- Medical doctor Jeffrey R. MacDonald, labeled by the press
in the 1980's as the "Green Beret Killer," has already spent
27 years in federal penitentiaries for murders he did not commit. To quote
Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, "Jeffrey MacDonald is the most
victimized person in the history of United States jurisprudence."
- The grisly, ritualistic-style murders of which he was
convicted took place in Dr. MacDonald's home located in Ft. Bragg, North
Carolina, onFebruary 17, 1970, between 2 and 3 am in the morning. At the
time, MacDonald was a captain in the Army (Green Berets) and assigned to
medical duties at Womack Army Hospital, Ft. Bragg. Incredibly, Army investigators
decided within fifteen minutes of arriving at the crime scene, that Dr.
MacDonald had "staged" the entire massacre and then stabbed (and
clubbed) himself-repeatedly-in order to make it "appear" that
he was a victim of outside assailants who entered his home.
- Ultimately, Jeffrey MacDonald was framed and railroaded
as the patsy to take the fall for the murders of his wife (Colette) and
two young daughters (Kimberly and Kristen) in order to preclude the capture
and interrogation of the true killers of MacDonald's family: a satanic
drug/cult group which included a 16 year old girl by the name of Helena
- A local police detective from the Fayetteville Police
Department vice squad, Prince Everett Beasley, had been using Helena Stoeckley
as a trusted drug informant for several months prior to the MacDonald murders.
Upon learning of the description of the assailants given to Army CID (Criminal
Investigation Division) investigators by Dr. MacDonald (who sustained 17
stab wounds and three blows to the head with a baseball bat on the night
of the murders), Prince Beasley immediately suspected that Helena Stoeckley
and her cult group may have been involved.
- Beasley waited in his car for Stoeckley and her companions
to return to her home on the evening ofFebruary 18, 1970, less than 24
hours after the murders. After Stoeckley and her friends pulled into the
driveway and got out their car, Beasley pulled up behind them and called
Stoeckley over to talk with him. She approached the car alone, telling
her nervous companions that "everything's cool" and not to worry.
- Beasley confronted Stoeckley with his suspicions that
she and her group were involved in the murders and Stoeckley admitted to
him that they were in the MacDonald home on the previous night in order
"to teach him a lesson", but that things had "gone bad"
(Stoeckley would later tell Beasley that the cult members had originally
planned to only "push MacDonald around" and intimidate him into
"cooperating" with them, but "things got out of hand"
(According to Stoeckley, the cult member who entered the MacDonald home
on the night of the murders were all high on an assortment of drugs, including
heroin and mescaline (the resemblance to the Charles Manson ritualistic,
satanic-style murders of Sharon Tate and her friends the previous summer
was remarkable and should have been obvious to investigators).
- Since the MacDonald murders had taken place on an Army
base, Beasley radioed the Fayetteville police dispatcher to contact the
Army's CID investigators and tell them to meet him at Stoeckley's home
in order to further the interrogation of Helena and the other cult members
who were milling around the driveway, but the CID investigators never came.
After waiting for nearly an hour, Beasley finally had to leave, as the
cult group was becoming increasingly hostile to his presence and were now
threatening him. Prince Beasley would later say that if the CID had showed
up that night and interrogated Helena Stoeckley, she would have admitted
everything about the MacDonald murders and this in turn would have prevented
the egregious and barbaric injustice inflicted upon Jeffrey MacDonald.
- The statement reprinted below was given to retired FBI
chief Ted L. Gunderson by Prince E. Beasley on May 5, 1986. Most of the
information presented was acquired by Beasley from Helena Stoeckley prior
to her death in January of 1983. From the information given below, we now
can understand why the CID never came to Stoeckley's home on the night
of Feb. 18, 1970 to interrogate her and why the CID (and later the Department
of Justice) wanted to hang the crime on Jeffrey MacDonald. Simply stated,
the cult who murdered Jeffrey MacDonald's wife and children were part of
a huge drug pipeline operation that ran from Viet Nam straight into Ft.
Bragg and other military bases around the United States.
- According to Stoeckley, many high ranking Army officials
(including two Ft. Bragg generals) were involved in the drug running/distribution
operation, along with some members of the Army's Criminal Investigation
Division (CID) and some members of the Fayetteville Police Department.
The lead CID investigator at the MacDonald crime scene, the person who
said that MacDonald had "staged" the massacre of his family,
was William Ivory, a man Helena Stoeckley identified as being involved
with a Fayetteville Police detective named Lieutenant Rudy Studer in drug
dealing. Stoeckley said she would tell all about Ivory and Studer's illicit
activities if given immunity from prosecution. She never got it.
- Beyond shielding corrupt Army officials who were involved
in the Viet Nam pipeline operation, there were at least 15 teenage children
of upper rank Army officers at Ft Bragg who were enmeshed in the local
drug culture, including the daughter of an Army colonel who decided to
focus the CID's investigation of the MacDonald murders exclusively on Jeffrey
MacDonald as the sole suspect. Even more telling, the daughter of that
colonel was known to be person who often associated with Helena Stoeckley
and her cult friends.
- Following the Prince Beasley statement, you will find
a summary of the MacDonald case written by the late Jerry Potter in 1997.
