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
August 15, 1979: Charles B. Morton, Criminalist Forensic Scientist

 

(Whereupon, CHARLES B. MORTON 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 2:58 p.m.

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Would you state your full name and your address, please, Mr. Morton?
A Yes; Charles B. Morton, 610 16th Street, Oakland, California.
Q And what is your profession or occupation, Mr. Morton?
A I am a criminalist forensic scientist.
Q Now, what is your education?
A I have a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in forensic science from the University of California at Berkeley.
Q When did you receive your bachelor's degree in forensic science?
A 1963.
Q Would you tell us, please, some of the courses that you took relating to receiving the degree of Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science?
A Yes; I had about three and a half years of general chemistry and two years of microchemistry, courses relating to fingerprints, fabric impressions, impressions of various types, firearms, blood grouping, blood pattern analysis, fiber and hair identification and examination.
Q Did you also do any work in forensic photography while you were earning your Bachelor's Degree at the University of California?
A Yes, I did.
Q After you graduated from the University of California, what sort of work did you do?
A I went to work for Paul Kirk in a private laboratory that he operated. He was the professor in charge of the program at Berkeley.
Q What was the name of the laboratory which employed you?
A Paul L. Kirk and Associates.
Q Just briefly, Professor Kirk -- was he a member of the faculty at the University of California School of Criminology at that time?
A Yes, he was.
Q Did he have any reputation in the field of criminology?
A Yes, he did.
Q What was that?
A A well-established forensic scientist published over 200 articles and books on forensic photography, forensic chemistry, and biochemistry.
Q May I ask you just to keep your voice up just a bit louder if you will. Now, how long did you work for Paul L. Kirk and Associates and in what capacity did you work with them?
A I worked for him for six years as an associate working as a criminalist.
Q What sort of matters did you handle as an associate with Paul Kirk?
A I examined physical evidence of various types for public agencies and private attorneys, both district attorneys offices from local jurisdictions and public defenders offices and private attorneys.
Q Did you do work in examination of fabric and fabric impressions in that period of time?
A Yes, I did.
Q Have you any idea how many cases you examined for fabric and fabric impressions?
A I would estimate maybe 50 to 100 at that time.
Q Did you also do any examination in the area of fingerprint and fingerprint analysis and comparison and identification?
A Yes. I examined routinely a large number of latent fingerprint impressions and compared them for possible presentation in Court.
Q When I say "fingerprints," I would also like to know whether or not that included examinations of something called friction ridge impressions? Did you do any of that kind of work?
A Yes. Fingerprints are a part of the total friction ridge structure of the surface of the skin. The palmar surface of the hands and the plantar surfaces of the feet, the bottoms of the feet and the inside surfaces of the hands including the fingers have a particular ridge structure on them that is characteristic of those areas.
Q So, when I talk about fingerprints hereafter, you are including in that area both the actual prints on hands as well as the friction ridge impressions on other surfaces of the body you have described?
A That is correct.
Q Did you also have occasion to do forensic photography while you were employed by Paul L. Kirk and Associates?
A Yes. I was responsible for all of the photography of the evidence that was brought to the laboratory.
Q After your six years with that organization, what did you do?
A I took a position with the California State University at Los Angeles. I was in charge of the Master's Degree Program in Forensic Science or Criminalistics.
Q What position or rank did you hold at the California State University at Los Angeles?
A When I left there, I was Associate Professor.
Q Did you hold some administrative position in the department which you were in?
A I was Associate Department Chairman for one year.
Q What courses did you teach in the area of forensic sciences and police sciences in the five years that you were at the university?
