marking or discolorations that were readable as such, but they appeared that the powder adhered to some object on the wall.
Q Did you see any evidence in the hall that the walls had been treated carelessly or bumped into or marked up in this fashion?
A Not that we could find, sir. We were particularly interested in finding anything in that manner.
Q Have you used any particularly different lighting, or did you use any particularly different lighting in that house, in the hall, along the walls to locate evidence?
A To the best of my memory, Mr. Shaw and the chemist were using an IR, infrared or ultra violet, to look for specimens. We used a strong light, a 200-watt that was in a lamp to look for any contrast impressions or distinct areas, using a bleak lighting as we call it.

(Reporter's note: That may have been oblique lighting.)

Q What time was it on the 17th -- or was it the 17th of February that you arrived?
A Yes, sir, we arrived at approximately 10:40 to 11:00 o'clock. Mr. Chamberlain was the person making notes on the arrival time. We were met at the airplane by Mr. Rossi who took us to the crime scene.
Q And do you have any idea what time of the morning you were notified to go?
A Approximately 0715 hours, that morning, I received a call from my chief of the division telling me that I would come to Fort Bragg to process a crime scene.
Q And you said that you were processing this crime scene for fingerprints with a man named Turbyfill?
A Yes, sir, Specialist Turbyfill.
Q And had he received any training in gathering of this evidence?
A Yes, Specialist Turbyfill has been an investigator, accredited; this is one of the prerequisites to be a trainee in the fingerprint division or belong to the laboratory; he is familiar with recognizing the different methods used by investigators to process crime scenes, and he has also received further training in the laboratory in processing of evidence on latent prints.
Q When you arrived at the scene and inspected it as you collected evidence from it, did you form any opinion as to the conditions of the scene in terms of preservation of the type of evidence that you were attempting to collect?
A According to the investigators who briefed us, the scene was such as it was when they arrived there, and they were very conscientious in protecting any object that might have evidentiary value to us.

MR. EISMAN: Now, I am going to object to the question unless it is clarified that these investigators -- he didn't arrive until at least -- at least from the government's witness, twelve MP's including one unidentified person in blue jeans and another unidentified number of medics had stomped through the scene. He's referring to the point in time when the investigators arrived.

COL ROCK: Objection overruled. I am well aware of this having listened to the evidence previously, and so far no information has been presented as to the exact time of arrival of the investigators. I think the questioning of the investigators in due time will reveal the specific fact of the time they arrived there. Continue please.

CPT SOMERS: Your witness.

Questions by MR. EISMAN:
Q Do you recall giving an interview at Fort Gordon to a representative from our office, Captain Robert Payne? Do you recall that interview?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you recall being informed by Captain Payne that the interview was being recorded?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now when you arrived at the scene, do you recall how you described the scene to Captain Payne?
A No, sir, I don't.
Q Let me just refresh your recollection. Do you recall Captain Payne asking you this question and you giving this answer? "Would you generally describe the state of the room, the master bedroom, when you arrived at the master bedroom?" Answer: "It seemed to be in state of confusion. Of course the bodies had been removed and the towel or bath mat, whatever it was, was there. There was a large pool of blood just in front of the chair." Now do you recall answering in that manner, that the master bedroom was in a state of confusion?
A The word "confusion" was intended to show that it was in disarray, and quite possibly was in its original condition when the investigator arrived, because this is the way that they described it to me.
Q How many people did you see in the master bedroom?
A When I arrived, the investigators and our team were the only ones there. There were military policemen stationed outside the house and one inside the door at the front door.
Q Now you've described finding 44 fingerprints and 29 palm prints. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you have copies of Captain MacDonald's fingerprints?
A They were submitted to us by the investigators, yes, sir.
Q Did you have copies of Mrs. MacDonald's fingerprints?
A Yes, sir, such as they were.
Q Now, fingerprints which you had of Mrs. MacDonald, I believe, had certain peculiar markings on them, or cuts or nicks. Is that correct?
A If I stated what I intended it to mean was that a woman has more cuts or scarred areas on the fingers from using knives or instruments in the kitchen, in preference over a male.
Q And did Mrs. MacDonald have such?
A In some of her fingers she had these things.
Q Did you have a full set of prints from Mrs. MacDonald?
A I had a full set that was recorded on the paper.
Q Now in that full set could you please describe the fingerprint pattern as far as whorls and -- do you have the records with you?
A No, sir, I do not.
Q You did not bring your records with you?
A We don't keep record fingerprints down in the CI laboratory, sir. They are returned to the investigating agents. The evidence belonged to the investigating agents which is the contributor, rather than a laboratory.
Q You were able to eliminate Colette MacDonald from any of these unidentified fingerprints, weren't you?
A Oh, yes, on some of them that were full latent prints.
Q Now where did you find fingerprints in the master bedroom?
A There were some prints -- you are referring to latent prints, sir?
Q Yes.
A Or just singular fingerprints?
Q Latent, all latent prints, finger and palm prints.
A Well, on the door facing from the hallway into the bedroom, and on the door facing on the bedroom and the utility room, between those two rooms, on the Venetian blinds.
Q All right, now how many of these fingerprints were identifiable?
A I do not know the exact count, sir, because the report would have to show that. May I refer to it?
Q Yes.
A Exhibit U-3 is the master bedroom and the latent prints that are shown on the supplemental report R-4 is an expression of the examination conducted and comparisons made of the latent prints show as Exhibit U-3 on the original copy which shows 13 latent fingerprints and 11 latent palm prints found in that room.
Q Now when you say latent fingerprints, how many of those were identifiable?
A 13, sir.
Q 13 were identifiable. In other words, you had enough characteristics with which to compare them to your, your samples. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q How many were you able to identify as belonging to Colette MacDonald or Captain MacDonald or anyone else in the household?
A Eight belonged to Mrs. MacDonald, as the report shows, and 2 latent palm prints was also from Mrs. MacDonald, and one latent palm print was from Captain MacDonald.
Q Now let's go over that. You had 13 latent fingerprints. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q How many latent palm prints do you have?
A 11 latent palm prints.

