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 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.

ARTICLE 32 HEARING TRANSCRIPTS
August 11, 1970: Professor William Wolfgang
 

MR. SEGAL: Sir, at this time, we wish to call as a witness, Doctor Wolfgang, a professor of -- at the Textile Institute in Philadelphia in regard to certain technical evidence. If we'd be allowed a few minutes to make that call, we'll have him available forthwith.

(A telephone conference call was placed to Doctor William G. Wolfgang, who testified as follows.)

COL ROCK: Doctor Wolfgang, this is Colonel Rock. Can you hear me?

WITNESS: Yes.

COL ROCK: Please raise your right hand.

WITNESS: Yes.

(Doctor Wolfgang was sworn.)

COL ROCK: The next voice will be that of Mr. Segal, counsel for the accused.

WITNESS: All right.

MR. SEGAL: Doctor Wolfgang, can you hear me?

WITNESS: Yes, just fine.

Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Would you be good enough, please, to state your full name and your home address for the record?
A My name is William G. Wolfgang.
Q And your address, sir?
A 407 Belmont Drive, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Q And what is your profession, Doctor Wolfgang?
A My profession is Professor.
Q And where are you presently employed?
A I am presently employed by the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science.
Q And where is that located?
A It is located in Philadelphia, School House Lane and Henry Avenue.
Q And what department of the college are you working as a member of the faculty?
A As a member of the faculty I work in the Textile Department.
Q And would you indicate to us what are your educational qualifications in regard to that work and your teaching position?
A I have a Bachelor of Science Degree from the -- College in Chemistry; a Master of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and I have all but the dissertation written for the Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.
Q May I ask what are your present duties at the Philadelphia College of Textiles?
A My presents are, one, to teach textile engineering courses, and my primary duties, however, are to be Director of Textile and Apparel Research.
Q Under that capacity of Director of Textile and Apparel Research, do you have a number of persons that you supervise in the laboratory there?
A Yes.
Q Would you describe what is involved in that direction of that laboratory?
A Well, my major job is to negotiate contract with outside companies, plan the work which has to be done, and then assign people either on the faculty or on out textile staff -- technical staff to perform whatever duties are necessary, collect the data and the information which is derived from these other individuals, write the reports, essentially be the contact with the contractors.
Q And this research work you are referring to with the contractors, does that all relate to research and dealing with textile materials?
A Almost of it will be either textile material or dying and finishing, almost all textile materials and in the manufacture of apparel.
Q And may I ask how long you have been a member of the faculty of Philadelphia Textile College?
A I came in 1951.
Q And what position did you hold then, and if you would tell us what your career at the college has been?
A My first position at the college was to teach mathematics, which I did for a year. Then I went to the chemistry department and began to teach courses in textile chemistry. I then started teaching courses in textile fibers, the properties used in identification, and most recently I have been teaching courses in textile testing fiber identification, and the engineering approach to textile design.
Q Doctor Wolfgang, prior to coming to Philadelphia Textile College, what was your employment in related textile fields?
A None. I taught mathematics at the Altoona Center at Pennsylvania State College, and prior to that I was student.
Q Do you belong to any professional organizations or societies dealing --
A I am a member of the American Association of Textile Chemist -- American Association of Textile Technologists, Franklin Institute, Pattern Recognition Society. Those are the major ones.
Q Have you had occasion to be called upon in the past to testify as an expert witness in legal matters?
A Yes.
Q Would you indicate on how many occasions you have testified as an expert witness in legal matters?
A Well, on three to date.
Q And have you had occasion to be called upon at various times to make laboratory experiments or investigations of materials and fibers in connection with investigations with criminal cases?
A Yes.
Q Can you indicate on how many occasions you've done that?
A Oh, there's at least four or five, where I have been involved either directly or indirectly.
Q All right, if you would bear with me.

MR. SEGAL: At this time, Colonel Rock, we would offer the prosecution an opportunity to ask any questions of Doctor Wolfgang about his qualifications, because otherwise we intend to offer him as a witness to give certain expert opinions about the report made by Mr. Browning and matters relating to fibers in this case.