Jerry Potter and ex-Green Beret-turned-newspaper reporter,Fred Bost, published
Justice in 1995, following ten years of rigorous investigation into the
government's own files concerning the MacDonald case. They found uncontestable
and massive evidence of collusion between the Army, the Department of Justice,
and local law enforcement to cover-up the true facts surrounding the MacDonald
murders and frame Dr. MacDonald as the patsy.
- Jeffrey MacDonald has spent nearly half of his life in
prison for crimes which he did not commit-and could not commit. Murdering
anybody, least of all his wife and two small children, were (and are) simply
outside the boundaries of his character. Jeffrey MacDonald has a lifelong
track record of rock solid emotional stability, rationality, peaceful,
non-violent character, and a caring concern for others. Some people in
this world-given the right circumstances-are capable of murder. Jeffrey
MacDonald is not one of them.
- The American public must help this man gain his freedom.
We cannot allow this travesty of justice to continue and those responsible
for his railroading to go unpunished.
- Ken Adachi
- More details about the MacDonald case can be read here,
- and at Dr MacDonald's web site <http://www.themacdonaldcase.org>http://www.themacdonaldcase.org
- © Copyright 2007 Educate-Yourself.org All Rights
- Statement of Facts Given to Ted L. Gunderson by Prince
Everett Beasley on May 5, 1986
- I, Prince Everett Beasley, make the following free and
voluntary statement to Ted L.Gunderson, a private investigator from Los
Angeles. No threats or promises were made to get me to make this statement.
- I was born 6/15/25 at Maxton, N.C. I presently reside
at 104 Myra Rd., Raeford, N.C.. 28376. Phone. 919-875-3693
. I am a retired police officer who served on the Fayetteville, N.C. Police
Department from 1953 to 1973.
- Helena Stoeckley was my drug informant from approximately
1968 until 1972. She was turned over to me by Lt. R. A. Studer. [Lieutenant
Rudy A. Studer] Fayetteville, N.C. Police Dept. He turned her over to me
because Helena's parents were mad at him for working Helena in the drug
community, and because he was made a Lieutenant and couldn't devote the
necessary time to working with her. Studer told me the reason he turned
Helena over to me was because of his promotion. Helena told me he turned
her over to; me because of the problem with her parents.
- Shortly after I was assigned to the Narcotic Squad, Helena
told me that drugs, primarily heroin, were being smuggled into this country
in the body cavities of the dead soldiers being returned by air from Viet
Nam to the United States. She named Ike Atkinson as the ring leader. Atkinson
was located in Goldsboro, N.C., supposedly working out of Johnson Air Force
Base. Helena told me they were smuggling drugs in the same manner into
Johnson Air Force Base. Johnson Air Force Base is located at Goldsboro,
- She advised Atkinson was in the service, but subsequently
got out and continued his business in drugs with the same contacts. I didn't
pay much attention to Atkinson because he wasn't in our jurisdiction.
- The above information is all that Helena told me up to
the time of the MacDonald murders in 1970.
- [page 2]
- Helena told me after the MacDonald murders that there
were contacts in Viet Nam who put the drugs in the G.I.'s bodies, in plastic
bags after the autopsies were complete, The bodies were sewn up and shipped
to Pope Air Base, Ft. Bragg, Johnson Air Base, and other bases which she
did not name.
- When the bodies arrived in the U.S., they were met by
a contact in the United States at one of the military bases, and after
the drugs were removed by this contact, the bodies were sent to their final
- The person who met the bodies at the respective Air Bases
knew which bodies to check, based on a pre-determined code. Although I
believe Helena knew their identities, she never gave me this information.
Helena told me that the people who handled the assignments in Viet Nam.
and those who met the planes in the United States, were military personnel.
She stated most of the drugs came from Thailand.
- Helena stated the drugs and the pickups were made at
the base at Fort Bragg. The reason she gave me more details after the MacDonald
murders was because she wanted me to know that she knew what she was talking
about, and she stated she would give me details, including names, dates,
and places, once she was given immunity by the U.S. Government. When Ted
L. Gunderson and I initially interviewed her, we told her we would attempt
to get immunity for her on these matters.
- Helena advised that Spider Newman, his son, Red Newman,
Wineford (Winnie) Cole, Tommy Hart, and June Bug Walters (I don't know
Walters' real first name) were several steps in the organization under
Atkinson. All of these individuals were civilians who operated in the Fayetteville,
N.C. area, selling drugs. None of these individuals had a business cover,
but sold drugs out of their house. Those of us in law enforcement knew
through our intelligence community that Atkinson ran the Viet Nam smuggling
operation on the Eastern Seaboard. I believe Atkinson was arrested by the
- [page 3]
- Federal Narcotic authorities in the middle 1970's, and
he is presently serving time. He was recently turned down on parole.
- Spider Newman was being tried for drugs in the mid-1970's.
There was a courtroom break, and he was later found in his car behind his
home, shot in the head. I later heard that Spider was getting ready to
turn states evidence when this happened. The police ruled this a suicide.
His trial was in Federal Court.
- Red Newman has been tried on drugs, and is serving time
in the Federal system. Cole went to State Prison on drug charges in Fayetteville.
