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.


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November 10, 2012

After MacDonald was convicted, he started making tapes for Joe McGinniss to provide him with information to aid in Joe writing Fatal Vision. In all there were a total of 31 tapes with two sides. Not one of them says anything about being confidential. MacDonald referred to the tapes as act one, act two, and so forth and so on. Maybe in his mind he thought he was writing a play or movie.

For some time now I have been delving into some of what was on those tapes. The only thing I can say is it is a real eye-opener as to the true character of Jeffrey MacDonald.

I have also been digging into what I call a treasure trove. And it has been a wealth of information. I have decided to share some of it with the people who read here at my website. This information I have taken from my notes and is not in any chronological order.

MacDonald has always tried to make people think he loved Colette and the children more than anything in the world. And here I think he let his true feeling out by saying "And therefore, I have probably painted a rosier than it really was picture of the relationship between Colette and I... There were cracks in it." I think he was telling the truth about that. He always had a wandering eye and fly trouble. Too bad he never got it caught in the zipper. There were cracks before the marriage ever took place. Even the day before the marriage, he gave a black and red negligee to his former high school girlfriend, Carol Larson. The source of that information comes from Carol's grand jury testimony which I have read.

When MacDonald was asked if he had a "sexual relationship with the wife of a fellow medical student that was friends of both he and Colette," MacDonald replied "I'm embarrassed to say I did." MacDonald never identified the friend; however, her name was Jeannie Morell.

The day after Kimberley, the older child, was born, and Colette was in the hospital, MacDonald left Colette in the hospital to visit Carol Larson in Patchogue.

Holy shit, how low can one sink? When asked if he thought he was a faithful husband, he replied "Well, I certainly wasn't sexually faithful. I felt in my heart that I was emotionally faithful to Colette."

When MacDonald was asked "Now, during the internship year, didn't you have a sexual relationship with a nurse in the on-call room at the hospital where you were on duty?" MacDonald replied "I believe that occurred."

Q. Now, toward the end of the internship year you decided to enlist in the Army?

A Yes, that's true. It was actually, I believe, the middle of the internship year.

Q. Wasn't one of the motivations for going into the Army to get away from some of these pressures that you were feeling?

A. Oh, I think Colette and I both felt we needed a break, yes.

Q. "What did sound good" -- about going into the Army -- "was the year or two away from the high-pressure environment that I had been in for the last five years.

"With medical school and this horrendous year of internship, I knew that I hadn't been spending much time at home with Colette and the kids during the internship year. I was mentally worn out from that year and physically tired."

Then he said "There was a lot of pressure, but the pressure Colette and I felt was on both of us.

I was what I considered to be a faithful husband. And I was just tired and irritable and cranky -- this was a down year. We were both tired."


Included in the release that MacDonald signed with Joe McGinniss among other things, it states "You may include in the book any incidents, characters, dialogues actions, scene and situations that you desire. In your sole discretion, you can quote, you can edit, you can splice, you can rearrange, you can even fictionalize. You can combine."

On August 3rd, 1979, MacDonald signed a consent and release... In the document he says -- it's between him and McGinniss -- that he understands that McGinniss is writing a book about his life and the case, and he understands that McGinniss has the freedom to draw on all the incidents, to use what he thinks is appropriate, to have that kind of artistic discretion.

The rest of the document talks about MacDonald releasing McGinniss from any claims.

There are different paragraphs. One paragraph deals with claims for defamation. Another paragraph deals with all kinds of other claims, invasion of privacy, and everything else, all else otherwise.

In December of 1981 there's a second release. The second release deals with books, TV, movies, and is even broader than the first release, if that's possible. It was signed by MacDonald, signed by McGinniss or his representative, and says "I'm giving you a lot of interviews, you can use them for whatever purpose you want, you can use any of the information you are getting, you can even fictionalize it if you want to. You can decide which parts, you can depict me in the movie or in the book how you choose" And twice in that document MacDonald says "it is solely at your discretion, Mr. McGinniss, you are the sole source of discretion as to how you want to use the facts. I have no control over what you can write or say in your book."

There can be no doubt that he wanted a book written, but from where I stand, it is obvious that he wanted it written his way and he wanted the money it would generate. According to him, he needed the money for legal reasons. My opinion is maybe some of it, but basically I think he wanted it to finance his new lifestyle and provide all the boy toys he wanted to be able to impress people with.

Enter Joseph Wambaugh

The first contact with Joseph Wambaugh was in 1975. The contact was made by a nurse by the name of Gloria Val.

MacDonald received a letter from Wambaugh March 28, 1975. In the letter the following was stated "First of all, let me say very immodestly that you do not get an author like Truman Capote or Joseph Wambaugh to write an 'as told to' book. If this is what you have in mind, you might contact a good writer like Kurt Gentry and see if he is interested."