A I taught courses in physical evidence examination for laboratory personnel from the public laboratories in Los Angeles and Southern California area. This involved mostly the procedures that are carried out in the crime laboratory excluding drugs and alcohol analysis. I taught a class in forensic photography to undergraduate students and police officers and crime scene technicians at that level. I taught a course in physical evidence for the police officer at the undergraduate level, and I supervised a number of Master's projects of various students.
Q In the five years that you were teaching, did you do any courses or teach any courses in the area of fabric impressions and impression analysis and examination?
A Yes. An integral part of one of the graduate courses was the examination of fabric impressions and blood stain patterns -- that kind of thing -- in the laboratory.
Q In connection with your teaching and your work as a member of the faculty of that university, did you have occasion to read the literature in the field of fabric impressions and impression analysis?
A Yes, what little literature there is.
Q I am sorry?
A Yes, what little literature there is in that area.
Q After the five years that you were at the California State University, what did you do next?
A I went to the Institute of Forensic Sciences in Oakland, California.
Q What sort of organization is that?
A It is a private company which does forensic pathology, toxicology, and criminalistics for a number of public agencies and private attorneys.
Q When you say "it does work for public and private agencies," does that include district attorneys offices?
A Well, actually, the work is done for the Alameda County Coroner's Office and then on an individual case basis, there was work done for Alameda County District Attorney's Office and other district attorneys offices throughout the State of California.
Q While you were with the Institute of Forensic Sciences, did you do work in fabric analysis, fabric impression analysis, and impressions comparisons?
A Yes, I did.
Q About how many cases were you called upon during that period of your career to work in that particular area?
A I would estimate something like 20 or 30.
Q Did you also have occasion to do friction ridge impressions and comparisons -- in other words, the specific name for fingerprints?
A Yes, I did.
Q On how many occasions were you called upon to make such friction ridge impression analysis comparisons and identifications?
A During that period of time, maybe 100 or 200.
Q Now, after 1978, what was your occupation or employment?
A As of last year, I owned the laboratory -- Criminalistics Laboratory at the Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Q You are your own boss or you are the Director of that laboratory?
A That is correct.
Q Do you have other professional personnel working with you and under you there?
A Yes, I do.
Q How many other persons do you supervise?
A Two on the payroll and we use a number of consultants.
Q Now, do you currently do any teaching in the area of forensic sciences or criminalistics?
A I teach one class at Community College level.
Q What type of course is that?
A Physical evidence for crime scene technicians.
Q Do you belong to any professional organizations in the area of forensic sciences?
A Yes. I belong to the California Association of Criminalists, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and the Forensic Science Society of Great Britain.
Q Do you hold any or have you held any positions of responsibility in any professional organization in the field of forensic sciences?
A I was on the Board of Directors of the California Association of Criminalists for seven years and was President for one year.
Q Have you written any material in the field of forensic science -- just the principal matters?
A I wrote one chapter in Kirk's book on photography.
Q Is it the original book by Professor Kirk Criminal Investigation or forensic examination?
A Actually, the edition edited by Dr. Thornton.
Q Have you been qualified as an expert witness in any Court in the area of fingerprints and friction ridge impressions?
A Yes, I have; both State and Federal Courts.
Q Have you been qualified as an expert witness in the area of fabric impressions and impression analysis and comparisons in any Court?
A Yes, I have.
Q Have you given testimony as an expert witness in regard to forensic photography matters in any Court?
A Yes, I have.
Q Have you been found to be a qualified witness in those Courts?
A Yes.