- Wineford Cole, Tommy Hart and June Bug Walters were all
tried and convicted of drug trafficking. I believe they were all tried
in local and Federal Court at different times. I don't know if Cole and
Walters are in jail now, but I know Hart is in the North Carolina State
- In regard to the Viet Nam operation, Helena told me that
military, civilian, and police officers were involved in the Viet Nam drug
network. She stated there were two prominent local attorneys and Army officers
as high as Generals, who were part of the operation. She stated she would
name and identity the people if given immunity by the U.S. Government.
I believe this is part of the "bomb shell" she said she was
going to drop. Helena never named the police officers she said were involved
in the Viet Nam operation, but she did state that Studer and Sonberg were
involved in drugs. Possibly these are the individuals she was referring
to in regard to the Viet Nam drug network, who were police officers. Helena
also told me after the MacDonald murders, that Alan Mazorelle, who was
in her coven Satanic Cult, was a drug runner up and down the East Coast.
Mazorelle took drugs as far away as Florida and New York City. Mazorelle
was in the Army at the time. She never said where Mazorelle obtained his
- Helena also told me that Don Harris, also a member of
her coven Satanic Cult, was a heavy user of drugs. This is all she said
- [page 4]
- Helena told me that Dwight Smith was a drug dealer locally.
She never said where Smith obtained his drugs. She said Smith was an "alright
- Helena told me that Kathy Perry was a user of drugs.
Perry took as many drugs as she could get her hands on. Perry dealt drugs
only to maintain her habit.
- Helena told me that Greg Mitchell was a dealer and a
heavy user of drugs. She never gave details regarding how he dealt, but
she stated anytime someone couldn't find drugs, they could always go to
Mitchell and he would have them. At times, he would supply the whole group.
- Helena told me that Bruce Fowler was a drug dealer and
a user, and that she was his girlfriend. She never gave more details than
- Dwight Smith, Don Harris, Alan Mazorelle, Bruce Fowler
and Greg Mitchell were all in the same coven Satanic cult with Helena,
and were all in the military. She stated that all of the above were dangerous,
but she was the most afraid of Mazorelle. She stated Mazore1le would kill
you in a minute.
- I had extensive intelligence files on all of the above
close associates of Helena's, but this information has disappeared from
the Fayetteville Police files. I learned these files disappeared in August,
1979. During the MacDonald trial I was given a subpoena to bring these
records to the trial. It was then that I learned they were gone.
- In 1981 or 1982, I talked to Mrs Greg Mitchell, after
Greg had died. She told me Greg had previously told her about drugs being
smuggled into the U.S. in the body cavities of the dead G.I.'s from Viet
Nam. She stated that Greg didn't give her the names of persons involved,
but told her about the contacts in Viet Nam who placed the drugs in plastic
bags, into the bodies, and others in the U.S. at our Air Bases who met
the planes, and took the drugs from the bodies. She stated military personnel
were involved in this operation in Viet Ham and in the U.S.
- [page 5]
- Lieutenant Studer told me in 1968-1969 that drugs were
being brought into the U.S. from Viet Nam in the body cavities of the dead
soldiers. He said they were being flown into the United States to the military
Air Bases, and dispersed from there by contacts within the military.
- Studer subsequently was promoted to Captain, Chief of
Detectives, but was forced to resign because he misappropriated pornographic
material obtained during an investigation. Helena told me that Studer monitored
the drugs that Helena obtained, and if he didn't like them, he had
her exchange those drugs for drugs that Studer could use. Helena told me
that if the police obtained drugs on an arrest, they would often be on
the street the next day. Studer would take the drugs and give them to Helena
to sell back on the street. The only way I know that Studer could get these
drugs was from the evidence room. Studer and Detective Larry Sonberg both
had keys to the evidence room.
- Helena told me that William F. Ivory, C.I.D.. and Studer
were close friends. She stated that Ivory was dealing drugs with Studer.
She stated she would give more details concerning Ivory if she was given
immunity. Ivory was involved in the crime scene search on the MacDonald
case. She also stated she would give more information on Studer if she
vas given immunity.
- Joseph Bullock was an informant and undercover operator
for me and Studer from 1969 to 1971. Bullock advised me that he saw Studer
and Ivory exchange envelopes on occasion at the Dunkin' Donuts, Bragg Blvd,
Fayetteville, N.C., during this period of time. Studer dropped Bullock
shortly after this because, according to Bullock, Studer knew too much
of what was going on. Bullock was subsequently shot in the head during
an ambush when he came home from work. It was general knowledge in the
community that Bullock was an informant for me. Bullock described Studer
as a "son of a bitch."
- Sonberg left town unexpectedly, shortly after the MacDonald
murders. The rumor was that Sonberg had double-crossed some drug dealers,
and had to leave town. Helena told me that Sonberg was dealing
- [page 6]
- drugs even though he was a police officer. I have no
knowledge that Sonberg was involved with the drug operation out of Viet
- Helena once mentioned the name Proctor to me. I don't
recall what was said about him, but I knew she knew him. I assume she was
referring to James Proctor, Judge DePree's [sic] former son-in-law. I don't
recall if she referred to Proctor by his first name. She mentioned this
sometime after the MacDonald murders. She said she would talk more about
Proctor if given immunity.