Then in the next paragraph he says "If you aspire to have your story told in a more 'literary work', you should understand that I would not think of writing your story. It would be my story. Just as the Onion Field was my story and In Cold Blood was Capote's story. We both had the living persons sign legal releases which authorized us to interpret, portray, and characterize them as we saw fit, trusting us implicitly to be honest and faithful to the truth as we saw it..."

The next paragraph where he says: "With this release you can readily see that you would have no recourse at law if you didn't like my portrayal of you."

Then he says: "Let's face another ugly possibility. What if I, after spending months of research and interviewing dozens of people and listening to hours of court trials, did not believe you innocent?"

MacDonald wrote a letter to Bernie Segal the day after he got the letter from Wambaugh saying, "enclosed is very interesting, what do you think? He sounds awfully arrogant to me, but it will be an obvious best seller if he writes the book. Please get back to me ASAP."

There was no further communication until 1979, when Michael Snyder, a Los Angeles police officer who knew Wambaugh contacted him about writing a book on the case. There was a phone call and a meeting was arranged. MacDonald met Wambaugh in a Long Beach, California restaurant. MacDonald told Wambaugh he was interested in having a book written about the case, the upcoming murder trial. MacDonald claims Wambaugh pulled out his checkbook and offered to write a check for $200,000.00 - $300,000.00. Wambaugh denied that and in fact stated "this $200,000.00 - $300,000.00 was a fabrication, a fantasy, pure fiction." You have MacDonald saying it happened and Wambaugh saying it didn't. You can make up your own mind as to who you believe, Wambaugh or a triple convicted murderer.

It was Wambaugh who put McGinniss onto the track of the sociopath. It was Wambaugh who said to Joe "It's not a question of good or evil, those aren't the only two alternatives, it's not a question of this man being worse than Hitler.

"...The sociopath, the man who doesn't have a conscience, the man who doesn't have the feelings that the rest of us have. He walks and talks and looks like us but he doesn't think and act like us or feel like us. Some part of his inside is missing." That's what Wambaugh explained to Joe.

Interesting Exchange About Amphetamines

MacDonald stated "I could understand taking some amphetamines. After all, they weren't so bad, just to stay up a little bit and party." When he was asked "Was it true at the time you said it? Could you understand that anyone could take amphetamines?" He then stated "I think that's a mischaracterization of what I was saying in that sentence." When asked "did you think that amphetamines weren't so bad", MacDonald replied "Amphetamines as a whole are bad drugs." But you said here they weren't so bad. Did you mean by that that amphetamine weren't so bad? MacDonald replied "In the context in which I was saying it, I did, yes." Then you say: "just to stay up a little bit and party. Did you mean by that that it was alright to take amphetamines to stay up a little bit and party?" MacDonald replied "Not exactly, no." You didn't mean that? MacDonald replied "I meant something by that, but not what you're inferring." Did you mean that it was alright, if you had to stay up all night, to take some amphetamines? MacDonald replied "Well, I don't believe it says all night. It might, but I don't believe it does. I believe I was referring to the difference between a causal use of an occasional amphetamine and LSD usage.

When MacDonald was asked if he ever took any kind of stimulant to help get through the all-nighters he had to pull for studying for exams in medical school, he replied "I probably did." When pushed further as to what it was he took, MacDonald replied "I'm not sure what it was." Asked if it was a pill, he replied "Yes. A medical student had given me two -- one or two pills, I believe." When asked if he had any reactions, he replied "I don't recall."

Dr. Frank T. Standaert On Amphetamines

"Amphetamines are very complex, many series of actions. They have actions on the peripheral body through the sympathetic nervous system. They behave like the nerves --they make the nerves of the body release epinephrine or norepinephrine, which is what you release in ‘the fright or startled reaction'. They have actions within the central nervous system where in small doses they again by releasing the chemical by which nerves send signals to each other excite certain nerves and so that you get -- in small doses you would get excitation, insomnia or not going to sleep, whichever way you want to go with it, some depression of appetite and increased motor activity, more restlessness, more moving around, more jitteriness and then depending on where you go from there, as you go into the higher doses or longer periods of time, you can get frank hallucinations, you can get delusions, you can get personality changes and then you can get what's called an amphetamine psychosis.