(Reporter's note: Just prior to this CPT Douthat stated recording some figures on a black board in the hearing room, and continued to do so after the present witness's testimony.)

Q 13 fingerprints and 11 palm prints?
A Yes, sir.
Q And these were identifiable fingerprints, there were enough characteristics for which you could say that these belonged to one another?
A That we could make identification.
Q Now on those how many did you identify?
A Eight latent fingerprints identified and three palm prints identified.
Q And therefore how many unidentified fingerprints did you have in the master bedroom?
A Eight from thirteen is five, sir.
Q Five. How many palm prints?
A Three from eleven is eight, sir.
Q Now what was the next -- did you in the master bedroom dust the phone?
A Yes, sir.
Q And did you find any fingerprints on that phone?
A Only fingerprint marks, sir.
Q Where at?
A On the ear piece.
Q Did you consider that strange or unusual?
A What do you mean, sir?
Q Is that out of the ordinary just to have smudges or should you have fingerprints on it?
A On occasion an object such as this, at least the handle part of it, should have more than what it had in my personal opinion.
Q How well did it take fingerprints?
A Very well, sir. I put one of my own prints for a test print, and after I determined that there were no latent prints coming up, and it received, the powder received very well in the latent print that I put there.
Q In what area did you find these smudge marks?
A On the ear piece itself, as though a person might have held it.
Q The ear piece?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now if someone had picked up the receiver in the center with the thumb and two fingers do you think he would have gotten fingerprints?
A We have gotten fingerprints in that area from telephones of this type, sir.
Q Did you have the fingerprints of a MP by the name of Specialist Tevere?
A This I don't know, sir, because I would have to refer back to the fingerprint cards that would have our markings on it for the identification of the individual.
Q Were you given fingerprints of all known people who were in the house on February 17th?
A I received different record fingerprints concerning individuals for elimination purposes; whether it was all the people or not, I don't -- I can't say, because I don't know how many people were in there.
Q But if somebody had picked up the phone in this manner, is it your testimony that would put fingerprints on it?
A It would have left a discolored area.
Q And you didn't find any?
A No, sir.
Q So, if someone did touch the phone in that manner, they testified they picked up the phone in that manner, they would not be telling the truth?

CPT SOMERS: I object. I don't think that this witness can draw that conclusion.

MR. EISMAN: Well, I think the conclusion is for the investigating officer to draw.

CPT SOMERS: That's correct, so do I. I don't think it is for this witness to draw.

CPT BEALE: The objection is sustained.

Q All, right, Sergeant, you also found some palm prints on the door facing. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir, we did.
Q And were these originally identifiable -- the palm prints?
A Yes, sir.
Q And what happened with these identifiable palm prints? That were found on the door facing.
A After they were photographed, sir, they were covered with a transparent tape, so that they might not be destroyed by a person brushing against them or putting their own hands on top of them, to preserve the evidence as nearly as possible in his original position.
Q And what happened with those fingerprints? Did the film come out?
A Some of the film unfortunately did not, sir.
Q What happened to the prints that were covered up with the plastic?
A They were re-photographed, sir.
Q At that time, could you tell -- were they still identifiable?
A Some were not, sir.
Q But originally they were identifiable. Is that correct?
A Enough points of comparison had been noted that were, sir.
Q How many were identifiable before the covering up process took place?
A I don't remember the exact number, sir, but it was in my notes.
Q Well, how many were damaged?
A Here, again, I couldn't tell you an exact figure.
Q Do you have your notes there?
A No, sir. My notes were in the folder that was brought by the other team, sir.
Q Where are they now?
A I presume they are outside, sir, unless they removed my notes and left them back at the laboratory. When I went up to get my notes they had the entire folder, sir.

MR. EISMAN: May we have a brief recess so the witness can check whether his notes are here?

COL ROCK: Yes, the hearing will be recessed for five minutes, to search for notes.

(The hearing recessed at 1456 hours, 14 July 1970.)

(The hearing reopened at 1553 hours, 14 July 1970.)

COL ROCK: This hearing will come to order. Let the record reflect the persons who were present at the beginning of the recess are currently in the hearing room. Please proceed.

