JULY 25, 2008
The media at one time was interested in Jeffrey MacDonald, and he took every opportunity to complain about the wrong done to him and try to make himself the victim rather than his murdered family. Some of the media knew more than MacDonald thought, therefore, he was caught lying several times by the person interviewing him on television.
In the 80's, he got quite a bit of attention. Then in 1991, one could say shit hit the fan when a 9 1/2 pound box of love letter, other statements/recollections written by MacDonald, pictures, audio tapes and documents were sent to Eames Yates, producer of Hard Copy. This was not the first time various media groups had received packages with information and far from the last. These boxes were sent to other people as well. I believe that someone wanted the government to know these things. What better way to make them aware than with the public, watching it on national television.
This information provided the public with a raw glimpse into the mind of Jeffrey MacDonald, a convicted triple murderer. It told just how good at manipulation he was. It also told of the sexual encounters that occurred in the attorney's private meeting room at the prison that read like a modern-day Boccaccio's Decameron. I personally know of one of MacDonald's former attorneys who made arrangements for one of MacDonald's "women" to visit him in the private attorney room under the pretense she was a paralegal long before his current wife ever came into the picture.
Large parts of the letters were read on national television by Diane Diamond. MacDonald was not a happy camper, and said she was making something out of nothing. Then Diamond asked him if he wrote the letters, to which he stated "I don't know that." Diamond handed him the letters, and he quickly thumbed through them. His face turned red and you could see sweat appear on his head and chest. Continuing on he said something to the effect that he had been convicted of three murders that he should not have been convicted of. . .and now he was being convicted for writing letters to a beautiful woman.
Many things came out during that 2 show episode in February 1991, even the fact that MacDonald wanted one woman to wear a wire tap so she could interview certain people and tape them without them being aware.
To borrow one of my dear friend's favorite expressions, I was totally "gobsmacked" that he had put down such detailed facts of what he was doing. Here is a man convicted of a triple murder, whose mouth has gotten him in trouble before and now he is writing down detailed things on paper in his own handwriting again.
Diamond asked him at one point if he was threatening her, and he denies that he was. He did say something to the effect if you do what I suspect you're about to do, you'll make my job more difficult. You better be on good solid ground if you use or misuse those letters. How sweet it was to see him humiliated when there was nothing he could do about and he never saw it coming.
One of the few times I ever Freddy cry was when he was shown those letter and as he was reading them, tears welled up in his eyes, and roll down his checks.
The media now has tamed it's zeal to present MacDonald as the victim in this heinous crime or even interview him for that matter. It should finally be obvious to those who have not expended any effort to analyze the prosecution's evidence that their villain was, and is, the one who was convicted for the crime; properly, and legally. The residual fringe defenders of MacDonald face insurmountable obstacles as they attempt to drum-up even more outlandish "exculpatory" exhibits, including the deposition from Helena's mother, which totally does not fly in the face of logic, since neither Helena's nor Mitchell's DNA was found at the scene. If we consider what MacDonald had said over the years, he continuously harped on the unidentified hair found in Colette's hand, saying that the hair came from her killer. He was being truthful in that statement, DNA proved the hair came him.
I believe MacDonald's narcissism continues to play a key role in these shenanigans. In retrospect, this case, has dragged on to the point where most would have given up defending it. Still MacDonald wants the public to endure yet another challenge to his conviction, with the usual hubris reserved for smoking gun, slam dunk type evidence. It doesn't work, and he'll never see freedom until the validity of his verdict is sealed with a long-overdue confession and, that folks, ain't going to happen.
These murders were senseless and should have never happened. All three of these innocent victims, a pregnant woman and her two small little girls were found in a crimson welter of their own blood. These murders were not committed by a stranger. They were attacked with a kind of violence that indicated the killer hated them with seething anger. Clearly an over-killed, a sign the killer knew the victims and had some grievance to settle, some terrible rage to get out.
MacDonald from the beginning has tried to steer the investigation away from himself by coming up with hippies intruders. 1970 was the height of hippiedom, drifting flower children with long hair with their peace signs, smelling of patchouli incense and marijuana. They were not violent, most were peaceful, making their own music so to speak. They wanted to make love, not war. Thousands of leads were followed and winnowed out, always leading back to no one other than MacDonald.