MR. SEGAL: If Your Honor pleases, we would offer Mr. Morton as an expert witness in the area of fabric impressions and comparisons and analysis; in friction ridge impressions and forensic photography -- and offer him for cross-examination by the Government.

THE COURT: Very well. Any questions?

MR. MURTAGH: Just a few, Your Honor.


V O I R D I R E

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Mr. Morton, when did you get your Master's, please?
A 1971.
Q I think you testified as to your qualifications that you edited or wrote rather the photographic chapter of Thornton and Kirk's Crime Investigation?
A I re-wrote it.
Q You re-wrote it? Was that your first association with Dr. Thornton?
A No. John and I had been contemporaries at the university.
Q I see. Let me ask you: who contacted you with reference to testifying in this case?

MR. SEGAL: That really has nothing to do with his qualifications, Your Honor.

THE COURT: He OBJECTS to that, Mr. Murtagh. Why is that relevant on the question?

MR. MURTAGH: I will withdraw the question, Your Honor. No further questions on qualifications.

THE COURT: All right.


D I R E C T E X A M I N A T I O N 3:10 p.m. (resumed)

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Mr. Morton, were you present -- you don't even look alike -- just the beards. That's all. Were you present in this court during the testimony of Mr. Stombaugh -- Mr. Paul Stombaugh -- formerly of the FBI?
A Yes; I was.
Q Did you hear his testimony in regard to the sheet taken from the master bedroom of the MacDonald house?
A Yes; I did.
Q And I want to hand you this sheet again -- 211 -- and just let me leave this here for a few minutes and take these other things away. Were you present when Mr. Stombaugh testified that in the area he has marked "G" he found an impression in blood that he described as one which conforms to the right cuff of Colette MacDonald's pajama top?
A Yes; I was.
Q Now, based upon your own knowledge, information, experience, and your own examination in this matter, do you have an opinion as to whether or not the impression that Mr. Stombaugh identified as "G" was made or could have been made by the pajama cuff of Colette MacDonald?
A Yes; I do.
Q And what is your opinion, sir?
A That it was not.
Q It was not.
A That is correct.
Q By the way, I perhaps presumed something I hadn't fully stated. Had you examined that sheet you have in front of you prior to my handing it to you today?
A Yes; I have.
Q And have you examined the pink pajama top that has been identified as being taken from the body of Colette MacDonald?
A Yes; I have.
Q Now, with that as background, would you tell us, please, on what did you base your conclusion that the area "G" was not made by the pink pajama top cuff of Mrs. MacDonald?
A My examination of the area "G" showed that there was a strip of blood staining -- apparent blood staining -- which was approximately 3/4 of an inch wide which approximated the width of the cuff on the pajama top --
Q (Interposing) May I interrupt? Would it help if we displayed the sheet? If it does, we will have to bring something in for one moment.
A I think so.

(Pause.)

THE WITNESS: When I first examined the area in "G," it was apparent that there was a strip of staining approximately mid of the pajama cuff, but in looking at it more closely, it was apparent that there is a ridge structure in a pattern structure in there which is not compatible with the pajama top.
The nip of the fabric of the pajama top is at a right angle or is in the same plane as the axis of the sleeve. In other words, it comes off the end of the cuff at a right angle to the thrust direct into the sleeve.
Q Let me see if we can -- ask if you would look at the pink pajama top and see if you could show to the members of the jury perhaps the area of the cuff you are referring to.
A It is the seam here at the cuff which -- this area right here is approximately the width of that impression on the sheet. You will notice that the nip of the fabric goes at a right angle to that seam in this direction for either one of these sleeves.
And, in looking at the stain on the sheet, it is apparent that there not only is no impression of that ridge structure -- and you wouldn't necessarily expect it so that wouldn't necessarily exclude the possibility just because it didn't show -- but, instead of finding that, there was a lot of ridge structure that is typical of the kind of thing you see with friction ridge skin --
Q (Interposing) Pardon me, sir. I want to ask you how do you ascertain or how do you determine that there was a friction ridge structure there?
A Yes; in looking at the stain, you can see parallel rows of narrow bands of blood stain, and they do not follow the direction of the weave of the fabric nor any of the fabric channels that might develop from the weave --
Q (Interposing) Did you do that microscopically or with the naked eye?
A I did it with the naked eye initially and then examined it more closely with a hand lens.
Q All right, now, having made those observations, what else did you do to try and ascertain whether or not this area "G" was made by the cuff of Mrs. MacDonald or made by some other source?
A Well, my first impression was that there is in fact a very straight line at the -- what looks like the -- far portion of this -- the closed end of the "G" area. That looks like the straight edge of something like the fabric.
The other way that that can occur is if there is a fold in the fabric and the impression is laid down while there is a fold. If there is an impression laid down while there is a fold, then you expect to find that somewhere beyond that is the other part of that impression which terminated at the edge of the fold.
So, I looked in the area where that would occur and about six inches away there was another area which contained the same ridge structure which had the appearance of friction ridge skin -- a bloody impression.
Q Let me ask you: this second area that you say is six inches away -- what did you do to examine that to see whether it contained friction ridges of some sort?
A I examined it with the naked eye and it is apparent with the naked eye, and that was supplemented with the examination with a magnifying glass.
Q All right, now, having made those two observations, what was the next step that you took?
A I brought the two together to see if in fact that would work to bring those together, and I could see that they would come together rather neatly.
Q All right, in order to perhaps make this more clear to the jury, did you take some photographs, Mr. Morton?
A Yes; I did.
Q All right. Now, Mr. Morton, would you return to the stand for a moment and let's see whether we can have you identify D-81 and D-82 and we will set up the easel here which may be necessary.
A Do you want me to bring this easel over?
Q Yes, please. I think one of them will be sufficient.