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Doctor, this is Captain Somers. Can you hear me, sir?
A Not very well.
Q Okay, how about now?
A That's fine.
Q Okay, good. Do I understand, sir, that you have not yet been awarded the PhD degree?
A That is correct.
Q But you have been working in textile chemistry since 1951?
A 1952, that is correct.
Q Now you say you've worked in the criminal fields on fibers on four or five occasions. Is that correct?
A At least that number.
Q And in what connection with fibers?
A Well in some of the cases the -- Philadelphia Police Department has brought in fiber and fabric samples for us to attempt to a -- to identify for them, give them some specific identification, and in two cases I've been in contact with one through the local Philadelphia lawyers on the other side of the fence to look at fibers and fabrics samples that were involved with a -- two murder cases.
Q I see. In your work, normally in research or in the laboratory, the textile laboratory, do you do microscopic work on fibers?
A Yes.
Q Is this common?
A Yeah, we've done that at least two or three times a week.
Q And have been doing this for some years?
A Yeah.
Q Okay, as I understand your position now, you've reached the point of being primarily an administrator?
A Well, my time is divided about 60-40 between administration and still in the laboratory. We are not that big an organization yet.

CPT SOMERS: I see, sir. I am going to turn the microphone back over to Mr. Segal now.

WITNESS: Surely.

COL ROCK: Does the government offer any objections to accept this witness as an expert, recognizing the fact that the individual is coming in on the horn?

CPT SOMERS: The government has no objection to the offer of Doctor Wolfgang as an expert in the fields of textiles. I presume that's what he's being offered as.

MR. SEGAL: That's right, sir, the analysis of fibers and the sources from which fibers can be found, threads, the sources of threads that are used in production of textiles and related matters.

CPT SOMERS: I would presume that's the case.

COL ROCK: It is so noted.

MR. SEGAL: Doctor Wolfgang, your qualifications have been accepted for the purpose of our hearing this afternoon.

Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Have you have submitted to you and had an opportunity to examine the testimony given in these proceedings by Mr. Dillard Browning, a chemist employed at the laboratory of the Provost Marshal General's Office at Fort Gordon, Georgia?
A Yes.
Q And have you had a chance to examine that testimony of Mr. Browning?
A Yes.
Q And have you also had it submitted to you and had a chance to examine the laboratory report which Mr. Browning has testified he compared?
A Yes.
Q Have you had a chance to read that portion of Mr. Browning's testimony in which he testified that -- as to his qualifications as to textiles and fabric and fiber analysis -- he had approximately two months training in the course at Fort Gordon?

CPT SOMERS: Now I object to this. The defense has accepted Mr. Browning as an expert.

MR. SEGAL: That, I believe, is incorrect. Bear with us just a moment, Mr. Wolfgang. I will -- I believe the record will reflect that Mr. Eisman did not agree to the qualifications, and among other things, there is always the question of relative weight to be given the qualifications of one expert as opposed to another. An expert who might be accepted, although he is just beginning --

COL ROCK: Now let's address our self to what's in the record there. I would like to see that.

MR. SEGAL: I would hand up to the examination of the investigating officer, page 396, with reference to the lower half of the page and the top of 397, which I think accurately states the position of counsel for the accused in that regard.

COL ROCK: I wouldn't consider this an objection. I would consider and so acknowledge at the time certain caveats which were rendered at that time.

CPT SOMERS: Well, sir, I think the qualifications, whatever they may be, of Mr. Browning, are before this hearing, and can be decided upon as to the credibility to be given Mr. Browning's testimony. I do not think that it is improper for one witness to be asked to comment on the qualifications of another witness, since the witness was accepted as an expert. If he wishes to testify concerning the report, the laboratory report, that's fine. If he wishes to testify as to technique, as to his theories and opinions, as an expert, that's fine, but he has -- it is not his place and it is not, in the view of the government, permissible to permit this witness to comment on the qualifications of another witness.

CPT BEALE: Captain Somers, your objection to this particular line of questioning until it goes a little bit further is overruled.

Q All right, Doctor Wolfgang, we are back with you again.
A Yes, I think better for the record if you gave me the proper title.
Q Professor Wolfgang.
A Yes.
Q All right, would you be good enough in regard to the portion of the testimony by Mr. Browning which indicated the extent of training that he had had in textile and fiber analysis -- would you, in your opinion, consider that to be a sufficient amount of educational background and training to qualify him to render expert opinions about fibers, fiber analysis and threads?
A Well, without actually knowing exactly what his courses of study were, how many hours spent, and exactly what was covered, it's very difficult to render an opinion.
Q Based upon what you read in the testimony given by Mr. Browning, which is, in fact, all that we have before us in these proceedings, in your judgment and experience, would you be satisfied to accept Mr. Browning's testimony on the subject I have mentioned as expert testimony?