If this crime occurred now, there is no doubt MacDonald would be sentenced to death and justly so. The question does come to mind, how would he react now. Without a doubt, he would still complain he got a bad deal and that forensics were wrong.
Sadly, brutal murders continue to happen and the numbers are increasing. It seems almost daily, in one city or another, husbands are killing their pregnant wife, or wife and child/children.
One of the most heinous of these happened in 1998. Jeff Cahill took an aluminum baseball and severely beat his wife, Jill on the head with it. She tried to get away, but he found her and dragged her back into the house. She called out to her children who were there to call the police and he ordered them upstairs. Through some miracle she survived the beating. After many setbacks, she was transferred from the acute hospital to a rehab center where she was just learning how to say her children's names, when her husband, who was on bail awaiting trial, disguised himself as a janitor, entered her room, forced a dose of potassium cyanide into her mouth, killing her instantly. This is a good example of someone who was determined to finish what he had started.
I have learned many things from studying the MacDonald case. It has caused me many problems, but has also opened many doors as well. I have met various law enforcement officers, FBI agents, CID agents, prosecutors and several judges that I am proud to call my friends. They took time to talk with me not only about the MacDonald case, but other cases and how the laws works. They were willing to share their own emotions as they faced impenetrable odds and tragic losses. Anyone of them will tell you, a sociopath is very clever, they are able to hide many things about themselves. Their victims can be young and innocent or older and experienced, the sociopath weaves his web of deception and for many, by the time they realize something is wrong, it is too late for them to escape.
When reading homicide files, it is easy to see that they represent frustration, anger and at times despair on the part of the investigators. They work many hours of overtime, they are understaffed and underpaid and put their lives on the line for people they do not know. It becomes their top priority to catch the killer/killers who are roaming around free, perhaps already looking for their next victim. They work for the victims, to bring justice for what happened to them, to try and bring some type of closure to the victim's family and friends, and most of all to get the perp of the streets so they cannot hurt anyone else.
It is fascinating to see in the years since 1970 how forensic science has leapt ahead and techniques developed that even expert criminalists could never have imagined. DNA has revolutionized homicide investigations. The FBI got AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) operational nationwide about the same time DNA came into use and it has become a valuable tool and time saver. Because of the AFIS, the FBI is able to take one fingerprint instead of all ten that had been required before and the computer could do a match if the fingerprints was present into the AFIS.
I will never forget the agents that I met that have passed on. These people, who at any time day or night were ready to serve and protect. Franz Grebner, who I knew as Joe, Robert Shaw, who I knew as Bob, Peter Kearns, who was known to all as Pete just to name a few. These were truly cops' cops, superior agents, and each an innovator in their own way. They were all wonderfully kind men whose hearts were as big as they were.
Jeffrey MacDonald has grown old in prison. His hairline is receding, his face etched with wrinkles. His eyes are hard and dead. His voice with no emotion unless he is talking about what he considers the wrong done to him, and then one can see his anger starting to show.
His rage not only destroyed his pregnant wife and two small daughters, it destroyed many others as well, and he should never be free to hurt anyone else ever again.
Some of the most profound words spoken to a convicted murderer was spoken to Jeff Cahill by Judge Aloi, a man I have a tremendous amount of respect for. It was clear that he was livid at having to even contemplate the possibility that one day this killer would be free.
Not only were these appropriate words spoken to Cahill, but each and every one of them can be applied to MacDonald, and more, since he killed his children as well. Judge Aloi stated, "Mr. Cahill, when I look at you, I see a coward. You are an evil man, one who has committed a series of evil and unimaginable acts. I think it is ironic that you took Jill's life and now got away with yours. You deserve no mercy and you deserve never to be paroled. You, Mr. Cahill, turned that safe haven into her execution chamber. You imposed your own death sentence on the mother of your two children and now you have escaped that very death sentence."
MacDonald needs to be in a place like Eastern State Penitentiary was when it was being used. There is a place he would get what he deserves.
