ARTICLE 32 HEARING TRANSCRIPTS
August 11, 1970: Mrs. Elizabeth Krystia
Note from Christina Masewicz: Mrs. Krystia would later divorce and remarry.
She was then referred to as Mrs. Elizabeth Ramage
COL ROCK: Is counsel ready for the next witness?
MR. SEGAL: Yes, we are.
COL ROCK: Please proceed.
MR. SEGAL: Call Mrs. Krystia.
COL ROCK: Mrs. Who? I don't see her name on this list.
MR. SEGAL: She has previously been interviewed by the government, sir.
COL ROCK: Is she a resident of Fort Bragg?
MR. SEGAL: Yes, she is, sir.
(Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Krystia was called as a witness for the defense, was sworn, and testified as follows.)
Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Mrs. Krystia, would you state your full name and please spell your last name for us.
A Elizabeth Ann Krystia, K-r-y-s-t-i-a.
Q And your home address?
A 301 Spear Drive.
Q And where is that located?
A Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Q And is your husband connected with the United States Army?
A Yes, he is.
Q And what is his name and his rank and organization?
A You want his full name, too?
Q Yes, please.
A Theodore Alexander Krystia. Rank, Captain. He works for Headquarters Company, JFK Center.
Q How long have you lived on Fort Bragg, Mrs. Krystia?
A About a year and a half.
Q And did you live at the address you've given us all that time?
A Yes, I have.
Q Do you know Mrs. Colette MacDonald, the wife of Captain Jeffrey R. MacDonald?
A Yes, I did.
Q Would you tell the investigating officer, please, when and under what circumstances did you meet Mrs. MacDonald?
A Yes, I met her at a night course in child psychology at the University of North Carolina, on post.
Q When did that meeting take place?
A I don't know the exact date.
Q What month and year?
A Around January of 1970.
Q Now, Mrs. Krystia, how often did that class meet?
A Twice a week. On Monday night and Tuesday night.
Q Did you see Mrs. MacDonald on the evening of Monday, February 16th, 1970?
A Yes, I did.
Q Where did you see her?
A I saw her at the class and we drove together to the class and from the class.
Q And when was it that you said goodnight to her on February 16th, about what time?
A It was about a quarter to ten in the evening of that day.
Q Was there any particular circumstance or circumstances that caused you to be drawn to Mrs. MacDonald or her to you that brought about your friendship and resulted in you driving back and forth to class?
A Well, yes, we were both pregnant and we were both due in June, approximately the same time.
Q June of 1970?
Q Did you have your child in June of 1970?
A Yes, I did.
Q As a result of this, did it cause you to establish some relationship with Mrs. MacDonald?
A Yes, we seemed to have not only that in common, but we seemed to have our interest in children in common and our interest in our families.
Q Did you ever know Captain MacDonald prior to today?
A No, I didn't.
Q Have you ever seen Captain MacDonald prior to today?
Q Your entire knowledge of the MacDonald family was through your meeting with Mrs. MacDonald?
A Yes, it was.
Q In regard to Mrs. MacDonald's pregnancy, did she indicate to you that she had any other children?
A Yes, she spoke of having children.
Q Did she ever indicate to you any anxiety concerning fright, nervousness or fear over this pregnancy that she was in at the time you first met her?
Q Did Mrs. MacDonald ever discuss her husband, Captain MacDonald, in your presence or with you?
A Yes, she did.
Q What was the attitude that she manifested or her feelings toward her husband?
A Well, she showed -- she had a great deal of respect for what he did and she indicated that she cared for him very much, from what she said.
Q Were there any specific things that caused you to arrive at that conclusion that she may have said or done in your presence?
A She had told me that she felt her husband was dedicated to his work, because I had complained about the treatment I had gotten at the OB clinic and she -- I said that I didn't feel that the doctors were very interested in their patients, and she had said her husband seemed to enjoy his job and he took an interest in all patients.
Q Did she indicate whether her husband, Captain MacDonald, in her view, showed genuine, sincere interest in her welfare?
CPT SOMERS: I object to that. He's conducting direct examination. He cannot lead the witness that way.
