1974-1975 JEFFREY MACDONALD CASE GRAND JURY TRANSCRIPT
December 11, 1974: Dr. James L. Mack (Psychologist) with attachment
Mack # 1 Psychologists' Report
Mack # 2 Letter from Segal
Mack # 3 Test Profile
Mack # 4 Rorschach
Mack # 5 TAT
I, Mary M. Richie, being a Notary Public in and for the State of North Carolina, was appointed to take the testimony of the following witness, James L. Mack, before the grand jury, Raleigh, North Carolina, commencing at 10:15 a.m. on December 11, 1974. All Grand Jurors present.
Whereupon, James L. Mack, having been first sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
EXAMINATION BY MR. VICTOR WOERHEIDE:
Q Will you state your full name, please, sir?
A James L. Mack. M-a-c-k.
Q And where do you reside?
A I now reside in Cleveland, Ohio.
Q Can you give us your street address?
A 2065 Adelbert Road.
Q And where are you employed, sir?
A Case Western Reserve University.
Q And can you give us your business address?
A Well, I use the same. They're both the same.
Q And are you a psychologist, sir?
Q Can you give us some educational background and briefly describe your professional qualifications?
A Yes, I have a bachelor's degree from Stanford University, a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Minnesota. I have worked since 1967 as a clinical psychologist. Presently I am employed as assistant professor in the department psychiatry and division of neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. And my work generally specializes in two areas -- forensic psychology and problems associated with neurological deficits, brain damage.
At the time I was involved in this case, I was in [the] Philadelphia area as a psychologist on the psychiatry team at Norristown State Hospital and was also engaging in private practice in forensic psychology.
Q In that connection, were you associated with Dr. Robert Sadoff or Sadoff -- How do you pronounce his name?
A Yes. Dr Robert Sadoff.
Q Is he a forensic psychiatrist?
A Yes. It's not actually a formal board or examination. There is no way to qualify yourself actually as a forensic psychiatrist or psychologist. But it's an area of specialty that people engage in.
Q Well, I take it a forensic psychiatrist is a psychiatrist who, in his practice, occasionally appears in court as an expert witness. Is that right?
A That, and both he and I consulted with the local courts on various criminal matters other than being engaged as expert witnesses.
Q Now, you refer to -- I think you used the term "involvement in this case." The matter that we are concerned with is your examination of then Captain Jeffrey MacDonald. How did it come about that you made an examination of Captain Jeffrey MacDonald?
A In a rather unusual way. Typically, on private cases, we would be called in to examine people to aid in preparing their defense. Or, perhaps on the other side, to consult with the court authorities in examining a person for prosecution.
In this case, charges were not yet clearly being formally brought. The situation was rather hazy.
The defense attorney, in an effort to help prepare a potential defense, requested that Captain MacDonald be examined by Dr. Sadoff for the purpose of showing that he was not mentally ill. The reason, as it was explained to me, is that the crime appeared to be such a nature that it was highly likely that someone who was fairly disturbed would have committed it. And one line of reasoning that the defense was pursuing was to show that Captain MacDonald was not so disturbed.
So, he asked that Dr. Sadoff see Captain MacDonald and conduct a psychiatric examination. And Dr. Sadoff then in an effort, I think, to back up his own examination and potential testimony, asked for a psychological examination, the idea being that this would provide some independent, relatively objective information that might shed light on Captain MacDonald's adjustment.
So, I was not being asked to examine whether he was not guilty by reason of insanity or anything like that but rather simply to examine him to see if there was any sign of emotional illness or maladjustment that might suggest what type of crime he might be likely to commit or what his potential for extreme violent behavior was.
Q Were you brought into it by Dr. Sadoff or by Mr. Segal, the attorney?
A Dr. Sadoff suggested my name and then Mr. Segal contacted me.
Q So you were retained by Segal?
Q To make the psychological evaluation. Now, to whom did you deliver the results?
A Both to Dr. Sadoff and to Mr. Segal.
Q Now, prior to your meeting with Captain MacDonald and making the psychological evaluation, were you in any way briefed concerning the matter as to which it appeared possible that some sort of charge might be brought against him?
A Not really. Not really, because of the unusual circumstances of the way I was brought into the case. No attempt was made to do that. Normally, of course, it would have been.
Q I take it from what you have said to this point that Dr. Sadoff saw him first?
Q And you saw him afterward?
Q Did you participate in any way in Dr. Sadoff's contacts with Captain MacDonald?
Q Were any third parties present when you saw him?
Q When you met him and conducted an examination or testing procedure of him, where was that done?
A In my office at the Norristown State Hospital.
Q How many days did you see him?
A Only on one day.
Q How many hours on that day?
A Approximately six hours.
Q Is this the ideal procedure, that you see the subject on one day rather than over a period of several days?
A I would prefer to see a subject over several days. The subject could not be provided for me on several days though.
Q Was there any problem in that respect?
A Frankly, my recollection of that is not entirely clear. I remember that there was a great hurry about getting the whole thing done. He was flown into Philadelphia to see me. So -- but I really wouldn't want to say clearly what the logistics were of the situation.
Q I'm curious as to one thing. Was he in civilian clothes or was he in uniform?
A I'm not really certain. My recollection is that he was dressed in civilian clothes, but I wouldn't clearly affirm that.
Q I've seen a report by Dr. Sadoff saying he was very neatly dressed, wearing a sports jacket and so on and so forth. Would that be your impression of him at that time?
Q Now, will you describe to the grand jury what your procedure is in conducting the type of examination you conducted on this particular day. First I assume, you have to establish a certain rapport with the subject.
Q In other words, you have to sort of open him up to a degree -- a satisfactory degree of cooperation with him. Will you tell us how you proceeded? How you went about your business, what you did?
A The difficulty in establishing rapport with someone like this is to initially convince him that you are indeed working for his defense. I mean you have to reassure him that it is important that he explain himself as frankly and openly as possible. It was particularly difficult in this case because Captain MacDonald was very intellectualizing sort of fellow. He thought things out a lot in his head and was always anticipating and worrying and concerned about what might happen next and what would be the results of what he would say. I suppose that's sort of an appropriate concern, but it stood in the way of getting him to open up, frankly.
So, I spent some time with him pointing out that what he told me he was telling me in confidence, that the information would be communicated only to his attorney and Dr. Sadoff, and that it was very important that he discuss things with me as frankly and openly as possible.
He was concerned because he said the incident was very much on his mind and he was afraid that the fact that it was on his mind would influence his test results and might suggest that he had committed the crime and thus be harmful to him.
And, I said that on the contrary if he attempted to keep such information out, it would certainly look as if he were being evasive and I think succeeded in convincing him that it was necessary for him to be very open and candid.
As we went into the examination, it seemed to me fairly clear that he had taken my advice. His responses were quick. They did not suggest that he was being carefully reflective, thinking ahead of what he was going to say. He showed no indications, in other words, of planning ahead in what he was saying and trying to make himself look good. Instead he did seem to be speaking quickly, openly, frankly, and without reserve.
Q All right. Now, at the time of your conservation with him, did you go in depth into the incident that occurred in the early morning hours of February 17, when his family was killed and he ended up in the hospital with certain injuries?
Q And, can you explain why you did not probe into that area?
A For two reasons. One -- the purpose of the examination at the time he was seeing me was to get an independent evaluation based primarily on psychological tests as to whether he was or was not mentally ill.
In a sense, if I were to get at this other information, I would be addressing myself to other problems.
Secondly, this information was presumably being acquired by Dr. Sadoff. There was some urgency as regards time and so it seemed to make the most efficient use of my time if I spent the maximum of my efforts on completing some tests and in talking to him with material regarding what had been brought up with the tests themselves.
Q Now, I have here a copy of a report that's headed Psychological Evaluation. It appears to be signed by James L. Mack, Ph.D., Certified Psychologist. Can you identify this as the report that you prepared as a result of the tests that you made?
A Yes. It's been underlined and notated by someone other than myself.
Q Do you have another copy there that's not underlined and notated?
A Yes, I do.
Q May we mark that as an exhibit?
A Let me see if I have two copies. Yes, you can, if you like
MACK EXHIBIT NO. 1 MARKED FOR IDENTIFICATION.
MR. WOERHEIDE: That will be Mack Exhibit No. 1 of this date, Dr. Mack. By the way, there's one other exhibit, while I'm on my feet, I'd like to mark at this time. Will you mark this as Dr. Mack Exhibit No. 2 of this date?
MACK EXHIBIT NO. 2 MARKED FOR IDENTIFICATION.
MR. WOERHEIDE: I'll read a part of this to the grand jury.
Q You are familiar with this letter, Dr Mack, are you?
MR. WOERHEIDE: The last sentence is -- This is signed by Bernard Segal and it's addressed to Dr. Mack.
And, a part of the last sentence reads as follows: "I hereby authorize you to disclose to the grand jury and to the government attorneys working with the grand jury the results of any tests administered to Dr. MacDonald and all raw data including conversations and interviews upon which your evaluation of his mental state and his personality were based."
Q Now, referring to your report, I noticed that you administered the following tests: Shipley, MMPI, Rorschach and TAT.
Now could you just, without going into detail, tell me what the Shipley is?
A It's a very brief, self-administered intelligence test.
Q And he passed that with flying colors I take it?
Q What is the MMPI?
A The MMPI is a questionnaire personality test composed of 566 questions to be answered true or false, scored on thirteen scales and provides a general profile of a person's overall personality adjustment.
Q Do you have the form in which he gave the responses to the questions?
A No, I don't. I have only the profile.
Q On the basis of that -- Do you still have it among your papers somewhere?
A Oh, you mean his actual answers?
A Yes. The answer sheet and the form is rather different. Here are his answers, but it's not very helpful without the questions.
Q They should accompany that, I assume, a form that has the questions?
A Well, yes. This is a simple profile. From this I derived my clinical interpretation of the test.
MR. WOERHEIDE: Well, let's mark a copy of that.
Q You have the original there, I take it? Is this a true copy of it?
MR. WOERHEIDE: Well, mark this as Dr. Mack Exhibit No. 3.
MACK EXHIBIT NO. 3 MARKED FOR IDENTIFICATION.
Q Now, referring to the backside of this, are these the answers he made?
Q Placing marks. Now in order for that to be intelligible we need a printed document with the questions on it. Is that right?
A In order to understand how he answered each question, what he was answering when he said true and false, yes, you would need the whole test booklet.
Q Now, is that readily attainable?
Q Do you have a copy of it?
A I don't have a copy with me.
Q But it can be obtained from any clinic, I take it?
A Yes. It wouldn't help you very much though.
Q Oh, well, I understand that.
On the basis of the answers that he gave here, you drafted a profile. Is that right?
A Yes. What happens is the answers are scored with different scales. You don't use all 566 questions for each scale. And you simply lay a key over it, on the items on any particular scale, and find how many items he endorsed in a way that would count as a point on that scale.
Q Now, tell us about the Rorschach.
A The Rorschach and the TAT are rather different sorts of tests. The MMPI is a test where at least it looks fairly straightforward; that is to say, you are answering a question true or false and it is supposedly saying something about yourself when you answer it.
The Rorschach, the items that are presented to the subject are made so as to be deliberately ambiguous and the subject is asked to look at the card and say what he sees in the card. It's a bit as if, when you were children, perhaps you looked at the clouds and saw shapes in the clouds. And, of course, they were just clouds. You really didn't see a horse or an elephant in the clouds, but they looked like a horse or an elephant. And the Rorschach is basically the same sort of thing, the idea being that the subject reveals certain information about himself in terms of the things that he sees in the cards.