Questions by MR. EISMAN:
Q Sergeant Medlin, in your original notes did you make a diagram of where each fingerprint was found?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q Do you have any record in your original notes of where each fingerprint was found?
A The number, the total number was recorded; according to the room they were located in, sir.
Q Did you make any record of where they found?
A The count that I have in my notes, originally started out, more than twenty were found on door facings and doorways, sir.
Q Did you say which doorways and where on the doorways they were found?
A No, sir.
Q Were photographs taken of each fingerprint?
A Yes, sir, it was.
Q Do you have those photographs in your possession, or in the possession of the Criminal Laboratory at Fort Gordon?
A They are in the possession of the laboratory, sir.
Q Could they be provided to the investigating officer if he so wished? I asked you a question. Would you answer the question?
A This would have to be determined by an authority other than myself, sir.
Q All right, now do these show where the fingerprints were found, the number of the fingerprints and such?
A They would show the number of the fingerprints, yes, sir.
Q And with that number they could be keyed into where they were found, the exact location?
A I could revisit the area and pinpoint each latent print that was developed on the doorways, door facings and what have you, sir.
Q But your notes with combination of your photographs would not tell the investigating officer exactly where these fingerprints were found?
A No, sir.
Q Now that you've a chance to refresh your recollection with regard to receiving certain notes from Fort Gordon, I want to again direct your attention to the phone in the master bedroom. In response to a question by the Chief of Military Justice at Fort Gordon, you were asked concerning other paraphernalia which you took fingerprints, and your answer -- "One of the things that we could not do, although we made test marks on it and developed viewable prints, one of the things we could not develop latent prints on was the telephone." Question -- "Was there one telephone in the master bedroom?" "Yes, sir." Question -- "You found no fingerprints on that telephone?" Answer -- "No." Question -- "Were there any smudges or any other things that weren't identifiable fingerprints in your opinion? Do you understand what I am talking about?" Answer -- "Yes, sir. There was nothing that would take the powder. This is one of the things that appears strange to me. Of course, as to individuals handling the phone, or anything like that, possibly would argue the point. But we did make tests on the telephone in the master bedroom and with very good marks with the test marks."
Now that I have refreshed your recollection by reading you the interview with the Chief Military Justice at Fort Gordon, do you still recall that the telephone, you were unable to get any smudges on was the telephone in the master bedroom, rather than the kitchen?
A We were discussing the developing of latent prints that contained ridges when this question was asked.
Q And you found no ridges whatsoever?
A And the answer I intended to give, if I did not give it, was that legible prints were absent from the phone, the instrument itself.
Q Well, was there anything that would take the powder?
A As previously stated there was some discoloration on one part of the telephone itself.
Q But you could not identify that as fingerprints?
A It could have been made by anything, sir.
Q Did you have a record print of Sergeant Tevere of the Military Police?
A Again, I answered that the only way I know was to look at the record finger print cards that have my mark on it, sir.
Q How many record fingerprints were supplied to you?
A We received originally three sets.
Q Who were they? Whose were the three sets?
A The three sets were Mrs. MacDonald, Captain MacDonald and a Lieutenant Harrison.
Q Now after -- subsequent did you receive further copies or further sets?
A We received additional copies from the FBI investigator agents that had been there, some of them, some of the medic's prints or fingerprints that were identified to me as belonging to some other personnel that was in there in their official capacity, either medics or military police.
Q But you don't know whether or not you received all the prints of all the people who were in there?
A No, sir, I do not.
Q Did you request all those fingerprints so that you could make a true identification of these unidentified prints, in fact, belonged to either military policemen or a medic, or an FBI man? Did you make such a request?
A Yes, sir, and I was informed that the investigating team from Fort Bragg would secure the record fingerprints to forward to our laboratory for comparison purposes over a period of time as they acquired them themselves.
Q Well, were they forwarded to you?
A I received only a certain number of prints, sir.
Q How many were they, approximately?
A To the best of my recollection, about twenty-four, sir.
Q And were you informed whether or not this was the total number of people who had been in the house?
A Mr. Shaw told me they were still gathering prints from different people; that they were tracking down, that might have been in there in one form or another.
Q All right. What time of the day were you in the house when you took your samples, or made your tests with regards to fingerprints?
A I was there for five days, sir.
Q Five days?
A Well, from Monday through Friday, sir.
Q You said there was more than twenty-four people in the house at the time you were in the house?
A Yes, sir.
Q After the master bedroom, where was the next location that you have a record of taking fingerprints in?
A To the best of my memory, sir, we moved into the utility room door. Specialist Turbyfill and I were moving around different places to avoid getting in the way of the chemist and possibly contaminating some of his evidence.
Now, may I refer back to this tape recording that you are referring to there? Captain Payne kept asking me, "And where did you go from there, and where did you go from there?" The answer that I gave him at that time was to the best of my memory. At this time it may be different only so far to a specific spot which I moved to.
Q I understand.
A From the master bedroom we processed around to the doorway that was the alleged entrance to the master bedroom through the utility room.
Q Now at that doorway, and I'm not going to hold you down to exactly where you went from where. I think that's no real problem, and I don't think you should be concerned with that, but at the door to the utility room, how many prints were found?
A Three latent fingerprints and three latent palm prints, sir.
Q Three latent fingerprints and three latent palm prints?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now were they identifiable?
A This is the reason that we stated this, sir, yes.

COL ROCK: Excuse me, can you relate that to any, any one of the exhibits?

WITNESS: U-4, sir.

COL ROCK: That's U-4?

WITNESS: Yes, sir. This may assist you, sir. Exhibit U-1 -- U-1 is from the living room.

COL ROCK: U-2?

WITNESS: U-2 is from the south bedroom. U-3 is from the east bedroom, master bedroom. U-4 is from the utility room. 5 is the bathroom.

COL ROCK: Which bathroom?

WITNESS: The main bathroom in the middle of the house.

COL ROCK: All right.

WITNESS: U-6 is the north bedroom, and 7 is the kitchen, sir.

COL ROCK: All right, thank you. Proceed.

