ARTICLE 32 HEARING TRANSCRIPTS
SEPTEMBER 8, 1970: Staff Sergeant David Weiss, Senior Investigator
of the Provost Marshal Investigation Section at Fort Bragg
(The hearing reopened at 0936 hours, 8 September 1970.)
COL ROCK: This hearing will come to order. Let the record reflect those parties who were present at the beginning of the recess are currently in the hearing room.
With reference to the matter that was being discussed at the beginning of the recess, I have before me Government Exhibit 109, letter from Captain Somers to Chief Chemist, CID Lab, Fort Gordon, Georgia. This particular letter will be, together with Government Exhibit 107 and 108, subject of inquiry from me to Mr. Grebner at the time that my witnesses are called this week, and I would like for counsel for the government to arrange to have Mr. Grebner present to testify on this matter. I find this most disconcerting and would like to clarify it all at the same time. I have inquired about these results on several occasions with response always that the results are not back yet. I am far from being pleased with this situation and understand me, Captain Somers; I will get to the bottom of this. I now return to the government this envelope.
Are you ready and prepared with your first witness?
CPT SOMERS: Yes, sir. The government calls Mr. David Weiss.
(SSG David Weiss was called as a witness by the government, was sworn, and testified as follows.)
Questions by CPT SOMERS:
Q Would you give your full name, please?
A David Leroy Weiss.
Q Your grade?
A Staff Sergeant E-6.
Q Your organization?
A 125th Military Police Detachment, CID, Fort Bragg.
Q And your armed force?
Q What was your duty position on the 17th of February?
A Senior investigator in charge of the Provost Marshal Investigation Section at Fort Bragg.
Q Do you know a Specialist Fourth Class Kenneth Mica?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you have occasion to speak to him on the morning of the 17th of February?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q How did that come about?
A I was in the hallway of the Criminal Investigation Office at Fort Bragg, and Specialist Mica stopped me in the hallway and said he had some information he wanted to pass on to me.
Q What was the information?
A He explained to me, sir, that while he was enroute to the initial call to the MacDonald's quarters on Castle Drive, that he observed a female on the corner of Honeycutt Road and Lucas, and she was dressed in a raincoat and had a rain bonnet on; five six in height; had either light brown or blonde hair, and I specifically asked him some questions about the girl since we did have a general description of the girl involved in the incident. I asked about tall boots and he said, yes he thought so, and that she had good looking legs. I asked specifically about a brown floppy hat, he said no, it was a rain bonnet. Then I stopped right there. It didn't match the description of what I had been given. I had been past this intersection prior to that in the morning hours and there was no one standing there when I went by.
Q At what time did you pass that intersection?
A I went by a little after five that morning, and again about twenty or thirty minutes later.
CPT SOMERS: Your witness.
Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Mr. Weiss, do you know what time the incident took place at the MacDonald house on the morning of February 17th?
A I understand the MP call came in sometime after three or four in the morning. I don't have the exact time, sir.
Q Would you tell us what relevance it has to what you saw at five-thirty a.m. or five a.m. in the morning at Honeycutt and Lucas?
CPT SOMERS: I object. Obviously he cannot. I asked that question, not him.
MR. SEGAL: The government has chosen to show that somehow an observation made at that time by Mr. Weiss actually discounts Specialist Mica's observation and I would like to know from this trained chief investigator what is the relevance of an observation made at that time to a homicide that took place sometime between three and three-thirty in the morning.
CPT SOMERS: Again, I say that question can be answered by me, not by the witness.
CPT BEALE: The objection is sustained, Captain Somers.
Q Were you aware, Mr. Weiss, or rather Sergeant Weiss, that there had been an apprehension made at the corner of Honeycutt and Lucas by military police prior to five a.m. in the morning?
A No, I was not.
Q You were not. May I see the memorandum you made of your interview you had with Specialist Mica?
A I made no memorandum about it.
Q Oh, you made some notes of some sort?
A No, I did not. It was a hallway discussion.
Q Hallway discussion. The only hallway discussion you had in connection with the MacDonald case, I assume.
A I have no way of knowing if this was the only discussion I had in the hallway.
Q Well, what is it that makes the discussion with Specialist Mica so clear in your own memory that you can recall it -- recall it with the -- with great specificity?
A Well, since I don't know what specificity means, I'll have to ask you to clarify that. You mean why do I recall it vividly in my mind?
Q You don't understand what I mean when I say specificity?
A No, sir, I don't.
Q Well for the benefit let me rephrase it. Was there anything unique about this conversation to cause it to stand out with some great clarity in your mind?
A I think so. First of all, it was one of the first persons I talked to when I came back from the house. He came forth with what he thought was information he wanted to pass on to me about someone who might have met the description of the girl and wanted to give it to me, and I listened to what he had to say, and what he told me did not meet what I had been looking for and I just -- I recall the incident clearly.
Q And after you heard it, you found in your judgment at that time it had no relevance?
Q And naturally you kept the matter which you thought irrelevant in the forefront of your memory so that you could give it to us since about August 1970.
A I wouldn't say the forefront of my memory, but I do recall it.
Q You do recall. Now do you know Specialist Mica at all, aside from the single contact that you made on February 17th?
A Yes, I do.
Q And how long had you known him prior to February 17th?
A Several months before. I'd seen him on patrol and seen him in the Provost Marshal's Office.
Q And have you had occasion to see him since that time?
A Yes, I have.
Q Would if be fair to say that he is a competent military policeman?
A I think he performs his job well.
Q And is it fair to say that you have no reason to believe that he is a hysterical or imaginary type of a person as far as your own observations are concerned?
A Not that I know of.