Tests like these are usually called projective personality tests as opposed to the MMPI which would be called an objective personality test.
The word simply means the person projects into the card things that really aren't there but represent things inside his own mental state.
Q Now, you refer to the Rorschach. In what way does the TAT differ from that?
A Okay. The TAT is a similar type of test. The stimulus materials instead of being totally ambiguous stimulus materials are pictures of real things but the subject has to project into it in that he's required to make up a story about each card. And, then depending on the nature of the story he makes up, he reveals different things about himself.
Q Now, did you preserve a protocol of the tests you gave to him, particularly the Rorschach and the TAT?
Q Getting back to the MMPI, I don't think you defined for the jury the type of questions he is asked to answer. One, are these multiple choices; and two, in what areas do they inquire?
A Since there are 566 questions, they inquire in a great number of areas and they run the gamut from: I like mechanic's magazine -- true or false -- to: My father was a good man, at times I see things that other people do not see. There's a very large variety of questions there, all to be answered either true or false.
Q Now, following the form of your psychological evaluation report, can you tell us what your general observations were with respect to Captain MacDonald?
A I'm not entirely sure what you are asking me.
Q I refer to your report and you first say he was seen for a total of six hours on a single day. And you've already recounted a part of this, that he was concerned about --
A In other words, just -- not the total results of the test but basically how he seemed to me.
Q Right. But when we get down here a little bit later you were saying he tended to deny any major emotional difficulties and I would like to just inform the grand jury of what your general observations were in this respect.
A Okay. He -- as I've already pointed out, one of the most salient features of the way he initially impressed me was his concern that his preoccupation with what had happened might influence the test results. And I talked about the reassurance I've given him in that regard.
He is the sort of person who initially comes across as very self-possessed. This is a man who doesn't turn to other people for him with his problems. This is a man who can work things out by himself. So, he denies any mental difficulties, any complaints; whereas, many individuals, if you ask them, "Have you ever had any problems of getting along?" would say, "Well, occasionally, yes." Captain MacDonald tended not to do that. He would say, "No, no. I live a good sort of life. No problems. Get along with people. Have no troubles."
And this seemed really to characterize his whole lifestyle. In other words, he didn't seem to me that he was simply a person who right now was saying I'm not having any problems, because obviously if he said he was having problems it might relate to the alleged crime. Instead, he seemed to be the sort of person if you came up to him on the street at any time he would tell you things are going fine.
He seemed quite na´ve psychologically. I don't think you have to be a psychologist or a very well-educated person to have, to be able to think psychologically. Some people with no training or education are very sensitive and quick to think in psychological terms and know how people are thinking and feeling. He was not this sort of person. And, in spite of the fact that he had completed college and medical school, he was not an insightful or -- he was a very bright person but not a person who understood how the mind works and how people think. And he was really quite dumb in that regard. He seemed to just come across as a person who had very little understanding of his own behavior. And this made me feel that more than most people, Captain MacDonald would be a person who would not be very good at subtly, or cleverly, or consistently hiding features about his personality. He was too na´ve to do that.
You know, if you have any "smarts" psychologically and a psychologist asks you, "Do you have any problems at all?" you know you are not supposed to say, "Oh, no, Doc. No problems at all." You're supposed to say, "Well, yeah, you know, like everybody, I have occasionally."
He didn't have that kind of "smarts." It made me feel that this was a person who was not going to have the sophistication to sort of evade things cleverly because he wasn't able to interpret the various psychological features that might come up as he described aspects of his behavior.
Is that getting a little vague or am I getting across what I'm trying to say?
Q I think you are getting across. Just keep going.
A I mentioned before that once he actually began the tests his responses were quick, almost impulsive. He was not a reflective, thoughtful person in responding to the test items. And there was no indication whatsoever that he was trying to conceal or hide things that came up.
And in fact, in the actual content of his test responses, material came up that was clearly related to the incident. And so there was certainly, I thought, overall in the whole testing, no indication whatsoever that he was attempting to conceal his thoughts about the death or to convince me in any way of his innocence.
So, in general, in looking at the test results as a whole I thought I was getting a pretty valid indication of his current adjustment and --
Q His current adjustment -- that's his ability to cope with the situation he found himself at that particular time?
A Yes. And his whole personality and lifestyle.
Q Now, before I get into the more detailed conclusions as to his personality adjustment and his, his character, I'd like you to touch on the test results which -- Where shall we start?
With the Minnesota? Or, with the --
A Well --
Q Or with the Rorschach or with the TAT?
A I'm comfortable with using individual test results as examples of what I'm trying to establish in the whole report. But I don't interpret the reports like one at a time. I don't say like here are my findings on this test. I've put all three reports together in order to formulate an overall picture of his adjustment. So, it's sort of like if you go back to the individual test, you're pulling apart what my whole job was to work to put together.
So, I'm happy to talk about the individual tests, but it's somewhat artificial.
Q All right. Let's go into the area of his -- what hang-ups if any he has, what paranoid -- Let's see whether or not he has any paranoid tendencies, underlying difficulties in that respect, and his personality adjustment, and his character. And please illustrate it by reference to specific items that you have there.
Q You have the Rorschach ink blots. You have the TAT pictures. And you have this curve that I think we call it projection that is derived from the MMPI questions and answers.
I'd like you to be as specific as you can and inform the jury, for example, show them what the ink blot is or what the picture is and tell us what he said about it insofar as you consider them to be particularly significant.
Q I'll let you make the selection.
A All right. Now, to start out with, the overall results, just looking at the whole works, falls broadly within normal limits. In other words, there is no particular thing on any of the tests that jumps out at you as a strikingly abnormal finding.
For example, on the MMPI, the scores are usually scaled on the MMPI. I don't know if you can see it but there are three broad horizontal lines. The middle line is the average score.
The broad horizontal line on top is the score beyond which it falls in the abnormal range. And all his scores fell within the outer broad line. So you can see broadly the results fell within normal limits.
Q I can see that approaches the abnormal range but doesn't quite get there.
A Yes. You and I probably have ones that approach the abnormal range (laughing) and don't quite get there either. Might even have a few over it. Which may or may not mean anything. All of the test results, you know, have to be interpreted in light of all the others. But, at least, at a quick look over all the tests, nothing jumps out where you would see, even if you weren't a psychologist, you would see and look at it and say, "Oh, my lord, you know, what's going on here?" You know. They are all pretty much within normal limits. Which is, itself, unusual. I might add that of all the people that I have seen that have been accused of violent crimes, it's pretty unusual that -- I suppose because in most instances, even on the cases where they've been found not guilty, they had an adjustment of such that there was reason to believe they might have done it and there was some abnormal features in their adjustment.
Okay. So, that's the first basic thing.
Now, the main thing that came across about Captain MacDonald is that basically this guy -- and if you talk to him you're going to find this hard to believe -- basically this guy is a very passive, dependent guy with marked feelings of inadequacy. But, this all concealed by a surface where he presents himself as adequate, competent, in control, perfectly well adjusted and always at ease and ready to handle whatever comes up.
So, there is sort of this shell of adequacy and competency. But, inside, these marked feelings of not being assertive enough, not being adequate, having real doubts about himself.
And all of this is very much unconscious. Like if you ask him, you know, well, underneath you really are sort of worried about yourself, huh, you would really get him up in the air because he would say, "What do you mean?" You know. "That's silly," you know.
Or if -- He might get threatened if he worried you, but if you were a person that he could sort of put down, he would have no hesitation to say, "What are you talking about?"
So, it's this contrast between the way he presents himself and what comes across unconsciously as you begin to spend time with him and talk with him and work with him.
So, for example, the -- on the MMPI, the highest scale -- the one that's approaching the abnormal range is the masculinity, femininity scale. And he is scoring in the feminine direction which doesn't mean homosexuality or anything like that but men who score in the feminine direction are men who are usually somewhat passive, not terribly direct assertive, people who, when they are angry or are upset, would express their feelings in somewhat more passive ways. They might, for example, be sarcastic rather than directly oppositional or argumentative. So the passive quality comes out here.
To give you another example of the passive quality in a TAT story. Now, he sees a picture of a boy looking at a violin and he is asked to tell the story about it. Generally on all the TAT stories you say, "Tell me what led up to what is going on now, what is going on now, how it comes out, how the people are thinking and feeling."
Okay, it's just a boy looking at a violin. It's purposefully made so that you can't -- You know, you can't say exactly what's going on. You have to make it up.
Now, he says, this is a little boy who is getting ready to practice his violin.
He didn't have to say, "This is a little boy." Why did [he use] the word "little?"
"He's getting ready to practice his violin. He's a little annoyed."
Okay, now, some of you probably would see this boy as annoyed; some of you might see him as pleased. But for Captain MacDonald the boy is a little annoyed. He'd rather do something else.
"He's had it a number of months and is barely adequate." Now, where is that coming from in this picture? "He has had it a number of months and he is barely adequate."
I'm trying to present this in a way that is pretty straightforward, you know. One can dwell on psychoanalytic interpretations material and see the violin as a symbol for the male sex organ and all this sort of thing but that's getting pretty hot and heavy. And I think the point gets across without going into all of that.
"He'll give up other things to practice it."
Now, what's going on here? He's annoyed. He's barely adequate. He isn't really liking it but he will give up other things to practice it.
After much discussion with the parents -- one-sided from the parents' viewpoint -- he practices it for a number of years and then gives it up.
He thinks there are nicer things to do with his time than something that doesn't fit in with his idea of the role of a young male.
Now, the point about this story is there's nothing strikingly apparent about it. He doesn't say that the boy is going to take the violin and set it on fire or anything like that. It's not wildly abnormal but it does reveal certain things about his personality adjustment. And I think the things that stand out about it is: (1) He quickly identifies the boy as a young boy, a boy who is being told to do something by his parents that he doesn't want to do. A person who is annoyed at being forced to do what he doesn't want to do but who nevertheless goes ahead and does it.
He doesn't rebel. He thinks that it's not what a young male ought to be doing. So, he's a person who has feeling in himself that there are other things that he would like to be doing.
He would like to be more independent and more assertive. And yet, he goes along with what he is told to do. And in the end what happens? Nothing. He doesn't get anywhere. He practices it for a number of years and he gives it up.
So there is a real passive, inadequacy that comes out although the boy overtly says, well, there are other things that I should be doing as a young boy. But he is not doing them. And he doesn't really get anywhere with the whole business.
So it gives a little bit of the flavor of what through and how I might use a test like that.
Now, the next thing is he clearly attempts to present himself as a strong, competent man but his underlying dependency needs require him to gain the approval of those in authority over him, an approval that he gains by conformity.
So, on one hand you've got a guy who wants to be strong, competent and independent, but wants everybody to approve what he does.
Now, this is a somewhat more overt level of what I'm talking about, that basically he is this passive guy with doubts about his adequacy. But he wants to be seen as strong and competent. He is really worried about what people are going to think.
Now, let me see if I could a good example of that out of a story.
Again, this is what you would say about the profile of this particular configuration with the high score on the MF scale. And the next highest score, by the way, is on a scale usually related to impulsivity and anger.
If people have this next scale, scale four, up high, they are usually seen as very impulsive, angry people but when scale five is up with it, they express that anger and impulsivity in very passive inadequate ways. So they are not a very successful any [sic, Note from Christina Masewicz: It would appear that a word or words are missing], impulsive person. A good rebel would just have the High Four and not the High Five.
Now, here's an example. We're talking here about the need for approval and the concern.