"Amphetamine psychosis is a complex picture and which has a variety of actions in it, but basically it starts with changes in personality where the individual more or less becomes withdrawn into himself and ignores or rejects his environment and then becomes irritable, may become abusive in the sense of saying things or doing things to his surroundings and then becomes delusional, that is he can imagine that things are going on and/or misinterpret things
that the influence of the drug may see the same things that you and I see but interpret them in a way that you and I would not consider interpreting them. He may go on to get hallucinations, which means he sees things that aren't there, animals or snakes or monsters or things that no one else can see and then can go on, and depending on how all of these things are interpreted and whether the drug continues to be taken or the drug is taken away, may go on to whatever of a paranoid nature would progress to. It could just plain go away. Some people who have been chronic abusers of these drugs get used to it and they recognize that that's part of the charm of taking the drug that they will have these strange sights and feelings, other people having seen these strange unreal things get very frightened of them. They may panic, they may commit suicide, they may attack the vision or thing they see. There are a variety of outputs from this, but fundamentally the person is psychotic at this point and has withdrawn from the world and is no longer really behaving the way a normal individual would."

Is it possible for violence to result from an amphetamine -- induced psychosis?

According to Dr. Standaert, the answer is "yes."

Eskatrol is supposed to be taken in the morning.

According to Standaert "Because it's a preparation that contains an immediately released form of amphetamine plus some slowly released form of amphetamine. It's intent of manufacturers it should contain the effect of the pill for at least 12 hours, therefore if you took it later in the day it would interfere with your sleeping because amphetamine is a classic sleep -- anti-sleep material. It's -- and so if you took it in the evening you would not be able to sleep that night, so you take it in the morning so the drug has worn off and you will be able to sleep that night."

What would happen if someone took it around supper time?

"Primarily they would have a great deal of difficulty falling asleep that night. It's been known for people to stay up for several days."

Might those hallucinations include seeing members of their own family as intruders in the house?

"That would not --  that would not usually be in the category of a hallucination. That might be a delusion that they are there and they should not be there. You and I might think they should be there and the delusion is that they should not be there. Hallucination is usually visual perception of something that is not there at all."

Are both delusions and hallucinations are possible psychotic reaction to amphetamines?

According to Dr. Standaert, the answer is "yes."

Could one have a delusion of intruders in the home when it's really the family members.

According to Dr. Standaert, "There could he deluded thinking that the family members are intruders, yes."

Described Fort Sam Houston As A playground

In describing when he was at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, MacDonald stated "But Sam Houston in San Antonio was great to us, and Chuck was single and I was married with two kids, of course. But in all honesty, we lived a great bachelor life. We had rooms in motels and the motels turned out to be one of the motels used for the crews for -- one of the major airlines, but I forgot which one. But these stewardesses were there on overnight-type deals. And it ended up being this incredible time for Probst and I."

And then he goes on to say, "It was very unstressful. It was like a total release from medical school and the internship; and to be honest actually, of being family life."

Continuing on to say "Probst and I were burning the candle at both ends. We would party several nights a week, if not four or five nights a week. We took many girls out. There were several overnight episodes with people I don't remember, one of which later came back to haunt me at the Article 32 hearing, with Judy DeWitt, I believe is the person I'm referring to."

"There was a stewardess I stayed with one night."

Continuing with "To be honest, I say at least a night a week and sometimes three nights a week we really partied; and some of these parties went through most of the night. Very often there were, you know, eight or ten people involved.

"It wasn't nearly the orgy-type scene that the CID would love to have everyone believe; most of it was totally on the up and up. There were, you know, several nights spent with other women in these motels. Chuck and I both had met and dated several women, for one night only because they were coming and going. But I believe there were one or two people that we each dated for one or two nights during this time in Sam Houston."

He referred to Fort Sam Houston as "a playground." Stating there were always "12, 14, or 15 stewardesses at this motel."

As to Fort Benning, he said "We ended up doing a little partying at Fort Benning. I guess we picked up a couple of girls at different times or something. But it was a whole different thing because we were physically exhausted during jump school, and the atmosphere was different. There weren't neat stewardesses or nice looking women around Fort Benning, Georgia. It was just a whole different thing. It was a hooker's paradise, to be honest."

When asked "did you consider yourself a faithful husband at that time, he replied "No. I certainly wasn't being faithful at that time, no."


MacDonald talked about a scale of aggressiveness "on a scale of aggressiveness, I'd say he -- talking about Jay -- was about a 7 and I was about a 9.5, considerably less aggressive I believe in sport and in personal interactions than myself. For instance, Jay never really had a fight (I don't believe) in high school except as a peacemaker, whereas I was in several fights in high school.

"I always think they [were] either over a girl...some at that time [were] gang troubles with other towns and there were a couple of incidents at our high school that occurred where I really had nothing to do but suddenly was confronted with possible physical trouble and there was a fight that evolved from that. Jay never seemed to have those problems. Of course he was much bigger than me and people didn't approach him the same way, but he was a leader in his high school class and everyone felt that he would go on and do great things."

When asked about an incident where his brother had to be taken away after using violence on your mother, MacDonald replied "I believe I said that it was an inadvertent knocking down of my mother while he was being handcuffed by the police."