(Defendant Exhibit Nos. 81 and 82 were marked for identification.)

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Now, would you take a look first at D-82 and tell us what it is, please. The exhibit -- perhaps if you would put it up with the push pins for the jury to see.
A Yes; this is a two times enlargement of the area of the fabric: marked "G, " showing both the original area outline of the "G" region, and also the additional area approximately six inches off the end of it. It shows with a little more contrast than is in the original sheet the character of ridges that are shown both in the small portion off to the right of the "G" area in this photograph and also the ridge structure that is shown both at the bottom -- both sides -- at the bottom and at the top of this stain within the "G" area.
Q This is, in other words, simply a twice magnified illustration of what we see on the sheet itself.
A That is correct. With a little increase in contrast.
Q What is the effect of the increase in contrast and how was that achieved? Perhaps if you could just stay to the end of this.
A By using high contrast processing in the negative and in the print, it tends to increase the difference between the color of the background and the color of the item.
Q Why would you do that?
A In order to make it more apparent to the jury.
Q Let me show you D-81 -- photograph D-81 -- and ask you to tell us what that is, please, and then place it on the chart.
A Yes; this is the bringing together of portions of the photograph. This is a three times enlargement -- slightly larger -- again showing the friction ridges but this time bringing the two portions together as if the fabric had been folded.
This shows the correspondence not only in the fact that there are apparent ridge structures within both sections of this stain, but the light and dark areas at the top, at the center, and at the bottom correspond in a general way.
Q When you use the term "areas of correspondence," could you tell us what that means? Again, we need you to stand more to the side if you would, sir.
A Yes; indicating that where the impression is heavily impressed in one side of the imprint or the demonstration it is also heavily impressed on the other side. Where it's light, it's light on both sides. Again, where it is heavier in the middle, it is the same way on both sides and on the bottom heavier on both sides with a gap between those areas.
Q Now, we have a plastic overlay on top of this photograph that you are referring to so that we can both examine the photo without your marking on it and we can also have the benefit of your markings. Would you take the red marking pen and show now with lines indicating what you consider to be the points of correspondence and would you number each line, please, as you do it?
A In the upper region, there is a darkened area. In the central regions, there is a lighter area.
Q Let's number those as we do this.
A This would be number two. In the center, again, there is a darkened area where the impression has been laid down on the fabric with the number three. Below that there is a light gap again. Then again there is a solid impression of the ridge structure in the bottom area on number five.
Now these are not comparisons -- these are not areas, that show individual correspondence; in other words, prove that this is absolutely the continuation of this pattern. But there is a degree of general correspondence of those areas that would indicate that those are part of a single impression.
Q Is there any other type of correspondence -- besides the specific point you are making here -- is there a correspondence through a shape or a morphology?
A There is a general shape here which corresponds to the outer palmar surface and the bottom palmar surface. These areas project a little bit more, so they tend to print more substantially than the inner surfaces of the palm which are slightly raised as you can see by looking at your own hand.
So when you tend to make a palm impression -- which you probably saw when you were a kid in finger painting and that type of thing -- you can see this part would impress whereas the center portion would tend to be less.
You see some indication of that here with the right and bottom of what is apparently the palmar impressions across here, the lightened area in the center, and then the continuation of the outer portion of the hand.
Q Would you mark with the blue marking pen the general areas of coincidence that you now have just described?
A Okay, the curved mark around what looks like the right side of a palm and the bottom portion of the palm.
Q Now having made those examinations, those comparisons, did you do anything further to confirm or to reject your conclusion that this was made by a palmprint rather than by the impression of a cuff of, perhaps, Mrs. MacDonald's pink pajama top?
A Yes, I did some experiments with a -- using human blood on my own hand -- and made impressions on a sheet with various forms of folding the fabric. These are shown in these sections of fabric. The first one here shows just a single fold.
Q Tell us, if you will first, how you yourself made that impression; is that your hand?
A Yes, these are my hand impressions with a blood smear on them. This piece of fabric was folded just once where you see the black dots over like that. An impression was made like that and it was opened up -- you can see the similarity in that pattern and that pattern. Now, if you see here -- one of the differences you see, is you see somewhat of a line here, and the pattern going off beyond the edge, which indicated that it might have been folded over here as well so that this was no longer in contact with whatever, was contacting the surface.
My second experiment was to fold over that area within "G."
Q When you folded over that area, what did you come up with?
A The second impression shows the fact that you get a more well-defined ridge of impression when you have it folded over twice, folded over in this area and in this area folded over again. It was folded like that at the time.
One of the differences, this reproduced a little more the narrow band that is shown here. The next question as to why this line is much sharper than it is here -- this, of course, is a poorly-defined line on the section outside of the "G" area.
I think the reason for that is, that it could be caused by a greater degree of folding between the top level and the lower level and the next experiment was meant to do that. This time, the fabric was folded a number of times and brought in correspondence. It resulted in a more diffuse line along the surface. So I think the difference you can see there would be caused by irregular folding. I could not reproduce what was originally there. All I can do is show some of the kinds of things that happened under these conditions that they have resulted in the appearance that you see there.
Q If I may ask then, again, somewhat in lay terms, is it your conclusion that based upon these experiments, based upon your examinations of the fabric, based upon your examination of Mrs. MacDonald's pink pajama top, the most likely explanation for the area marked "G" is that it resulted from a folding of this sheet at some point when there was moist blood on it --