- Helena told me that 3 or 4 nights after the MacDona1d
murders she vas picked up by Ivory and I believe C.I.D. agent, Shaw (I
don't know his first name). She stated they talked to her about the MacDonald
murders. Helena advised she gave them a story that they didn't believe,
and they turned her 1oose.
- Helena told me that Studer contacted her shortly after
the MacDona1d murders and Studer told her to get out of town because Beasley
was after her. She ultimately left, and went to Nashville, Tennessee.
- During the time I worked with He1ena (1968 to 1972) I
estimate that she was responsible, as an informant, for the arrest of hundreds
of individuals. I estimate at least 200 persons or more were arrested
as a result of information furnished by her.
- She set up Mazorelle and Thomas Rizzo for the arrest
on drugs just before the MacDonald murders. When I looked for the intelligence
files on the Stretchly group in 1979, I recall also looking for the arrest
f1le on Mazorelle and Rizzo for their arrest. I recall they were arrested
in January 1970. I remember that these arrest files were intact at that
time. I have since been told that the arrest files on Mazorelle and Rizzo
are now missing.
- It is 1nteresting to note that Mazorelle claims he was
in jail the night of the MacDonald murders. He claims he can prove this
from Superior Court records in Cumberland County. I have been told there
is a slip of paper in the court records that shows Mazorel1e was in jail
the night of 2/16-17/70. These records are available to the public.
- [page 7]
- I know Mazorelle was not in jail 2/16-17/70 because I
arrested him in January 1970 and recall that the trial was set for Mazorelle
the day of 2/17/70. If Mazorelle had been in Jail that date (2/16-17/70)
he would have been available for trial on 2/17/70, and I would have appeared
in court as a witness. John De Carter of the Sheriff's office was with
me in the arrest of Rizzo and Mazorelle and he would have also had to appear
in court 2/17/70. I specifically recall that I did not appear in court
on any case at the Cumberland County Court House on 2/17/70. I was on the
street all day looking for suspects on the MacDonald murders.
- I don't recall that Mazorelle was out on bail, but I
believe he was, or he would have appeared 1n court 2/17/70. Since he didn't
appear I believe he jumped ba1l, which means a bench warrant would have
been issued for him. I recall he was subsequently arrested in Waycross
Georgia for burglary, but I have been informed through my sources in law
enforcement that the Waycross arrest records are also missing.
- I recall that a bondsman, C. B. Avertt, went to Waycross
to extradite Mazorelle for jumping bond on my drug arrest. I talked to
Avertt in 1979, and he told me that he didn't recall making the bond and
had no record. I talked to him a month later and he recalled that he made
bond for Mazorelle for $2500.00 after the MacDonald murders, which, according
to him, would confirm that Mazorelle was in jail the night of 2/16-17/70.
Avertt is either involved in the cover up or is mistaken. Mazorelle's bond
could not have been made after the MacDonald murders because the trial
was set for 2/17/70, as explained above.
- I don't have knowledge concerning the possible altering
of Court records concerning the Mazore1le-Rizzo drug arrest, but I recall
a number of occasions when Cumberland Court House records were altered
after working hours at night. I don't believe Mazorelle was in jail the
night of the murders.
- [page 8]
- In addition to the above, Helena told me that Mazorelle
was out that night and involved in the MacDonald murders.
- In regard to cases that Helena made for me, I recall
that she was responsible for the largest drug recovery in the history of
our police department up to the time I retired. Several months before the
MacDonald murders, she tipped us on drugs that were being transported from
Canada to Fayetteville. Seven suspects were arrested. and over $20,000.00
worth of drugs were recovered.
- Helena was also responsible for the arrest of four suspects
from Texas, who were also transporting and selling drugs in Fayetteville.
We recovered about $40,000.00 worth of drugs on this case.
- Helena told me about every instance where drugs came
into Fayetteville from other areas. At the time I didn't think about it,
but I now believe she told us about drugs coming from outside Fayetteville
to eliminate competition, probably protecting the local drug scene, i.e.
the Viet Nam operation. This is my opinion.
- Judge Dupree and the U.S. Government have attempted to
discredit me, insinuating I am having, and have had mental problems. 1
would like to point out that I have been on the Police Officers Advisory
Commission for North Carolina since before I returned ["retired"
was probably intended-Ken Adachi] from the Fayetteville Police Department
- I have read this 8 page statement, and it is true and
correct, to the best of my knowledge.
- Prince E. Beasley
- Witness: Ted L. Gunderson
- Fayetteville, N.C.
- Summary of the MacDonald Murder Case, 1970 thru 1996
- by Jerry Allen Potter
- February 5, 1997
- Why A Summary?
- In 1985, when Fred Bost and I began research for our
book Fatal Justice: Reinvestigating the MacDonald Murders (completed and
published ten years later by W. W. Norton), our goal was to determine whether
Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald did, or did not, murder his family on a rainy February
morning at Fort Bragg, N. C. in 1970. Fred is a retired green beret sergeant
major once assigned as an investigator at the Pentagon during the formation
of the current volunteer army. He became suspicious of the army's case
against MacDonald while serving at Fort Bragg at the time of the murders.
