ARTICLE 32 HEARING TRANSCRIPTS
August 10, 1970: Mrs. Winnie Casper
(The hearing reopened at 1124 hours, 10 August 1970, when telephone contact was made with Mrs. Winnie Casper, who testified as follows.)
COL ROCK: Mrs. Casper, this is Colonel Rock. Would you state your name?
WITNESS: Winnie A. Casper.
COL ROCK: Would you please raise your right hand? Is your right hand up?
WITNESS: Yes, it is.
(Mrs. Casper was sworn.)
COL ROCK: The next voice you will hear will be that of Mr. Segal, who is counsel for the accused, who will ask you certain questions. One moment.
Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Mrs. Casper?
Q What is your present address, please?
A 400 North 25th Street, Mineral Wells, Texas.
Q Did you, previously to your present address, reside in Fort Bragg, North Carolina area?
A Yes, I did.
Q Where did you reside?
A 334 North Dougherty Drive, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Q And from when until when did you reside at that address?
A From October of '69 to June '70.
Q What connection did your husband have with the United States Army on Fort Bragg at that time?
A He was with the Army Personnel Training Company at the Personnel Center.
Q Mrs. Casper, what was the last date you say you lived at Dougherty Drive?
A The last day I lived at North Dougherty was on June 12.
Q Of 1970?
Q And at that time your husband was transferred to another station?
A Yes, he was.
Q And what is his present station?
A He is with the Flight Training School at Fort Wolters.
Q Now, would you tell us where your previous residence, the one on Dougherty Drive at Fort Bragg, was in reference to 544 Castle Drive?
A That residence on Castle Drive faced the street -- we were in a -- a sort of U-shaped apartment complex. Mine was across the street and down two complexes. The back of that residence faces the side of our house, of our apartment.
Q Can you indicate to us in perhaps either a full block or half block?
A Well, it was a half block, you know, a half block.
Q So that the address at which you lived at Dougherty Drive, you say was about a half block from 544 Castle Drive?
A That's correct.
Q From your residence, could you see 544 Castle Drive?
A Yes, not from the front, just the back.
Q You could see the back of 544 Castle Drive. Now on the evening of February 16th, that's 1970, were you at home?
A Yes, I was.
Q And who else resided in your home at that time?
A My children, my two children and my husband.
Q Do you recall what time you went to sleep on February 16th?
A Well, I went to bed between 11:30 and twelve. I'd say 11:45 p.m. I don't know what time I went to sleep. It was a good half hour, I would say. I was just drifting off to sleep --
Q Now, do you know when the next definite time that you can fix for us that you were awake?
A 3:45 a.m.
Q Now, what was it that caused you to be awake at 3:45 a.m.?
A My daughter woke up.
Q And how old is your daughter?
A She was then two and a half.
Q Is there some particular reason how you can fix the 3:45 a.m. time?
A Well, I looked at the clock, for one thing, and she wakes early, well, I would say 90% of the time, to go to the bathroom at four in the morning and before four, usually then she goes back to sleep.
Q Now, between the time when you went to your bedroom around 11:45 and this 3:45 a.m. on the 17th of February, when you noted the -- that you went to get your daughter for the bathroom operation, had you had any other occasion to be awakened between those two times?
A Well, yes. I was just -- well, not quite awake and drifting off to sleep when I heard laughing and scuffling outside of my window, and though we are on the second story and I didn't think anything about it at the time and it was --
Q It was drifting away from the house, you say the sounds you heard outside the house?
A Yes, the sounds were going away from the house.
Q And would that be coming from the direction of 544 Castle Drive and going away from it?
A No, well, going towards it. They were just, you know, like going towards the street, passing my window, going towards the street. In order to go to 544 Castle Drive they would have had to cross the street, if that was where they were going. They weren't coming towards my house. They were coming away from my house.
Q Now can you describe for us, please, how many voices that you heard and anything about the voices, or the particular voice quality that you recall hearing at that time?
A Well, I heard, distinctly I heard two different male voices and one definite female voice. I thought it was teenagers because it was a high pitched voice. Well, really a giggle, exactly what it was, and two male voices. One was lower and one was higher, and I could tell the difference.
Q Now, did you have occasion to mention your observation of the voices to anyone else in your house?
A No, not at the time, no.
Q Did you have occasion at any time shortly thereafter?
A Yes, the following morning. Well, the following evening really.
Q You are talking about the evening of February 17th?
Q Did you learn of the deaths at the MacDonald house at any time during the day of February 17th?