MR. MURTAGH: (Interposing) OBJECTION, Your Honor

THE COURT: Let him finish his question.

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q I will ask you again in lay terms. Based upon your examination of the sheet, of Mrs. MacDonald's pajama top, based upon the experiment you conducted, is it your conclusion that the most likely explanation for the area on area "G" here is that it is the result of folding of this fabric when there was moist blood on it, and it occurred from a hand being placed on this folded which either had blood on it or blood on the sheet?

MR. MURTAGH: I OBJECT to the form of the question, Your Honor.

THE COURT: SUSTAINED.

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Could you tell us, if you will then, your explanation as to why you think this hand impression was made on the sheet?

MR. MURTAGH: OBJECTION, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Well, OVERRULED.

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Go ahead, Mr. Morton --

THE COURT: (Interposing) I am still looking for one of these in which the answer is not exactly the same as it would have been to the question, if you had not objected. Go ahead.

THE WITNESS: The most likely way I feel this impression was made -- based on the overall configuration of the pattern, the outline, the lightened areas within the interior of this pattern after you fold it over, and the ridge structure that is apparent in the stain itself -- the most likely way it got there was from a palm or possibly some other ridged skin surface making that impression while it was moistened with blood.

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Are you satisfied in your mind based upon your own knowledge, training, information and experience and upon your examination that there are in fact friction ridge lines on both the area marked "G" and the area which you have described as being six inches away from it?
A Yes; I am.

MR. SEGAL: All right. Would you return to the stand?