CPT SOMERS: I object to that.

MR. SEGAL: Mr. Wolfgang, hold on one second, please.

CPT SOMERS: He had just answered that question as to whether he can decide on whether or not this is an expert witness, and now the defense is attempting to ask the same question again, and put the answer in his mouth.

CPT BEALE: The objection is sustained. Move on.

Q Professor Wolfgang, if we may --
A Yes?
Q I want to ask you, please, if you can tell us, based upon the information that you have read in Mr. Browning's testimony, as to whether he could or any expert could validly make a determination as he is purported to make in his testimony and in his report as to sources from which the fibers came from?

CPT SOMERS: I object to that. That is too vague and not specific.

MR. SEGAL: There is occasionally an objection made here in the courtroom, which you cannot hear, so if you will hold on, one moment, we will be able to advise you whether you can answer that question or not.

WITNESS: All right.

CPT SOMERS: That question is too vague and unspecific.

MR. SEGAL: I might say, sir, in dealing with an expert witness whose knowledge of the area which we are talking about is probably by far exceeds the sum total of the knowledge of all the laymen here, I think he is uniquely in a position to indicate whether he understands the ambit of the question and what is covered. If he does not, either his answer is not responsive and can be stricken, or he will so indicate. But I do not think that we are dealing with expert judgment. We are in the same area of questioning the clarity of the question because the hearer of the question knows better whether he understands what we are talking about.

CPT SOMERS: He asking a question as to whether this conclusion drawn by the laboratory technician could be drawn on the basis of some unspecified information which is contained in a transcript, which I did not understand was to be released in the first place, and he's not relating it to any specific characteristics or any specific identification of the characteristics. He's relating it to -- in general. Now I object to the form of this question.

CPT BEALE: The point that has been raised -- it is going to be necessary, probably to hang up the telephone and call the professor back, because I have a feeling the problem we are going to discuss is going to take a few minutes.

MR. SEGAL: Let me withdraw the question, put some other questions, and maybe we can proceed.

COL ROCK: There is another issue that's been raised that I am concerned about. That is the issue of releasing the transcript to persons other than the defense counsel himself. I believe I specifically stated at the time that they were released that they were to be used only for the convenience of the counsel themselves and not for any other distribution and I consider this a gross oversight on someone's part in releasing this to someone else.

MR. SEGAL: If you wish to, sir, I'll address myself to that issue. I'll ask Doctor Wolfgang to -- would you talk to him?

(The conversation with Professor Wolfgang was ended by Captain Douthat.)

MR. SEGAL: Sir, in regard to this question -- in regard to the question of Doctor Wolfgang's examination of the transcript of Mr. Browning's testimony, the accused in this case could not possibly be afforded a fair hearing if he could not bring to this hearing the testimony by telephone or in person of any witness who had knowledge of the same material that the government experts have, so that he, in turn, could comment upon the findings of the government witness. The only two ways in which he could accurately obtain, or three ways rather, that he could accurately obtain that information, first of all, sir, in the normal circumstances, generally, is to have the opposing expert witness present in the courtroom to hear the testimony of the other side. In this case that could not have been possible, because no allowance was made for any other person to be present at these hearings other than the parties here, with the exception of Mrs. MacDonald as the only outsider of the legal personnel.
Secondly, sir, the other alternative would be for Professor Wolfgang to have been given -- by the government for the purpose of him conducting his own examination, and to be given and have made available to him the pajama tops that were available here in the courtroom. The government has never made those available, and has not indicated they will make them available to be taken to Philadelphia and be properly analyzed in the laboratories of Philadelphia Textile College.
The third method in which we can properly and adequately represent the accused in this case in regard to contradicting the testimony of the government's expert, is to tell and transmit to Doctor Wolfgang -- Professor Wolfgang -- the testimony of Mr. Browning, and in view of the length of the testimony dealing with technical matters, it is obviously unfair, it is unsafe to rely upon the recollections or even the notes of lay people in that regard. The words of Mr. Browning speak for themselves. The transcript has not been released to any outsider. It has been examined by Professor Wolfgang solely for the purpose of discussing here in this proceeding his opinions of the conclusions arrived at by the government, the accuracy of the opinions arrived at by the government's expert, and whether or not he has any contradictory comments to make to that; and unless Professor Wolfgang was afforded the opportunity to be either here in person, to have these fibers, or read the transcript, the accused in this case would have been denied the only possible way to present expert witnesses in this case. I think under those circumstances neither the spirit, not the letter of these instructions by the investigating officer have been violated. Certainly not the spirit in any way, because Professor Wolfgang, as you will learn, I am sure, if you desire to inquire of him, has not circulated, given to other people, discussed with other people, other than for the purpose of technical information, comparing notes and interest contained therein. It seems to me that there is no one who is offended by his examination, other than the defendant because if he was not allowed to examine it he could not have had Professor Wolfgang testify for him, no other expert come forward before this tribunal for that purpose. I think under the circumstances and in view of the general instruction given to counsel for the accused by the investigating officer, that it was for the use of counsel for the accused, and it was for the use obviously for the legitimate purposes pertaining to this case, not for general notoriety. The transcript was used in this particular interest, and I suggest, sir, that under those circumstances, in view of that background, that it was an appropriate use, it was a fair use, it was not one intended to offend either the government or the investigating officer in this matter, but intended simply to advance the inquiry of knowledge in this matter and finding of the truth, wherever it may lie.