A Yes, I learned about it about eleven o'clock in the morning.
Q In the morning. And what was the circumstances that you came to discuss the voices that you heard earlier that morning on the 17th with anyone else in your house?
A Well, my husband came home for something and I had been -- because it was raining and drizzling out. So he came home for supper and -- and said that, did you hear something last night, did something wake you up last night, and I said, yes it did, and he said well, was it kind of laughing, you know, sound like the kids next door, and I said, yes, it did sound like the kids next door, because, you know -- and he said, yeah, it's kind of funny. So that's how I knew I wasn't dreaming.
Q And you said your husband had mentioned this to you before you, yourself, had described to him the voices. Would you please give us, for the record, your husband's full name?
A His rank and everything?
A First Lieutenant Edwin George Casper II.
Q Spell his last name, please.
A C-a-s-p-e-r, Casper.
Q Now did any person concerned with the investigation of the deaths at the MacDonald house ever speak to you about the information you have just given the investigating officer?
A Did anyone -- pardon me?
Q Did any investigator, any military police investigator or the CID --
A Oh, the CID came. Is that what you mean? There were two men -- came from the CID that same evening at five-thirty or six o'clock in the evening.
Q And did they inquire of you as to what you heard or saw during the early morning hours of February 17th?
A Yes, they did.
Q And what if anything, did you tell?
A I told them that we heard voices and -- and --
Q And was your husband also there at the time?
A Yes, he was.
Q Did he make a similar statement to the CID?
Q Did you indicate to the CID the same description, that is that there were two male voices and one high-pitched voice and one low-pitched?
A I don't remember if I was that specific, but I think -- I think I said we did hear voices and they were under the window that night, and I don't remember if I was specific at all.
Q Now, if I may ask you, Mrs. Casper, do you know whether the other apartment or houses leading away from where you live, that is going in the direction which the voices seemed to be going, whether they were occupied at the time of February 17th?
A There was only one, if I was standing at my window, there would be only apartment occupied, there was only one left. I was at the end of the complex and it wasn't occupied -- it was occupied, but the other two where the teenagers lived when we moved there, they were both empty, the two to my left.
Q So the two apartments to your left were vacant at the time you are talking about?
Q The end apartment of that building in which you lived was occupied?
Q Were there any young people who lived there that you know of that were teenagers or slightly older bracket?
A No, no, they were all small children, three or five; and there were only in the complex, there was only one teenager, and she was -- well, she was thirteen.
Q Were there, to your knowledge, on the late evening of February 16th or the early morning hours of February 17th, any parties of any notable sort that you would know about that were going on in the vicinity of Dougherty Drive?
A No, none at all.
Q Bear with me a second, please. Mrs. Casper, please one last thing before counsel for the government may ask you some questions. You are apparently not able to fix the time, as I understand it, any more closely than between this 11:45 p.m. on the 16th, and 3:45 a.m. on the 17th that you heard these voices?
A That's right.
Q But there's no question that you heard those voices during that period, sometime during that period?
CPT SOMERS: I object. It's leading and is repetitive. I ask that it be stricken.
CPT BEALE: The objection is sustained.
MR. SEGAL: Do I gather -- I'll go through the whole discussion again, because it's unclear from a fragment of the phrase that she said as to whether the time has been established, or her ability to fix a time. To establish it, I'll go through it all again if you think it is necessary. But it seems to me, the government having an opportunity to cross-examine --
CPT BEALE: Mr. Segal, she's already testified that she doesn't know the time.
MR. SEGAL: Under the circumstances, it seems to me that all she's testified is the negative, that she cannot fix the time. I don't want anyone to misunderstand the record. I think it's conceivably misunderstood that she's attempting to fix any better than 11:45 p.m. and 3:45 a.m. If the government wants to do anything more, they can. It seems to me that answer is harmless. If the government thinks it is important to establish it clearly -- we are not offering to prove a specific moment, because we know this lady can't give us that kind of answer.
COL ROCK: That's the way I understood it.
CPT SOMERS: That's not the most recent question, anyway. That's not the one I objected to.
CPT BEALE: The question has been lost anyway. Just rephrase the question.
Q If I may, I'm going to rephrase the question. Is there any way that you can be more specific as to the time you heard these voices other than it was between 11:45 p.m. and 3:45 a.m.?
A No, there isn't. I didn't even look at the clock. When I heard the voices I didn't look at the clock.