Q Now of the latent fingerprints how many of those were identified?
A In Exhibit U-4, sir, it is reflected that two latent fingerprints were made by Mrs. MacDonald and one latent palm print by Captain MacDonald.
Q So two of the fingerprints were identified and one of the palm prints, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q So that would leave us one unidentified fingerprint and two unidentified palm prints in the utility room. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now in the utility room, were there any other fingerprints taken which for some reason or another in the processing they might have been destroyed other than these three?
A On the edge of the screen door, the outer screen door, I dusted the edge and it appeared that there were two finger marks which could be fingerprints. The photographer photographed them with the idea of using them for comparison purposes; using my eyepiece it appeared that they were, would be sufficient. However, before we determined that latent prints are sufficient for comparison purposes -- they may look good viewing from a distance -- but once they were photographed and we got them under our comparison microscope, binocular type comparison glasses, they do not meet the requirements for comparison purposes.
Q And on these prints, when you first viewed them, were they capable of comparison with your microscope?
A They appeared to possess several points or characteristics. It was not possible to count them because I did not want to touch the print to either destroy or distort it prior to it being photographed. However, these prints did not come out on the camera -- did not come out on the film and were not photographable.
Q Well, was there any effort to take the portion of the doorway away so that you could bring to your laboratory?
A This was not done. The latent prints were in or on the paint. It was on the edge of the door facing, and it was my opinion that by cutting the door, it would be possible to jar the powder off. Once powder is placed on a latent print, it becomes very fragile, and can be -- the powder itself can flake off it if it's not handled in such a manner as to keep it from doing this. By sawing the door portion out, I felt that this quite possibly may happen since the latent prints were faint to begin with.
Q So what was done with those two prints?
A They were covered over with transparent tape, sir, to show their location.
Q Was there any effort made later to identify them?
A Once the film was processed and printed, the resulting photographs were attempted to be utilized, yes, sir.
Q And were they utilized?
A They were not sufficient, sir.
Q So there were two additional prints that were not sufficient. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now in order of chronology, in the best you can recollect, did you make any attempt to make a second photograph or use any other method in which to raise these prints?
A It was with the same results, sir.
Q Isn't there any other method you could have used to get an identifiable print of those prints?
A Once a latent print is covered in transparent tape, at times the tape will adhere to the creases or cracks in the painted surface, and once this is done the adhesiveness of the tape itself will draw the powder into it.
Q Is that what occurred in this case? The tape, through the adhesive characteristics were drawn away and the print was destroyed. Is that what occurred?
A This I cannot say, sir, because I don't know the physical or chemical reactions that occurred in this.
Q Well, was the print in effect destroyed for your purposes by this process?
A It might have been insufficient to begin with, sir. It appeared as though it was comparable when I looked at it with my glass.
Q And after you were done taping it wasn't comparable. Is that correct?
A This, again, I can't say.
Q Did you look at it again?
A Yes, sir.
Q Was it comparable?
A It appeared as though the print was just like it was when I left it, except the tape was then adhering to the cracks and pieces of the paint itself.
Q Could you then in effect compare it with another print?
A No, sir.
Q All right, why?
A I though I just explained that, sir. There is certain characteristics, similarities and dissimilarities that we look for in a latent print prior to making a visible comparison with a latent print -- or the record print. A dusted latent print impression may appear to be suitable for comparison to the eye looking at it through the eyepiece which I was wearing. However, once it is photographed and printed, then it is quite possible that there are insufficient characteristics for identification.
Q Could you go back and at least make a record of each of the characteristics which you observed at that point and put that substance in some central record place, or try to find a comparative print, and get that comparative print and put it next to the print that you saw? Could you have done that?
A In all fairness, no, sir.
Q What other prints did you find in the utility room area?
A Well on the washing machine was a palm print that had been placed there by an individual who admitted placing this print there. However, I dusted it and it was a fresh print.
Q And who was that person?
A One of the investigators.
Q How many palm prints were found on the door jamb in between the utility room and the master bedroom?
A It shows -- U-3, sir.
Q That would be the same three you were referring to?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now what palm prints did you refer to in the interview by the Chief of Military Justice that were distorted? Were they the same that you were referring to that were identifiable, or were they additional prints?
A There was one palm print, sir.
Q That was the only palm print?
A That was the photograph, sir.
Q Did you find palm prints on the door facing next to the master bedroom?
A Yes, sir, that's where they were.
Q Was it the three that you were referring to?
A Yes, sir. These are referred to as comparable prints.
Q Do you recall being asked this question and giving this answer? "Were you able to identify these, referring to the three palm prints?" "I am checking my notes right now. These are in the classification I mentioned previously that we had to go back and re-photograph. The Fair -- the palm prints until they had to be covered with tape, and at that time the tape distorted them, and to my memory, we did not identify them."
A These are the ones that were re-photographed.
Q Are these in addition to the three that we referred to here as identifiable ones?
A No, sir, these three shown on this report that starts off -- comparable latent prints were found as follows -- and these are comparable latent prints.
Q So in other words, the comparable latent prints which were also distorted in someone are included as comparable latent prints. Is that correct?
A No, sir, the report was written from the comparable latent prints that we had.
Q Well, are those the ones that you described that you were able to lift?
A We did not lift any, sir.
Q Or at least have them available to you to check with other prints?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now the three that were destroyed, or distorted by the tape, were they included in your records?
A Sir, I have only one here, I believe. Did I say three there?
Q Did you have your notes with you when you were interviewed by the Chief of Military Justice?
A No, sir, I had the case folder which had the photographs in it, and I was going by the photographs that I was looking at.
Q You were referring --
A On the outside of the photographs were certain notes such as one identified, six not identified. I was going by the photograph, based on the markings placed on them, 4X, 5X and so on like that.
Q And how many fingerprints and palm prints were destroyed by the method in which you used?
A According to the information that I have here, the number of prints that were re-photographed, were four fingerprints and one palm print in the utility room -- excuse me -- in the younger child's room, the south bedroom. U-2 -- U-3 there were ten fingerprints and three palm prints. U-4, thirteen fingerprints and one palm print. U-5, three fingerprints and one palm print. U-6, four fingerprints and one palm print.
Q When you say re-photographed, does that mean they were identifiable when they were raised with powder and that they were not able to be photographed and later unable to be identified by you? Is that what you are referring --
A These appeared to be comparable, sir, at the time they were processed.
Q And after they were processed, they were not comparable. Is that what you are saying?
A Once the photographs were printed, these are the ones that appeared to be blurred.
Q And that was the fault of the camera or the film?
A I'm not a photographer, sir, however, I would like to explain that in my experience that even the movement of a vehicle, a heavy truck, can on occasion set up a vibration of a building, so that the vibration is transmitted to the eye of the camera.
Q All right, after they were re-photographed, were they identifiable?
A Some of them were, and some of them were not, sir, and they were carried as being comparable.
Q What's the total of the photographs or the prints which you had re-photographed, fingerprints and palm prints?
A Forty-four fingerprints and ten palm prints, sir.
Q And these were what you thought to be identifiable when you originally processed them, the film became blurred or in some way was not developed properly, and when you went back to re-photograph them, they were not in condition for which you would say they were comparable. Is that correct?
A Some of them were, and some of them were not.
Q Do you have a record of how many were and how many were not?
A According to the photographs that were just read to me over the telephone, U-3, one palm print and two fingerprints, and U-4, seven fingerprints and one palm print. U-5, is questionable as to whether it was a fingerprint or palm print.
Q What is the total of the ones that you were able to identify after they were re-photographed?
A Subtracting the ones that he gave me, sir, thirty-five fingerprints and four palm prints.
Q Were unidentifiable after you processed them?
A Were identifiable.
Q Were identifiable.
A According to the reading of the photographs that he just gave me. He just gave me the marks that were placed on them.