As To Guns He Owned

MacDonald admitted to owning

Lever-action .30-'30 rifle

A .22

A 6.5 mm Italian rifle

An old British .303 army special

When MacDonald was under house arrest, Ron Harrison loaned him a 9 mm pistol.

When arrested at his condo, he had a .44 Magnum near his bed. MacDonald said "I purchased it from a security guard at Saint Mary Medical Center." When asked what the purpose in purchasing it was, MacDonald replied "Well, I think it was probably more than one purpose. But I think, again, it was probably for personal protection." When asked why he thought he needed personal protection, MacDonald replied "Well, I think I was taking to heart Alfred Kassab's repeated statements that he was going to kill me."

Trip Across Country

MacDonald talks on the tapes about the trip across country with Marion Stern, her daughter Nina and son Danny. He stated "Marion was the wife of Bob Stern and were friends of him and his mother." And when MacDonald was asked if he had a "sexual relationship with Marion Stern", MacDonald replied "I did." He was also asked if he had a sexual relationship with Marion's twenty-two-year-old daughter Robin, MacDonald replied "Yes, that's true."

It has long been wondered who the sixteen-year-old was that MacDonald had an intimate relationship with. Well, finally the truth will be known. The sixteen-year-old was Nina Stern. The source of that information was none other than her mother, Marion Stern as told to Joe McGinniss in one of their personal conversations. Seems MacDonald bedded all of the Stern females. When asked if any feelings of deception against his friend, Bob Stern, he said "Yes, I think I did...well, they were separated."

An intimate relationship with a sixteen-year-old? Now to me, that was not normal. Surly he jests? This five pecker billygoat has no morals. His ass should have been arrested for statutory rape.

Danny Stern Incident

Joe McGinniss said that Marion Stern "in one of our conversations, she made reference to two incidents involving her son Danny. One was dangling him out of the window by his feet; and the other was the incident on a boat where Jeff had done something to frighten him, holding his head, threatening to crush it...Marion suggested that I speak to Danny about it. I called Danny Stern and asked him about it. Well, he said what I quoted him saying in the book. He confirmed and in fact went into detail about it." When MacDonald was questioned about the incidents with Danny, he replied "Alleged is the key word there."

Now Folks, Here's The real Kicker

MacDonald said "there were little streaks of hate that Colette tried desperately to hide." He stated "This was in regard, I believe, to her brother hanging her off a second story and dangling her and pretending he was going to drop her. And she used to get furious with that memory." Trying here to make it seem that Bob Stevenson was the one who did that to his sister and not him to Danny Stern.

Now, I ask you, is that not similar to what Danny Stern told McGinniss that MacDonald did to him?

Some Of MacDonald's Description Of Others

On October 16, 982, MacDonald wrote McGinniss a letter. On the back of one of the pages, MacDonald wrote Bernie Segal is "truly pathological."

When MacDonald was asked what did you mean by that, he stated "I meant that he had -- I had heard that he had made entreaties to a man in Washington to try to prevent my transfer from one prison to another for a period of at least several weeks; and I had just found out that -- I believe had just found out that for those several weeks none of the supposed entreaties to that person in Washington had been made, and I now had to get another attorney to do the same work."


When confronted about saying Brian Murtagh was a basically evil person, dumb, ruthless, I think he'll stop at nothing, but he doesn't hide it well, he replied "I don't recall those exact words, but I may have said that." When asked if he referred to Brian Murtagh as a snail spreading slime, he said "I don't recall that."


When asked do you recall saying that "I think Blackburn is essentially identical, except he hides it a little better. I think he is a face man, totally phony from the word go." MacDonald replied "Not those exact words. I expressed a feeling like that, yes."


As to Wade Smith one of his defense attorneys, MacDonald referred to him as a "candy ass in his own town."

When asked if he said that about Smith, MacDonald said "I did say that." When asked what he meant by that, MacDonald replied "That he was afraid to buck Judge Dupree, that he let Judge Dupree run all over him."


When asked if he remembered referring to Judge Dupree as an "ominous villain", MacDonald replied "Yes, I do recall saying that." Continuing on to describe him as "This ominous figure, appropriately dressed in black, looking like a decaying person, cancer-ridden or something, like a boil that should have burst." When asked if he remembered saying that, MacDonald replied "I don't recall that."


MacDonald referred to Dennis Eisman "as a grating schmuck whose immaturity outweighed his intellect."


In one of MacDonald's Defense Update Newsletters, it was written "Joe thinks he's invulnerable now because the Supreme Court ruled against me. But he's wrong. I'm going to sue to stop the paperback and the movie; and I want you to understand this. I hope the hard cover does not sell a single copy. And I'm going to sue him. Joe will pay."


And another quotation attributed to MacDonald saying "Now there's a bad book out about me, and some sleezeball who globbed on to the story to make a buck is going on every TV show in America."


