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

August 24, 1979: Bench Conference

Translation of transcript following scanned pages

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site: August 24, 1979: Bench Conference, p. 1

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site: August 24, 1979: Bench Conference, p. 2

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site: August 24, 1979: Bench Conference, p. 3

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site: August 24, 1979: Bench Conference, p. 4

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site: August 24, 1979: Bench Conference, p. 5

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site: August 24, 1979: Bench Conference, p. 6

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site: August 24, 1979: Bench Conference, p. 7

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site: August 24, 1979: Bench Conference, p. 8

Translation of the above transcript as I read it to be

MR. SEGAL: In that regard, as far as scheduling matters, may counsel see the Court at the Bench, please?



MR. SEGAL: We have Dr. Neal on the way, Your Honor. He was just served this morning.
We just got his phone call. The U.S. Marshal found him, but he is coming 6,000 miles. We will not have him until Monday. We have one or two other witnesses also who are not here today. We have no further evidence that I know of at this time except to offer again the reading of the testimony of Mrs. Thoesen from the 1970 Article 32. She is the woman who just gave birth to a baby by Caesarean Section and could not be here herself to testify.
Otherwise, we have no further evidence ready to go at this time.

THE COURT: How about Stoeckley?

MR. SMITH: Maybe the Government would like to call her.

THE COURT: You do not?

MR. SMITH: At least at this moment, we do not.

THE COURT: Well, now, listen, enough of the thing is enough, Wade. If you are going to ever call her, you call her right now or I am going to release her from her subpoena.

MR. SMITH: Judge, I understand what you are saying. Let me just say this: that woman made the most outrageous statements to a lady at the hospital when she got her nose fixed that you have ever heard.

THE COURT: They could not be any more outrageous than the ones she has made.

MR. SMITH: They are. They are more outrageous. They are more incriminating, and, Judge, we don't know what she is going to do. We don't know what she is going to say.

THE COURT: Well, call her.

MR. SMITH: We don't want to.

MR. BLACKBURN: Don't say that.

MR. SMITH: We don't want to do that and waste the Court's time, but we have a feeling that the chapter on Helena Stoeckley may not be over. We don't want to call her unless there is something for her to say. There may ultimately be something.

MR. MURTAGH: That doesn't change the Court's previous finding as to her mental state. I think we should not go to the wire or to the jury for that matter with Helena Stoeckley still lurking in the wings. I think they have had ample opportunity to put her on. I think this is about the third time that it has come up, "Are you going to put her on or not," and, I think, Judge, that we are entitled -- everybody is entitled -- the Court, the jury, and all concerned -- that we don't have to sit on the edge of the chair and wonder whether Ms. Stoeckley is going to have another hallucination.

THE COURT: Why would you, if you are so confident about Helena, why would you be sitting on the edge of your chair?

MR. MURTAGH: Judge, I don't know what she is going to say.

MR. SMITH: Of course not.

THE COURT: Well, if I am any judge of witnesses at all, no one besides the Almighty Himself will know until she has said it.

MR. SEGAL: Your Honor, I don't think it is any of the Government's business, as long as we obey the law, with what we do with our witnesses. Your Honor has never really been informed by the Government how they flew in witnesses 10,000 miles round-trips --

THE COURT: (Interposing) Don't tell me all that stuff. Listen, I am not caring whether he wants her called or not. The only thing I am caring about is you have got a witness here that you have had all the whole week. I have been paying a lawyer to sort of caddy for her at Government expense, and I am at the end of my rope with that.

MR. SMITH: I will say this, Judge. The Defense doesn't have much money, but we will reimburse the Government for any attorney's fees that may be required to keep Helena Stoeckley here until Monday.

MR. SEGAL: That is right, Your Honor. We will agree to that.

MR. MURTAGH: I don't see how you can do that.

MR. SMITH: The more the Government complains about her being here, the more interested we are in her. If they would stop talking about it, we might lose interest.

THE COURT: He thinks you are afraid of something.

MR. SMITH: I do.

MR. MURTAGH: What I am afraid of is another set of witnesses like Jane Zillioux and going through this whole number another time.

MR. SEGAL: Your Honor will handle that if we ever should come to that juncture. I don't think the Government need anticipate any more about this matter. Their anticipation has largely been, as far as what we were doing, not terribly correct.

THE COURT: How much longer will it take the Defendant to finish putting on his evidence?

MR. SEGAL: No more than half a day and we could conceivably rest.

MR. BLACKBURN: Right now, the Government has very little rebuttal.

THE COURT: Hold just a minute. This is just scheduling.

(Discussion off the record.)

(Bench Conference terminated.)

THE COURT: You'll never believe where they said the next witness is. He is in an airplane somewhere between here and Texas, with the upshot being that since this previous witness' testimony was somewhat shorter than had been anticipated, they don't have another witness right now.
They have told me that early Monday morning they can complete the testimony in the case. Since we have to go over anyway, I am going to let this jury go and give you a little bonus this afternoon.
I ask you, please, to be back Monday morning at 10:00 o'clock, and in the meantime, do not discuss this case with anyone. Don't let it be discussed in your presence. Don't read, look at, or listen to anything about it, and keep open minds about it.
You have not heard all the evidence in the case yet. Following that, there will be the arguments of counsel and the instructions of the Court, so it is imperative that you keep open minds about it.
You have just been such a good jury that it would be most disappointing if anything should happen to mar the record you have made up to now. It is just beautiful, so I am going to let the jury retire now. Have a good weekend, a safe trip home and back, and we will reconvene Monday morning at 10-00 o'clock for the jury.

(Jury exits at 2:27 p.m.)

THE COURT: Anything else to come before the Court this afternoon?

MR. SEGAL: No, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Does the Government have anything else?


THE COURT: Take a recess until Monday morning at 10:00 o'clock, please.

(The proceeding was adjourned at 2:30 p.m., to reconvene at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 27, 1979.)



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