I am a novelist and marine painter on the Monterey Peninsula. My own interest
was whetted by talks with a former FBI bureau chief whose forays into various
aspects of the case led him to believe Jeffrey MacDonald had been framed
by the army to keep the FBI from delving too deeply into the severe drug
problem that existed on Fort Bragg at that time.
- What follows is covered in intricate detail, and supported
by exhaustive and unassailable documentation in our book. Our documentation,
at least, is logically unassailable because it is direct from the government's
own files and their handwritten laboratory notes withheld at trial, and
also because the handwritten bench notes differ incredibly from the typed
evidence reports that were supposed to have been based on the lab notes.
The difference beween the handwritten notes and typed reports is absolutely
crucial in understanding what happened in this case, for the handwritten
notes show evidence supporting MacDonald's story about intruders, but the
official reports, typed for the defense team, show a case against him that
isn't reflected in the handwritten notes, and do not show important finds
those handwritten bench notes contain which, if known by the defense, would
have stopped the government case in its tracks back in 1970.
- Without a fact base from which to understand this case,
the concerns of interested parties can be too easily dispelled by government
generalizations about it, hence the following detailed treatment. For instance,
the government claims that they brought to trial a massive circumstantial
case showing MacDonald had committed these crimes. That is true. They did
present such evidence. But what is the nature and quality of that evidence?
And is it based on typed reports or handwritten bench notes? The government
says that investigator William Ivory said he saw signs of a "staged"
crime scene. That is also true, but sworn statements of MPs and other personnel
make it clear that the moved items were moved after the MPs arrived, and
that the items were moved by army men themselves or by curious onlookers
who had come into the crime scene unchallenged. Half truth is not the same
as whole truth. This, then, is why this case, after 27 years, like an old
nagging injury, is the case that won't go away.
- The Murders
- The case erupted early February 17, 1970, when MPs reported
to 544 Castle Drive, an officer housing area on Ft. Bragg, not far from
Fayetteville, N. C., in response to a phone call for help from Dr. Jeffrey
MacDonald, a green beret group surgeon and drug counselor. They found MacDonald's
pregnant wife stabbed and bludgeoned to death. The condition of her body
and particularly her arms, hands, and fingernails showed she had put up
a vigorous fight. The two MacDonald daughters, Kimberly, 6, and Kristen,
2, were also dead. Kimberly apparently died from blows with a club. Kristen
was stabbed repeatedly. Hairs found under their bloody fingernails indicated
that they, too, had fought and scratched their attacker or attackers.
- Dr. MacDonald was found unconscious next to his wife.
One of the first MPs on the scene, Kenneth Mica, said he performed mouth
to mouth resuscitation on MacDonald "at least three times" before
he got him stabilized enough to talk. Suffering three head contusions,
a collapsed lung due to a knife wound into his chest, and more than 15
other stab wounds (including one through his arm), MacDonald told MP Mica
he had gone to sleep on the sofa because the baby had wet his side of the
bed. Early in the morning he heard his wife and daughter cry out. He awakened
to face three armed men and a blond woman who stood behind them chanting,
"Acid is groovy, kill the pigs." The young woman wore a floppy
"witch" hat, and go go boots. Her face was lit by a flickering
light, MacDonald said, perhaps a candle.
- MP Mica's Troublesome Sighting
- When MP Mica heard MacDonald's description of the female
intruder, he was astonished. He turned to his lieutenant who had just arrived
and told him that only moments earlier, at about 3:55 a.m., he had seen
a suspicious young woman standing on a rainy street corner about three
blocks away. She wore a floppy hat and boots. Mica asked his lieutenant
to set up road blocks and send someone back out to find the girl he thought
might have been the one MacDonald described. After all, how many floppy
hatted young women wearing boots could there be at that hour of the morning
on a military post, especially in bad weather? But nothing was done. The
MPs bosses, who would only moments later make a decision to misrepresent
the early known facts of the case to keep the FBI from controlling the
crime scene and the on post drug investigation, told this MP to keep his
mouth shut about seeing the girl.
- William Ivory, the 26 year old army investigator, had
never led a murder investigation in his life, yet he made a quick perusal
of the crime scene; and within a very few minutes decided, even before
collecting or lab testing any evidence, that Jeffrey MacDonald was guilty
of the murders. Even though the Princeton educated MacDonald had no history
of violence, was known by his in laws as a "perfect" father to
the girls, and had a flawless army record as group surgeon of his unit,
and even though the army knew the drug crowd on Bragg had a grudge against
MacDonald, they told their superiors they already had their man. Before
any investigation was made, the told their bosses no civilian intruders
- But local police and an army agent, men who had worked
the drug scene and who knew the local kids well, have told us they immediately
recognized the descriptions, the racial make up, and general dress of the
group MacDonald had described. These law officers thought the young woman
carrying a candle and running with a black man wearing a fatigue jacket
could only be Helena Stoeckley, an intelligent but troubled 17 year old
addict daughter of a retired colonel. She was one of the key drug snitches
for the local police and the army. These men knew of no other white girl
in 1970 who ran around with a black man, especially a black man of a certain
build and wearing an army jacket with an outdated rank insignia on it.