MacDonald said Cleve Backster was "the biggest shyster I've ever met."

That Cleve Backster "is clearly a charlatan."

MacDonald said Backster was "unprofessional because he asked questions about his sexual habits."

That Cleve Backster "is clearly a charlatan."

Lies And More Lies

In a letter written to the Kassabs on November 6, 1971, it reads in part as follows: "It was obvious the only way for justice to be met is for me to do it. I am doing it, I have been doing it (four trips to North Carolina and Florida in the last three months) and will continue to do it as long as my strength holds up (broken hand last trip, $2,000 spent). The only legit help I see is private eye type, most of which I have found is no more competent than local cops. My next major goal is a large sum of money (via an advance from a publisher or this purpose). The first chap of my book."

"It has been written. The outline is done and still we are dickering with publishers. They just won't come across fast. Plus John Cummings mouthing off to publishers have hurt the book, that's another story (he wanted the story, when he failed to produce I went elsewhere, but he got so resentful he has been sandbagging our efforts.

When MacDonald was asked about the supposed four trips to North Carolina and Florida in the last three months and the broken hand. MacDonald replied "That was all part of this." When asked what he meant by that he replied "This attempt to give the Kassabs a way out of their grief."

MacDonald was asked "There's not too much that's true in that letter, is there?" MacDonald replied "I don't know what you mean by ‘too much'."

When bluntly put to him "There were no four trips to North Carolina and Florida looking for Intruders, were there?" MacDonald replied "No."

MacDonald And Cleve Backster

For 17 years the convicted murderer covered up his flunking of the polygraph examination on April 23, 1970, and he was successful in that cover up. And that's why he didn't let McGinniss speak to Backster. That was a breach by MacDonald of the agreement to provide the exclusive story rights which covered cooperation.

In 1974 in front of the grand jury, MacDonald was asked "Now, were you interviewed or tested by anyone else during this period of time?

A. No.

Q. Well, were you interviewed or tested by anyone other than a psychiatrist or a psychologist?

A. No.

Q. Well, specifically were you given a polygraph test?

A. We had some discussion about it. But the answer is no.

Q. I don't mean a polygraph test by a polygraph expert connected with the Army or connected with the government investigators, but a polygraph test that a polygraph operator, let's say privately retained, to examine you?

A. No, I'd have to discuss any more answers on that with Mr. Segal.

Now we know he had had two polygraphs done by that time, one by John Reid and one by Cleve Backster. So he lied to the grand jury on January 21, 1975.

Being caught in a lie at a later time he said "Well, the Backster one I thought was incomplete and the John Reid one I just forgot about that." The question is, how many polygraphs he had in his life that he could forget about a polygraph when asked by the grand jury? "He was trying to sell the grand jury the Brooklyn Bridge."

Some years later MacDonald was asked "And at that Grand Jury appearance, didn't you deny having an interview during April of 1970 in Philadelphia with anyone other than a lawyer or psychologist?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, do you recall being administered a polygraph examination by Cleve Backster?

A. My answer is that just to keep the record straight there was an attempt at a polygraph. A complete examination was never finished by Cleve Backster.

Q. On how many occasions have you met Mr. Backster?

A. One.

Q. Okay. When did that occur?

A. In 1970.

Q.  And during the time you were with Mr. Backster, he did hook you up to a polygraph machine, did he not?

A. Yes.

Q ...And he asked a number of questions of you and recorded your polygraph responses to those questions; isn't that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Have you ever been told what the result was of your -- the polygraph result...

A. No.

"...You terminated that interview with Cleve Backster?

A. It was terminated. I'm not sure how I would -- it was terminated by a combination of myself and Bernard Segal.

Q. Wasn't the reason for your taking a second polygraph test because you weren't satisfied with the results of the first one with John Reid?

A. Yes, that's true.

Q. ...Do you recall saying... you told Bernie that as we got out of the meeting, "I essentially canceled Cleve Backster, and once I relayed this on a break to Bernie, he then canceled Cleve Backster and that was the end of it. Do you recall saying that?

A. Again, not the exact words, but that is the feeling of what happened, yes.

Q. Did Mr. Segal say anything to Mr. Backster?

A. Yes.

Q. What did he say?

A. He told him to pack his bag and get out.

Now here is an example where Bernie Segal was the one person who could have corroborated MacDonald's version of the alleged termination, and the fact that he told Backster to pack his bags and get out. He never did that, because he knew Backster was telling the absolute truth.

In fact when Segal was asked what he found in Fatal Vision that was not true, he gave only two things, "the Eskatrol description and the description of the pathological narcissism." Keep in mind, this was MacDonald's attorney, and that's all he could find.