COL ROCK: In how many other instances has the same procedure been used?

MR. SEGAL: None.

COL ROCK: This is the only one?

MR. SEGAL: The only one, sir, because it was the only peculiar circumstance that required it.

CPT SOMERS: Sir, may I speak?

COL ROCK: Please do.

CPT SOMERS: First, I think the ruling of the investigating officer was clear as to what was to be done with this record, and it is also clear that Doctor Wolfgang is not one of the people who was cleared to be present here or to receive testimony from this hearing. Now, it might have been possible for the defense to request permission for an exception for this purpose, but the defense did not see fit to do that. Instead, it went ahead and did it anyway.
Secondly, the alternatives listed by the defense are certainly not the only ways it could have achieved its objective. Mr. Browning works at the Criminal Investigation Laboratory at Fort Gordon, Georgia. There is nothing to prevent the defense from using one of its favorite techniques, i.e. a conference call, and calling Mr. Browning and having Mr. Wolfgang speak to Mr. Browning on any subject concerning his evaluation that he wanted to speak on. And I hesitate to mention this, but I feel compelled to -- this may be the only violation of the investigating officers instruction by the defense, but there is an indication from Mr. John Coit of the Charlotte News and Observer, that he has seen parts of the transcript of this hearing, have been shown them by the defense. Now I don't have that article but I can produce it, so I suggest that this is a matter which the investigating officer should ponder.

MR. SEGAL: Let me just respond to the last matter. I repeat my answer to you, Colonel Rock, that the transcripts of this matter have not been made available by counsel, either directly or indirectly, or knowingly in any fashion to anybody other than the staff of counsel and to Professor Wolfgang for the particular and unique situation. Counsel for the government, if they are of the opinion that they are to believe everything they read in the newspaper, ought to reflect upon the correctness and the accuracy of the reports as they are made from time to time in the investigation of this case and what the government had and do not have as evidence. It's quite obvious the newspaper articles are not to be given any credence. We would be delighted to have Mr. Coit called, but I do not feel that necessary. I am satisfied without any question that there is no substance, even the suggestion, and I am personally offended that the suggestion would be made without investigation, without the slightest attempt to do so, because this makes it a personal matter between counsel for the government imputing the character and responsibility of counsel for the accused; and I trust we have not conducted ourselves in any manner in here, sir, at least intentionally, that would indicate that we'd take this as a personal matter in which we'd question the character of anyone else. We do raise questions about the procedure. As to the way it's been handled, there are disagreements about matters, but I am not in any way suggesting the government's counsel need fear for its integrity. I would wish that we'd be afforded the same kind of approach by the government.

CPT SOMERS: Because of the nature of the response, I do feel compelled to reply. The government does not contend that what Mr. Coit says in the newspaper is necessarily true. It has, however, come to light that he did say this in the newspaper.
Secondly, I have no current motive to impute any counsel here. I simply bring to the investigating officer's attention a matter which has come to mine, and I think that they should be considered. I am glad that the defense counsel gets on the record with respect to his denial to this, however, I feel and felt obliged and responsible to this hearing officer, as representative for the government, to bring this to his attention.