COL ROCK: This hearing will take a five minute recess in place.

(The hearing recessed at 1615 hours, 14 July 1970.)

(The hearing reopened at 1618 hours, 14 July 1970.)

COL ROCK: The hearing is in session. Let the record reflect that all parties who were present at the closing are currently in the hearing room. Proceed with your --

Questions by MR. EISMAN:
Q Do you recall being asked this question and giving this answer to the Chief of Military Justice at Fort Gordon? "How many palm prints did you take from the master bedroom?" Answer: "We had some unidentified prints on the door facing, which I am looking for at this particular moment. The identified palm prints that were noted on the door jamb and door facings before they had to be re-photographed due to the finding of the film and other mechanical difficulties, which had to be eliminated because after we placed the tape on it it caused them to be insufficient enough in order to identify anyone with it. However, I'll say prior to their -- I'll say that the destruction or distortion by the tape we placed on it to protect -- to protect it, they were identifiable or had been identifiable. However we had no cards at that time to make comparison with." Do you recall giving that answer?
A I probably did, sir.
Q Now if you did have cards to make comparisons with, or did have some process by which you could or would have photographed these prints directly, you could have made -- there would have been comparison prints wouldn't they?
A Until we examine it with the comparison glass, the only thing that we can go by is the appearance, looking at it with my viewing glass on top of my head. Once we look at it with the glass, even in place, it might have turned out that it was insufficient for positive identification.
Q But reference these photographs of these prints on the door jamb you do testify, or did state to the chief of Military Justice, that they were identifiable?
A Yes, sir, based on the explanation that I gave you, sir.
Q Also, the same thing occurred in the utility room, didn't it?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now how many prints total were identifiable before you began your process of placing tape on them?
A According to the records, the total in the utility room were three latent palm prints, sir.
Q Now when you say latent palm prints are they final prints which you have back in your laboratory, or were the total of prints found in the utility room including the ones that were destroyed?
A They are the total prints that we have in photographs back at the laboratory, sir.
Q Now how many do you not have on photographs which were destroyed in this matter?
A According to his record, here, he had one, sir.
Q The next room, after the utility room, was what, according to your records?
A According to the records, it was the -- it was the bedroom, north and south bedrooms.
Q All right, let's go into the north bedroom now. All right, how many fingerprints were found in the north bedroom?
A Twelve latent fingerprints.
Q Twelve identifiable latent fingerprints.

COL ROCK: My records show, if I am correct, Exhibit U-6 shows four latent fingerprints in the north bedroom.

WITNESS: You are absolutely right, you are right, sir. Six in the bedroom, five in the bathroom. Four latent fingerprints was found in the north bedroom and four latent palm prints were found.

Q Now how many of those prints were identified, identified as belonging to either Captain MacDonald, or Ron Harrison or any other person?
A One latent fingerprint was made by an investigator, sir.
Q Right, and were the other three identified?
A According to these records, no, sir.
Q So we have one identified fingerprint and three unidentified fingerprints. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q How about the palm print?
A Four latent palm prints, sir.
Q How many were identified?
A According to this, none, sir.
Q And therefore there would have been four unidentified palm prints. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where were -- were there any palm prints destroyed in that room through your processing?
A It shows here that none were destroyed, sir.
Q What is the next room you have a record of?
A U-7 is the kitchen, sir.
Q How many --

COL ROCK: Excuse me. Is that where you want him to go now, counselor?

MR. EISMAN: I think it easier for him to go according to his records, rather than skipping around.