And now on to some questions I have received -
January 22, 2008
I commended you on the content of your website. I do have a question for you concerning Helena Stoeckley. It has been said over and over that Helena wore a wig and she admitted to wearing one. I know Mr. Fred Bost and we have discussed this issue many times. Mr. Bost implied to me that the wig Helena wore the night of the murders was made of saran and she had found it in the trash can or stolen it from a store mannequin. He also said that because the wig was of such quality when she brushed it briefly at the crime scene that is how the saran fibers got there.
What are your thoughts regarding his theory?
Do you think the government was right to withhold the evidence about the synthetic hairs found at the murder scene.
I do not believe that it falls to the government to do the defense's investigation for them. The government is required to provide the defense with certain information, but when the defense is lazy and does not even bother to read what is given to them, then whose fault is that?
Helena admitted to having a wig, then she said she borrowed a wig. I can think of at least three wigs being mentioned from a short one, to long one, to a fall. Some friends of Helena stated she didn't own a wig.
There were two hair brushes found at the crime scene. A clear-handled hair brush found on a sideboard near the kitchen phone and a blue-handled hair brush found under Colette's body in the master bedroom.
A "blond synthetic hair" and "grey synthetic hair" was found in the clear-handled hairbrush. Investigation revealed that a blond fall, owned and worn frequently by Colette MacDonald, was still available for analysis. When the fall was examined, it was found to be composed of a combination of human hair and modacrylic wig fibers. Wig fibers from the hairbrush matched wig fibers found in the composition of the fall. So, we are back to square one, those two wig fibers actually originated in MacDonald's own home from a wig-type fall which at the time of Colette's death, she owned and was in her home. Therefore, while "true" wig fibers were found at the crime scene, the source of these wig fibers could be accounted for as well as the source they came from.
The remaining fibers from the clear-handled hairbrush were blond saran fibers consistent with fibers used in the production of doll hair. The hairs differed in chemical composition and the longest of the three hairs was matched with doll hair found in the FBI exemplar collection.
MacDonald has never addressed the fact that Colette had a wig, that it was in their home at the time of the murders, and that she wore it frequently. He also never mentioned the fact that she owned many hats, among them a floppy hat that was found in her closet.
In Fatal Justice, Jerry Potter stated "Bost and I considered it unfair for the government, after hiding the existence of the synthetic blond hair at trial, to now impose the condition that it be proven to be of high-quality synthetic hair for a human wig."
Continuing on to say that "Stoeckley and her friends were inveterate night scavengers gathering things out of garbage can, such as items of food, clothing, and floral wreaths Stoeckley displayed in her yard on the day of the MacDonald funerals. Also Stoeckley's wig was know to be of such poor quality that she wore it as a 'joke.' It might, indeed, have been a mannequin wig taken by Stoeckley or one of her friends from the trash dump of some store during one of their night haunts. To now insist that the defense prove that the wig was made for human wear is to beg the question, ignoring the fact that lab tech Janice Glisson's note said it was from a wig, and that this note would have been helpful at trial, and that it was withheld at a time when the CID and indeed, Brian Murtagh were well aware that Stoeckley had a wig and was wearing it the night of the murders."
I place no importance on anything in Fatal Justice. In my opinion nothing was proved and I consider it to be a cut and paste job of wrong information that does not match any of the records related to the case with MacDonald supplying most of it. Therefore, I do not for one moment consider any of their theories.
May 13, 2008
God bless you for your determination in continuing to speak for Colette, Kim and kris.
I enjoyed your book, and learned many things I never knew before. I was able to counter check may things in your book to the actual documents on your website.
My question is, in the book you describe how the inside of apartment had changed. Did you actually go inside? If you did see the inside will you share what it was like for you.
I never got to see the inside of the original apartment. I do have a video of the apartment done the day the wrecking crew went in to start the renovation. In this video they filmed the entire apartment as it was, going room by room. As they were renovating it, they video taped the progress step-by-step.
I did get to see inside both apartments after they were renovated. The original apartment was nothing like it was before. The new apartment made from the bedrooms plus a small addition was very strange. The day I saw it was mid summer and it was hot and humid. Inside the apartment it was bright and sunny, but I felt cold.
According to Sergeant Escobales who lived there at the time with his wife and three children, they had no idea what had occurred there, but it did not take them long to find out. He said late at night, after his family has gone to bed, he sometimes sees the face of a little child peaking at him, and that his wife often hears footsteps on the wooden floors.