MR. SEGAL: The question was did she ever -- she simply can tell us what she knows. It doesn't imply what the answer should be or what form it should take.
CPT SOMERS: The question was did she ever indicate a certain thing.
MR. SEGAL: Did she ever indicate her feeling whether her husband took an interest or was concerned about her?
CPT BEALE: The objection is overruled.
MR. SEGAL: You may answer, Mrs. Krystia.
A Would you repeat the question, please?
Q Certainly. Did Mrs. MacDonald ever indicate to you or do anything in your presence that would indicate that she felt her husband was concerned or interested in her welfare and her well-being? Let me put it another way, if I may. What, if anything, caused you to hold the opinion that Mrs. MacDonald had respect for her husband and held him in that regard?
A Well, she bragged about his moonlighting and said that -- well, she was telling me about one time, that weekend, they had gone to this little village that he was going to work that weekend, and that he'd showed her the hospital and everything, and then when he had come home, he told her about the staff of the hospital, the respect they had, they treated him like a lord because he'd come and helped them.
Q And in talking about her husband in that fashion, what, if anything, did that indicate to you?
A It indicated to me that she felt proud of what he had done, that she was enthusiastic because he enjoyed going there.
Q Now at the class on February 16th, 1970, was there some discussion in that class which involved Mrs. MacDonald?
A Yes. She brought up the question to the class in general, and to the professor of what to do about their youngest child coming into bed with them at night.
Q And what, if anything, transpired as a result of the question she put to the class? Did she say anything further after she heard their comments or the professor's comment?
A Well, we discussed it on the way home from the class and the professor had suggested that they return the child to her own bed after reassuring the child, you know, talking to it a wee bit and putting her back in her own bed, because she shouldn't be encouraged to stay in bed with them.
Q Did Mrs. MacDonald indicate that she was satisfied with that advice or tempted to follow that advice?
A Yes, she did.
Q Did she indicate that she and her husband had any disagreement over the subject of what should be done about the child when it crawled into her bed?
A No, she didn't.
Q Did she indicate that she'd been confronted with this particular problem at any other time?
A Yes. She said that when their first child was about the same age or a little older, maybe, and they were expecting the second child, that the first child had crawled into bed with them.
Q Did she indicate that that had caused any disagreement or argument? Or anything unpleasant between herself and her husband?
A No, she didn't. They were just a wee bit concerned about the child coming into bed with them, didn't think it was a good idea.
Q Mrs. Krystia, on the trip home from the class, how would you characterize Mrs. MacDonald's attitude and her feelings at that time?
A She seemed relaxed and calm.
Q Did she seem depressed or unhappy in any way?
A No, not at all.
Q Did she ever indicate to you what she felt her husband's attitude was toward his service in United States Army?
A Yes. She said that he enjoyed the Army life and she even said at one point that they had never had so much money as they had in the Army.
Q Had she indicated any special feeling on the part of Captain MacDonald about his being a member of the Special Forces, Green Beret?
A Yes. She said that he was proud of being a Green Beret. In fact, that was one of the things that I noticed about her the first evening in class, was her talking about -- we were talking about how people felt about their jobs and she volunteered that her husband was a Green Beret and that he felt proud of the fact that he was and wore a special uniform, was in special service.
Q Now on that trip home from class, what time did you leave the University on February 16th?
A Between 9:20 and 9:30.
A Yes, PM.
Q Did you proceed directly home or did you make any stops?
A We stopped at the little market and she went into the little market and got some things. She said she got milk because her family drank a lot of milk.
Q Did you do any shopping?
A No, I stayed in the car because it was raining.
Q Did she bring one or more packages to the car?
A She brought one bag.
Q After that stop, did you proceed on home?
Q When Mrs. MacDonald left -- was it your car you were driving?
A No, it was her car.
Q When you left the car, and you said -- did you say anything to her or did she say anything to you, as she left?
A We just said goodnight.
Q Was there any indication that you observed any unhappiness or sadness on her part as she departed from you?
Q Was there anything at all out of the ordinary in her conduct or behavior, which you observed that evening, in your prior experience --
CPT SOMERS: I object to that. It calls for a conclusion.