Okay. Now he sees a picture, two figures -- most people would see a male and usually see this one as older; this one as younger. Okay. This is the case of an older, wiser father figure in a business venture trying to give some sage advice to a newer, younger new partner in the firm. The new partner realizes it's probably good advice, that it has been an impetuous move. He's grateful, but he doesn't want to show he was wrong. The younger man is wiser for it and won't make the same mistake. The older man thinks he is wise for accepting it.
The young man has learned that everything takes experience.
That's not an exciting story. You know there's nothing wildly -- but, again, he picked that story out of all the things he has to say about this card. And the two things that come across in the young man is: one, that the young man has impulsive, impetuous tendencies that are wrong, that he gain experience and take the older person's advice; and two, he doesn't want to show that he is wrong.
Things are communicated sort of implicitly but not clearly. His emotions are not brought right out in the open and things are not discussed openly. It's all under the surface.
Is this sort of --
Q That's precisely what I want you to give us and in as much detail as you can.
A The problem, just to make a momentary aside, psychologists have got a real problem in that all the words we've used sound crazy. That's the reason that I tried to put this into the general rubrics, that the whole overall test results are basically within normal limits. But, you know, we don't have words to describe these things that sound normal. So, I want to -- It's important to keep this in mind through this whole thing, that any one of you, if I examined you, or myself, similar type of words would be used to describe our personality adjustments.
So -- okay.
Now, describe Captain MacDonald's overt assertions of well-being and independence, these mutually contradictory needs of being independent and autonomous on one hand and gaining approval on the other hand can't leave him to any real independence. He doesn't really achieve an independence where all that he needs for approval is in here. He is still hung up on getting approval out there. And, as long as he is caught in that bind, he's never really going to become a complete mature, independent individual.
Now, probably there are a lot of people in the world that in this definition are not completely mature individuals. So, again, I don't mean to say that this constitutes some markedly abnormal feature.
But the crux, the irony of his situation is that to the extent that he gains this approval from authority that he needs by conforming, to the same extent he loses his sense of adequacy and strong masculine identity.
In other words, if you've got any insight, you know that every time you submit and go along with what authorities are saying, you're losing that much quality of your own independence and integrity.
How do you handle that? Well, he handles it by not having insight.
Other people might handle it in a different way. Some people might get depressed. Some people might develop tics or stomach pains. Each one of you handles conflicts that you experience in a different way. And the key thing about Captain MacDonald is he handles his conflicts by denying that they exist. And he puts a little part of himself over here and a little part of himself over here and he never puts it all together. As long as he doesn't put it all together, it doesn't upset him.
So, you might or I might look at Captain MacDonald in a brief conversation and think, how can he hide from his feelings like that. Well, I'll tell you how. If he didn't hide from his feelings like that, he would be every day confronted with the fact that on one hand he's saying he's strong, successful male and on the other hand he is bowing down to authority and giving in to people and he wouldn't be able to handle it. So, as a result, he handles it by completely hiding it from his feelings. He is a guy who is simply not in touch with his feelings.
So, it's a crucial part of his personality adjustment that he does not understand what's going on in him, that he has no insight.
And this is a guy who -- and I think here I can graphically express it best by something out of the interview rather than out of a test result -- says, "You know what bugs me about all of this, people keeping phoning me and wanting to give me sympathy about what's happened, like they want me to cry on their shoulder. I'm not going to cry on anybody's shoulder." You know. And so -- "They come to see me and talk to me and I know that they see me just looking straight and unconcerned and unbothered. And they're not happy with me. They want me to be upset and to cry and show it. But I don't do that."
And so, you look at him fairly shortly after this happened, and I was seeing him approximately a month and a half or within two months of the incident, he can sit back and be relaxed and talk about these things and not break down.
Now, again, if we divide you up into how to handle your feelings, there would be some of you who would handle this feeling by crying. Some of you would handle it by just not being able to say anything at all but just going home and being very unhappy and depressed and slowed up and you couldn't work. Others of you would lose yourself in your work and just get all churned up into a sort of manic state. The way he handled it was just sort of sit back and adopt an intellectualized, clinical, objective attitude and not be concerned.
Now when you push him on this, he was willing to acknowledge that when he was at home alone, all by himself, he would get upset and cry. But he would never cry in front of anyone.
Never let any of these feelings out.
Now if you are going to be charged with a crime, you probably shouldn't have this kind of adjustment because it doesn't look good when people come around and you don't look upset.
But there is no way in the world that a person with Mr. -- with Captain MacDonald's adjustment, that he is going to look upset in the presence of people. Because that would admit that he has some feelings, it would admit that he can understand what is going on inside himself and that opens up all sorts of problems for a person with his adjustment.
Now, I think really as you begin to spend time with Captain MacDonald you begin to see that he's got a sort of nostalgic longing for his early childhood. All of this that we're talking about, of course, is pretty much pushed under consciousness. But when you hear him talk about his boyhood or childhood, he clearly seems to regret the loss of his early dependent, conforming role in childhood. Then he knew how to win approval and respect. He was a bright, good student. He was an athletic boy. He knew how to do all kinds of things that would win approval and attention. You know, the glowing schoolboy. Perfect. That was it for him. Well, what do you do when you're this bright, accepting schoolboy? You conform; you do all the right things to win all the adulation of your parents and teachers. What do you do when you grow up?
BREAK FOR RECESS
Continuing with Dr. Mack's answers:
We were speaking of how a person with this image of himself as a young, successful, bright student, athletic boy handles becoming an adult.
You see this picture? It's a picture of a man climbing the rope. "A gymnast showing off, climbing the rope in gym to the delight of others. Jesus! How do you make a story out of this thing? He feels silly that he has to show off to amuse his friends."
So, if you're a good, young, bright, athletic kid, you don't start to feel silly. But, when you get to be an adult, other feelings start to creep in.
"He'd rather have the attention in another way, but he is the center of the party and continues to do it to keep his large number of friends nearby laughing. Afterwards he always feels foolish but the next time the occasion arises, he does the same thing again. He will continue to entertain people, each time feeling it really isn't him doing it. He'd rather sit down and talk to a friend than perform but he will continue because of his fear of losing friends."
So he's stuck. The only way he can handle it is consciously not to recognize this conformity and need for approval as a subjection of himself. And as long as he can do that, he can continue to view himself, particularly in regards to his professional competence, as a doctor, as an incipient surgeon and the esteem and approval that he gains by that as indication of his adequacy as a man.
Q Now, before you get into the next area, I would like to go back to observation that you made; to wit, he compartmentalized himself. Now, this involves a suppression of feelings on his part. I assume that embraces -- or, the term would embrace the feeling of emotion that one has with respect to the family unit.
Q Now, how would that affect his family situation so far as his wife and two children are concerned?
A He would be a guy who would lose himself in his work. His contact with any potentially intimate human relationships, and particularly his wife and children, would be marked with reserve and handicapped by his conflicts about independence and dependence. So that this is a guy, for example, who would be appalled at the thought of women's lib because the authority, if so many people start questioning his authority, that's going to be a problem for him. This isn't unusual. I mean there are a lot of people like this. But, this is the way he is too.
He would probably be able to be most intimate with people where the lines of authority and structure are most clear. And, of course, that's only true in a marriage if your wife willingly subjects herself to you, as it would have to be with him -- it could be the reserve, but it wouldn't be with him because of his need for authority. He was able to express what warmth he was able to express much more easily with his children than he was with his wife. And occasionally in the tests a sort of nostalgic quality would come out in regards to his children as at one point in the Rorschach on card 5, he saw these upper details as the head of a bunny rabbit.
"I see a bunny rabbit; we gave one to Kimmy about a month before this occurred."
And the whole idea of the bunny rabbit. So, this is the sort of softest, pleasantest type of response he gives on the tests. And even then he didn't make it as soft and pleasant as he could because he emphasizes, it looks like the bunny rabbit because of the form, the ears coming, the feet coming down, -- He only uses this center part. This is not part of the bunny rabbit out here.
He might have said for example, it looked like a bunny rabbit because it looked soft and furry, which would be sort of a warmer, more affectionate type of response. But he didn't do that.
So, even at that level, he really can't let his defenses down that much. He instead sort of emphasizes the hard lines, the edge, the form that creates the perception of the bunny rabbit. But, the content itself has a sort of warm, pleasant effect associated with it. So, in relation to his children, some feelings can come out more comfortably than with the wife or with other adults.
Presumably, he could be affectionate with someone very much in authority over him, although that's usually not appropriate socially. But, he would certainly be more comfortable in responding to people even that were in clear authority over him than people that were at his equal. I recall commenting to Mr. Murtagh that he would probably have a much better time talking with you than with Mr. Murtagh because Mr. Murtagh looks younger and less of an authority figure.
Q Thank you. Now, will you proceed to the next area?
A When a person is concerned about their adequacy, about how successful they are, and that person happens to be an American man, one of the ways about this that gets expressed is in terms of their heterosexual behavior. How do they make it with women? And obviously this is going to come up with Captain MacDonald.
But, the problem with Captain MacDonald is he also confronted with not only his image of himself as a very adequate male, but his need to be socially conforming and get acceptance and approval.
So, what does he do? He has a whole series of affairs with women but never with a lot of satisfaction or success. And he is always overcome afterwards, not by any deep internalized sense of guilt, but a sort of a feeling of shame. The difference that you might see in a young kid who has done something wrong and is caught by their parents and feels ashamed and blushed and turned red as opposed to the idea of guilt where someone does something wrong; they know it's wrong and internally they're bothered by it. Nobody knows about it. It doesn't matter that nobody knows about it. Internally they've got a sense of guilt.
His behavior was more motivated out of this sort of externalized guilt, a sense of shame, because he was concerned about the approval of others.
So, although to listen to him, to talk to him, he might present himself as sort of a stud, a very successful male in having successful sexual encounters, in fact he really is not. He is not comfortable with himself in this image.
So, he's not free to go out and be consistently, sexually aggressive.
You know, a person who is completely liberated in this sense, although he might not approve of it, a person who is completely liberated in this sense might perfectly be able to out and have affairs and if the wife brought up any objection, you'd just say, if you don't like it, leave me. You know, this is your problem. This is the way I run my life.
Okay. He couldn't do that at all. Instead he would -- another person who was so bothered by guilt might have an affair and then stop and not have any more.
That would be another way of handling it. Instead, he had affairs but was never completely happy in having them and yet he couldn't completely stop them. So, there was this sort of continually wanting the approval and affection and love of the women but also wanting the approval and affection and love of society, of not wanting to do anything to disrupt the situation that was, from the outside world's eyes, very successful, a doctor, married, settled, children. So, he was sort of caught in a dilemma there and he couldn't really achieve any completely satisfactory way of handling it. And he couldn't communicate openly about these feelings either with himself or with his wife because he was caught up in the stern authoritarian image of himself. He still had to be successful and master these things himself.
Now on the TAT -- Can you make that all right? It's sort of '30-ish kind of a picture of a man and a woman and the man is sort of turned off to the side looking away and the woman has his arms around her. People often see, in some sense, the woman is pleading with the man in some way.
Okay, now, here's his story. "I'm trying to make out the expression on his face. This is a husband and wife. The husband feels strongly about something and the wife is obviously showing pride and concern over her husband's anger and is trying to console him.
"I mean the husband is a, angry, striving, aggressive, assertive, beast and that makes the woman feel good.