I was there the day the building was torn down. I took quite a few pictures and many of the pictures has like a fog/mist. Perhaps it was caused by the building going down, or just maybe, it was Colette, Kimberley and Kristen leaving.
May 16, 2008
I was undecided about Dr. MacDonald's guilty until I saw the film Fatal Witness. That was a turning point for me. So many people had evidence to support Dr. MacDonald's version of what occurred. When an innocent man can be found guilty the way he was, something is wrong with our system. The Army investigation was an abomination and the mistakes and hiding of evidence was a disgrace.
I urge you to watch this film and listen carefully to all the evidence found and presented in Dr. MacDonald's favor. It also proved that Joe McGinniss was a despicable man who wrote lies just to make money off this tragedy. After the film, thousands of people called in to say they believed Dr. MacDonald was innocent.
False Witness aired in the United States in July 1989. Yes, I have seen it and I am of the opinion that MacDonald thought this was going to help him. Perhaps he thought False Witness would be for him like The Thin Blue Line documentary was for Randall Adams.
For all the questions presented by False Witness and none were new, one still comes away believing MacDonald is guilty of the brutal murder of his pregnant wife, Colette and two beautiful little girls, Kimberley and Kristen.
False Witness provided nothing new whatsoever. Everything presented has been touched on at some point and time in his numerous appeals. It failed to refute the extensive physical evidence that pointed to MacDonald as the murderer and led to his conviction. It absolves him of nothing. They presented no explanation why the living room in which MacDonald claims he had a violent struggle with his assailants was largely undisturbed. It offered no solid explanation for why MacDonald's pajama top, which he claims he placed on top of his wife when he discovered her dead body, had holes in it that lined up with her wounds. They had no explanation of the blood patterns in the MacDonald's home, that indicated a different sequence of events than MacDonald told. His whole alibi appears to have come directly from a article in Esquire magazine he had recently read.
Many people close to MacDonald were working to make sure that the public was aware of the airing of the documentary that was supposed to show how he had been railroaded and wrongfully convicted. Postcards were sent to a lot of people such as the one below, however this is not the only touting of the show that was done
I do not agree with your allegation of Joe McGinniss. He is an honest, decent man. Nothing, I repeat, nothing in False Witness dispelled any of the damning evidence presented in Fatal Vision.
Speaking of making money off a tragedy, whose idea was it to write the book in the first place. Who contacted McGinniss and was it not MacDonald who told McGinniss he was expecting to receive some of what of McGinniss earned from writing the book. MacDonald got 25 cents of every dollar McGinniss earned which came to a nice hefty sum. But MacDonald wanted more and brought a law suite against McGinniss thinking he was going to win a large settlement. He did not, and in the end he settled for less than if he had continued with the original arrangements.
It has never been argued that the Army didn't botch its original investigation and prosecution. It clearly did. But the reinvestigation was a different story. I have read the report Colonel Jack Pruett and Peter Kearns, the lead investigation wrote as to the mistakes/errors they found with the original investigation. None of the mistakes/errors destroyed any evidence. The problem I see was the fact that the Article 32 was premature. The investigation was not complete, and the lab wasn't done with their testing or making their reports. MacDonald from the beginning has taken potshots at the Army. That appears to be all he was capable of as he left finding the actual murderers merely an afterthought.
I note that you failed to mention Helena Stoeckley and Greg Mitchell in your e-mail. Is that because even to you the accusations that they were involved appears ridiculous?
Ted Landreth, the co-producer of Fatal Witness apparently likes to do documentaries that claims a coverup of evidence and/or conspiracy. The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe claimed a coverup of evidence that linked Monroe's suicide to the Kennedys. But like the Monroe piece, Fatal Witness also centers its revelations on dead people who cannot dispute them.
You are incorrect, the poll after the airing was not about whether he was innocent or guilty. The people who setup the poll wisely avoided asking the viewers if they believed MacDonald was guilty or innocent. Instead they asked whether justice was done. Did he deserve a new trial?
The question that the program raised, centered mostly around MacDonald's alibi that the brutal beating and stabbing of his family and his minor injuries, were the work of some drug-crazed intruders. I believe with all my being that the only intruders there was Colette, Kimberley and Kristen, and thank God there is plenty of evidence to justly keep MacDonald in his prison cell for a long time to come.
