The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site is a compendium of information about the Jeffrey MacDonald case. MacDonald was convicted in 1979 of the murders of his pregnant wife and two small daughters. He is serving three life sentences for that brutal crime.


The Murders of Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald
 

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site

1979 JEFFREY MACDONALD CASE TRIAL TRANSCRIPT
July 30, 1979: Bennie Hawkins, CID

 

(Whereupon, BENNIE J. HAWKINS was called as a witness, duly sworn, and testified as follows:)

D I R E C T E X A M I N A T I O N (2:46 p.m.)

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Please state your name, sir, and spell it for the record?
A It is Bennie J. Hawkins, B-e-n-n-i-e, middle initial J., H-a-w-k-i-n-s.
Q Where are you employed, Mr. Hawkins?
A I am in the U. S. Army, sir.
Q And in what capacity are you in the U. S. Army, sir?
A I am a special agent with the United States Army, from Investigation Command.
Q Okay, and where are you assigned at the present time, sir?
A Hawaii District, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Q And drawing your attention to February 17, 1970, where were you assigned, please, sir?
A I was assigned to Fort Bragg -- field office in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Q Okay, and on the morning of February 17, 1970, did you have occasion to go to Womack Army Hospital?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Would you please tell us where you went first?
A I went to the morgue at Womack Army Hospital for the purpose of obtaining fingerprints of the victims.

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, at this time, pursuant to our previous practice, the Government will mark and ask that they be received in evidence, various record prints based on representation to the Court that Mr. Hawkins could elucidate further on the identity of these prints.

THE COURT: All right.

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, at this time the Government would mark Exhibit Number 679 of the record prints of Mrs. Colette MacDonald, and ask that they be received.

THE COURT: Very well.

(Government Exhibit No. 679 was marked for identification and received in evidence.)

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Mr. Hawkins, I take it you took those prints yourself?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q After you took the prints from Mrs. MacDonald at the morgue, what was the next thing you did, if you recall, in the morgue?
A The next thing I did in the morgue, sir, was pick up some items that had been collected from the bodies of the victims.
Q And do you recall what these items were generally?
A These items were the clothing, fingernail scrapings, hairs and fibers collected from the bodies.

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, at this time the Government would ask that we be able to mark and receive various vials which Mr. Hawkins has just testified about and which he will identify further. We would offer Government Exhibits 278, as described on the exhibit list, Government 279 to 281, three slides, 282.

(Government Exhibits Nos. 278, and 279 to 282 were marked for identification and received in evidence.)

MR. MURTAGH: Government 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, and 294.

(Government Exhibits Nos. 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, and 294 were marked for identification and received in evidence.)

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Let me ask you, Mr. Hawkins, do you recognize that object, sir?
A Yes, sir. This is a ring -- wedding band type that I picked up among some of the other items from the morgue personnel.

MR. MURTAGH: 294. Your Honor, we would ask that those exhibits be received.

THE COURT: Very well.

MR. SEGAL: May we have a chance to examine some of this evidence, Your Honor, instead of having it dumped on our table?

THE COURT: Yes, take as long as it takes for you to examine it. I just understood that you had already seen it, but if you haven't, take the time and look.

(Pause.)

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, may I proceed on another matter?

THE COURT: I don't know. He can't look and listen at the same time.

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, these items have been previously made available.

THE COURT: Yes, but he says that he wants to see them again, and I am going to let him see them again.

(Pause.)

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Mr. Hawkins, after you collected the items you removed from the bodies at the morgue, where did you go next, sir?
A I proceeded over to the ward where Dr. MacDonald was a patient.
Q What, if anything, did you do when you arrived at the ward?
A I obtained fingerprints and footprints of Dr. MacDonald.

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, at this time, I would like to have marked and offer a series of record prints which Mr. Hawkins would testify about.

THE COURT: Very well.

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Before I ask you that, Mr. Hawkins, did you return at a subsequent time or did you ever have another occasion to take prints from Dr. MacDonald?
A Yes, sir.

MR. MURTAGH: At this time, we would offer Government 661, 662, 663, 659, 660, 668, 664, 669, 666, 656, 657, and 667, and ask that they be received.

THE COURT: All right.

(Government Exhibits 661, 662, 663, 659, 660, 668, 664, 669, 666, 656, 657, and 667 were marked for identification and received in evidence.)

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Mr. Hawkins, did you ever have occasion to meet an individual by the name of Lieutenant Ronald Harrison?
A Yes, sir; I did.
Q What was the purpose of meeting Lieutenant Harrison if you recall?