"He enjoys that she is responding so nicely to his show of concern. He'll be able to control his feeling through her urgings. They'll both feel fine. She showed her concern and love and he gave in to her wishes in calming down. I suspect the inciting cause was an advance made to her by he milkman or a slight to her by her boss. So he was going to protect her or keep other people away. She's calming him but she really appreciates a show of affection. So, he is the sort of stern, taciturn, demanding, authoritarian figure and she is the sort of pleading, don't do it, I know you're protecting me but calm yourself, urging him to be happy and successful as a husband."
But there's no real communication about the feelings, or thoughts, or ideas going on here.
You know. People are behaving according to images.
In terms of his life history, in keeping with his need to conform, as well as his need to really be sort of emotionally dependent on people -- even though outwardly he doesn't acknowledge this -- he married quite young and he married under circumstances where it wasn't altogether clear that many people would have married under the circumstances that he did.
But he married young and set up a family and went through, in a way still carrying on with the image of the golden boy that he had communicated as a schoolboy. His marriage was not a combination of two terribly mature or adequate individuals but rather a relationship where he could have the support and approval of his wife while he failed to become involved with her in an emotionally close or mutually cooperative relationship.
In many ways he resented and avoided the demands and responsibilities of being a father.
And he's been able to use his academic and professional career as reasonably acceptable excuse to avoid involvement. You know, how can a wife complain that he's not spending enough time around the house when he getting a medical degree, working hard to support the family, and buying presents and giving things to everybody. You know. So, what does the wife say? Well, the wife is saying things like, well, you know, couldn't you just be around the house a little more, give us a little more love and affection, a little more of your time.
But it's hard just to say no. Instead, what you say is well, I've to work. You know, I've got to do all these things. I'm doing this for you.
So, he -- the fact that he was a bright person to begin with certainly helped, but also he chose a profession and work and everything that took care of his time and in a sense took care of his responsibilities because it limited the extent to which he would have to emotionally and maturely communicated more effectively in the family situation.
I hope there aren't too many doctors in the audience here. It works very nicely, I might add.
He hasn't actually been free to turn to authority figures or male friends either for the closeness or dependency that he actually -- or unconsciously craves. He fears emotional closeness with males due to his fears of homosexual impulses in himself.
Now, actually, he doesn't have any real strong homosexual impulses but he's afraid he might. This is sort of one of those nagging things that people growing up in America have hanging onto them, that men sometimes don't feel terribly comfortable about being warm and close with each other emotionally because it looks sort of queer. You know, women can go down hand-in-hand or arms around each other and it's acceptable. Men can't.
So, without necessarily having any strong homosexual inclinations, he has a fear of the possibility these things might exist in himself and thus he's turned off from close relationships with males.
In many ways, with a person of his conformity, he might in some ways achieve a great deal through close relationships with older male figures. But, because of his fears of himself, because of his fears that he's not adequate, that he's not good, because of his fears that maybe there are homosexual things in him, these all blend together and prevent him from achieving any degree of closeness or satisfaction in relationships of that type.
Can you see the picture all right? There is a -- One person is lying down and another person is standing over them, bent, with the hand out like that. The person standing is usually seen as the male. The person lying down -- it's really sort of obscure but probably it's more commonly seen as a male.
"This is an old man and a boy. They're both hobo types, traveling together. The old man has been traveling with the young man as a friend for the last two days, through Texas. The old man looks at the boy and thinks of his own son and on this night he felt a surge of affection and fatherly type feeling for the boy while he was sleeping. He wanted to reach over and touch the boy, his shoulder or his hair. The boy is going to wake up and misunderstand, run away and break up a nice friendship. His misunderstanding prevents a lasting friendship from developing, the old man being much more hurt than the boy."
Now, in a sense here I think that Captain MacDonald is identifying with both figures. He's the young boy who is afraid of the closeness of the relationship with the older figure but also he's the older figure who can't communicate his feelings to the young boy. And there is really sort of a bittersweet quality about these feelings, that he simply doesn't know how to communicate or express nor accept. So, he has in himself a longing and a need for these things but no idea of how to get them or how to communicate about them. And he stays isolated.
If he were to bring these feelings out more consciously and openly, then all conflicts about his adequacy versus his need for support would come out in the open and make him much more anxious, an upset and depressed. And so he can't tolerate this. So, all these things are kept sealed over. And I'm bringing them out from some of the test results but it doesn't mean that he's consciously aware of them even though he can make up a story like that.
As a result, emotionally his behavior is characterized by constriction. He tends to avoid emotion, to deny and repress his feelings.
Now on the Rorschach, when we show people a series of these inkblots -- I've shown you one before; here's another one -- and the person tries to say what they are, one of the ways we score this test is to go back over the test once we've gone through all the card and say, "Now, what about the blot made you see it that way?" And people see different things for different reasons. Some will say, "Well, it just was shaped like that." Or, I mentioned that before. Or, "Well, it has sort of a soft, texture quality that makes it look like that." Or, "Well it seemed like they were moving. You know, it's like it gave the impression of a running figure. That's what made it look like that." Or, "Well, it was the color that made it look like that."
Now, when you pull all these things together and add up the totals, one of the things that we look at in scoring the Rorschach is the extent to which a person tends to use one or another determinant of his -- of what he saw, color, movement, shape, form texture, all of these things.
And there is a tendency for certain sorts of mental states to be associated with the tendency to use certain sorts of determinants.
For example, people who are intellectualizers, thoughtful people who spend a lot of time thinking about things, will tend to use human movement often as a determinant of what they see.
People who are emotion-laden people often tend to be more responsive to the colors and to use the colors.
Now, Dr. MacDonald showed a much greater tendency to respond to things like movement and form than he did to color.
So, this is another way that we might get from the tests to sort of support the hypothesis that he really doesn't utilize his emotional expression very effectively. There's a much greater absence of response to the color properties of the inkblots than to other aspects of them.
He tends to avoid emotion, to deny and repress his feelings. He's quite organized, quite compulsive in his approach to problems, very systematic, detailed.
Another thing we score in the Rorschach is the tendency to look at loosely formulated whole concepts of the blots. So we might say, this looks like a bat as opposed to relatively small, detailed aspect of the blot.
Well, Captain MacDonald was much more inclined to look at small, teeny details of the blot.
So, for example, on this blot he gave about ten responses and almost none of them paid any attention to the blot as a whole. And, instead, he went around interpreting this little piece, a little piece here, a little piece here, a much more compulsive, detailed precise, careful approach to things instead of a more global approach.
So he comes across then as a person who really is quite organized and compulsive. And that helps a lot if you're the sort of person who wants to compartmentalize everything and put one feeling here and one feeling here. He can do it in a very efficient, organized, systematic way.
And as a result these things don't overwhelm him; they don't interfere with his function.
He's able to function really quite effectively.
Now, an important element in his concept of the masculine role is that a man does not show emotion or weakness. To ask for help or understanding is a sign of inadequacy. Thus, his confident manner, which initially gives the impression of strength and adequacy, in fact is a rigid [sic, Note from Christina Masewicz: It would appear that a word or words are missing] which doesn't permit him to become close to other people and doesn't allow him to ask for support even when it would be appropriate.
Now, this concerned me to such an extent that I thought there was some possibility that he might interfere with his own defense because the whole idea of turning to a lawyer to him in a criminal case would be sort of bad for him. I mean he ought to be able to work it out for himself.
And so I was quite concerned that he would be sort of person who would try to respond to all the cross-examination and try to provide all the answers and try to handle everything on his own. He doesn't want any attorney telling him how he should do this. He can handle it. He can -- well, my gosh! He's not the sort of person who has to turn to other people for help.
And so in a way, I think this would be -- If I were an attorney, I would hate to defend a guy like this because I would never be sure what the minute he got out of sight he was going to do something on his own that blow the whole defense because he was convinced that he had to work things out himself.
Now, he has a sort of unusual combination then of defensives, unusual in the sense that psychologists like to type people, you know, really nice, into nice, neat little compartments.
We like to compartmentalize things. This is this kind of a person; this is this kind of a person.
And that's great when we write textbooks, you know, and we can say, well, this is this kind of person. But unfortunately when we meet with a real person, they don't fit into such nice neat compartments.
Now, Captain MacDonald puts together two rather discrepant aspects in the way he defends against these conflicts.
Now, remember I'm saying the basic conflict in Captain MacDonald is on one hand a need to be seen as an assertive, independent, striving, capable man and on the other hand a need to get emotional support, warmth, to conform, to get approval of others. That's the conflict.
Now, the defenses are the way he handles that conflict.
Now, he does two things. He has on one hand this sort of obsessive, careful precise, thoughtful, systematic approach. That's one way he handles it. He tries to reason things out, to intellectualize a lot of things. You don't worry, you think it out and it comes out all right.
Now, most people that are intellectualizers, that are very precise, obsessive, they tend to be worriers. They tend to get anxious as they obsess about these things and they get more and more upset. But he's not, because he's got this other set of defensives that sort of like says, I don't have anything wrong. I don't have any conflicts. There are no problems. I can do everything perfectly. He sort of denies and represses all this material.
So, he's got this funny combination of on one hand an obsessive approach, an intellectualizing approach, and on the other hand a sort of denying and repressive approach. And that's a fairly unusual combination of defenses. And I think it makes him particularly difficult to come to understand.
Q I notice in your report you refer to hysteroid defenses of a denial repression and emotional constriction. Can you define that "hysteroid"?
A That's one of the things that I was mentioning before, that we run into a problem. We use words that have pejorative, nasty connotations.
If a person's sole defenses are denial, repression, nothing's wrong, everything's fine, these people -- taken to the extreme -- are usually described as hysterical personalities. And what this means is these are people who are outwardly very na´ve, bland, uninvolved but friendly, pleasant, affable, easygoing. You ask them if anything is wrong; they say, nothing is wrong.
You ask them how things are going; things are going fine. What are people like? People are wonderful. What's your marriage like? My marriage is wonderful.
Okay, that's the hysterical solution to life.
The common use of the word "hysterical" like having extreme histrionics, theatrical blow-ups, you see in people like this because what happens is that something terrible happens, they might momentarily show a very dramatic response to it. Oh, terrible screaming, crying.
Two minutes later they are fine. No problem, bland, comfortable. That's the extreme. He doesn't show this hysterical reaction. But he does have this sort of denying, repressing; everything is fine sort of emotionally bland quality to him. But when he is put under stress and those things don't work very well, then out comes this more systematic, careful, clinical, objective, scientific approach of the more obsessive, intellectualizing aspect of his adjustment.
Now, what does a guy like this do? Well, I suggested before and I'll repeat it again. He chooses a professional that enables him to be strong, authority figure and that helps him escape from emotional responsibility. He becomes a physician. But, better yet he becomes a surgeon; doesn't have to interact emotionally with people. You know, physicians seeing people in their office day by day, he's got to deal with the people who are upset. You know, they estimate like fifty to sixty per cent of patients in outpatient physicians' offices really are more depressed and unhappy than they really have anything physically wrong with them.
So, I couldn't see him doing that. But a surgeon, what does a surgeon do? A guy comes in with a problem, something that needs to be fixed, and he fixes it. He's God. He is the authority, nobody questions him, he doesn't have to talk to them because hopefully they're under anesthesia during the whole procedure. So he selects a profession that is absolutely ideal for a person with this type of adjustment. And I would suspect that if you brought in and examined a whole slew of surgeons, you would find most of them having emotional adjustments very much like Captain MacDonald.
I mean if you are a surgeon and you have to go into the OR every day and chop people up and see half of them die no matter what you do, and you're the sort of person who everything you do you worry about and you think, did I do the right thing, you know, what would happen is after a couple of years of practice you would shoot yourself.