Q How many identifiable fingerprints were found in the kitchen?
A There was one, sir.
Q And palm prints?
A None.
Q And was such fingerprint identified?
A No, sir.
Q So there was one unidentified fingerprint? No palm prints were found in that room. What's the next room you went to?
A Let's start with the living room, sir. At the beginning of the list there was one latent print from there, sir.
Q Was that identified?
A Yes, sir, it was identified as a footprint of Mrs. MacDonald.
Q It was a footprint?
A Yes, sir.
Q It was identified?
A Yes, sir.
Q How about the next room?
A The south bedroom, sir.
Q How many prints were found there?
A Three latent fingerprints and three palm prints. That would be U-2, sir.
Q Yes. Three and three. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q How many of those were identified, Sergeant?
A One latent fingerprint was made by Mrs. MacDonald and one latent palm print was made by Captain MacDonald.
Q So each were identified. Is that correct? There were two each unidentified?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now on the -- do you have a record of how many prints -- when you refer to the rooms, do you include the door jambs in those, or are they in a separate classification?
A The door jamb is considered part of the room, sir, since it is in the entrance.
Q Do you have any record as to which of these prints were found on the door jamb of which room or how many were found on the door jambs?
A This is the easiest room to answer because the other latent prints that were developed were not comparable. The latent prints were on the door jamb or the door edge, itself.
Q Would that be probably the best surface upon which you could raise fingerprints as compared to the walls?
A It being a painted surface, sir, yes, sir.
Q And the walls, therefore, would be less capable of accepting fingerprints and holding them for your processing. Wouldn't that be correct?
A Compared to the surface, however, there would be an outline left.
Q Did you find many outlines of fingerprints on the walls?
A You mean in the children's room, sir?
Q Yes.
A Or where?
Q Hallways, children's rooms, master bedroom.
A In the hallway it was devoid of finger marks.
Q Do you think these were wiped off by someone, Sergeant?
A This I couldn't tell, sir, however, when a whipping action occurs, quite often there is -- set up a disturbance of the dust or pigment of the walls themselves and paint will -- the powder will adhere to the streaks.
Q Did you have that reaction on those walls in the hallway?
A No, sir.
Q So it would appear to you that somebody had wiped the sides of the hallway, would it?
A The only thing I can state, sir, is what I saw physically.
Q What other rooms do you have in addition to the ones we have already covered?
A I believe that takes care of it sir.
Q Do we have a bathroom?
A That was U-5, sir.
Q I don't see it on my list.
A This is the one that I confused the Colonel on. U-5 is the bathroom and there were twelve latent fingerprints and seven latent palm prints.
Q All right, now how many of the fingerprints were identified in U-5?
A Seven latent fingerprints were made by Captain MacDonald and two latent fingerprints were made by Mrs. MacDonald.
Q So nine were identified?
A Right, sir, and one palm print was identified as belonging to Captain MacDonald.
Q So therefore, the corresponding totals would be three unidentified fingerprints in the bathroom and six palm prints. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do these totals total up to the same number you gave us previously, that being 44 fingerprints and 29 palm prints, or is there some area we haven't covered?
A To my memory, sir, there were 21 latent prints identified, 23 not identified; 6 latent palm prints identified and 23 palm prints not identified, total.
Q All right, now, when did you complete your testing of these fingerprints, Sergeant?
A Late Friday afternoon, to the best of my memory, sir, we began, sir, we began to pack up, clean up, so we could pack the evidence and move out Saturday morning, sir.
Q Now when you completed your reports which we have before us, when were they complete, sir?
A I would have to refer back -- the exact date I cannot tell you without looking at the log book in our office, however --
Q What's the date on your report?
A 6 April of '70 was when they were mailed out, sir.
Q Now when you mailed the reports out on 6 April did you send copies of these prints to any -- where did you send copies of the prints to?
A The latent prints, sir?
Q Yes, your photographs.
A We retained them in the laboratory, sir.
Q Did anyone request you, or did you make any request of anybody to submit these to any central bureau such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation?
A No, sir, the FBI and other central bureaus will not accept single latent fingerprints for searching of their files, inasmuch as they have more than 200 million record prints on files.
Q Well, let me ask you this. According to your knowledge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in a case like this, had you submitted these fingerprints, do you think they might have at least gone and checked as to the -- as far as the basic characteristics of these to see if they could come up with certain individuals?
A No, sir, I do not.
Q Did you make such a request?
A No, sir, I didn't.
Q Did anyone make such a request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation?
A Based on our previous correspondence in connection with the FBI, the Director of the Identification Bureau has asked us not to.
Q Did you ask them to make any specific exceptions?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q Did anybody investigating this case make any other attempt to identify who these unidentified fingerprints belonged to?
A Only the members of the laboratory, sir, as we received the record prints from the investigators.
Q But it would only be the record prints that was sent to you by the investigators that they were comparing. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir, as we received them.
Q Were you aware that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been involved in this case?
A Yes, sir, I was. I met several of them.
Q And at any time did you mention to them that you had a total of 23 unidentified fingerprints and 26 unidentified palm prints which might be of significance in this case?
A I believe it was 23 and 23, sir.
Q Well let's use that figure just -- I don't argue about that point, but did you mention to them, or did you write to them, or communicate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on this case that you did have that total of unidentified fingerprints?
A No, sir, I did not.
Q Could you estimate how many prints that you put powder on, attempted to photograph and they did not come out for some reason? Having to do with mechanical difficulties with the film.
A I could only read you the same figures that were given to me on the telephone, sir -- 44 fingerprints and 7 palm prints.
Q How many of these fingerprints that you found compared with each other, which would indicate they came from the same person?
A We did not cross-reference any; however, there was a number of latent prints that were made by the same finger of the individual that were unidentified.
Q Did you attempt to submit the fingerprints of the -- at least the individual who appeared to have had several of the same fingerprints in the house to the FBI?

CPT SOMERS: I object. He's answered this question repeatedly.

CPT BEALE: Sustained.

Q Do you have any record of how many overprints were found on the scene, of prints on palm prints?
A No, sir, I do not.
Q Did you fingerprint, or process for fingerprints the jewelry box in the master bedroom?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you find any fingerprints on that?
A This would be known as Exhibit J, sir.
Q I assume so.
A Exhibit J is shown as having comparable latent fingerprints, palm print, sir, partial palm print.
Q And whose were they?
A I don't know, sir.
Q Were they identifiable?
A They had sufficient characteristics, if we had the complete record prints of people.
Q Were they included in the bedroom or were they separate?
A Yes, they were shown as in the bedroom, sir.
Q And they are already on the board there as the total in the bedroom? Or would they be carried separately?
A They would be carried separately.
Q All right, now how many -- how many fingerprints again was found on the jewelry box?
A One latent fingerprint and one latent palm print, sir.
Q And were they identified?
A In the report it shows that it was not, sir.
Q And they were identifiable?
A Yes, sir.
Q Were there any other special items which are not included as an item in the living room? Or in any of the rooms?
A Yes, sir.
Q What were they?
A Exhibit R-1 and R-2, which were found in the kitchen, and these are glasses, cups, plate, saucer, and things which are identified in the report, sir.
Q Were any latent fingerprints found on those?
A On Exhibit R-1 and R-2 -- R-1 had three latent fingerprints. R-2 had one.
Q And were you able to identify those fingerprints?
A No, sir.
Q And other objects in the house which we have not yet discussed?
A Examination of Exhibits 1 and 2 -- S-1 and S-2. S-1 is a saucer and S-2 is also a saucer which was removed from the drainboard in the kitchen.
Q Now were you able to identify those fingerprints?
A No, sir.
Q How many fingerprints total were there on those objects?
A One each, sir, one latent print.
Q One print on each. Any more?
A Exhibit T shows one latent fingerprint identifiable.
Q What is Exhibit T?
A A plate, sir.
Q And was that identifiable?
A Yes, sir.
Q And whose was that?
A It wasn't identified, sir.
Q It was not identified. Anything else?
A There was a magazine which has a number of latent prints developed on it, certain pages, sir; the comparison of these latent prints was not done.
Q Whose fingerprints did this magazine contain?
A I don't know, sir. There was a number of latent prints, and it was observed as being handled by a number of persons, sir.
Q Would that be including investigators and other law enforcement authorities?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is this, according to your knowledge, evidence in this case?
A It was thought not to be evidence until a reddish stain was discovered on the end of the magazine itself, at which time it became evidence.