MR. SEGAL: Your Honor, may we have an offer of proof in this matter; and also, may we finish looking at the last 12 exhibits handed to you by the Government?

THE COURT: Come up.


B E N C H C O N F E R E N C E

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, we are going to have Mr, Hawkins identify the record prints of Lieutenant Harrison. If we could get a stipulation, sir, I have got more witnesses exactly like Mr. Hawkins. They are here and they are ready to testify --

THE COURT: (Interposing) You have offered them and they have been received in evidence without OBJECTION. What is the problem?

MR. SEGAL: I asked for an offer of proof, Your Honor. It was unclear whether he was going to elicit testimony from what this man said which would be hearsay.

MR. MURTAGH: No.

MR. SEGAL: I did not know whether he was going to try to elicit testimony from the witness. I am not OBJECTING to prints from the man. That is not an issue.

THE COURT: Anything else?

MR. MURTAGH: No, sir.

(Bench Conference terminated.)


MR. MURTAGH:
Q Mr. Hawkins, I believe before the request for an offer of proof, you stated that your purpose in talking to Lieutenant Harrison was what, sir?
A The purpose for talking to Lieutenant Harrison was because he was a friend and acquaintance of Dr. MacDonald's and had been a visitor in Dr. MacDonald's residence.
Q Did you have occasion to request and obtain from Lieutenant Harrison his footprints?
A Yes, sir; I did.

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, at this time, the Government would offer and ask that they be received -- Government Exhibit 1130 and 1131.

(Government Exhibits 1130 and 1131 were marked for identification and received in evidence.)

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Mr. Hawkins, let me ask you -- have you ever had occasion --

MR. SEGAL: (Interposing) Excuse me, may we see it, please?

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Mr. Hawkins, have you ever had occasion during 1971, to go the residence at 544 Castle Drive?
A Yes, sir.
Q May I ask you, sir, what was the purpose of that visit?
A It really was to make a sketch of the chair, the couch, and the coffee table in the living room area of the quarters.
Q Okay, did you have occasion to measure those items?
A Yes, sir; I did.
Q Okay, did you record those measurements accurately?
A Yes, sir.
Q Mr, Hawkins, I am going to show you 1127, 1128, and 1129, and ask you if you recognize those, sir?

(Government Exhibits 1127, 1128, and 1129 were marked for identification.)

A Yes, sir; I do.
Q What are they, please?
A 1127 is a diagram of a coffee table. 1128 is a diagram of a front view of a couch. 1129 is showing the end of the couch.

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, we would ask that these exhibits be received.

THE COURT: Very well.

(Government Exhibits 1127, 1128, and 1129 were received in evidence.)

MR. MURTAGH: The defense may cross-examine.

MR. SEGAL: Your Honor, we need a minute or two to review these matters.

THE COURT: Yes, sir.

(Pause.).

MR. SEGAL: May I proceed, Your Honor?

THE COURT: Yes.


C R O S S - E X A M I N A T I O N 3:06 p.m.