Q. Isn't it true that Cleve Backster did give you a complete polygraph on April 23, 1970?

A. That is not my recollection at all.

Q. And that this polygraph was given at Mr. Segal's offices?

A. That is not my recollection either.

Q. Where was it given?

A. I don't know.

Q. Isn't it true that Mr. Backster didn't ask you a single question about your private sex life?

A. That is not true.

Q. Isn't it true that Mr. Backster informed you immediately after the test what the results were?

A. No, that is not true.

Q. Isn't it true that Mr. Backster told you right then that the results of the polygraph were absolute, unambiguous and unmistakable?

A. No, that is not true.

Q. Isn't it true that he told you that the polygraph showed deception on your part?

A. No, that is not true.

Q. Isn't it true that when he told you that you showed no surprise?

A. No, that is not true.

Q. And isn't it true that Mr. Backster then went to inform Mr. Segal about the results right there?

A. That is not true.

Q. And isn't it true that after he gave the results to Mr. Segal, you, Mr. Segal and Mr. Backster and that there would be no written report since the results were not satisfactory for your purposes?

A. That is not true.

Q. Isn't it true that when you denied authorization to Mr. McGinniss in February 1983, you were trying to cover up the results of that polygraph examination?

A. There wasn't a polygraph taken.

In a letter written by MacDonald to Joe McGinniss on February 15, 1983 MacDonald wrote  "I am obviously very uncomfortable with his results, that over the years have, I believe, found that I've self-flagellated myself too much. It is inconceivable that the results in my test wouldn't be cloudy, to say the least."

When MacDonald was asked "Do you remember writing that to Joe McGinniss?"

MacDonald replied "No, I don't."

Q. Do you recognize the handwriting on that document?

A. Yes, I do.

Q. Is it yours?

A. Yes, this is my handwriting.

Q. And the date says 2-15. Would that be 02-15-83?

A. I think it is, yes.

Later on MacDonald said "The agreement between he and I in writing was that It would not be divulged to anyone by him unless It was satisfactory to us."

Q. Does that refer to Backster or Reid?

A. My best recollection is I'm confusing them here in my letter. My confusion is between Reid and Backster.

Dr. Robert Sadoff

According to Dr. Robert Sadoff, he examined MacDonald formally twice, and saw him a total of four times.

The first was April 21, 1970, for about three hours in his office. That was the first formal examination. The second was on August the 13th, 1970, when he went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to testify at the Article 32 investigation hearing, and he spoke to him there. The third time was a formal examination on June 14, 1979, in San Francisco for several hours in preparation for the trial that was coming up. And the fourth time was on August 22, 1979, when he went to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was tried.

Bernie Segal was a friend of Sadoff and he talked to him about the case and asked him to examine MacDonald with certain questions in mind.

The questions were, what could he find in his examination of MacDonald about his state of mind? Would it be consistent with a person who could have killed his wife and two children in the way that they were killed? ...And being the way he is at the time that Dr. Sadoff examined him, did he have... .....There were three or four different kinds of mental states that would be consistent with someone who could do that. One was psychosis; another was an antisocial personality; and another was one, who became psychotic under stress and then reconstituted.

Dr. Sadoff was asked the question "What findings did you or Dr. Mack make that led you to conclude that he did not suffer from the narcissistic personality disorder?"

Dr. Sadoff replied "Because a narcissistic personality disorder is a disorder which is not normal; and it's -- a person is not just narcissistic. All of us have certain narcissistic tendencies and traits. And I don't think that's bad. It's the way we cope with, the way we adapt to the stress of our environment. It's the way we handle our lives.

"So just because one may have a little more narcissism than perhaps the average, doesn't make it a disorder. A disorder is where it's pathological, which means it's --  it gets the person in trouble. It's not helpful to the person in terms of coping and dealing with life's stresses.

"So I did not find there was any pathological narcissism in Dr. MacDonald that got him into difficulty and that harmed him, which was self-defeating for him; so as not a personality disorder. But, yes, there were certain narcissistic traits that he had, but that doesn't make it a disorder."

Dr. Sadoff was asked "have you had any experience with polygraph examinations?"

Dr. Sadoff replied "Yes, I have...The experience I've had is several. One, I have -- first of all, I have -- usually have a polygraph expert conduct a polygraph examination on people on whom I wish to conduct further testing, such as sodium amytal or hypnosis. The reason I do this is, because the only reason I would use sodium amytal or hypnosis in a criminal case if the defendant -- the person charged with the crime -- doesn't remember what happened at or about the time of the crime, it's only to bring back memory that he cannot bring back himself.

"I don't want to use these tests on people who may be lying to me about not remembering. So the only question that I'm interested in among a bunch of questions that we give to the person who doesn't know what I'm looking for, is whether he's lying about not remembering. And I have used a polygraph expert in Philadelphia who teaches the course nationally. And I have taught his course, and he has taught about polygraph to my students at the University of Pennsylvania. So those are the experiences I've had with polygraph."