Yet, ignoring the MPs sighting and MacDonald's descriptions of kids that
might have been real, the army brass continued to lie to the FBI about
the likelihood of civilians being involved in the murders. The FBI investigators
sent by Hoover weren't needed. Even though they knew Helena Stoeckley fit
the description of the female intruder and even though they knew of MP
Mica's sighting, the official line was immediate and simple: there were
absolutely no civilians involved in this crime.
- MacDonald's Previous Altercations with Addicts
- Besides the MP's report about seeing the young woman,
the army became aware of other sightings of a group like the one MacDonald
described who had been in the area just before and after the crimes. For
instance, a teacher said she saw members of such a group talking with Colette
at the extention university only hours before she was murdered. She said
the young people, a group of hippie types, seemed to be leaning on Colette
to convince her to agree with them about something. A private investigator
later showed this teacher an array of photos of young men. Without hesitation
she picked out Helena Stoeckley's boyfriend, the violent and disturbed
heroin addict, Greg Mitchell, who later confessed to the crimes. This teacher
says she told two army investigators about this confrontation. The army
knew that Dr. MacDonald was a drug counselor with a tough view of illegal
drug use by troops, and had gotten at odds with violent drug users. In
fact, he had a serious run in with drug addicts a month earlier, and had
been physically attacked by a screaming heroin addict in his office less
than twenty four hours before the murders. It was well known on post that
this new young doctor had gained the reputation of a hard liner when he
rewrote the policies and procedurals manual to make drug paraphernalia
harder to get out of his unit's medical facilities. In fact, MacDonald
had been warned by a fellow officer to tread more easily, that many of
the heroin addicts he was dealing with were Vietnam veterans who were disillusioned
and angry, and many of them were dangerous. One of MacDonald's fellow medical
officers said he had been "worried" about MacDonald, and had
warned MacDonald that his tough reputation amongst the drug users was going
to get him into trouble with them.
- Since the army knew all this about MacDonald and his
dealings with drug addicts, he would have been a likely target for just
such a group whose drug supply lines he threatened. In fact, a nurse who
had attended a tracheostomy performed by MacDonald on a soldier who had
overdosed on heroin called authorities who had two of his waiting friends
picked up. They gave up the name of their heroin dealer, a black man whose
general description matches that of the club wielding black attacker described
by MacDonald. Instead of considering MacDonald a target for unbalanced
and violent drug dealing young people on post, however, the army CID continued
targeting him for the murders. This decision to ignore young people who
were known to match MacDonald's descriptions of intruders and known to
be violent drug users and dealers seemed to Fred and me an incredibly foolhardy
risk by the army brass.
- We considered this risk unlikely until many years into
our investigation we learned that a large number of drug users and dealers
at Bragg in 1970 were the sons and daughters of command officers. In fact,
an investigator working for us recently interviewed an army agent who had
attended some of the periodic briefings on the MacDonald case in Washington
D. C. This man said that one particular teenager was mentioned as "a
problem" in the case. She was a problem because she was thought to
have bought her drugs from another officer's daughter, the 17 year old
army snitch, Helena Stoeckley, who matched the description of MacDoanld's
female intruder to an incredible degree. This particular teenager was a
problem for the CID also because she was the daughter of the officer who
had made the most important early decisions to turn the case forever away
from drug using young people and toward Jeffrey MacDonald even at the cost
of suppressing evidence. He was the man who heard the MPs report about
seeing a woman on the street corner just after the crimes and kept that
information quiet. Was his daughter involved with this group? With this
crime? We don't know, but narcotics cop Prince Beasley told us that he,
too, believed this young woman to have been running with Stoeckley's group
of drug users. His Stoeckley notes contained the girl's name and he told
a BBC producer that she had climbed out of the window of her house to sneak
away one night to be with the Stoeckley crowd. A writer who interviewed
people in the Ft. Bragg and Fayetteville area just after the murders told
us he, too, had been told by informants that this officer's daughter was
"in the drug crowd."
- Nearly twenty years after the crimes the BBC producer
phoned the girl, now a mature woman, and asked her about her relationship
with Helena Stoeckley. The woman became very agitated and hung up the phone.
Learning about her possible involvement, I phoned her a few years later.
She was very friendly until I told her what I was doing. When I asked her
about Stoeckley she refused to talk with me any further. I cannot say whether
she was involved with Stoeckley, or involved in the murders. I can only
say that, in my view, because of what I've been told by law enforcement
officers and others who were on the case at the time, and because of her
suspicious behavior on the phone, she bears investigating.
- I don't speak idly, or irresponsibly. Using government
documents released by the FOIA, Fred and I have established that the officer
in charge of the case, the father of this girl, did lie, blatantly, to
the FBI that morning and throughout that first week to keep FBI agents
from investigating the drug problem at Fort Bragg (as they were specifically
ordered to do by J. Edgar Hoover himself very early on the morning of the
murders.) And our recent investigations into drug users at Bragg, relying
heavily upon and backtracking some of the previous work of the BBC producer,
indicate that besides these two colonel's daughters, Stoeckley and the
other girl, more than 15 other teenaged dependants of top level officers
at Bragg (generals, majors, and colonels) were reportedly involved with
drugs and drug trafficking. Some of them were running with members of the
"hippie" group who actually confessed to these murders. The son
of one very powerful colonel was listed in an army CID investigation report
as being the common law husband of one of the young women who later confessed
to being involved in the murders.