MR. EISMAN: I have nothing further.

COL ROCK: May I ask at this time, counselor, the relevance of all the work that was being done up here (pointing to the blackboard) in the questioning of the witness relative to the -- any information on the board?

MR. EISMAN: Yes, this shows, according to the records of this witness, 23 identifiable fingerprints found on the premises which were not identified by -- not identified with either anyone in the house or any prints sent to the laboratory who were known to be in the house after the incident; and that there were 23 palm prints found of unknown origin which were in the house, which I think will become relevant as far as the defense in this case, that there were unidentified people in the house. We now have evidence of unidentified fingerprints.
We have evidence that the criminal investigators in this case sent to the laboratory the known fingerprints of Captain MacDonald, Mrs. MacDonald, Lieutenant Harrison, and presumably anyone else who was in the house; and so since our law enforcement personnel, since our military personnel were fingerprinted, and if they were doing their job, as they probably were, they provided all the fingerprints of the people known to be in the house, and these were not identified as being the prints which we have left over, and these are at this point the fingerprints which cannot be accounted for by the prosecution.

CPT SOMERS: I object to this. This is argument on the part of counsel. This is not in answer to the question as to the relevance of this diagram on the board.

COL ROCK: Well, I gather, it seems to me it is relevant in trying to determine why all this went on. I agree, it is probably a simple question as to how many there were of each type, it might have been cleared up earlier. But I am trying to determine how this fits in.

MR. EISMAN: Well, the reason we did it room to room, sir, was to show that there was unidentified fingerprints in every area of this house which would also be important as far as the defense of this case, and I think it's -- it will become highly important in your determination as to what version of this case you will accept.

COL ROCK: Counsel for the government, do you have any further questions?

CPT SOMERS: Yes, sir, just a moment.

MR. EISMAN: In addition, there were reports when this case originally occurred that there were no unidentified fingerprints found in the house. That information was given at a press conference given by a former Provost Marshal of this base, and it was reported to the press as such.

CPT BEALE: Well, of course, counselor, that's not in evidence.

MR. EISMAN: Well, that's why it's going to be relevant later.

COL ROCK: That's a sufficient answer. Thank you.

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Who took the photographs of these fingerprints, please?

COL ROCK: I'm sorry, I didn't hear the question.

Q Who took the photographs of these fingerprints?
A CW Harold Page, sir.
Q Where is he from?
A He's also from the crime laboratory, sir, at Fort Gordon.
Q Sergeant Medlin, with respect to the photographs -- or to the fingerprints which seemed to have become unreadable as a result of photographic difficulty, can you tell us what this difficulty resulted in? I mean did it wind up with blurred photographs, or what?
A The photographs, when they were printed, sir, were blurred.
Q I see. Now you had more pictures taken. Is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q For those that were blurred by Mr. Page?
A Yes, sir.
Q And when you did that, did some of the prints then become readable? In the new photographs?
A Yes, sir, to the point that we could compare them.
Q How many fingerprints were lost in these new photographs?
A The total that I referred to a few minutes ago that were given to me on the telephone a few minutes ago, were nine fingerprints and three palm prints, sir.
Q I see. Is it very common to have some photographs or some fingerprints in photographs which do not develop this way?
A We have had under laboratory conditions photographs that turned out out of focus due to slippage of a screw in the camera or someone coming in slamming the door at the time that the man flashed the picture.
Q Is it feasible at the scene like this to attempt to compare every latent fingerprint that you find on the spot with controls?
A No, sir, it is not feasible.
Q If you were to leave the dusted fingerprints with no protection whatsoever, would they decompose?
A This will be according to three primary factors. One is the condition of the surface which a latent print is left upon. One is the atmospheric conditions, and the other is the condition of the person who leaves the print there.
Q Well, now with reference specifically to prints, latent prints which have been dusted, if they are simply left open to the air, is there any assurance that they will not become unreadable in a short period of time?
A In my experience, we have left latent prints developed on surfaces uncovered and as the powder dries even more, then the least movement, or breeze or jar, could cause the powder to fall to one side or fall off of --
Q Is that why prints are covered?
A Yes, sir, for the protection of the print. Also to protect the exact location of the print.
Q Sergeant Medlin, would you define for us, please this term "identifiable" as it relates to fingerprints? It's been used a lot here and it's not been defined on the record.
A A print that is considered identifiable for comparison purposes possess all those points and individual characteristics which we look for in searching the record of prints for a mate or match. This may be in the form of ending ridges or ridge dots, the pattern itself, whether it is a whorl, a loop or arch, other similarities, or dissimilarities that we are looking for for comparison purposes.

CPT SOMERS: I have no further questions.

Questions by MR. EISMAN:
Q Are these photographs in your laboratory at Fort Gordon?
A Yes, sir, they are.
Q Are the negatives to your knowledge, still at Fort Gordon?
A Yes, sir, to my knowledge, they are.

MR. EISMAN: Does the investigating officer have any questions, because at this time I have a request to make, unless the investigating officer --

COL ROCK: Yes, I have a number of questions. Are you finished, counselor?

MR. EISMAN: Yes.

COL ROCK: Initially, I believe, you said that you went to 544 Corregidor Courts. Do you mean 544 Castle Drive?

WITNESS: Yes, sir, there was sign that I saw that said Corregidor Courts.

COL ROCK: When you refer to identification of a print, meaning a photograph of a print from the scene of the alleged crime, and you compare to that record prints, and you say that you identified it; does that mean 75% sure of identification, 90%, 100%, or how would you describe that?

WITNESS: It is either yes or no, sir, in fingerprint identification.

COL ROCK: Okay, thank you. I want to refer to Government Exhibit 8, in the paragraph you have that in front of you?