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Mr. Hawkins, I would like for you to take a look at Government Exhibit G-294 again if you would, please. Would you describe what that exhibit is, please?
A I describe it as a wedding band, gold in color.
Q Did you see where the ring came from when you were in the hospital or in the morgue?
A No, sir; I did not.
Q Can you tell us how you came to be in the possession of it, Mr. Hawkins?
A Okay, sir. As I stated earlier, I went down to the morgue for the purpose of obtaining fingerprints and palmprints of Mrs. MacDonald. While I was there, the pathologist mentioned that these items had been collected and were there and wanted to know if I were to pick them up. I picked them up at that point. They were all like this when I picked them up.
Q They were in that plastic container?
A All the little vials were together, and I took possession of vials, containing what the Doctor told me it contained at that point.
Q I see, but it was not in that particular plastic container there that you received the ring?
A Yes, sir. It was this container that I received the ring in.
Q Do you remember who it was who turned over these matters to you or told you that they were available?
A I think I received these items from Dr. Hancock.
Q Now, all these other dozens of vials that we have seen here today, is that the way you received them also? I mean not with the plastic envelopes that are around them.
A Just a little vial that was sealed just like that; yes, sir.
Q Did you make any markings on these vials when you received them to show that you had received them and they were sealed by you?
A Yes, sir. I marked them just with my initials "BJH, 17 February, '70."
Q That means that you marked all of these little vials that have been introduced this afternoon?
A Yes, sir.
Q And after you finished marking them, did you have anything else to do with them, Mr. Hawkins, other than pick them up at the morgue and take them back to CID Headquarters?
A That is all I had to do with them, sir.
Q Now, may I ask you again, who were the persons that you took fingerprints of -- the named persons -- and where did you do that?
A I took fingerprints of Mrs. MacDonald in the morgue. I took fingerprints and footprints of Captain MacDonald --
Q (Interposing) Where was that?
A On the ward. I also took Dr. MacDonald's fingerprints in our office on one occasion. This included tips. In other words, I took a set of rolled prints and the tip prints.
Q By the way, when you took Dr. MacDonald's fingerprints, do you remember telling him the reason why you needed his fingerprints? Was it because his original set of record prints had been lost or mislaid?
A No, sir; I don't recall.
Q Who had assigned you to the task of getting Dr. MacDonald's fingerprints?
A That would have been Mr. Grebner, sir.
Q Mr. Franz Joseph Grebner, the Chief of the CID Detachment at Fort Bragg?
A At the time, yes, sir, he was.
Q Do you remember what date it was that you got the fingerprints from Dr. MacDonald -- let me ask you -- is that the date that is marked here on the record prints themselves? Would that be the date you took them?
A That would have been the date I took them; yes.
Q Okay, it indicates here that was 13 March, 1970?
A That would have been at the time; yes, sir.
Q You say Dr. MacDonald was in the hospital at the time you got these prints?
A Not on 18 March; no, sir.
Q I beg your pardon?
A Not 18 March; no, sir.
Q All right, where did you get --
A (Interposing) Those were taken at the CID office, sir.
Q How did Dr. MacDonald come to be at the CID office?
A I imagine he was called there, sir. I don't know.
Q But it wasn't you, Mr. Hawkins, who sent for him; is that right?
A No, sir. I was only detailed to take the fingerprints.
Q He was not under arrest at that time, was he?
A Not to my knowledge; no, sir.
Q And you asked him would he give you a set of record fingerprints?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did he object?
A None whatsoever, sir.
Q He cooperated in giving the prints?
A Very much so, sir.

MR. SEGAL: If Your Honor pleases, I have no further questions for Mr. Hawkins at this time, but we have just received Jencks Act material at the time he went on the stand. I would ask the right to reserve perhaps some additional cross-examination, if Mr. Hawkins is going to be around, perhaps tomorrow.

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor. Mr. Hawkins was delayed all through last week and has a plane ticket back to Hawaii, I believe, tomorrow morning. The Jencks material that was turned over to the Defense consists only of his Article 32 testimony, I believe, which they already have, and I believe, a property receipt pertaining to these items.

MR. SEGAL: Once again, Mr. Murtagh has not bothered to check the facts. I'm going to walk through the Jencks Act material to examine it.

MR. MURTAGH: I OBJECT to the comments of Mr. Segal.

THE COURT: If you have anything to say about that, come up here, both of you.


B E N C H C O N F E R E N C E

MR. SEGAL: When Mr. Hawkins took the stand, Your Honor, I made a request of the Government for the Jencks Act materials. There is included in the materials eight pages single-space typed, statement of Mr. Hawkins under oath. It is part of his "q" and "a" form. We have never seen this before and I wish Mr. Murtagh would check his facts before he stands up in front of the jury and makes a statement that we had had this, that invites a response.

MR. MURTAGH: Your Honor, first of all, that statement does not pertain to his testimony, and second of all --

THE COURT: (Interposing) The statement does not what?

MR. MURTAGH: It does not pertain to his testimony, Your Honor. I believe it pertains to another aspect of the investigation.

MR. SEGAL: I have no way of knowing that, Your Honor.

MR. MURTAGH: Mr. Segal was furnished in 1975, I believe, but I will check, I believe you got that statement.

MR. SEGAL: Well, Your Honor, I am afraid Mr. Murtagh is wrong.

THE COURT: I will say right now for both of you, we are going to get through with this witness today. You will have time to read the eight pages. If the 15 minutes at the recess hour, which will be taken in one half hour, is not adequate, then we will take such time as it takes to do it. There is no point in keeping a witness here who has got a plane ticket tomorrow morning.

MR. SEGAL: I just wanted time to read it, Your Honor, that is fine.

THE COURT: Go on.

(Bench conference terminated.)


THE COURT: Any further questions at this time?

MR. SEGAL: Not at this time, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Any redirect?

MR. MURTAGH: No, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Mr. Hawkins, I will ask you to stay around until they read eight pages of something, then you might be called back and asked about that. If you don't, and then we will let you go to Hawaii. Call your next witness.


Note from Christina Masewicz:
The Court Reporter's misspelling of "Graebner" was corrected to read Grebner in the above transcript.

 

 

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1987: MacDonald v. McGinniss  -  Mildred Kassab sues MacDonald  -  Court Records

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