Q Well, if I were to tell you that Specialist Mica has specifically recalled seeing a girl with a hat that he described as a floppy hat, and that he recalled repeating this information to Mr. Grebner, rather than to yourself, would you say that he is more likely to be accurate about what he said than you are?
A No, I wouldn't, because he did tell me.
Q Were you present at any time when he spoke to Mr. Grebner about the circumstances of his observations?
A Would you repeat the question?
Q Were you present at any time that Specialist Mica talked to Mr. Grebner about --
A Not to my knowledge. I don't recall my being present at any time when he talked to Mr. Grebner.
Q Were you present any time when Specialist Mica spoke to Colonel Kriwanek?
A No, I was not.
Q Would you mind telling me what was going on in the hallway at the time when Specialist Mica had this conversation?
A I had just brought -- a gentleman had been picked up by the military police -- down to the duty investigator's office, and as I was coming back up the hallway there was only two of us in the hallway at the time I was talking to him.
Q And who was that gentleman that you were bringing with you?
A It was a man -- I didn't personally have him. Two MP's had him. Two men had picked him up. I don't know his name.
Q I thought you indicated a moment ago that you had been bringing this man in.
A I was showing him where the office was.
Q So that you do not know who this man was?
A No, I'm sorry, I don't.
Q Do you know now who he is?
A No, I do not.
Q Was that because he had no specific connection with anyone involved with the --
A I have no idea. Two uniformed policemen asked me to see the duty investigator and I brought him down the hallway to his office.
Q Now besides those MP's and the person they had in custody, who else was in the hallway?
A They weren't in the hallway. They had already gone into the duty investigator's office. I think I said Mica and myself were the only two present.
Q Was there any activity going on in the hallway at the time you were having this conversation?
A Not in the hallway, no, sir. There was activity in other offices that morning, yes.
Q Is it fair to say there was a considerable amount of activity that morning?
A I would say so.
Q A considerable amount of people going in and out offices, going about their duties in regards to this investigation?
A I would say so, yes.
Q Did you ever make a written memoranda or notation of what you believe to be the conversation that took place between you and Specialist Mica?
A I did not.
Q At any time at all have you ever been asked to write down the conversation that you purportedly had with Mr. Mica?
A In writing for myself?
Q For yourself or any other person at any time since February 17th up to and including today?
A None other than when I spoke to counsel for the accused the other day.
Q Aside from that conversation, which was, I assume, after you spoke to counsel for the government, have you ever made a written memoranda of the conversation?
A No, I have not.
Q Now you are testifying today from your recollection of that particular episode?
A That is correct, sir.
Q How many people would you say you talked to that day who was working on the MacDonald case?
A Specifically about the case? Well, all the FBI agents, Mr. Grebner, Mr. Hawkins. I would say I'd be safe to say twenty or thirty people -- we discussed facets of the investigation.
Q And with some of those persons you discussed it on more than one occasion on the same day?
A Yes, sir.
Q Could you name for us the various persons who gave you information on February 17th which you found to have no connection, in your judgment, with the MacDonald case?
A I didn't particularly take any information on this case at all. It was not my facet of the investigation.
Q I didn't ask you what you particularly took down. I asked you whether you can tell us now the names of any persons who gave you information which you found in your judgment not to be relevant to the MacDonald case.
A I recall no others.
Q No others?
A No, sir.
MR. SEGAL: I have nothing further of this witness.
CPT SOMERS: I have no further questions.
Questions by COL ROCK:
Q Would you please repeat again the description of the female as given to you by Specialist Mica?
A Yes, sir, he described her as a young woman about five-six of a medium build, either light brown or blonde hair. I asked specifically about boots, the tall boots and he said, yes he thought so, that she did have good looking legs, he recalled that. I asked specifically about a floppy brown hat, which he said no, it was a rain bonnet.
COL ROCK: I have no further questions.
MR. SEGAL: May I have, in regards --
COL ROCK: Yes.
Questions by MR. SEGAL:
Q Do you know the circumstances under which Specialist Mica came to make this observation?
A It is my understanding of what he told me that he was enroute to the initial call at the MacDonald home.
Q Did you question him about the boots any further as to why he thought she may have had them on?
A No, sir.
Q Why not?
A I saw no reason to as he stated uncertainly as to if she did have boots on.
Q Oh, I see, you just took it he was mistaken?
A No, sir. Just unclear as to what he saw.
Q Did you ask Specialist Mica to describe what he meant by a rain bonnet?
A No, sir, I did not. I asked specifically for the floppy brown; he said no, it was a rain bonnet.
Q Do you know what he meant by a rain bonnet?
A I think I know what I thought he meant by it.
Q The question is, do you have any idea what he was describing in the shape and size of a hat?
A Yes, sir. Since he described the hair, I would assume that it was a clear plastic rain bonnet that was tied under the chin.
Q You assumed that, sir?
A Certainly it was not a floppy brown hat because I specifically asked for that.
Q A floppy brown hat you asked him about?
A Right, sir.
Q And may I ask where you got the information you were looking for a brown hat?
A This was disseminated to me through the radio operator.
Q Have you ever asked Specialist Mica what he meant by a rain bonnet as the type of hat he described?
A I have not gone back to question him. No, I have not, sir.
Q And to your way of thinking, the only possible hat that he could have been describing was a plastic hat to be tied kerchief style under the neck?
A I didn't say anything about a hat, sir. He said rain bonnet.
Q A plastic type of cloth tied under the neck in kerchief style?
A Right, sir.
Q That was the assumption you made?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you asked for no further information in that regard?
A No, sir.
MR. SEGAL: That's all.
CPT SOMERS: Nothing further.
COL ROCK: Mr. Weiss, you are advised 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.
COL ROCK: You are excused.
WITNESS: Thank you.
(The witness departed the hearing room.)