COL ROCK: This hearing will be recessed for fifteen minutes.

(The hearing recessed at 1440 hours, 11 August 1970.)

(The hearing reopened at 1504 hours, 11 August 1970.)

COL ROCK: This hearing will come to order. Let the record reflect that those parties who were present at the recess are again in the hearing room.

(Telephone conference was again placed to Professor William G. Wolfgang.)

COL ROCK: Professor Wolfgang, this Colonel Rock. I'd like to remind you again that you are under oath.

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: During this recess certain procedural matters were brought up which obviously did not involve you, and we will now proceed with the questioning again by Mr. Segal.

WITNESS: All right.

COL ROCK: Let the record reflect that the motion by counsel for the government was denied.

Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Professor Wolfgang?
A Right.
Q This is Mr. Segal, again. There was a question put to you but I am going to withdraw that and propose a new question to you, if I may.
A All right.
Q Referring now to men's pajamas, is it the normal procedure in the textile industry for the bottoms of pairs of pajamas to be made of the same material as the top?
A Normally it would be the same material, yes, or at least similar material. There is no guarantee it would be the same piece. It usually, however, is.
Q In regard to that, if the textile laboratory had only the top of a pair of pajamas, and it did not have the bottoms, and it was given certain fibers, is there anyway that a scientific determination could be made as to whether the fibers came from the top which was had by the laboratory, or from the bottoms which was not available to the laboratory?
A No, the only thing which you could tell would be that the fibers were similar fibers.
Q Similar to what?
A Not tell actually where they came from.
Q Without having the bottoms of the pajamas, could any positive identification be made of fibers that would indicate or eliminate the possibility that they had come from those bottoms?
A No, unless you knew something about the bottoms. For instance, if you knew for example, that they were made from something different, then you can eliminate them. Knowing nothing about the bottoms and knowing that they were made of a similar material, then there is no way to identify precisely where the fibers that you had came from.
Q Now in regard to the threads that are used to sew, again referring to pajama bottoms and tops, would the same fiber threads be normally used in sewing together of the parts of the top of pajamas as well as sewing together of the bottoms of the pajamas?
A Normally they would be the same type of thread, yes.
Q Would there be any way to ascertain if a given piece of thread had come from the bottom of men's pair of pajamas, without actually having that pair of pajamas available, the bottom pair, available for examination and comparison?
A Even having the bottoms available, you couldn't tell exactly where this piece of thread came from.
Q Why would you not be able to tell exactly where the treads did come from?
A Well, because most sewing threads are rather similar in their construction and size. The major difference between sewing threads used in apparel is size and type of fiber. Given two sewing threads nearly the same size and the same fiber, it's pretty difficult to say exactly where it came from. It's easier to say where it didn't come from.
Q During the course of the manufacture of an item such as men's pajamas, could you give us any idea of the number of operators using different machines who would have occasion to sew together the portions of the tops and bottoms of such as a pair of pajamas?

CPT SOMERS: I object to that.

MR. SEGAL: Would you hold on -- there's an objection.

CPT SOMERS: First, it's irrelevant. Second, it's far too vague and generalized. We don't know what pajama tops and what pajama bottoms, what process, what manufacturer. He's given him nothing to go on. Even if it were not irrelevant --

MR. SEGAL: Professor Wolfgang has exactly the same amount of information and considerably more background than the government's witness. I think in the same regard, to be asked to testify of either one or more operators who would have different threads of different machines applied to a fabric to sew it together, and therefore, can Mr. Browning's conclusion be accepted that the particular thread was obviously from the top of the pajamas as opposed to the bottom, since he did not have access to any other item that might have been found in the MacDonald house?

COL ROCK: Counselor, I assume this is going to come down to some specific point relating to matters at hand?

MR. SEGAL: Yes, sir, this is the only question in this particular area I have.

COL ROCK: The objection is overruled.