- Multiple Attackers
- Knowing all this, the army brass continued to misrepresent
the case to the FBI that week, and publically ignored the likelihood of
young civilians being involved in the murders. This is all the more serious
when one considers that army investigators found numerous items in and
just outside the home, that suggested multiple perpetrators. For example,
they found multiple pairs of bloody gloves, multiple weapons, and several
deposits of fresh candle wax that didn't match the candles in the MacDonald
- Dr. Thomas Noguchi, at the request of MacDonald's defense
team, examined the crime scene photos of the victims' wounds and considered
the number and types of weapons. He then said it would have been "impossible"
for one man to have handled all those weapons using them against three
struggling victims. Noguchi and another leading pathologist believed two
weapons had disappeared, a ligature used to tie Colette (for her arm showed
signs of ligature burn), and a scissors (for double pointed scissors marks
were found on the children). One pattern of puncture wounds forms the letter
"S," still another reason to suspect the involvement of unbalanced,
self styled Satanists such as the Stoeckley group.
- Noguchi, like another pathologist before him, still insists
there were multiple attackers, and believes the blows of the club were
made by a left handed person. Heroin addict Greg Mitchell, who later confessed
to the crimes, was left handed. MacDonald is right handed. Throughout that
first week of crime scene investigation the army also found an astounding
volume and variety of trace evidence on the bodies, as you'll soon see,
which indicated that someone else, not Jeffrey MacDonald, came into mortal
contact with each of the victims. Yet, our study of the government's own
documents shows that the army continued to "sandbag" the FBI
even as they destroyed, covered up, changed, and lied about each troublesome
piece of evidence, and even as they lied about troublesome interviews with
their snitch, the colonel's daughter, Helena Stoeckley.
- The Army Hearing
- The army charged MacDonald, then released him after a
six week Article 32 pre court martial proceeding in which the hearing officer,
Colonel Warren Rock, heard and examined the army's case. There was no evidence
against MacDonald, Col. Rock found, and the charges are "not true."
Rock further found ample reason to suspect the army's drug snitch, Helena
Stoeckley, and her companions. He mentioned her by name in his official
report and asked his superiors to suggest that local authorities investigate
her further. But the army proved to have no interest in conveying to local
police information that, according to Col. Rock, would present MacDonald,
who was their prey, as innocent; and Helena Stoeckley, a colonel's daughter
and other local young people heretofore protected by them, as deeply involved
with triple murder.
- Helena Stoeckley, a serious heroin user, had been forced
into becoming a drug snitch not only for the local police, but for the
army, and all other police entities in the area. She was well known to
have lived with a violent group of drug dealers who were delving into "witchcraft."
The local policeman who worked her for leads believed she and her friends
were having orgies in the blood of freshly murdered cats, as Stoeckley
herself later claimed. When this local cop, Prince Beasley, heard about
the murders and the descriptions, he agreed with his captain who had phoned
him about them on the murder morning, that the MacDonald attackers sounded
like the Stoeckley group. He remembered Stoeckley's apartment was "full
of candles." "Candles everywhere," he said. She also ran
around with a black man wearing a fatigue jacket with outdated sergeant's
rockers on it, he had seen her the night before wearing go go boots, a
cheap blond wig, and a floppy "witch" hat. Sergeant Beasley had
learned that MacDonald had suffered multiple ice pick wounds, and he remembered
Stoeckley carried an ice pick in her purse. He searched for her in all
her familiar haunts that next day and finally found her that night in the
presence of a group of males. "Wanta see my ice pick?" she quipped.
- Beasley called her away from the males, one of whom was
Greg Mitchell, whose attitude seemed threatening as he watched Beasley
and Stoeckley. "This is nothing to joke about, Helena," Beasley
said. He reminded her that children were killed. She began to cry and admitted
she might have been there, that she was on drugs, but keeps seeing terrible
things in her mind.
- Thinking he had the MacDonald killers, he radioed his
dispatcher and asked him to call the CID and tell them he had the group
who might have done the murders. The dispatcher called the CID. Beasley
waited. They didn't come. The males were growing angry and restless, calling
threatening taunts toward him. He radioed the dispatcher again. The dispatcher
told him the CID were busy and couldn't come out. Beasley's boss, Rudy
Studer, a close friend of CID invesigator Ivory, had already ordered him
not to get involved in this case. Beasley told us he decided he would either
have to use force to arrest these kids, getting more unruly and he believed
very likely armed, or he would have to let them go. Having no civilian
authority in the murders, he obeyed orders and let them go, but not before
telling his snitch, Helena Stoeckley, to get in touch with the CID herself
to clear the matter up. At any rate, he knew who they were, and thought
he knew where to find them. As another policeman pointed out years later,
Beasley had another motivation for releasing Stoeckley and backing out
of the case. She was his best snitch, and had contributed the leads that
led to "hundreds of arrests" over the past year or so. Beasley
says he made subsequent calls to the CID, but didn't know until years later
that they actually went to see her, secretly, and protected her.