So, what I'm trying to get across is that these characteristics in his personality are neither uncommon nor maladaptive for many purposes. They just don't make him a very affectionate, warm, loving spouse. There are a lot of people out there in the world that are not affectionate, warm, loving spouses.
So he chooses a profession that gives him a whole predetermined structure that fits in beautifully with his adjustment. Only in those situations where there is less structure, does he run into problems. With his friends. With his family, where he can't clearly be either the one on the bottom or the one on the top. Then he gets into difficulty.
And, as I've indicated before, with his children where he's clearly the one on top, then he can be more relaxed and more easily express his feelings.
Now, in regards to what has happened to him, he was by no means totally unaware of the loss that he suffered. Even though he was emotionally constricted in his expression of his sense of loss, in fact he had begun, in talking with me, to verbalize some awareness of how little he had communicated his feelings to his wife and family. And, furthermore, he began to verbalize some of his feelings that he had had of feeling trapped in marriage and caught up in responsibilities that he had assumed. And he was aware of the ironic quality that something that had happened, the loss of his wife and family, had both made him realize how little he had communicated to them his feelings and at the same time gave him a sense of shame because he was aware in some sense what happened provided him with relief, that he was caught up in something that on his own he was not strong, and assertive, and aggressive enough to find his way out of either by achieving a closer relationship with his wife or getting a divorce.
And the most ironic aspect of all, from his point of view, was that his life was saved and his family was killed, from his expression of it, because he had failed to react aggressively. If he had been the man that he thought he was, the whole thing wouldn't have happened.
So the fact that he was alive was due to the fact that he was not the man he says he is.
So, if he had been what he says he was, he would be dead because he would have withstood them and either chased them away or be killed himself.
Q Do I understand you to say that with the death of his wife and children there was a sense of let's say, release, a sense of liberation, a sense of relief?
A In part, yes.
Q In part?
A Yes. That was part of his reaction to what had happened. I might add the fact that he could reveal this to me was one of the things that impressed me with his relative sincerity and frankness. Although --
Q Did you derive this from --
A No. This is from interview.
Q All right, sir.
A Now, how did he handle this business of what had happened? Well, I think by now --
Q You said, "What had happened -- ." You're presuming from his story that there were intruders in the house who assaulted him --
A I implied that a moment before. Now, I am just saying the death of his wife and children.
This is irrelevant, how it came about -- and it's certainly not irrelevant. But, I mean in terms of the way he emotionally reacts to it, it matters little what caused it. His way of reacting to it was characteristic. And I think by now you ought to be able to predict from what I said how he would handle it. You don't show weakness. You don't ask for help. When your friends come to give you sympathy, you feel resentful. You turn them away. You're not going to cry on their shoulders. And then they get upset with you. And you think, why are they getting upset with me, you know. This has happened to me and now they've upset me, they're upset with me just because I won't cry on their shoulders. So, he even gets angry at his friends. He couldn't put himself in their point of view. See, he can't do that. He can't pick up feelings sensitively and understand how other people feel. He could not see that they might get upset because he wasn't getting upset.
He maintained a bland, confident manner that on the surface suggests that he was totally uninvolved with what happened. And the point I'm trying to make is, regardless of how it happened, this bland, confident manner doesn't say a thing about his feeling about what happened. It only shows how he typically responds to emotional stress.
The fact he acknowledged that -- as I've said before, he did occasionally cry when he was alone and he even had dreams of the whole incident. But, he only became tearful or upset when he was slowly and carefully taken through this material, and I believe he became tearful with Dr. Sadoff and he did become tearful with me at this point. But, this would be very surprising. I would not expect him typically to become tearful in the course of talking to him about it. Only after spending a lot of time with him, and working and trying to get him to talk about these things and getting them all out in the open, would he begin to show any feeling to another person.
Now, what does all this have to do with the actual crime that occurred?
Well, on the basis of a psychological examination, I don't think that a psychologist can determine if a person is lying or if he is not lying. I think with relative certainty [sic, Note from Christina Masewicz: It would appear that a word or words are missing] describe his adjustment, describe what he was like, account for why he is reacting to what happened the way he did, but as to whether he could be lying about a specific detail or not, I can't read his mind. And there's nothing in the test or interviews that would give us specific information as to that type of information, that type of question.
Now I think in general -- and I'm not talking about Captain MacDonald but in general -- that it's very difficult to say who, and under what circumstances, can commit a murder.
One could make a reasonable argument that given the right set of circumstances almost anyone might kill.
So, that's the kind of question I don't think that psychologists and psychiatrists concern themselves with very much. It's true we've done studies to predict violent behavior. A lot of studies on that kind of thing. But, if you look at these studies, it becomes very different to apply them to any one individual person. Give me a group of one hundred people and let me examine the group and I might predict out of that hundred people what proportion of them might be likely to commit violent behavior, but you give me one person and ask me to predict and boy, I'm not going to make any money. I'd rather bet on the horses.
So, what I can say though is that, given the right set of circumstances, could anybody commit a crime and if so, what kind of crime would they commit. In other words, from my understanding of Captain MacDonald's adjustment, the two questions I want to ask myself are: (1) What sort of circumstances would be maximumally stressful for him that might lead to him to commit a violent crime and (2) If he committed a violent crime, how would he go about it and how would he respond to it.
What I'm trying to make clear with all this verbal garbage is that I could ask these same questions about any one of you. I could take each one of you and I could say, I don't know if you're going to commit a crime like this or not, but if you were, here are the circumstances that might lead you to do it. And if you were to do it, here is the way in which you might do it. I want to make that clear.
Now, on the basis of his adjustment, it was my feeling that the most stressful type of circumstance would be a circumstance where a person -- not in authority over him and not under him but a person that he hasn't got a clearly structured role with, like a wife or a peer -- would say something that would directly challenge his basic area of conflict, his sense of adequacy and masculine autonomy. So, a taunt from his wife suggesting that he lacked confidence or he lacked virility I think would perhaps be the most upsetting thing to him that might lead him to become most angry, most likely to commit a violent act.
I cannot think of a basis that would provide sufficient stress for him to commit a violent act against someone who was not in this clearly unstructured role to him. In other words, people way in authority over him; he would have no trouble submitting. That was his style of life. People way in authority under him, they're clearly in authority under him. They wouldn't provide as much stress. Therefore, based on my knowledge of him, I could not conceive of emotionally stressful circumstances that would be such that would lead him to kill his children. But I could think of some that might lead him to be angry enough to do something to his wife.
Q You mean -- let's break this down a little bit.
Q You mean, let's say, he was in the room with his children. His wife was not there. His wife is up in Patchogue with her parents. And one of the children would make a remark that challenged his -- this area in which he is so sensitive, his competency; he wouldn't lash out and strike at the children?
A What I'm saying is --
Q And seriously injure the child?
A What I'm saying is, it's hard for me to believe that that could get him upset enough to do any serious injury. You know, I'm not going to say that under no circumstances would he hit a child. Anybody, I suppose, under the right set of circumstances might hit a child. But what I'm saying is relatively speaking, his wife, because of the relationship of her role to his role, could much more challenge the basic area of conflict in his adjustment than could the child.
I mean, it's one thing if a wife yells at you, "You're not even a man," you know, and I -- But, it's a little difficult to conceive of a child saying, "You're not even a man." Or, "You're not a good father." Children, all the time, say to their parents when they're unhappy, "You're not a good father. You don't love me." Now see if a wife says that, it's altogether a different message than if a child says it. It doesn't threaten him in the same way. So, it's much more difficult to conceive of a stimulus coming from a child that would challenge his underlying conflicts to the extent that the stimulus from the wife.
Q But let me give you this situation. The wife and a child are together. Let's say the child is in the wife's arms. There's a heated argument. She challenges his virility and competency.
He becomes enraged. There is a club available. He strikes out with the club and he happens to hit the child or he hits the wife and the child. Do you preclude that as a possibility?
A That -- there's no way -- I mean, I have just said that under certain circumstances he might get angry enough to hit the wife and you're saying what happens if he missed the wife and hit the child.
Q Well, would he refrain from even striking the wife because the wife [sic, Note from Christina Masewicz: In my opinion the word here should be child] is present?
A I don't know. I can't answer that. I wish I could answer that kind of a question but I -- that's too specific.
Q Okay. Will you proceed?
A The other thing that I think I can add is, if he were to have committed a crime, how would he react.
Now, people have different adjustments and there are a number of reasons that lead people to commit murder. And people react differently to what they have done on the basis of their adjustment.
I have seen murderers who were essentially cold-blooded, psychopathic killers who killed someone without any particular concern for what they've done and maintained a perfect calm -- not because they were defending against anything but just because they didn't care and coldly and calculatedly went about their business and afterwards tried to handle and conceal evidence and save themselves.
I have seen people who have committed a murder in the mist of a psychotic episode.
I have seen people who were basically rather passive, dependent individual that held their feeling inside of them, with adjustments like Captain MacDonald, and like probably some of you, who have indeed committed murder. Usually the murder they commit is the murder of a spouse. The greater majority of murders are the murders of spouses. The way they typically -- this sort of individual -- typically responds when they have done such a crime is immediately afterwards they break down. They frequently become amnesic for the whole event and often commit the murder, pick up the phone and calmly say, "I don't know what's happened.
There's a knife in my hand. I think my wife or husband is dead. You better come quick and bring the police out." And the children are sitting there crying. And what's happened. And you come in and there's just one big mess.
And then you go to interview them and they say, "I don't know what happened." They have blocked it out completely from their minds.
Now, Dr. MacDonald is a person who does repress and deny and compartmentalize things.
It's my feeling that were he to have committed such a crime, that his response afterwards would most likely be that type of response.
Q Can you anticipate or can you generalize as to how long such an amnesic episode might last?
A Sometimes they last indefinitely.
Q Well, how briefly?
A Well, most of them persist for some time. It depends on the way you handle them. People who have done -- It depends on how much time you spend with them. And, of course, it's always confused because some people that are apparently amnesic are actually concealing details of the crime.
One study done in England estimated that approximately sixty percent of the murders they have studied, the person who was accused was amnesic for the event.
Q For the entire event or part of it?
A For almost the entire event.
Q Well, I take it your conclusion was that MacDonald fell within the, let's say, the normal limits. He was a man with problems that you've described; however, he was mentally incompetent in the legal sense.
A Mentally competent is the legal sense.
Q Mentally competent is the legal sense.
Q And could be held legally responsible for any unlawful acts that he may have committed in connection with this incident.
A I don't know what your rule here in, what rule you are operating under. You don't -- You're in U.S. Court and you're not under the Durham Rule anymore.
Q No. We're using the McNaughton Rule.
A You're using the McNaughton so there's no chance. No. You're using -- if it were established that he did it and a question of competence were brought into a sanity plea here, the only basis would be probably the old irresistible impulse doctrine which, of course, wouldn't apply under McNaughton.
Q Did you consider -- Well, do you, in your practice in making an examination of this type, ever have recourse to the use of sodium amytal?
A I'm not a physician so I wouldn't use sodium amytal. I have taken part in sodium amytal interviews when the sodium amytal was administered by a physician.
Q Did you discuss the possibilities with Dr. Sadoff?
A No, we didn't.
Q Did you discuss it with anyone?
A Only with Mr. Murtagh yesterday.
Q Do you think it might have been helpful in clarifying this matter had a sodium amytal test been given?
A When we've used sodium amytal tests, they've usually been with people who were amnesic for the episode and we were really trying to help them relax and bring back what memory they could.
Sodium amytal is sort of unpredictable in its effect. You know, it's really not a truth serum. It loosens people up. It's a little like being intoxicated. And under sodium amytal you can't always control very effectively what people say. They don't always respond to your questions. They may start associating something else that has nothing to do with the crime.