June 19, 2008
Christine, I have wanted to contact you for a long time to pass on some information. I am not signing this message or leaving my e-mail address because there is strong possibility you would recognize it immediately.
I want to thank you for your excellent web site. Jeff MacDonald is not a nice person, he is a parasite. With him it was like having a parasitic twin who want to take control of my movements and control my mind. Jeff wanted to control everyone and thinks he is smarter than others. He was never family oriented, and his brother and sister was an embarrassment to him. Will elaborate on this more later.
I spent quite a bit of time with Jeff's mother, Perry. Because her health had deteriorated, she spent most of time home in bed, and depended on friends for company. The good lord must have been watching out for her, as she chained smoked and was on oxygen. It's a miracle she never set herself on fire or caused an explosion. Her family spent little time with her. Judy came to visit periodically, that always put such strain on Perry. Judy would cause a lot of problems, especially when she drank, and that was daily. Jay had his own demons to deal with, and Jeff was in prison.
I will just say this for now. Perry never wanted Jeff to ever remarry and was scared of what could happened if he ever did. She came to terms with many things and some she told me. She was shaky and her writing changed, but she wrote many of them down and gave them to me. Others she left for me with one of her personal items that I admired in a box with my name on it. She had carefully folded the item with her notes tucked inside.
If you want to have further communication with me, post this contact message on your web site with your answer to my question. I will then provide you with firsthand inside information on Jeffy boy.
My question has to do with some one who was closely involved with Jeff. Do you know a woman who for the moment I will only refer to as Dr. Cathy?
Let us get some things straight, My name is Christina and not Christine. Should you decide to call me again, make sure you are on a phone that has a good connection. I have neither the time or desire to play silly games. Either you have information you want to share or you don't, and what I put on my website is my decision.
I know exactly who you are talking about, and will answer the question one time only. The first issue to establish is that the Cathy you are referring to is not the one married to him now. She was indeed a physician and last I heard she was still practicing. I remember a strange comment she made at one time that she was his best friend then and now, but did not go into when the then was. I have several pictures of her, she was a beautiful woman, dressed in good taste, and from observing her mannerisms, she appeared to have a lot of class.
What stands out in my mind is when she said MacDonald "truly believes in what we base our America on, the American way of life, the American justice, John Wayne, mom, apple pie."
In an interview, the following was said to her, "One gets the sense that when he [MacDonald] finally moved to Southern California, he decided to live a Southern California lifestyle, self-indulgent to certain degree, free. To which she replied "I can assure you he was never free for one moment. He has never forgotten the events that changed his life, and he has agonized over them, will never understand them, and kept himself busy in-between dealing with that grief - he loved that woman with his entire being, and those children were everything to him."
Where and how this woman could have come up with this description of a mass murderer, I cannot imagine. I have seen nothing to even suggest that her opinion in anyway comes close to describing MacDonald.
As to MacDonald's family, I will not go there. Judy and Jay both have a life to live and they must live it as they see fit. Curious as we may be, we must respect their right to their privacy. Perry on the on the hand knew him well, but not as well as she thought she did. MacDonald was a lot like his mother, hard to please, nothing ever done right unless she did it. As to Perry not wanting him to remarry, that is a well know fact, and I think she made that perfectly clear the night he announced his and Randi's engagement, her only comment was "Oh My God." And that was told to me by someone who was there that night and heard Perry made the comment.
That is all I intend to say on the subject at this time.
July 11, 2008
I have a question about the boxing trip. Of course I know the trip to Russia didn't really exist but when was the "trip" really suppose to take place? Was it really planned for when Colette was due because that was not until July wasn't it? I've been reading that it was suppose to be a 30 day trip beginning in March so that was not when the baby was due. The reason I'm asking is over the years it seems like it has become a "fact" on the message boards that the reason for the trip was to meet his high school girlfriend in NJ during the time when Colette was due. So I know you have researched this and I'm just going from memory here from what I've read here and there about when this trip was suppose to take place. I feel that we can only speculate on the reason for the lie since we will never really know, but was the trip actually planned for when Colette was due? Thanks.