MR. SEGAL: All right, thank you very much, and I think Captain Somers, counsel for the government may have some questions for you at this time.
Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Can you hear me, Mrs. Casper?
A Yes, I can.
Q It's not clear to me what the relationship is between your apartment and the apartment of Captain MacDonald.
A Well, it's very difficult -- the back of the MacDonald complex, if I am not mistaken, there are, I would say four apartments in one complex, in his complex. There are say eight, maybe fifteen in ours. Ours was a U-shaped complex on our side of the street on North Dougherty. The back of his apartment complex there faced our front -- we, my side of my apartment. The side of our apartment faces -- there were no apartments facing our complex. They were set back maybe fifty yards from the street in a horseshoe-shaped complex. We -- they all face one another. We could see this resident on Castle Drive from my daughter's bedroom, and that's all I can explain about it.
Q Now, you are familiar, I presume, with the intersection of Castle and Dougherty there?
A Very well, yes.
Q Was your apartment complex on the same side, the closer side of Dougherty or the other side of Dougherty?
A No, it was closer. If you were coming out of the intersection, you would first turn left, go up one complex and then that would be ours.
Q On which side of the road?
A On the left, coming out of Castle Drive. At the intersection you would turn to the left, go up one -- you are facing one complex -- the next complex would be ours.
Q Were there any buildings blocking any part of your view of that area?
A There was one. I could not see the complete -- as I say the bedroom area of the MacDonald residence, I could see their back, I think their kitchen door and everything to the right of that. I could not see to the left of the kitchen door because there was a duplex right in front of the MacDonald's, in the yard and that blocked our view.
Q Now you are saying that you could not see the end of the MacDonald residence from the rest of the building?
A Yes, I could not see the whole -- where their bedroom was, I could not see that, but I could see the kitchen door and the lights and, I believe, one window.
Q Which window in your house would you be looking out of when you saw that?
A My daughter's window, facing the street.
Q Now estimate for me, please, as best you can, the distance in feet or yards between that window and the MacDonald apartment?
A I would say about 200 yards, anyway.
Q In other words, 600 feet?
Q When you first heard these voices you've described, where did they appear to be?
A They were underneath --
Q Excuse me just one moment. We are having interference. All right, would you repeat that answer?
A They were underneath our bedroom window and to the left. Our windows were open.
Q And they were close to your apartment when you first heard them?
A Yes, definitely.
Q And in what direction did they seem to be going?
A They were going towards Dougherty, towards the street.
Q Toward Dougherty?
A Yes, the street there in front of our house.
Q Did you see the people that these voices belonged to?
A No, I did not.
Q And would you describe for us, please, the female voice again?
A I heard no talking. I heard laughing and giggling, and a high -- I would say it was a young person because we had teenagers in our -- and it was high giggle.
Q Did you hear anything that was said from any of the three voices?
A No, I did not. I didn't hear any conversation at all.
Q You cannot estimate for us whether this was closer in time than to 3:45 or to 11:30?
A It was closer to 3:45. It was not 11:45. It was closer to that time because I had been in bed, oh, I don't know, quite a while, and was just drifting off to sleep and I heard this, and it was definitely not 11:45. That's about the time I went to bed.
Q Now you've described scuffling sounds?
Q And you've also said you heard someone running. Are you referring to the same sound?
A Yes. It was like -- like pushing one another and then like running, this sort of thing, pushing one another and laughing, or joking or running, just scuffling sounds.
Q Where is your husband right now, ma'am?
A My husband is in classes now at Fort Wolters.
Q He is in the Continental United States?
A Oh, definitely, yes.
Q Now you say you remember being interviewed by two CID people?
Q Could these people have been named Judson and Parker, or do you know?
A Right. I can't remember -- I don't remember -- I don't know.
Q If I told you their names were Judson and Parker, would that seem possible?
MR. SEGAL: That's objected to.
A That would be possible, because I couldn't say for sure.
MR. SEGAL: That's objected to. Possible. It again opens up a lot of things we are not going to go into. She said, she didn't know the names of the CID men. I doubt they left a calling card.
CPT BEALE: Captain Somers, can you indicate for us?
CPT SOMERS: Well, as a matter of fact she did speak, I think --
CPT BEALE: Do you have evidence?
CPT SOMERS: I think I can -- I think I can indicate that she did, in fact, speak to Judson and Parker. It's of no real concern to me who they were.
CPT BEALE: She says she doesn't know, so lets move on to another area. The objection is sustained.
Q Can you hear me now?