So you get unproductive information or alternately they may be so obsessed with what happened and so concerned about it that they talk about it in a disjointed, confused way that doesn't give you any information as to what actually they did during the crime.
So, this type of information nevertheless can be helpful in a person who is amnesic. You know, even any kind of information, as disjointed and disorganized as possible, it nevertheless brings out something and may jar memories that will then bring it back later.
But in a person who is not amnesic for what happened, then the sodium amytal, it seems to me would be -- would only produce this sort of disjointed, confused picture that you wouldn't know what to do with after you got it. So, on that basis it seems to me I wouldn't expect much out of a sodium amytal interview.
I don't feel competent in responding to the polygraph. I haven't had that much experience with that.
FOREMAN: Mr. Woerheide.
MR. WOERHEIDE: I just want to get his protocols marked as exhibits and I'm going to suggest then that we recess for lunch. I think I've covered basically what I wanted to cover with him.
FOREMAN: Do any members of the grand jury wish to ask any questions?
JUROR: I want to ask one. I don't have it together but maybe I can get it together.
I was thinking in terms of maybe if Dr. MacDonald -- let's say he would be taunted enough by Colette to strike her in a distraught manner, would he, after he had seen what he had done, would he or could he possibly take the turn that, "What have I done?", you know, in the American boy type thing that he has a tendency to cover up his mistakes. Well, he knows for sure it's a mistake. That's not something that everybody should do. Would he go as far as to do something in a cover-up manner that maybe he had read about or had discussed with someone else?
A Including killing the other daughter?
A That's what I find difficult to put together with my view. If he were to do that and even if he were to kill the first daughter by accident at the time as you are suggesting might have happened, my feeling about him is that he is not that cold-blooded psychopathic type of person who would then sit down and say, well, let's assess what I've done. And, oh, I'd better kill the other one in order to give myself an alibi. Instead I think what would happen, had he done that, is he would have been more likely -- you know, this is very suppositional -- but he would be more likely to try to just block the whole thing out of his mind. And at that point go call somebody and say, "I don't know what happened. There's this blood and everything and look what -- ", you know.
It's the part of leaving and going in and then killing the other daughter that I find is hard to put together with my view of him as a person.
JUROR: You mean he wouldn't go to any extreme to cover up what he had done, you don't think?
A It's hard for me to believe. It's much more consistent with his personality that he would try to deny what had happened on the basis of how it happened and run around being the objective doctor trying to help everyone. You know, to be the scientist again, the objective person, the clinical and try to deny any emotional upset. That really fits with his personality.
JUROR: Did you uncover anything that would give you an indication that Dr. MacDonald had sometime in the past, had tendencies to have flights of fancy?
JUROR: Did you uncover anything that might make you believe that he is capable of having a flight of fantasy and believing it?
A No. Usually, I might add, the tests are pretty good at detecting that type of thing.
JUROR: Did you have anything in the [test]s that would indicate that he might be a person that would experiment with drugs?
A I think it would be very unlikely that he would be a person that would experiment with drugs. I think on the contrary he would be the person who would be quite dogmatically judgmental against people experimenting with drugs.
Q (By Mr. Woerheide) That might include his own brother, I take it?
MR. WOERHEIDE: Ms. Reporter, did you mark this for me? I don't see your mark on it. I know there is a mark on one of them. Or at least I think there is.
COURT REPORTER: It's marked exhibit 3.
Q (By Mr. Woerheide) Do you have copies of your protocol?
A I gave them to Mr. Murtagh.
MR. WOERHEIDE: Let's for the record identify them.
A I may have another Xerox copy too if you want one. Yes, here's two. Do you need more?
Q Well, we can use them. The one I now have in my right hand that I'm showing you is the Rorschach. Is that correct?
MR. WOERHEIDE: All right, we'll mark that with the next number.
MACK EXHIBIT NO. 4 MARKED FOR IDENTIFICATION
MR. WOERHEIDE: There's a TAT.
MACK EXHIBIT NO. 5 MARKED FOR IDENTIFICATION.
Q (By MR. WOERHEIDE): Just to sort of clear up a point here at the very end. When you were talking in terms of likelihoods and probabilities -- as I understood your testimony -- and you indicated the circumstances of extreme stress under which MacDonald might lash out and then you were asked by the Grand Jurors about possible actions that he might take or have taken that would tend to dissimulate his own personal involvement.
A I didn't say dissimulate actually.
Q I used the word, but you said that he was more likely to do one thing than do another, do another thing.
Q I mean you're not precluding any responsibilities? You're not purporting to say --
A I want to make clear, when I used the word "denial" and "repression," I did not mean a conscious attempt to like say, "Oh, I'm [not] going to tell this." It means that it is completely blocked out of his unconscious -- out of his conscious mind and that he is not -- he does not have that information available to him.
And, what I am saying is that it is quite likely that had he committed such a violent crime, he would have completely blocked out the whole episode from his mind, unconsciously.
Q You say it is likely?
A It is likely. Yes.
Q But you are not saying that is in fact what happened. You're just saying, in your opinion, that is likely?
Q Now, is it also likely, if he did block it out let's say temporarily, that he might some moments afterwards become aware of the fact that there were dead people in the house and he is involved in their death. And, being aware of that, and being a highly intelligent man with quick responses, and being mindful from conversation he had in the recent past concerning the Sharon Tate case in a magazine article that was in his house, and discussions with his wife, and discussions with visitors in his house, that he might -- that he would be capable of creating a scene that might have some semblance of a similar crime being committed in his house by certain unknown intruders?
A Again, speaking conjecturally and in probabilities, it would seem to me to be more consistent with his personality adjustment had he killed his wife and child, as you're hypothesizing, that he would have blocked it out of his mind and then "come to", looked around and thought, "Oh, my God, what's happened?" And would have run around trying to be the doctor and save everybody.
That would -- In other words, he would not know how it happened and would go around trying to save everybody because he had blocked it out.
It doesn't make sense to me that if he had blocked it out of his mind by the unconscious motives that we're talking about, that he would have then, having blocked it out, think, "Oh, I must have blocked it out unconsciously and really I've do it and therefore I've got to conceal the evidence."
Usually people's minds don't work that way. I mean that would be pretty strange, to act upon the basis of something you're not consciously aware of and then go ahead and try to conceal it.
So, I find it difficult to think of that kind of motivation assuming that he committed and then was blocking it out of his conscious mind.
MR. WOERHEIDE: I think we have covered the report and we've covered the examination that was made. There are a few additional questions I would like to ask him after the lunch hour.
FOREMAN: All right.
RECESSED FOR LUNCH
(Dr Mack resumes the stand.)
The afternoon session of the grand jury reconvened at one o'clock. The following proceedings were held, to wit:
FURTHER EXAMINATION BY MR. WOERHEIDE:
Q Dr. Mack, Dr. MacDonald, the man you examined, testified in August of this year over a period of five days before this grand jury. His testimony began on a Monday and was terminated on Friday. And I based on certain things that came out during the examination of him, I want to outline some of the things to you and tell me how they fit within the framework of your conclusions with respect to his personality adjustment.
During the Course of the Article 32 proceeding and prior thereto, and for a period of time thereafter, Dr. MacDonald received very strong support from his in-laws, Colette's mother and her stepfather, by the name of Kassab.
In conclusion of the testimony, or at the conclusion, let's say, of the Article 32 proceeding, when it was terminated, he made a number of statements to the press. He also appeared on TV. Among other things, he said that he was going to conduct an independent investigation and he was not satisfied with the job the army had done. They were bunglers and incompetents. But he was going to find the people who committed this offense and see that -- and he was going to get revenge.
In a telephone conversation with his father-in-law, he stated in substance: I've been conducting my investigation in the bars and hippie hangouts in Fayetteville. I have found one of the persons who was an intruder into my home. I took him out. I, in effect, beat him up.
When I was through with him, he wouldn't tell even on his mother. Then I killed him. He's six feet under.
When MacDonald testified, he said, yes, I did tell this story to Kassab. His quarrel was with the use of the term "kill." He said, "I think I used the term 'terminate with extreme prejudice. It's a term that's used in the Special Forces.'"
He wrote a letter to Kassab the same day of the telephone conversation. He alluded to the conversation and said: don't tell anyone about our telephone conversation today. If so, I will deny it. You will understand why.
Then he, on subsequent occasions extending over a period of over a year, he wrote other letters saying that he was pursuing the investigation further. He already had gotten one of them. He still had at least three more to go. He was making transcontinental trips. He broke his arm. It cost him four thousand dollars.
And then when he testified before the grand jury, he said, yes, it's true. I wrote these letters. I had this telephone. I said these things to Kassab. I used these terms. It was all a lie. But I was forced to do it. I was forced to do it by Kassab, by his pressing me to go forward.
Now, how does this fit into your analysis of Dr. MacDonald as a man?
A I can answer some of that. I can't answer all of that. It would not be at all surprising for him to respond to what had happened with quick, impulsive, angry, vindictive outbursts like those idiots, those imbeciles, those nincompoops and what they did. And he might do this without thinking of the consequences for himself. Remember, I commented earlier that I thought that -- I was worried at times that he might go ahead and do things without consulting with his attorney to work in his own best interest because he thought it was, by God, he knew what to do and he knew the right thing. And a very opinionated guy. So that's perfectly consistent.
But he handles his feelings really by pushing them down, compartmentalizing, denying them and not letting them keep motivating him. So, while it might be perfectly consistent for him to say like I'll get revenge, I'll work this out, those guys don't know how to do it, I can solve this, it would be very inconsistent for him to then to begin over the course of the next couple of years to in fact conduct an investigation and do it. I would expect he would make the quick, impulsive outburst and then in fact quickly seal over all his feelings and go on to something else.
So, I would be very surprised that he would be the kind of a guy who would continue to hold a grudge and work to find the killers and go around searching. That doesn't --
Q Would he be the kind of guy who would not do it but lie about it and lie about it to the extent of saying I found one of them. I tortured him. I killed him.
A Well, that certainly sounds like a strange sort of lie to make up. The -- I'd have to look at it from this point of view. What would be the sort of thing that could make a person like Captain MacDonald lie? You know, I think anybody can lie given the right set of circumstances.
Okay. If he perceived he was being forced into something by somebody that he had respect for and he saw as a stronger authority figure, he might sort of go along superficially with things. In other words, see, I don't know his relationship with his father-in-law. But if his father-in-law was perceived by him as a strong, secure authority figure, it might be that Captain MacDonald might have lied to go along with that even though he himself was just trying to put these things out of his mind and go about his business in his bland, denying way. That might provide some of the motivation.
That's a rather grisly kind of a story to make up if you're going to lie about something.
And that doesn't really quite give it justice. But that's one thing that comes to mind.
The other is Dr. MacDonald is a guy who likes to be right. He wants to be the authority himself and it may be that if somebody were bugging him and trying to tell him that he wasn't doing the right thing, conceivably that might provide a motivation where he in effect might be just saying, get off, buddy, telling him where to get off by making up something bizarre.
For example, on some of the tests that he did with me, he would occasionally make a remark interspersed in the test that really in away was sort of putting me down. You know, he would say: "I guess that sounds a little hysterical." Or, "I see this area. You know, I'm a breast man. That's the reason I see breasts. I know you psychologists make a lot of things out of this sort of thing", which was sort of saying "I understand everything that you do and it's a bunch of nonsense."
That really is not as extreme an example, but it could be that element in it.