Dr. Sadoff was asked "As part of your forensic psychiatry examinations, do you sit in on polygraph examinations conducted by a person who is giving the test?"

Dr. Sadoff replied "I don't usually when they do it before I do the hypnosis or sodium amytal; but sometimes we had hooked a person up to a polygraph while they were under the influence of either sodium amytal or hypnosis, because he wanted to be able to see whether people could lie under the modality of hypnosis or sodium amytal."

Dr. Sadoff was asked "Before going to the criminal trial, you said you had the opportunity on June 14th, 1979, to examine Dr. MacDonald. You said it took place in San Francisco. How long did that take?"

A. I don't recall exactly, but I think it was again several hours -- two or three hours.

Q. Where was it?

A. As I recall, it was at a hotel and maybe at a restaurant as well, but I think it was mostly at the hotel...

Q. What was the purpose of your examination at that time?

A. The purpose was to re-examine Dr. MacDonald. I had not seen him in nine years. The trial was coming up, and to find out how he was doing, what his function was, behavior, state of mind throughout the past nine years, so I could update my evaluation.

Q. Was there any psychological test administered at that time?

A. I believe there were, yes.

Q. Do you know who administered it?

A. Dr. Mack.

Q. After you and Dr. Mack consulted, did you have any conclusion as to whether Dr. MacDonald suffered from narcissistic personality disorder?

A. I had an opinion, yes.

Q. What was it?

A. Opinion was, did not, does not have a narcissistic personality disorder.

Q. Did you see any other personality disorder at work in Dr. MacDonald?

A. I did not.

Q. Did you see any evidence during the examination in 1979 that made you change your opinion as to whether there had been a toxic psychosis or a personality disorder of any kind that had led to the crimes?

A. No, I did not change my opinion; in fact, the examination strengthened my further -- my first opinion that I gave in 1970.

Dr. Sadoff was asked "And you did testify that MacDonald told you that he was -- he had a feeling of relief that Colette was gone, and that the kids are gone; and he's ashamed of that feeling?"

A. I think he was very open when he told me that, yes.

Q. And you testified about a feeling of ambivalence that people have toward loved ones?

A. I testified about that, yes.

Q. And by ambivalence, you mean a combination of hate and love?

A. That's really a mixed feeling that people have toward those they love. They're dependent on them; they don't like the dependence. They're nurturing of them; and they have responsibilities, obligations. It's a lot of different things that go on at the same time, not necessarily hate and love, but certainly mixed feelings.

Dr. Sadoff was asked "Couldn't you have been fooled by -- MacDonald's mask of sanity?

A. If you assume he has a mask of sanity?

Q. Yeah.

A. Could I have been fooled? Well, that's one of the reasons I got Dr. Mack to do the battery of psychological tests, because it's possible that I could be fooled. But his testing, which goes below the surface and taps a different source of information than what I'm getting clinically, is totally consistent with my findings. With that, I find that he'd have to be awfully good to fool both of us at different levels of functioning. So, yes, I could be fooled, but I think we took enough precautions to be sure we were not.

Q. You could be fooled by a good psychopath?

A. Look, I'm not perfect. I'm sure, you know, in all modesty, I'm sure I could be fooled, sure. That's why I take the precautions that I do.

Based on Dr. Sadoff's statement "I don't want to use these tests on people who may be lying to me about not remembering", I cannot help but ask myself the question, where did Dr. Sadoff's friendship with Segal end and the psychiatrist pickup? Which was stronger, his friendship to Segal or his duty as a psychiatrist?


From Letters/Conversations Between MacDonald And McGinniss

September 1979 MacDonald wrote a letter to McGinniss about Jay stating "He got fucked up on speed (Whites), and then he said someone slipped him acid. Four policemen, one strait-jacket, one broken wrist, one terrified brother, one scared doctor, and one destroyed brain later, Jay came down to earth as you see him. I bailed him out of an insane asylum thinking he'd be okay. I was in my Green Beret outfit. I then went down to some bar he worked at in Greenwich Village, shaped like a triangle at an intersection, 'The Shortstop' and punched the shit out of some asshole who dealt whites."


During the trial at the Kappa Alpha House, MacDonald told McGinniss that Dr. Brussel "...was 80 years old, he appeared senile, he was drooling from the corner of his mouth, he thought he was in Maryland rather than North Carolina, he lost his topcoat and his hat while he was in the office, he was -- ...he was interviewing me from the viewpoint of a prosecuting attorney rather than a psychiatrist and I did not in fact believe he was a psychiatrist. ...The interview lasted somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes. ...Roughly 35 minutes, that he did not ask any questions at all relative to psychiatry, that he was reading from a typed sheet of questions that I asked Dr. Brussel ‘what are you reading from' and Dr. Brussel's reply was that ‘he was reading from a list of questions typed by that little guy, the little prosecutor.'