As with all cases, a lot of myth attaches itself, things are added and assumptions are made. I think that is what has happened here. I am guilty of at times assuming he would be gone when the baby was due. However, I do not think that is the true facts.
If we take the facts that we have in writing, Colette was due the end of June into the early part of July. The supposed trip to Russia was to leave sometime in the spring and going from memory now, no date was ever mentioned as to the actual departure. Spring starts March 20 and ends June 20. I think that is where the confusion comes from and why people often assume he was going to be gone during the time the baby was due.
You are correct, we can only speculate on the reason why MacDonald said he was going to Russia with the boxing team. I have my own thoughts as to why, but I have nothing to back it with. As to it being with his high school sweetheart, Carol, she was long gone by that time and heavily involved in another situation.
July 16, 2008
Great website. Do you know when MacDonald sued Joe McGinniss? Anything you can add about the trial and how much money did he get from the law suite? I remember reading somewhere recently that Jeffrey's mother got 50,000 and the Kassab's got 85,000 from his settlement.
MacDonald files his civil lawsuit against McGinniss in August 1984, one year after the release of Fatal Vision. The actual trial itself began on Tuesday, July 7, 1987, in Los Angeles Federal District Court and lasted for six weeks.
MacDonald contends that McGinniss' blatant lies were exposed in court and that he "won a settlement of appropriately a third of a million dollars." This is a lie. The truth is that after the case from both sides were presented, the jury started their deliberation. No decision was reached due to one juror hold-out. MacDonald won nothing from McGinniss in the court trial. The court awarded him nothing. McGinniss' publisher's insurance offered MacDonald $325,000.00 and he accepted it -- McGinniss conceded no wrongful doing. This is quite common in these type of suits. It is what is often called/considered a nuisance case and cheaper for the company to offer a settlement as opposed to going to trial, or having a retrial that would only increase their cost. The offer can come before the trial starts, during the trial, after the trial when no decision is reached, or at times the offer can be offered several time. MacDonald had the choice to except the settlement or file again and proceed with another trial.
According to MacDonald the following is what he has related and sent to many people regarding what took place during the trial. "I was being held in the 'hole', (i.e., solitary), at Terminal Island Prison in San Pedro. Each morning, around 3:30-4:00 a.m., I would be rousted out of my cell, to be put 'on the chain' and brought to the Federal building about an hour away by prison bus. Each morning, sometimes fog, sometimes a beautiful sunrise - I would be on the freeway, in this prison bus, with wire bars and mesh welded over the windows, with armed guards, the bus filled with prisoners going to court. I had handcuffs, leg irons and a belly chain on, and large teams of U.S. Marshals with shotguns guarded us as we entered or left the bus. A 'gun' truck (i.e., van or pickup with additional armed U.S. Marshals), preceded and followed us to/from court to deter hijackings. Each morning I would be allowed to change to regular clothes for court by Judge Rea's court order. While in court, a U.S. Marshal in a suit and tie (but armed) sat unobtrusively behind me. On court breaks or during lunch, I was kept in the holding tank in the Federal Building with about forty other court-bound prisoners.
"McG stayed at a downtown hotel, with his attorneys, family, entourage, witnesses - and they arrived in the courtroom each day at 9:00 a.m., often with reporters and/or 'groupies', (i.e., students or court-watchers), in tow. I was often the first person into the courtroom with my U.S. Marshal guard, and we watched the others arrive, fill the place up, and begin the day. The 'constants' with McG were Fred Kassab, Mr. Kornstein and Mr. Platt, but the group was often much larger, especially on days when 'action' was expected.
My attorneys were Gary Bostwick and the quiet, reserved, efficient, tall, brunette and attractive JoAnn Horn. Additionally, Gary often had his (excellent) female paralegal, sometimes his wife, occasionally our first witness for the day, and he, too, would have a reporter or two trailing him. Gary was mainly business. He rarely spoke to spectators or to the press, and almost never did so when the judge or jury were in the room. Kornstein, on the other hand, would frequently, 'schmooze' with press, Fred Kassab, other lawyers, or even the students who came to watch trials.