Q You say that anybody will lie. Now, you say he would lie to impress somebody, let's say, who is bugging him.
A That's a possible basis. What's important for him in other words? What would be --
Q Even such a lie. Now, would he lie to protect himself out of self-interest?
A Under certain circumstances, anyone would lie to protect themselves out of self-interest.
I suppose Captain MacDonald would be among them.
Q All right. He gave an extensive interview to a reporter of Newsday. This was taped. It was published in serialized form in a newspaper over a period of several days setting forth verbatim questions and answers.
When asked about this, he said he really didn't want to do this but he was forced to do it, he was compelled to do it by his lawyers. His lawyers thought it would be a good idea. It was just to satisfy them that he did that.
How does that fit into his --
A Well, of course I don't know what his lawyers told him. It perfectly conceivable --
Q We're talking about MacDonald.
A Yes, It's conceivable to me that that may be the truth, that his lawyers might have told him that. But, regardless of what his lawyers told him, it's certainly true that I think Captain MacDonald would have gotten quite a charge out of trying to make the army look stupid.
And so regardless of the truth of his statement, it is also true I think for him that he would probably get a lot of enjoyment out of giving interviews like that, to show how he was right and they were wrong. No question in my mind.
Q Now, after the Article 32, he appeared on the Dick Cavett show. He was on the Walter Cronkite's news program. And he gave a number of interviews. He called up his sister who lived out of town and asked her to get everybody they knew to tune in the Dick Cavett show on the night he appeared.
When asked about it here, why did you do that, he said, well, I really didn't want to do it.
I was forced to do it. This was just because certain congressmen whose names I forget and Kassab were pushing me. They wanted me to do it but I didn't want to do it. I had to do it because they made me do it.
How does that fit into his --
A My inclination again I think is that probably he would get a great deal of enjoyment out of doing that. And this again another example of the same thing, that his tendency to do things regardless of the effect on him, when he thinks he is right.
In other words, if a person wanted to act in a manner best helpful to himself, having gone through the Article 32 proceeding as he did, it seems to me there would be a couple of options. One, you might really have a firm idealistic belief that you had been mistreated by the army and that there's something wrong with the whole system and you're going to set out in a sort of messianic way to change the system, and to fight it, and to not just say, look, okay, they've dropped the charges but I'm not letting them off here. It can happen to the next guy. And to really start a campaign to do something about it. You know, I don't see MacDonald as having that kind of motivation. I don't think he is the type that would maintain a long-term idealistically oriented campaign. I think he is much too concerned with his own gratification and sealing all of this over and getting out of it.
Now, if you were going to be mature and responsible about this and you weren't that oriented, then your next step would probably be to think, I'm out of this, by God. I'm going to get as far away from this and lay as low as possible. You know, not to stir up the hornet's nest again.
Well, here's an example: I think instead of behaving in his own best interests, he impulsively sounded off in a way that was neither dedicated towards idealistically reforming the situation nor towards keeping attention away from himself and letting things calm down.
So if in fact I had been his attorney, unless as an attorney I had an ax to grind against the army, you know, I would be more inclined to think, well, cool it buddy! We've stayed out of it; let's just calm down.
So the -- I think this is simply an index of his self-righteousness and his need to appear strong and assertive and right that would lead him to do things that actually work against him.
You know, I can't think of anything better calculated than to get the army or somebody else back down on your back again and trying to hurt him.
Q Well, you described him in, let's say, his relations with other people, how he interacts with them, people let's say that are in a superior position that he looks up to and people in an inferior position that he's able to deal with it in a different way.
During the course of the testimony, he recounted what happened on the night of February 16-17, 1970, more than once. However, in referring to the people that he dealt with, the MPs who arrived on the scene, CID agents that came on the scene, the medics who came on the scene, the personnel at the hospital where he was admitted -- that includes both the nurses and the doctors -- people who answered the telephone when he placed a telephone call that night from his home, everybody is an idiot, an incompetent or fool, a malicious blunderer. Everything is wrong. The hospital isn't run in the proper way. They ask silly questions, inane questions. The operator doesn't know how to respond when he's on the telephone. The people that have come on the scene that are giving him aid and succor are acting wrongly.
Is this consistent with his character?
A Very much so. Yes. That's him all over.
Q He's right and everybody else is an idiot.
A Except for those people that are up there on top, you know. With them I think he is conforming, submissive and non-oppositional. But he's got himself in a position where most of the people are not on top, they're below him in his eyes. But that is very characteristic of him.
Q I showed you an article that appeared in the press. A reporter interviewed him and she was describing his lifestyle, his lifestyle being that he's working in an emergency room out in, on the west coast, has a nice apartment. He associates with attractive people, attractive girl friends. He has an expensive sports car. He has a Sports Fisherman.
A That's a boat I take it?
Q A boat. Yes. A boat. And he is apparently living an entirely different way of life and a different style of life than the way of life and style of life that he had when he was married and while going through medical school, let's say, and interning and being in the army.
Now, do you have any comment?
A It strikes me that the lifestyle of life you're describing is perhaps one of the few viable alternatives for him left given his adjustment; that is to say, Captain MacDonald wanted to go into residency in surgery. That was his intent following his discharge from the army. In view of what he went through, it seems to me very unlikely that he could be accepted for a residency in surgery. And so his professional goals, the things that he had planned for a long time in his life, were undoubtedly quite upset.
Now, there are some people who would react to that upset in one way and others who react in another way.
Now, again, from what I've said about Captain MacDonald, I would expect him to react to that by denying it, that it was an upsetting thing, to quickly reconstitute his defenses and to set up a life where he was perfectly happy, content, relaxed and appeared to be an adequate, competent man.
Now, the -- I'm hypothesizing that the goal of being a surgeon was no longer as available to him to show that he's a competent man.
So, what is available to him? Well, one of the things that's available to him is to retreat to his golden-boy style of life in school. Now, you can't be a golden boy when you're not in school by getting good grades or that sort of thing. So he can live an open, relaxed, Southern California style, nice cars, women. That doesn't surprise me. I would not necessarily say that's the only thing he might have done, but it seems to me it's the one that's quite consistent with the way he might react to it.
Q And by being the single swinger --
A I don't think he would be a terribly effective swinger, by the way.
Q Obstensibly the swinger, let's say.
A Yes. I think again it's quite superficial.
Q But without a wife who would make demands upon him?
Q And without children who would make demands upon him which might test his sense of adequacy?
A Exactly. I think in fact it's probably a very adaptive response for him. He's probably a lot better off living that style of life for the time being than trying to get married again, and in some ways might even be regarded as a sign of some growth rather than to retreat into another quick marriage where he could become emotionally dependent.
MR. WOERHEIDE: Mr. Foreman, do you or the grand jurors have any questions?
JUROR: I would like for you to distinguish for us the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist.
A A psychologist has a Ph.D. degree, doctor of philosophy, whatever that means. It means I didn't go to medical school. Instead I went to graduate school and it means in practice that we both see patients, we both treat patients for mental illness, but I am not allowed to diagnose physical conditions or to prescribe drugs or engage in any physical type of treatment. I can see people to talk to them. I can see people to diagnose mental illness, but I wouldn't be able to prescribe drugs or administer electroshock.
And psychiatrists generally are not -- they don't give tests and that type of thing.
In the practice of diagnosis, psychologists would be dependent on tests; psychiatrists more dependent on the interview.
That's not an absolute, clear-cut line. In the practice of treatment, except for drugs or shock or something like that, otherwise we are largely indistinguishable in treatment.
Q (By Mr. Woerheide) In layman's terms you are both "shrinks"?
Q Head "shrinks"?
A Right. My training involved a little bit more orientation towards research and that sort of thing than a psychiatrist might have been.
JUROR: By him being in the Green Beret Special Forces, speaking on terms of I'm a Korean war veteran myself and knowing the Special Forces and the type of work they do, could he have easily had a friend that could have done that for him and still show the same, under the same tests that you have given him? I mean would it still come out the same? In other words, say for instance I got a friend. I wanted him to knock my wife and kids off and I could still react the same?
A Oh, I see what you mean. In other words, he could show himself on the test to be a relatively normal person and in fact maybe psychologically would not be capable of committing such a crime, would he nevertheless be able to hire somebody who would be psychologically able to commit the crime? Sure, I guess that's possible. Yes. That wouldn't necessarily show up on the tests at all. Because he's not a guy who is overwhelmed with a lot of guilt or that sort of thing. So that would be possible I guess.
MR. WOERHEIDE: If you are all through, may Dr. Mack be excused, Mr. Foreman, please?
FOREMAN: Yes, sir. Thank you very much.
(Dr. Mack excused.)
Attachment: Dr. Halleck's report on Jeffrey MacDonald
Note from Christina Masewicz: This attachment of Dr. Halleck's evaluation of Jeffrey MacDonald appears to have been done in 1979 based on the material covered in it. In my opinion, Dr. Mack's testimony was attached to Dr. Halleck's evaluation. However, I have left it as I received it.
My impressions of Dr. MacDonald are based on previous reports, upon three examinations of him on July 11, 12, and 16, 1979 (which lasted over two hours each and by interviews, one by telephone, and one face-to-face, with women with whom he had been intimate. In one of these three interviews with Dr. MacDonald on July 12, 1979, his mother was present throughout. Her presence was useful in obtaining objective data about his childhood, and about other members of his family, and in observing the manner in which he and his mother related.
First, with regard to the crime, Dr. MacDonald's recollections are basically the same as those reported to Dr. Sadoff. I understand that Dr. MacDonald recently was able to recall many new details of the offense while under hypnosis and that some of the details may be different from those he originally recounted in the earlier part of the decade. He is aware that there may be changes in his reporting over the years and that some of his recollections under hypnosis may result in slight changes in the nature of his future testimony. (For example, he states his description of the intruders as described to an artist under hypnosis are different from those he described in 1970.)
It might also be worth noting, although I realize you have this information, that Kristen's bed-wetting had begun only after she had been told that her mother was expecting a new baby.
This new behavior was not according to Dr. MacDonald a major area of contention between he and his wife, although they did disagree about how it should be handled. Dr. MacDonald had spent the previous night working in the Emergency Clinic in Hamlet, North Carolina. He had had a relatively easy morning on the night of the killing and had napped in the afternoon.
This accounts for his having stayed up late.
Other than the above information which you are undoubtedly aware of, I have nothing to add to Dr. Sadoff's report with regard to the crime itself.
Dr. MacDonald is the second of three children born to a middle-class family in Patchogue, New York. His father is described by both Dr. MacDonald and his mother as an extremely unusual and powerful man. He was exceptionally bright and a voracious reader. He was self-educated and always felt some defensiveness that his work as an electrical designer at the Brookhaven Laboratory he could not achieve the recognition he felt he deserved. The father emerges as a complicated person. He is primarily described as lovable, warm and charming.
But, he is also described as a very opinionated, powerful and somewhat tortured man who in his later years drank heavily. There is no indication from his mother or Dr. MacDonald that the father was ever anything but loving towards the children. At the same time, the children were raised strictly. It is important to note that no parental violence was ever inflicted on Dr. MacDonald (there is much evidence that violent people were themselves once victims of violence). The charisma of the father was enough to inculcate powerful internal controls in the children. Dr. MacDonald is still a person highly respectful to authority and highly responsive to the demands of authority figures.