Q Mr. Wolfgang, would you answer that question in regard to the -- in the normal manufacture of pajamas, how many operators would -- different sewing machines -- would have occasion to work on a pair of pajama tops and bottoms?
A Well, that depends on the shop. Some shops are set up where one operator will make one entire portion of a garment; in other words, one operator might make tops exclusively -- another operator might make bottoms exclusively. Other shops are set up were one operator sews only one kind of a seam, and then it will, the garment will be passed on to another operator who will sew another seam. So the worst it could be would be count the number of seams in a garment and this is the number of operators and number of machines that were used to sew the garment. The best it can be will be two operators and two machines, one sewing tops and another sewing bottoms.
Q Professor Wolfgang, assuming that certain fibers from a garment such as men's pajamas were found, some on a rug, some on bed sheets, some in other places in contact with the house, is there ways of determining from an examination of the fibers themselves, how they came to be on the rug and sheet and other places?
A No.
Q Is there any way of determining from the examination of the fibers as to whether they were torn from the garment or they had fallen from the garment, or had merely just disintegrated after considerable wear?
A No. There are some extenuating circumstances in which it might be possible. In general, however, no.
Q Was there anything in the report prepared by Mr. Browning that you examined, or in his testimony that you read, that indicated that such extenuating circumstances were present and that he testified to in his examinations?
A Not that I noticed.
Q Is there any way of telling from the examination of fibers that there were found, again in the same places as I described a moment ago, how long those fibers had lain, or been in the position that they were prior to being collected?
A By examination of the fibers, no.
Q Professor Wolfgang, again based upon your examination of the materials that we have submitted to you in writing, did you find that there was any basis upon which Mr. Browning could testify to reasonable scientific certainty as to the origin of the fibers and threads being definitely from the tops of the pair of pajamas that he had submitted to him?
A No. There are -- perhaps, I don't know whether you want this qualified or not --
Q Go right ahead.
A A number of problems in identifying merely textiles, yarns and sewing threads as far as their origin is concerned and as far as saying they are similar to or identical to some other material.
Q Would you identify for us what those problems are?
A Well, the problem is that textile materials are not uniform. We don't -- we cannot actually make them to as rigid a specification as other structural material can be made. So therefore, when you refer, for example, to the size which would be the denier of the yarn count, or the twist in the yarn or thread, you are talking about an average value, and normally when we identify size and twist in the laboratory, we have to work with a very, very large, relatively, sample of material; and if you are dealing with small bits and pieces of a yarn, both as a standard and as a -- something to which you are going to compare the standard, the probabilities are against it. For example, a common standard sewing thread such as might be used in a man's pajama would be what would be listed as a -- steak, depending on where you buy it from. In terms of denier, this is equivalent to around 106 denier. This is the size. The 50's is an indirect number. The bigger the number the smaller the thread. Denier is a direct number, or the bigger the number the bigger the thread is. A very, very good sewing thread, very high quality one will have a causation of variation in size of around, around 5% and most of them considerably greater than this. But what this will mean is that you will have a range of sizes in that thread which will range in denier number anywhere from as large as 123 denier down to as small as 75 denier, and this range overlaps the next standard size; the next standard size is 60, and that so that you could get a sample of 60, a small piece of it, which is exactly the same size as a similar piece of 50, so that just with those pieces you couldn't tell if you had 150 or you had 160.
Q Now in regard to your statement that it is necessary to have a large sample in order to make some kind of reasonable judgment as to whether a piece of fiber had come from a garment, based upon the lab reports that you saw and the testimony you read, did it appear that Mr. Browning had available to him what you would consider to be scientifically a large sample?
A Well, actually his testimony doesn't indicate, really, how he made his determination in order to give me any numbers. I have no way of knowing how his determinations were made but based on where these materials were found, and the descriptions of the exhibits, they couldn't have been very large pieces.