"...That as a physician it appeared to me that this was at a minimum an incompetent interview, that if in fact a psychiatrist it was unethical. ...It was another classic Brian Murtagh move, and ...I was upset with my attorneys for having me undergo this during trial."


In early October 1980, Joe had dinner with Bernie Segal and Sara Simmons. (Simmons was an attorney who worked on the case. Segal left his wife and married her) During dinner they talked about the book. According to McGinniss, he "was asked what was he going to conclude" and he replied "he didn't know." Segal and Simmons pressed him and he said, "Look, - I have a moral obligation to the truth. I don't have a moral obligation to MacDonald."

Then on Sunday, October 12, the article in The San Francisco Chronicle when Joe was giving an interview about his Alaska book, Going To Extremes, and the last paragraph of the interview the interviewer asked him, "Well, how are you going to conclude? Was MacDonald guilty?" McGinniss replied "well, the reader will just have to wait until he finds out."

Ten days after that article appears in the newspaper, MacDonald writes a letter to McGinniss saying, "I have just finished a strange conversation with Bernie which he was telling me how he sort of confronted you with some sort of request as to how you view my guilt or innocence. I poo-pooed (sic) it with him, thinking he was exaggerating his statements and your lack of response. Reading your quotes gave his version of your meeting a new weight and sobered me significantly."


April 27, 1982 MacDonald writes McGinniss another letter. In the PS to that letter MacDonald writes "F. Lee Bailey's associate was totally aghast that I had no artistic control over the book. I said, 'You don't understand Joe.' He seemed to feel my naiveté hadn't burned out yet. 'Surprisingly so,' he said. I hope (A) I'm not naive and (B) I have no reason to be aghast at my lack of artistic control."

On May 4th, 1982, McGinniss response to the above letter stating "To be blunt, let the lawyers stick to lawyering and leave the writer to take care of the book. What lawyers know about artistic control is what I know about thoracic surgery. I never would have considered getting involved in this in any capacity if that question had ever been raised in 1979, and Bernie, whatever other foibles he may have, was able to recognize that. Not only I, but any writer of merit or integrity confronted with a situation such as yours would have to insist on complete freedom to write whatever book he finally found emerging from the entire situation. That is what Joe Wambaugh told you in 1975, it was what I told you in 1979, it is what Robert Sherrill, John Sax or any of the others would have told you in 1970."

He continues on to say "Your complete cooperation...and your full granting of all artistic rights are all that persuaded me for the first time in my career to embark upon a project where someone else received income for work I did."

A little further down in the letter, McGinniss writes "The meaning of the word 'artistic' and the commitment that any writer of quality has to freedom and independence and truth."


February 16, 1983, McGinniss writes to MacDonald telling him that he can't have an advance look at the book six months prior to publication, and he goes on to say "As Joe Wambaugh told you in 1975, with him you would not even see a copy before it was published. - Same with me, same with any principled and responsible author."

Continuing on to say "The book is not part of either your legal or public relations campaigns. My commitment to its integrity is absolute."

Later that month, MacDonald writes another letter to McGinniss stating "It was one thing not to have control over the book, contents, you. I granted you that and have lived with it, except I asked you to treat Sherry well and Jay well for very different reasons."

And this is just a smidgen of what I have found. More to come on this later.


Both William F. Buckley and Wambaugh went on record stating when writing and or interviewing "that the task is to get the story and that you do what is necessary to get the story. You lubricate the flow of conversation. You appear sympathetic and understanding.

"Truth is the goal. And you allow the subject to continue in his-belief about how you are feeling about him. That's what you're supposed to do. The mission is writing that book.

Buckley said "a writer is an artist and he wants to encourage the subject of which he is making a portrait to reveal himself.

"The personal relationship that may develop between a writer and a subject does not limit the writer's discretion." Both Buckley and Wambaugh said "sometimes you tell a subject something you may not actually believe in order to get more information. You're encouraging the subject to tell you everything."

Buckley stated he "was fooled by one fellow who he had supported and then later had committed another horrible crime."

Wambaugh said "You're supposed to allow the psychopath to believe that he is continuing to manipulate you. That's what he needs to feel, that's his reason for being."

Dr. Stanton Samenow, a psychologist states "he's been fooled as a therapist and counselor." He has written several books among them, Inside the Criminal Mind and a three-volume study entitled The Criminal Personality. I have these books and they are excellent reads as is The Mask of Sanity by Robert Lindner and Assault and Homicide Associated with Amphetamine Abuse by Everett Allenwood, Jr.



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