The mother is described by one of Dr. MacDonald's friends and comes across to me as a warm, giving and loving person. Like Dr. MacDonald, she is very talkative, inquisitive and interested in detail. She is proud of him and is obviously impressed with his capabilities. The two of them relate in a rather warm mother-son relationship. She still feels she must look after him. As is appropriate for their ages, however, he is now becoming more concerned and protective of her. He worries that she has not remarried after the death of her husband in 1966, is concerned that she worries too much about him and his brother, and is generally concerned for her welfare. The genuine warmth which radiates between mother and son suggests that it is unlikely that he would harbor unusual hostile feelings towards women or family members.
Dr. MacDonald's older brother (18 months older) has had serious psychiatric difficulties since his youth. He is described as having been a bright and gifted person. But, after experiences with amphetamines and alcohol in mid-1960's, he underwent a psychotic break and has never fully recovered. He has been hospitalized for treatment of mental illness in the past and although he currently married and is living successfully out of the hospital, he continues to have psychiatric difficulties.
His sister who is currently 18 months younger is described as a warm and passionate person (much like the father) who is prone to worry excessively. She has had some emotional difficulties in the past, is currently divorced.
Dr. MacDonald remains close to both his brother and sister. It is interesting to note that with all of his own troubles, as he and his mother began to talk about the older son's difficulties, they both became carried away and lost sight of Dr. MacDonald as the focus of the interview. They repeatedly asked me for advice as to how they could be of help to him and would have talked about him for hours if I had not changed the subject. I have a strong impression that the family has been and continues to be an extremely closely knit unit.
The mother describes Dr. MacDonald with some amazement and pride as having been a remarkably joyful and pleasant child from almost the beginning of his existence. The main word to characterize him she used was "sunny." Even as an infant, he was constantly inquisitive.
She reports that he was almost always happy as a child and at an early age showed signs of being exceptionally bright. He had the capacity to make friends easily in spite of the fact that he was frequently held up to other youth as a model of good behavior. The mother describes the "All American Boy" behavior of her son with obvious admiration and gratitude.
Neither she nor Dr. MacDonald can recall any major conflicts during his childhood. (Of course, mothers would be more likely to recall the pleasant rather than unpleasant memories of their children.) During high school he excelled academically and in athletics. His popularity continued and his subsequent academic and social success have been well documented in previous reports.
Dr. MacDonald and his deceased wife were childhood sweethearts. They had known each other in high school and dated intermittently up until the time of their marriage. I spent a certain amount of time trying to gain more data about the deceased wife and her family.
According to both Dr. MacDonald and his mother, she was a bright, though somewhat unsophisticated woman, warm and giving towards the children, and fully committed to the traditional role of the doctor's wife. By this, I mean that she was quite willing to stay home and raise the children and delay whatever career aspirations she had until the children were grown.
There is some history of emotional instability in Colette's family (she was seven when her father hung himself), but whether this has any relevance to the case is debatable. The children are described as previously. The eldest, Kimberly, who was six at the time of her death, was viewed by both her grandmother and Dr. MacDonald as a warm, passive, highly "feminine" girl. The youngest, Kristen, who was three at the time of her death was viewed as more assertive, more inquisitive, more aggressive, and almost protective of the older sister.
Dr MacDonald's sexual experiences began at age fourteen. He had several experiences before marriage and was having sexual relationship with his wife before marriage. During his marriage he had some affairs which he refers to as "one-night stands." He felt guilty, afterwards, but his guilt was not massive. He would wonder afterwards why he would risk his marriage over activities that mean so little to him. He does not consider his infidelity to be unusual or harmful to the marriage, but when asked how he would feel at that time if his wife had been engaging in similar activities, he readily admits that he would have been deeply hurt. His extramarital affairs were according to him not discussed with his wife and not known to her.
Dr. MacDonald reports no unusual sexual proclivities. His statements are substantiated by two of the women I have interviewed who have been intimate with him. Most important, they report there as never been any hint of sadomasochism, cruelty, or wish to humiliate or impose helplessness upon the partner. They emphasize his concern for women and his kindness to them.
At age thirteen or fourteen, an older man tried to seduce Dr. MacDonald. No sexual act was consummated, but he was somewhat troubled by this experience until he had had enough successful experiences with women to feel secure about himself. At the age of seventeen or eighteen he was a cab driver on Fire Island and had several overtures made to him by homosexuals. He is still conventional enough to look upon gay people as aberrant, but he does not condemn them and they do not threaten him.
According to his own reports and those of his mother and girlfriends, Dr. MacDonald does not abuse drugs. He has an occasional cocktail but no one has ever seen him drunk. He does not use sedatives, stimulants, or non-prescription drugs.
I spent considerable time focusing upon the subject's adjustment in the last eight years. He has been reasonably successful as an emergency room physician in California. He works hard and takes pride in his craftsmanship as a doctor. Indeed if there is anything he wishes to be identified as, it is a doctor. Many people, including the women I interviewed, have remarked about his unusual interest in his patients and his unusual interest in people. He has demonstrated considerable and impressive compassion towards patients and probably could have made a lot more money if he were less concerned with human needs and less compassionate.
It might also be noted that while Dr. MacDonald on most accounts would be viewed as having had a very successful professional career, his abilities are such that he might have done better had it not been for the murders and intervening events. His commitment and intelligence is such that he might have made very significant contributions to academic and research medicine.
In the last eight years, Dr MacDonald has had two serious involvements with the two women I have interviewed. In each case, the involvements were terminated when the possibility of marriage became more imminent. In each case, Dr. MacDonald felt that he could not get married as long as the trial was hanging over his head. When pressed on this issue, he acknowledges that he is not certain whether or not this might have been a "cop-out." He is not sure if he avoided marriage because of the oppressive situation he finds himself in or if there is some other reason such as a wish to remain single or lack of sufficient attraction to his partners to make a permanent commitment. Both of his former girl friends had a different theory. They felt that he was still mourning his wife and children and still too emotionally involved with his wife to make a new marriage.
Mental Status Examination
Each time I have seen him, Dr. MacDonald has been neatly and well dressed. He is regularly friendly and eager to talk. His mother's description of him as a "sunny" person still remains relatively accurate today in spite of the events of the past ten years. He is a remarkably curious person, always talkative, always active, always intense, usually effervescent and at time charming. He has a pervasive curiosity and constantly wishes to share thoughts and ideas. I found it rather difficult to interrupt him at times because he likes to talk and what he says is usually interesting. His affability and charm which has impressed so many people in the past remains quite apparent in the psychiatric interview. He also carries about him a certain amount of charisma. He impresses me as a person who can attract others and influence them.
He is fully oriented. There are no distortions in the content or progression of his thoughts.
Given all that has happened to him, he is remarkably non-paranoid. This does not mean that he is not angry. He feels that he has been treated extremely unfairly. But, he relates this to the ineptness, stupidity, or emotional difficulties of others and does not engage in grandiose explanations for what he views as his persecution. He also can see that his own survival and capacity to lead a relatively good life after losing his family might anger other or make them suspicious of him.
The subject is remorseful about many things. He continues to blame himself for not having saved his wife and children. He also feels he behaved stupidly when he told his father-in-law that he had caught and killed one of the murders in an effort to stop his father-in-law from constantly urging the subject to devote his full attention to vengeance. He was extremely embarrassed as he related how his fabrication to his father-in-law had probably led to that person becoming suspicious of him and becoming a significant factor in persuading the government to continue prosecution. He is correctly aware that his judgment in this instant was extremely bad.
Dr MacDonald continues to impress me as a person who has had strict codes of conduct inculcated into him and who still adheres to them. He values qualities which lead him to do the "right thing." While he certainly does good things in order to gain the approval of others, I suspect much of his moral behavior has at this point in his life been internalized. By this I mean that he firmly and automatically believes it is natural to try and help others, to be kind, to be concerned, and to lead a relatively conventional life.
He also continues to value physical fitness. His need to preserve an image as a physically powerful male may be receding somewhat as he approaches middle-age, but still engages in vigorous exercise and running on a daily basis. He has been involved in one brief physical altercation in the last ten years. This, according to his girl friend, involved his defending himself after having been involved in an automobile accident with a belligerent driver. The fight terminated without anyone getting hurt.
Dr MacDonald reports that he has been chronically depressed over the last several years. He believes that the constant threat of the trial, his inability to settle down with a woman he loves, and the psychological losses he has experienced have taken some toll. It is my impression that he has not fully mourned the death of his wife and children and that such mourning probably will not be completed until the issue of his guilt has been decided.
While the subject doe not come across as a seriously depressed person, he does report that life is relatively joyless. He continues to cry at times when alone. He cried on three different occasions during the interview when discussing the death of his children. He has not been able to cry in the presence of any other woman, but his mother reports that on one occasion since the murder of his family, he has broken down and sobbed on her shoulder for a long period of time.
The years of uncertainty in his life do seem to have taken some toll. In comparing my impressions with those of other people who have interviewed him, I find Dr. MacDonald to be a little sadder, a little more insightful into his own motivations and perhaps a little more tolerant of others. He is very much in fear that once the whole situation is resolved and he is exonerated that he will experience some kind of depression or mental illness. He wonders if many of the feelings of anger and hurt he has suppressed will overwhelm him. He continues to remain sensitive to the needs of others, but I also suspect he has recently become more introspective and sensitive to his own needs. I do not mean to say that all of his ordeal has led him into any major existential or religious conversion, but there is clearly something changing about this man.
Some of his capacity to deal with his problems may be related to their external nature. He can gain some comfort by explaining his current miseries in terms of what others have done for him.
His "martyred" role also gives a special status and attracts many people to him, many of whom have become his supporters and good friends. While I am certain he would just as soon not be a "media event," he does gain something from being a public figure. He acknowledges this without defensiveness.
In summary, I find Dr. MacDonald to be one of those people who was born with a temperament that allows him to use qualities of inquisitiveness, curiosity, intelligence and cheerfulness to surmount ordeals that would seriously twist or flatten ordinary people. If one adopts a psychoanalytic theory, these traits could be explained on the basis of his having been exposed to a firm, powerful and kind father, and a warm, giving mother. I suspect a more accurate (but not contradictory) formulation is that he was merely blessed with a stable constitution. At any rate, he is a person who has been able to tolerate an extraordinary amount of stress and still have a highly successful career and maintain an outer semblance of being a happy and cheerful person. The quality of his apparent cheerfulness under such adverse circumstances can certainly arouse jealousy and annoyance in those who have less sufficient coping mechanisms. Initially, I found Dr. MacDonald's relative ease and enthusiasm somewhat disarming, but as I got to know him better, it became apparent that this characteristic had little to do with his capacity to feel and suffer. He does feel and he does suffer, but he is less adversely influenced by noxious events than most of us.
Dr. MacDonald does not have a mental illness. He is moderately and chronically depressed but this is understandable given what is happening to him. His personality characteristics, while different than the average, are certainly not out of the range of normality. By this I mean that his patterns of interaction and coping are not such as to inflict suffering on himself or others.
With the exception of a certain heightened preoccupation with his masculine image (which in many situations is quite normal), Dr. MacDonald does not show any of the traits associated with violence. He does not have a type of personality disorder which has on occasion been seen in men who murder their families. There is no evidence that he was psychotic preceding, during or after the murders. There is no evidence that he had an organic syndrome of any type. (Here, I am relying on the negative findings which were noted on an earlier examination.) There is absolutely no evidence that he has been prone to impulsive behavior or has poor ego controls.
On the basis of my clinical experience as a psychiatrist and criminologist and on the basis of my knowledge of theories and research in the area of violence, I would conclude that there is only an extremely remote possibility that a person of his type would commit a crime of this type. Certainly, no one with Dr. MacDonald's personality organization has ever been known to commit such a crime.
S. L. Halleck,
Seymour L. Halleck, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Law