Q What would you consider to be a minimally requisite large sample in order to make adequate fiber comparison with the sample material?
A Fiber comparison or yarn comparison?
Q Well, if we may take each one separately, I would like your answers on both of these questions.
A All right, with fiber comparison, strictly to identify the kinds of fibers, whether it is cotton or cotton polyester, or whether it is nylon, the particular kind of fiber, this we could do with just a few fibers. As long as we are dealing with a material that is pure one fiber or the other. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a fabric which is a mixture of fibers, and you only want to know is Fiber A and fiber B present, but in what percentage, then you have to start talking about a sample which will weigh at least a gram and preferably more than this. Now pertaining to yarns, to try to say whether this yarn is the same size or the same type of yarn, then we have to start talking about, oh, pieces of yarn which are at least a yard long or more. We'd prefer them longer than this to get some answers, to get some determination of the yarns.
Q Now in regard to your testimony that textiles are not uniform within the same garment, that is the same -- that is the fibers are not uniform could you clarify that somewhat further and indicate how much variation there might be in the size of fabric taken from one in a garment and a fiber taken from another place in a garment, again addressing yourself to garment such as a man's pajama top or bottom?
A Let me clarify something for myself again. Are you talking fibers or are you talking yarns?
Q Well, first again fibers, and then if we may discuss yarns.
A All right. The variation in fibers size is not going to really be as great as long as it is one kind of fiber, although there will be some variation and depends on the fiber cotton and size.
When you are talking about size, you almost have to be talking diameter or thickness. Length doesn't mean much of anything, once it's gotten into a garment. But in cotton, depending on the grade of cotton, you'll have a variation on either side of the average of -- oh -- 25% in a fairly good grade of cotton. If you had some idea of what the fiber size is, you could find quite often fibers in the same garment which are 25% smaller. You can find fibers in the same garment which are 25% larger with a reasonably high degree of probability.
Q Professor Wolfgang, let me interrupt for one second to ask you to comment upon the variation in the sizes of fiber where the garment is indicated to be one that may have been polyester cotton blend. I assume that's not a single material, but is actually a mixture.
A No, this fibers mixed together.
Q Now would there be a greater or lesser or similar variation than the one you've described?
A Well, there would be a variation in the cotton component. The polyester component would be more uniform, although this depends on the manufacturer and the source of the fiber. But you could if, for example -- oh -- a common blend of cotton and polyester, the polyester fiber will be usually around 1 denier in its size, and you could conceivably find some polyester fibers in there that are as fine as one denier. You could find some as course as two denier, and everybody would still be happy, but this is a fairly -- material --
Q But would that make the problem of identification of a single fiber or several fibers, comparing it to a larger garment difficult or easy?
A It could make it difficult in that supposing another garment or another yarn existed which would -- say a blend that contained two denier fiber, and you happened to pick out your sample some of these fibers which would be fairly common, which measures two denier, then you could mistakenly identify the fibers of your samples which actually came from a nominal 1 denier fiber as belonging to this larger sample which is two denier.
Q Professor Wolfgang, if the sample with which fibers were being compared were a garment, a man's pajama top which had possibly been subjected to a considerable number of washings and gave the appearance of being somewhat old, would that make the problem of comparison of a fiber to that sample difficult or easy in any way?
A It wouldn't really modify that much, unless during the wearing and the washing, it got something on it that would make it unique.
Q In the absence of any external matter being applied to that fiber, or to the sample, without it, would that make the difficulty of the identification of a fiber with that large sample?
A It wouldn't make it any more difficult. It wouldn't make it any easier. In other words, you're going to have the question as to where the material came from.
Q Professor Wolfgang, I want to advise you at this time that the transcript that was previously provided to you and the other reports that were previously provided to you, are not to be shown to any person or discussed with any person or revealed to any other person, and that we will make arrangements with you shortly for the return of those to us. Is that clear, sir?
A Yes, sir.

