Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald

The Physical Evidence, Part 2

Presence of outsiders in MacDonald's home

The Army investigators always maintained that there was never any evidence of intruders in MacDonald's home.  In reality, there was plenty of physical evidence of intruders, but the Army kept that information from the defense.  Just from the fiber and hair evidence, it should have been clear that MacDonald was not their killer, but the government suppressed this discovery and did not feel ethically and morally compelled to let the defense know it even existed.

The prosecution claimed that the club that was used to beat Colette MacDonald had on it two dark fibers from MacDonald's pajamas.  Years after the trial, the defense team learned that the claim was a deliberate lie.  No fibers from MacDonald's cotton pajamas were found on the club, but two black wool fibers were.  The black wool fibers matched wool fibers found on Colette's mouth, which had adhered when she was struck with the club.  Those same black wool fibers matched no garment in the MacDonald household and were considered "foreign."  Without this critical evidence from the FBI laboratory notes, the jury was led to believe that MacDonald's pajama fibers were on the murder weapon.

Three recent wax drippings were found at the murder scene.  None were from the fourteen candles present in the MacDonald home.   This finding was consistent with the description MacDonald gave of the woman intruder holding a flickering light, probably a candle, and consistent with Stoeckley's habit of using candles in all of her incantations and rituals.

Investigators found a burnt match in Kristen's room.  Neither Colette nor Jeffrey smoked.  The match could have been used to light the candle that MacDonald believed that he saw.  A bloody syringe and a number of bloody gloves were found at the crime scene.  The syringe was lost by the CID laboratory personnel before it could be tested.  The blood on the gloves was determined to be human, but there was not enough of it to determine whose it was. 

The Ice Pick

Colette's parents, Fred and Mildred Kassab, holding a doll that belonged to Colette
Colette's parents, Fred and Mildred Kassab, holding a doll that belonged to Colette

Jeffrey MacDonald had always maintained that he did not own an ice pick at the time of the murders.  Both Mildred Kassab and the MacDonald's babysitter, Pam Kalin, were interviewed in 1970 and told Army investigators that there was no ice pick in the MacDonald home.  When the two women were re-interviewed on the subject in 1971 and 1972, they both maintained their claims that neither had seen an ice pick.  However, many years later in 1979, after extensive conversations with Brian Murtagh, both of these witnesses changed their stories and belatedly remembered seeing an ice pick.


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