Q You did, in fact, then speak to two CID people?
A Yes, I did.
Q If I were to tell you that you told those people that you went to bed at 10:30, would you say that was impossible?
A That I went to bed at 10:30?
A Oh, gee, no, that's impossible.
Q You couldn't have told them that?
A No, because I remember watching the weather very definitely.
Q If I were to tell you that you told these people that you heard these footsteps running at sometime between seven and nine-thirty in the evening, would you say that was impossible?
A Yes, I would, very definitely, yes.
Q Then you did not tell them either of those things. Is that correct?
A I certainly did not.
Q Now you testified that there were no parties that you knew of on Dougherty Drive. Does that mean that there could not have been any parties on Dougherty Drive?
A Well, I certainly don't know. I just know that there weren't none that I knew of.
Q Then there could have been parties in that area?
A Well, certainly.
Q Mrs. Casper, did the CID speak to your husband at the time they spoke to you?
A Yes, yes, they spoke to both of us, yes, um-hum. We were eating dinner and they came.
Q Did you hear what your husband told them?
A Did I hear? I suppose I did. I -- at the time I don't remember what he said. We were both there, and I was with the children, back cleaning the table off and that sort of thing, and I couldn't tell you exactly what he told them. No.
Q To the best of your knowledge, was what he told them similar to what you told them?
A Yes, I -- to the best of my knowledge, yes. I don't know exactly, I couldn't tell you exactly word for word what he said.
Q What time did your husband go to bed that evening?
A Early, as I remember. I think maybe ten.
Q Would you repeat that answer, please?
A I think ten. I really don't know. You will have to ask him. I really don't know. He went to bed before me.
Q Could he have told the CID that he went to bed at 10:30?
A Yes, he could have, yes.
Q Could he have told the CID that he heard this running and footsteps between seven and nine-thirty that evening?
A As I remember, he did say that. As I remember, I think he did say that.
Q He did?
A And then he said -- I say, well -- I probably don't remember what I did say -- anyway I told him that was impossible, because he didn't go to bed until ten, and it was around ten, he says, I'm going to bed, and I said, well, I'm going to watch the weather and the news and I'll be to bed.
CPT SOMERS: Thank you; excuse me for just a moment. No further questions.
MR. SEGAL: I have no further questions at this time.
COL ROCK: Mrs. Casper, this is Colonel Rock, the investigating officer again. Was your window open that evening?
WITNESS: Yes, um-hum.
COL ROCK: Approximately how wide would you say, if you can remember?
WITNESS: Well, I would say at least six inches.
COL ROCK: Do you recall what date it was that you had your discussion with the two CID agents?
WITNESS: What date?
COL ROCK: Yes.
WITNESS: Well, really I don't know the date, but I know it was the Tuesday afternoon, sometime the day of the murder.
COL ROCK: It was the same day then?
WITNESS: Oh definitely, yes. It was raining. I remember that very vividly.
COL ROCK: All right. One other question here by counsel for the accused. Just a moment.
Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Mrs. Casper, this is Mr. Segal again. Colonel Rock has asked you about your window being open. Are you referring to the window in the master bedroom?
A Yes, um-hum.
Q And could you indicate to us where the bed in the master bedroom in -- was located -- in regard to the window that you just described?
A Yes. The head of the bed was -- the foot of the bed was directly under the window. I would say a foot or two feet from the wall where the window was located. So the head of the bed was approximately six feet away from the window.
MR. SEGAL: Fine, thank you very much, Mrs. Casper.
Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Mrs. Casper, this is Captain Somers again. Could you tell us, please, this window that was open, where is it in relation to the MacDonald apartment?
Q Does it face the MacDonald apartment?
A Yes, yes, uh-huh. But I -- don't -- I don't -- well, yes, it did, yes.
Q I see. What was the weather outside that window?
A As I remember when I woke up in the morning it was raining and I remember there was a light rain, as I can remember. I am sure if it was raining hard we would have had to close the window, because the rain always blew in.
CPT SOMERS: Thank you. No further questions.
COL ROCK: Mrs. Casper, this is Colonel Rock again. You are advised that you will discuss your testimony with no person other than counsel for the government or counsel for the defense. Do you understand that?
Mrs. Casper: Yes, I do.
COL ROCK: Thank you very much.
MR. SEGAL: Sir, we would ask for an adjournment at this time for lunch and recess.
COL ROCK: This hearing will be recesses until 1330.
(The hearing recessed at 1155 hours, 10 August 1970.)