Our daily routine usually started with an intense 5-20 minute huddle, while Gary absorbed my ideas generated during the previous 12 hours and 2 bus rides, or as I delivered an 'intelligence' report on an upcoming witness - i.e., I had done a chore related to witnesses using my files back in my cell, or simply from memory, the night before. [Trial was extremely draining - it was for everyone, but I often did not even get back to my cell until 8 or 8:30 p.m. after court.] If G.B. had a major chore that morning, such as opening statements, or cross-examining a potentially difficult witness, like Dr. Stone, he would be very 'within' himself, sort of withdrawn and more businesslike than he usually was. If the pressure was less that day, he would be more affable. He is very smart, quick on his feet, and while his charm is 'just plain folks', he is, in fact, intellectual, with a curious and imaginative mind. Janet Malcolm, as you know from her book, loved him. In fact, she retained him in her court struggles vs. the psychologist, Jeffrey Masson, a major legal battle recently won by G.B. and Janet Malcolm in San Francisco Federal Court. Gary's formal and more businesslike approach carried over even more so in any dealing with judge or jury. There, he rarely used histrionics, almost never told jokes, and 'guided' the jury only gently. Kornstein, in contrast, was bombastic, used all sorts of dramatic body language and expressions of speech, and frequently told the jury what to believe, as opposed to letting the jury decide what is true by shining a bright light on the subject. Two lawyers couldn't be more different in their style and approach.
. . ."Just so your readers are aware, exactly, of the effect the psychological and psychiatric witnesses had on the trial, recall that my lawsuit alleged several things that I had to prove to win the lawsuit. I alleged McG defrauded me in his conduct over the 1979-83 years of the book writing. I alleged he mis-portrayed my life, contrary to a signed agreement I had with McG, wherein he was under an obligation to tell the factual truth. I alleged he intentionally inflicted upon me emotional distress. And I alleged he stole funds from me, funds due to me under the written contract I had with McG.
"McG had basically no defense, so his major defenses became an amalgam of several things. First, he countersued me, alleging I wasn't truthful with him (so therefore, he could be released from his contractual obligations). He alleged I cooperated with other journalists, thereby abridging my pact with him (the "exclusivity" clause). And McG alleged he hadn't stolen my money, but rather kept some funds aside, in a trust fund, when I sued him.
"The trial was not a libel trial, since a person in prison essentially is libel-proof, libel being based on reputation. Neither was the trial supposed to be a rehash of my 1979 murder trial. The issue in court in 1987 was, did Joe McG civilly wrong me? Judge Rea, for instance, at Kornstein's urging, set a pretrial rule for neither side to attempt to re-argue the 1979 trial. His rule was promptly broken by Kornstein himself, in his opening statement to the jury, thereby unleashing 6 weeks of my efforts to re fight the criminal trial of 1979, as well as fight the civil issues of 1987.
"In my view, the real issue was extremely simple: was 'Fatal Vision' a novel, or was it nonfiction, as McG claimed it to be? And, was I the monster portrayed by McG? It was my strong belief that for any good to come out of the civil trial, I had to prove 'F.V.' was a novel, and I had to prove McG created his monster out of whole cloth, to fulfill some need in McG himself, as well as to sell books and television movies. . ."
Did MacDonald prove in court what he tried to? Absolutely not.
As to who got how much, do the math. He excepted $325,000. Attorney fees were $92,000 plus $15,000 filing fees/investigation. MacDonald was allowed to keep $50,000. That left a balance of $168,000 that was awarded to Mildred and Jeff's mother with Mildred getting the larger amount. Jeff's mom got more than $50,000.
The Kassab's did not need the money, but they did not want MacDonald to have it. When they both passed, the money was still in bank, it had never been used.
MacDonald's mother was not in need of his money. She had excellent health insurance and her own retirement pension and social security. Therefore, the money she received I believe from what I have been able to find out was filtered back to him for his personal needs. The fact that many women have come forth and stated that he sent them flowers, gifts, etc., during their relationship while he was in prison and the fact that he always had money for the commissary appears to support that belief.
When MacDonald's mom passed, she left him in charge of her estate which included her bank account, all personal belongings and her home that he sold for $350,000 several years after her death.
Until next time, I thank all of you who have offered the Stevenson family and I your help. And a special thank you to my friend who is always there with his help, support and encouragement. You are right, with truth and justice on our side, he will continue cleaning latrines for the rest of his life.