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Now, were you also asked -- did you also hear the testimony of Mr. Stombaugh about areas "C" and "D" on the blue sheet?
A Those are the areas that he had identified as hand impressions?
Q Yes, sir?
A Yes; I did.
Q Now, having heard his testimony, having examined the sheet yourself, do you have an opinion as to whether or not those areas represent impressions made by a hand, either having blood on it or pressing on blood?
A I find no evidence in those areas that would be convincing that those were caused by hand impression.
Q Did you hear the testimony of Dr. Thornton in that regard earlier today?
A Yes; I did.
Q Do you agree or disagree with his explanation and his statement with regard to those areas, "C" and "D"?
A Yes. I think it is much more likely that that blood got in those areas by either flow -- blood flow -- or fabric transfer, a contact with another area of the fabric that caused the transfer.
Q Would you describe again, and I suppose it seems obvious, but describe what this process of fabric transfer would have been like?
A Yes. It is just a matter -- it is nothing elaborate or sophisticated about it. It is strictly if the fabric is bloody on one side and it contacts another area, it will transfer blood. And there is a large quantity of blood that is indicated in both of those areas which appears to be more than the level that you would get just from smears.
If you will notice in these impressions, I put my hand in quite a bit of blood. And you don't pick up so much that you get the kind of flow that you see in those two areas. Those indicate to me that there was enough blood flowing that you left the kind of pattern that you see there. That is not the kind of thing you would get from just moistening your hand with blood, even putting it in a large quantity of blood and transferring it. You tend to get in hand prints some kind of indication of finger impressions or palm structure or something that gives you the character of the outline of the hand.
And generally you will see some indications of ridge structure -- not always necessarily -- but if you are going to call something a handprint, you need to see some evidence that it is a handprint, not just a pattern that you could conceivably construe as being a handprint.
Q When you examined areas "C" and "D," did you find any evidence at all to support the conclusion that that was a handprint of some sort, or either one of those areas were handprints?
A I am sorry. Would you repeat the question, please?
Q My fault. When you examined areas "C" and "D," did you find any evidence at all to support the conclusion that those were in fact handprints; that is, any evidence of friction ridges, any of the details to support that conclusion?

MR. MURTAGH: I would OBJECT.

THE WITNESS: No; I didn't.

THE COURT: OVERRULED.

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Your answer, please?
A No; I didn't.

THE COURT: He said, "No."

MR. SEGAL: Subject, if Your Honor pleases, to marking the three demonstration patches here on the board which are displayed as D-83, I have no further questions of this witness at this time and turn him over for cross-examination.

THE COURT: All right, sir. Any questions?

MR. MURTAGH: Yes, Your Honor. I would only inquire whether Counsel intends to bifurcate his examination of this witness as well?

MR. SEGAL: I have no further questions of this witness at this time, Your Honor.


C R O S S - E X A M I N A T I O N 3:33 p.m.

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Mr. Morton, with respect to your testimony here today, may I ask you who contacted you initially to be a consultant in this case?
A John Thornton.
Q Okay. And has he contacted you on previous occasions for cases?
A Not in terms of actually appearing and working on a case. We have discussed cases before. But this is the first one I have actually worked on.

MR. SEGAL: Could I just ask you to keep your voice up? It is a bit hard to hear you.

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q I take it you have been associated with Dr. Thornton for some time?
A Yes; I have.
Q Okay. Now, in regard to area "G," do you know whether Dr. Thornton examined area "G"?
A I understand that he looked at it. I don't know how thoroughly he examined it.
Q Well, would you disagree that he looked at it and compared area "G" with the right cuff of Colette MacDonald's pajama top?
A I don't know with what detail he did.
Q Well, would you agree or disagree that he looked at it and compared it with any degree of detail?
A I know that he looked at it.
Q Okay. Did Dr. Thornton testify with respect to area "G" this morning?
A No; he did not.
Q Okay. Did you ever discuss what his opinion, if any, was with regard to whether area "G" could have been caused by the right cuff of Colette MacDonald's pajama top?
A I believe we discussed it briefly. And he indicated that the general dimensions were comparable. But that was all he had really looked at. He had a great deal of responsibility in various elements of this, and did not look at it critically.
Q Okay. I believe I asked you -- did he testify with respect to area "G" this morning?
A Right.
Q You answered that?
A I believe he did not.
Q Now, with respect to area "G," do you have any quarrel with Mr. Stombaugh's testimony that it conforms in staining and in size and shape to the right cuff of Colette MacDonald's pajama top?
A The problem with that kind of statement --
Q (Interposing) Well, could you answer my question?