MR. SEGAL: At this time I'm going to turn the over the telephone to Captain Somers, who is counsel for the government. He may have some questions he'd like to put to you.

WITNESS: All right.

Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Can you hear me, sir?
A Yes, sir.
Q This is Captain Somers. When comparing a thread or yarn with another thread or yarn, there are a number of characteristics which could be compared, are there not?
A Yes.
Q These include the type of fabric, the color, the denier, the twist and the fiber bundle to name a few, do they not?
A Yes.
Q Now if a yarn thread, if you'll pardon the redundancy, seems to be the same in all of these characteristics, is that an identification of the two as being identical?
A No, for the simple reason, as I pointed out before, these things are variables, and they are not independent variables. The -- almost all sewing threads and, as well as yarns, which are used in weaving fabrics will have about the same degree of twist in them, because our machinery is built to handle this sort of thing, so they -- they are pretty much standard twist for each one of these kinds of things, and you would be very, very unlikely to find say, two sewing threads which have really different twist in them; so that what happens is when you get the variability in size, the mechanics of the twisting operation causes this twist to even out so that the degree of twist in the thinner area is going to be the same as the degree of twist in the correspondingly thin yarn or thick yarn. So that what you are doing is you're piling up what appears to be more positive points of similarity, yet you are still measuring the same dog-gone variables.
You are just repeating it five different times, so that it's not like fingerprint identification where each little point of similarity adds to your conclusion that you are dealing with a similar object.
Q Very good, sir. Now is it impossible to say that a yarn sample is identical in any given characteristic?
A You can say that the sample that you have has similar or even identical characteristics to another sample. This does not say, however, that the two are representative of the same type relation.
Q Yes, sir, I understand that.
A In other words, as I said, you could have a sample of 50's yarn and a sample of 60's yarn which by all, in any measure you want to give them, are the same, but therefore you can't come up and say with any statistical certainty that these two are representative of the same population.
Q I understand that, sir. If, however, in the examination of two pieces of yarn, you come up with what appear to be identical characteristics of type, color, denier and twist, is it not possible to say that one could have originated from a garment that the other originated from?
A You could say it could have, yeah, but when you start to try and attach numerical probability into it, the numerical probability is not approximately at hand, which would mean that you've got just as much chance that it didn't.
Q I see.
A And in textile identification we can actually say a lot more about where things didn't come from than where they did.
Q I see. However, isn't it also possible, sir, that there are inferences which can be drawn which are not particularly in your area? For instance, where this particular garment might have been found, and whether there were other garments of similar type nearby. In other words, what I am saying is, the inference that it could have come -- that an unknown could have come from a specific garment can be strengthened by factors in which you are not particularly expert.
A When you are dealing with textiles, I would doubt this in that unless you had a, say, the entire population of fibers and yarns within a given area, and I'd say that -- but one particular item or say similar origin, if you've got one that sticks out like a sore thumb, then you can identify, you haven't really proved anything. As I say, the -- it's much more -- it would be much easier to prove where a sample did not come from than to conclusively prove where it did, no matter what your surrounding circumstances are, because you have that reasonable doubt available. When you are dealing with probabilities, you'd be taking a chance.
Q Thank you, sir. I gather you are saying that it's possible to say that a fiber could have come from a garment, but in your opinion not possible to say that it did or must have come from a garment?
A That's right. You could say that it could have come from a particular source, but you cannot say with any degree of certainty that it did come from it.
Q Now let me ask you this, doctor. As fibers are washed, if they have color on them, this color may fade. Isn't that correct?
A It will depend on the dye stuff.
Q It can fade?
A It can fade, yes.
Q And if the garment shows signs of fading, would this not be a characteristic to look for in any yarn which might have come from it?
A Again, if you have large enough sample, yeah. If you are dealing with just a few individual fibers, you again bring in a reasonable doubt, because if you take actually a new garment and separate out individual fibers, you will find quite a bit of shades and colors within those.
Q Now when comparing two fibers, sir, and using the different characteristics that we've talked about to compare them, aren't the odds increased that one came from the other as more and more characteristics seem to match?
A If you are comparing fibers themselves?
Q If you compare a particular fiber, or fibers of a given garment --
A In a cotton fiber, I would suspect that all other cotton fibers are going to be similar to it as any set of tests will make. In other words, if you take any population of cotton fibers, they are going to be similar to almost any other population of the same kind of cotton. Now if you add to it a color, it will increase your probabilities as long as you have some way of accurately identifying that these two colors are themselves the same.
A Very fine, sir. Then the addition of color is a characteristic to match which may increase your probability of matching. If you can follow that.
A It depends on how the match is done.
Q Yes, sir, I understand that.
A If, for example, this match is done under an ordinary optical microscope you can foul that up as well, because there are some colors which under some light that will look identical, and under daylight they will be as different as night and day.
Q I see, sir. Excuse me just a moment. As I understand it then, sir, it is your testimony that it is possible from a fiber or a set of fibers to determine that they could have originated from a garment. Is that correct?
A Yes, with a rather low probability, yes.

CPT SOMERS: I understand that, sir. No further questions, sir.

MR. SEGAL: I have no further questions.

COL ROCK: Professor Wolfgang, this is Colonel Rock. Can you hear me?

WITNESS: Yes.

COL ROCK: Sir, you are requested not to discuss your testimony with any other person other than counsel for the government, that is Captain Somers, or counsel for the accused, Mr. Segal and his associates.

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COL ROCK: The next voice you will hear will be that of Captain Douthat who will thank you for your services this afternoon.

 

 

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