MR. SEGAL: It certainly does. We asked the witness, did you -- compared to the prior evenings together, she had a standard which -- by which she can measure and say whether there was anything different that night from prior nights. It is an opinion she's entitled to offer.
CPT BEALE: The objection is overruled. Answer the question.
MR. SEGAL: What is your answer, Mrs. Krystia? Was there anything different or unusual about her behavior when you left her on the night of February 16th, than you'd noted before?
A I'd say I didn't observe anything different.
Q How would you characterize her frame of mind that night?
A She seemed to be in a fairly happy frame of mind.
Q Did you have any plans in regards to seeing Mrs. MacDonald after February 16th?
A Yes. In regard to her question about the little girl coming into bed, I had some psychology books at home and I had planned to go within the next day or so and take the books over and just talk about it.
Q Did Mrs. MacDonald ask you to bring those books over to her?
A No, I told her when I was in the car with her, that I had some books, she may be interested to read and she expressed an interest in reading the books.
Q Were you interested in pursuing your relationship with Mrs. MacDonald?
A Yes, I was.
Q Why was that?
A Well, I felt that we had a lot of things in common and we were both interested in child psychology and I -- that's one of my big interests, is children, and she seemed to be very interested in children and problems with children. And also she was experienced in being a mother and I wasn't, so I wanted to talk to her.
MR. SEGAL: Cross-examine.
CPT SOMERS: Sir, this witness is not on the witness list. The government counsel was not alerted that this witness would testify and the prosecution has not seen any statements made by this witness and we would request about ten minutes before it proceeds with its cross-examination. We feel we can finish before 4:30.
COL ROCK: This hearing will recess for ten minutes.
(The hearing recessed at 1552 and reconvened at 1609 hours, 11 August 1970.)
COL ROCK: This hearing will come to order. Let the record reflect that all parties at the recess are currently in the hearing room. I'd like to remind you, Mrs. Krystia, that you're under oath. Proceed, counselor.
Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Mrs. Krystia, you say that at the class on the 16th, Colette MacDonald spoke of a problem with the children or child getting in bed with them. Is that correct?
Q Would you explain that for me, precisely what was the problem?
A Well, they were concerned because the younger child, Kristen, came into bed with them at times and she wanted to crawl up next to her Daddy and push Mommy out; this sort of thing.
Q And it was reference to this problem that you were going to lend her some books on child psychology. Is that correct?
Q And you said that she seemed happy with respect to her pregnancy. Is that correct?
Q Did she ever indicate to you whether this was a planned pregnancy?
A Yes, she did.
Q What was her indication?
A It wasn't planned. She said she'd forgotten to take her pill all the time.
CPT SOMERS: I have no further questions.
MR. SEGAL: I have no further questions, sir.
COL ROCK: Mrs. Krystia, you are requested not to discuss your testimony with any person other than counsel for the government or counsel for the accuse. Do you understand?
WITNESS: Yes, sir.
COL ROCK: You are permanently excused. Thank you.
(Mrs. Krystia departed the hearing room.)
MR. SEGAL: We have another witness, sir, and my question is whether you wish to start. This witness will be brief. I'm perfectly willing to start or recess, whatever you believe will be appropriate.
COL ROCK: It will be necessary for me to be out of here by quarter of the hour. This will give you about half an hour. Can you accomplish what you want to?
MR. SEGAL: I certainly think I could start the direct examination.
CPT SOMERS: Sir, if I may, I would prefer that we not start a witness if we aren't going to finish today. If that makes any difference to the investigating officer.
COL ROCK: For any particular reason?
CPT SOMERS: Who is the witness?
MR. SEGAL: The father of Colette MacDonald, Mr. Kassab -- and the father-in-law of Captain MacDonald.
COL ROCK: I think, in view of the hour, we should wait until tomorrow. They will still be available, I assume.
MR. SEGAL: Very well, sir.
COL ROCK: This hearing will be recessed until 0830 tomorrow morning.
(The hearing recessed at 1612 hours, 11 August 1970.)