MR. SEGAL: I OBJECT, Your Honor.

THE COURT: You are objecting to what -- the answer or the question?

MR. SEGAL: Probably the whole process. But I will just OBJECT to him cutting him off before he finishes.

MR. MURTAGH: It is a "yes" or "no" question, Judge. And if he wants to explain it, of course, he can.

THE COURT: Ask that question one more time, please.

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Do you agree or disagree, do you have any quarrel with Mr. Stombaugh's conclusion that in terms of morphology or shape or dimensions that the stain which he referred to as area "G" conforms in general size and shape to the right cuff of Colette MacDonald's pajama top?

MR. SEGAL: I don't understand how it can be "yes" or "no" if he said, "Do you agree or disagree." That is with a predicate. That is why I objected. The question is not answerable "yes" or "no" if you say, "Do you agree or disagree."

MR. MURTAGH: Does he agree or disagree?

MR. SEGAL: Let him talk about it, Mr. Murtagh.

THE COURT: Let's ask him just one of them, "Do you agree?" He can answer that "yes" or "no."

THE WITNESS: No; I do not.

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q I am sorry?
A No. I do not agree.
Q That in terms of dimensions it does not conform?
A It conforms in a general way. But you can't just take the dimension by itself -- one dimension -- and say that that is a significant amount of agreement.
Q Well, let's take two dimensions. How about length and width?
A I did not look at the length that critically, because when I saw the ridge structure in there and the fact that it was not consistent with the ridge pattern of the fabric, it didn't seem that there was any point in going ahead and looking at the width.
Q Oh. Do I understand, then --

MR. MURTAGH: Excuse me.

THE COURT: Let him finish.

THE WITNESS: It would be like looking at the fact that two people were 6' 1" and then ignoring the fact that one of them was black and one of them was white. I mean, you know, you don't continue your comparison when there are obvious differences.

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Okay. Well, do I take it, then, that you did not measure, say, with calipers or some other device, the dimensions of this stain and compare them to the dimensions of the cuff of the pajama top?
A No; I did not.
Q Okay. You didn't do that lengthwise or --
A (Interposing) That is correct.
Q Or the width?
A I measured the width with a ruler.
Q Okay. And did that conform?
A Yes, generally in the area of three-quarters of an inch.
Q Okay. Now, with respect to Dr. Thornton's testimony this morning, I believe he testified that area "F," which is not depicted in the photograph here, conformed to the left cuff or could have been made by the left cuff of Colette MacDonald's pajama top. Do you recall that, sir?
A I believe that is Jeff MacDonald's pajama top.
Q No, sir.
A Not Colette MacDonald's.
Q I don't believe it is Jeffrey MacDonald's. I will be happy to show it to you.

MR. SEGAL: Your Honor, either way. The only thing I asked him about were two other areas. And I don't know what we are doing going into this particular matter he wasn't asked to examine, Your Honor.

MR. MURTAGH: I did not ask him that, Judge.

THE COURT: Proceed.