WITNESS: Yes, sir, I do.

COL ROCK: Now, the paragraph states "The remaining latent prints were not identified." And then you go on to say "However, due to a lack of complete clarity in some areas of the record finger and palm prints of Captain and Mrs. MacDonald, a complete elimination/identification could not be made." Would you elaborate a bit more on what you mean by complete elimination/identification could not be made?

WITNESS: Normally, sir, when there is a victim involved, and there are latent prints left at the crime scene, we consider this an elimination, because we eliminate the latent prints as having been made by an authorized person such as the deceased. The identification is merely an -- a terminology that we use to identify prints or to eliminate them, sir.

COL ROCK: From what record can I, as the investigating officer, determine the exact location where identified fingerprints were obtained at the scene of the crime?

WITNESS: By comparing the photographs of the record of the latent prints that have the numbers in them with the actual tape-covered latent print in the house, sir.

COL ROCK: In other words, it would be necessary for me to obtain copies of those photographs and then visit the scene of the crime to determine the exact location.

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: In your police work do you normally make a diagram of the locations from which you take fingerprints?

WITNESS: Not normally, sir.

COL ROCK: Do you have any way of knowing the composition of the footprint that you have described in the living room as being Mrs. MacDonald's. Was this a bloody footprint or --

WITNESS: No, sir, it was a latent footprint on the edge of the coffee table.

COL ROCK: Perhaps you'd better describe what you mean by latent print. Are there other types of prints besides latent prints?

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: Please describe what you mean by latent print.

WITNESS: A latent print is a print which is not visible or readily visible to the eye, and I use a certain process such as commercial powder, contrasting powder, you develop it up so that you can see it, sir. A plastic latent print is one which is left in, as an example, butter or cheese or a surface of that nature.

COL ROCK: Do you consider that you followed standard professional procedures in your work?

WITNESS: Yes, sir, I do.

COL ROCK: To your knowledge, is there a lab report reference the fingerprints on Exhibits P through T?

WITNESS: Only this one paragraph, sir, in Government Exhibit 8, shows no matching impressions.

COL ROCK: Is it then normal procedure not to list the fact on a lab report that there were certain good fingerprints, but that they could not be identified?

WITNESS: I believe it is shown, yes, sir.

COL ROCK: Now during the cross examination this was brought out, to my knowledge, for the first time by the counsel for the accused with reference to those exhibits, which, if I understand you correctly, were fingerprints, or clear -- what I would as a layman call -- clear fingerprints, but they were not identifiable with the records which you had. Is that correct?

WITNESS: Yes, sir. These are the ones on the dishes, the cups and saucers.

COL ROCK: Okay, now is there any report on that fact, other than --

WITNESS: Not other than the one entered in paragraph 30a of Exhibit 8, sir, no matching impressions.

COL ROCK: From your testimony, Sergeant, would you consider that blurred photographs are a normal hazard of the business?

WITNESS: Since in the past, sir, we have experienced on occasions this to happen, anything is considered a hazard when it comes to such a delicate instrument as the camera, sir.

COL ROCK: What I mean is, this is not -- let me rephrase. Is this an unusual occurrence in your line of work, blurred photographs?

WITNESS: No, sir, however it is rather exceptional inasmuch as every photograph that they take or piece of evidence that is processed and photographed normally do not come out blurred. We have experienced it though.

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

MR. EISMAN: I have a request at this time of the investigating officer that since the photographs are available in the laboratory and since the negatives are available, that both the investigating officer and the counsel for the accused and counsel for the government be provided with a set of these photographs so that we may conduct an investigation regarding the identify of the people who these fingerprints belong to. I see no hardship to the government providing copies from the prints -- from the negatives to the investigating officer so that he can conduct whatever investigation he wishes as far as the scene of the crime to determine where they were found; to the defense so that we may use them for our purposes also.

CPT SOMERS: Sir, these resources are not readily within my control, however, if -- even should they be, the photographs at the laboratory are the laboratory's own for their use. The negatives in this case, particularly the one which any difficulty might have been had, I can represent are undergoing further treatment, and so they are not presently available. The prosecution objects to complying with that request.

COL ROCK: Captain Somers, by testimony of the witness himself, the only way that I can obtain any sort of diagram to assist me in determining where either identified fingerprints came from or other good fingerprints not identified was by obtaining the photographs and going to the scene of the crime itself, and then there apparently having to make a diagram myself. I want this information. I don't care whether it is in diagram form, or whether we have to do the work with the photographs themselves. I think it is a reasonable request. I realize it may take some time. If the process described by the Sergeant seems to be a simple process, for Sergeant Medlin to undertake himself rather than getting all the photographs and so forth up here, perhaps this is the appropriate means of getting them, but I do feel this is information that the investigating officer requires for his own use.

CPT SOMERS: Sir, I will make every effort to attempt to get you this information. I feel that we probably can get the information. The pictures themselves, I do not feel that we can acquire.

COL ROCK: Would you please make the necessary investigation from both sides, trying to obtain the photographs and/or the diagram and hopefully have the information by the time we reconvene.
Are there any other questions that counsel for the accused has?

MR. EISMAN: No, sir, not at this time.

COL ROCK: Any other questions by counsel for the government?

CPT SOMERS: No, sir, I have no further questions of this witness.

COL ROCK: I would like to announce at this time that Master Sergeant Medlin, as well as the two other expert witnesses are released, but subject to recall, not here at Fort Bragg. They may return, of course, to their duty station.

CPT SOMERS: Thank you, sir.

COL ROCK: Now, Sergeant Medlin, I wish to advise you that you will discuss your testimony with no person other than counsel for the government or counsel for the accused. Do you understand that?

WITNESS: Yes, sir, I do.

COL ROCK: You are excused subject to recall.

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

COL ROCK: This hearing will be recessed until 0830 hours, Thursday, the 16th of July.

(The hearing recessed at 1703 hours, 14 July 1970.)

 

 

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