October 25, 1998: Jeffrey MacDonald 's letter
re: October 14, 1998 American Justice show on his case
From the files of Peter Kearns
(Spelling, grammar and punctuation preserved)
Having now viewed the 10/14/98 "American Justice" segment on my case, I feel compelled to offer several comments. First, I applaud you for an attempt to be fair, to allow both sides, as it were, to be heard. The case is convoluted and lengthy and I understand it is impossible to tell the entire story in one hour, never mind addressing the particular concerns of so many participants.
However, I would be less than candid and truthful if I did not point out several items that appear especially relevant to establishing the truth of the case:
1. I find it incredible, actually incomprehensible, that you used several lengthy clips of prosecutor James Blackburn to advance the government position, yet you never informed the viewers he is a convicted felon, whose 12 felonies amount to charges about changing court documents and fabricating evidence. Talk about a credibility problem, especially in a case where several items of "evidence" used against me have now been proven to have been altered or misrepresented! To me, this vital omission on your behalf can only be attributed to a strong pro-prosecution bias, and it was extremely unfair for "American Justice" and Bill Kurtis to have not told the viewers this mind-boggling piece of information.
2. While I admit you tried to be fair in some respects, and I applaud you for those journalistic efforts, the truth is you "loaded" the show and presented a very unequal picture. You gave the prosecution, essentially, 40 or so minutes, and you gave the defense roughly 10-14 minutes. The majority of this "defense time" was thrown in at the end of the show with no emphasis on the crucial importance of the defense discoveries, information which had been intentionally suppressed from the defense for many years after trial by the very prosecutors you chose to highlight.
3. Many now-proven factual points of importance were not made known to the viewers. While I hope this was due mainly to time limitations, only you and the editorial staff at Towers Productions know the answer for sure. A few examples:
a. A bloody handprint of an unknown person was found on the footboard of the master bed. This fact was carefully suppressed at trial by disguising its existence as 2 separate items, numbered differently. The government secretly tried to match it to a huge number of persons, myself included. When they could not make a match, it was promptly disguised and suppressed.
b. The government at trial said a blood spot on my glasses matched the blood type of Kristen, my daughter. What you did not tell the viewers was that the FBI, again secretly, had found a source for the blood, a patient I had treated 24 hours earlier. This fact was then kept from the trial jury and defense, and now you have continued the suppression. That appears to me to be very questionable journalistic ethics.
c. Similarly, the show's comments about the knife found in the master bedroom (the one I had pulled from my wife's chest when I found her), were misleading in the extreme. I say this because it was only post-trial (but before the airing of "American Justice") that several witnesses (MPs and ambulance atendants) clearly indicated they saw a bloody knife, yet the trial testimony from CID agents was that the knife had only miniscule (trace) amounts of blood on it. The point here is, obviously, someone from among the rescuers must have wiped the knife "clean", which renders moot the trial argument that I "must have wiped the knife clean", that false implication again being left by your show.
d. No mention was made of the startling fact that Greg Mitchell, Helena Stoeckley's boyfriend at the time, was said by Helena to have assaulted Colette, and he admitted his guilt to several 3rd parties. This is an amazing lack of focus on what is important in the case on your behalf. Your show made it sound as if Helena Stoeckley existed in a vacuum, yet the record is replete with solid witness statements, and now some forensic facts, to bolster the defense contention of the outside assailants' presence in 544 Castle Drive on 17 Feb 1970, and their commission of homicide.
4. I would like to comment on the unfairness of not utilizing legitimate experts in evidence on the case. For instance, there is a plethora of very serious forensic scientists deeply involved in the case - and none of them are named Kassab, Stevenson, Kearns, or MacDonald. None were utilized to educate the audience on several evidence fabrications by the government, or, for instance, one FBI Special Agent Michael Malone's perjurious testimony in 1990 on the wig hairs.
And in the same vein, Fred Bost and Jerry Potter spent 10 years investigating the case, down to every conceivable detail known to either side, and they found several important new witnesses - yet, their monumental work received about one minute, in the form of one quote from Fred Bost, while you lavished considerable attention on the discredited Joe McGinniss. This does not strike me as pure investigative journalism on your part, as much as it does presenting an agenda to the public. "American Justice" would have better served the truth to highlight more of the discoveries of the Potter/Bost team. After all, you afforded Peter Kearns considerable air time, yet the record, (including the Kearns-produced CID "film" on the case), is replete with some of the sloppiest, unprofessional, and inaccurate investigation in the entire 28 years of the case.
5. Lastly, in the interest of brevity, you inundated the viewers with powerful-sounding quotes from the Stevensons. Unfortunately for the truth, you neglected to mention that when interviewed recently, they offered that they "knew nothing" about the case, that they had not followed the case, or the evidence, over the years, and that they intentionally kept themselves in the dark on the facts of the case. How, then, can they be credible witnesses on the evidence, or guilt or innocence?
All of that said, thank you for being professional and neutral while interviewing me - my personal interaction with your team and yourself indicated to me you were investigating fairly and objectively. Thus, it was with added surprise that I viewed the telecast. Incidentally, the tone and lead-ins and lead-outs of various segments of the broadcast left no doubt which side "American Justice" was promoting - I just wish the final edits had included some of the important case factors mentioned above.
Now I await the DNA exhibits, which, curiously, the government is currently refusing to share with the defense, despite the court order for testing obtained one year ago. Once we obtain them, testing will follow, and hopefully, justice and vindication for me will follow soon after.
Jeffrey R. MacDonald, M.D.