BY MR. MURTAGH:
Q Sir, did you hear Dr. Thornton testify that area "F" -- let me hold that out -- in his opinion, I think he agreed with Mr. Strombaugh it could have been made by Colette's left pajama cuff?
A Yes; that is correct.
Q Would you agree or disagree that since the pajama top is in one piece -- that is, Colette MacDonald's pajama top is in one piece -- it has both a left and a right cuff?
A Yes.
Q Okay. So, since both are bloodstained -- and I will hold them up -- would you agree or disagree that if the left cuff made the stain on area "F," somewhere on that sheet there could be a corresponding stain to the right cuff?
A It could be; yes.
Q Okay. Do you have any reason to believe that there wouldn't be?
A No; I don't.
Q Okay. Now, with respect to your experiment here, sir, what plane, if any, were these stains made on? Do you understand my question?
A They were made on a flat surface.
Q Flat surface?
A Yes.
Q Did you know the position in which this sheet was found on the master bedroom floor?
A I understand it was piled on the floor.
Q Have you seen the crime scene photographs?
A I have seen some of them.
Q Have you seen the photographs depicting that sheet?
A I don't recall.
Q Did you make any comparisons using the sheet in a balled-up fashion such as this?
A No; I didn't.
Q You didn't? Okay. Now, with respect to your photograph number 81, which is a composite, I believe?
A Yes.
Q Let me ask you whether -- well, if you know, sir, why has this photograph been cropped at this angle?
A There were -- it was -- in order to bring them together, they had to be brought at an angle together. In other words, this isn't just the direct perpendicular bringing together. One of them is off at an angle, as you might get from folding a fabric.
Q Okay. In other words, this is not -- in other words, if you photograph here and you refer to the left side of the photograph of 82 and then you photographed here -- you can't bring them together without altering the angle; is that correct?
A You can't just slide this one over like this. They would have to be brought together like this.
Q In doing that, you change -- do you not -- the angle of the two photographs?
A That is correct.
Q Was any portion of the smaller stain which is outside area "G" cropped in photograph number 81?
A No significant portion.
Q Was any portion at all cropped?
A I would have to look at the sheet to make sure. It was not intentionally cropped. I believe that was from one photograph. And I tried to get the letter "G" in as well as all of the stain. In fact, it may show on that one photograph. It shows the area up here that has been cropped. This shows the area up here. It is uncropped. I think that goes down to there, there, and that is there, that is there, and that is there. So, it is not cropped.
Q Are you saying that these two stains could have been made by a fold-over effect?
A By the fabric being impressed while it was folded.
Q Does that mean that this stain and that stain could have been made by the fabric being folded together?
A No; it does not.
Q Mr. Morton, did you conduct any examinations using a garment substantially similar to that of Colette MacDonald's, making such an imprint on the sheet?
A No; I did not.

MR. MURTAGH: No further questions.

MR. SEGAL: Very briefly, Your Honor, in regard to a matter raised by the Government's attorney --

THE COURT: (Interposing) You have time for one question.

MR. SEGAL: All right, sir.


R E D I R E C T E X A M I N A T I O N 3:44 p.m.

BY MR. SEGAL:
Q Let me show you, Mr. Morton, three photographs marked Government -- they are copies of Government 210, 212 and 211, which are all of the master bedroom and show the bedclothing we are talking about. Will you take a moment, please, and examine those, and I will ask you one single question?
A Yes, sir.
Q Have you looked at those photographs?
A Yes, sir.
Q And at the pile of bedclothing there?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is there anything in those photographs that would cause you to either change, add to or detract from your opinion as to how the fact that the impression on that sheet was made by a palmprint rather than a cuff as was testified to by Mr. Stombaugh?
A No; there is not.

THE COURT: Take a recess until 4:00 o'clock.

(The proceeding was recessed at 3:45 p.m., to reconvene at 4:00 p.m., this same day.)

 

 

Home  -  Contact  -  Scholarship Fund  -  New Uploads  -  Christina's Corner  -  Resource Page
Chronology  -  Claims vs. Facts  - 
Various Documents  -  CID Records  -  FBI Records
April 6, 1970 Interview  -  Article 32 Hearing  -  Psychiatric/Psychological Data  -  DNA Results
July 23-24, 1970: John Cummings' exclusive interview with MacDonald  - 
Polygraphs
Affidavits  -  Grand Jury Transcripts  -  1979 Trial Transcripts  -  MD License Revoked
1987: MacDonald v. McGinniss  -  Mildred Kassab sues MacDonald  -  Court Records

 Parole Hearing  -  Kassab's Work  -  Bob Stevenson Answers Your Questions
Photograph Pages 

 


Go to top