- Stoeckley and her group remained a secret among CID agents
and local cops until the hearing officer found that this young woman had
admitted to army investigator William Ivory that she had no alibi for just
the hours in question. Ivory had gone to see her a few days after the murders
(Ivory's partner that night tells us it was because of Beasley's calls).
To Ivory, she admitted she was on drugs that night. She admitted she wore
a blond wig, floppy hat, and go go boots the night of the murders. And
she offered no alibi. Ivory kept all this secret. This heretofore suppressed
interview only came to light after her next door neighbor, who had seen
her come home very early on the murder morning, confronted her with his
suspicions that she and her friends answered the description and might
have been the killers. Obviously shaken by this sudden and apparently unexpected
accusation, she retorted that she might have "held the light,"
but hadn't killed anyone herself. After army hearing officer Col. Rock
received this information from Helena Stoeckley's neighbor, he learned
the army investigators actually had conspired to change a lab report to
cloud the identity of a brown hair. The hair was found clutched in Colette's
dead hand, a hair, Col. Rock learned, that was not Jeffrey MacDonald's
hair or the hair of his family, who were all blond. Col. Rock found MacDonald
- The army rumor mill had it afterward that Rock had gone
soft in the head, that the AMA had paid Bernard Segal to represent Dr.
MacDonald, that the MP (who had finally come forward about his sighting
of a floppy hatted female in the neighborhood) had been paid by MacDonald
to lie, that the neighbor who confronted Stoeckley was also lying. Themselves
now under accusation of framing MacDonald and suppressing evidence, they
continued to tell local cops and media people that Jeffrey MacDonald had
gotten away with murder.
- Prosecutor James Proctor Keeps the Case Alive
- To pay his legal bills, MacDonald left the army on a
hardship discharge and worked as a doctor in New York state, then embarked
upon an illustrious career in emergency medicine in Long Beach, California.
But the army wasn't through with him. Army CID agents convinced a local
federal prosecutor, James C. Proctor, that MacDonald was guilty. Proctor
clamored for permission to prosecute MacDonald. He presented his evidence
to his bosses at the Department of Justice, but they refused to prosecute,
the record states, for lack of evidence. He promised a conviction, threatened
to quit his job if he couldn't prosecute, and pushed for many months without
noticeable success. Then army CID agents, after two years of wooing MacDonald's
supportive in laws and showing them selected items of evidence, finally
convinced them their son in law was guilty. Not surprisingly, the case
then began to change complexion. Even though the DOJ had repeatedly refused
to prosecute MacDonald, the in laws helped the army persuade a friendly
judge to order a grand jury hearing. The army CID agents also convinced
a young army lawyer of MacDonald's "guilt." This officer, Brian
Murtagh, resigned his commission, left the army, and joined the DOJ solely
to pursue Jeffrey MacDonald. Carrying his station wagon full of evidence
he claimed would prove MacDonald guilty, Murtagh went to the FBI lab to
begin building his new case. Murtagh, like Proctor before him, promised
- Indictment and Trial
- At the grand jury hearing in 1975, MacDonald's lawyer,
Bernard Segal, realized the evidence had been drastically changed. Back
at the army hearing there had been no evidence against him. And the DOJ
had found no inculpatory merit in James Proctor's evidence two years after
the murders. Now, suddenly, items of evidence were presented as different
from what they had been back at the army hearing. A particularly damning
exhibit involved MacDonald's pajama top. It had been found covering Colette's
half bare chest. It was full of holes made with an ice pick, and the FBI
lab had managed to fold it in a way that allowed for all the fabric holes
to line up with the stab wounds in her chest. The prosecutors assured Judge
Dupree and the grand jurors that this proved MacDonald had stabbed his
wife through the pajama top, since MacDonald had said he had pulled his
pajama top off when he found Colette's body. The top had gotten ripped,
he had said, in his fight with intruders, so the prosecutors insisted that
it meant that MacDonald, not mythical intruders had killed Colette.
- MacDonald was indicted. A suspicious Segal, believing
the prosecutor had used the FBI lab to falsify evidence, insisted on having
his own experts lab test the evidence. The government and the judge blocked
him. Since he couldn't lab test the evidence against his client, he asked
to see the handwritten lab notes upon which the army's original typed lab
reports were supposed to be based. The government said, "No."
He asked for the FBI's handwritten lab notes, to see how the evidence could
have changed so severely. The government refused to give him the notes.
At trial, still unable to lab test evidence and still not in possession
of the lab notes, he begged Judge Dupree to force Murtagh to hand over
the lab notes. The judge (who we now know had been James Proctor's law
partner, and father in law, and even the grandfather of Proctor's child),
simply asked Murtagh if there was anything in the notes MacDonald's attorneys
needed. Murtagh said there wasn't, and Segal listened with horror as Judge
Dupree, without even looking at the notes himself, ruled he wouldn't force
Murtagh to give the notes to Segal.
- Segal hoped to discredit the head of the chemistry branch
of the FBI, Paul Stombaugh, the government's key forensic expert, by showing
that he had very little formal training in chemistry, and in fact had flunked
the only chemistry course Segal's investigator could establish the agent
had taken in college. But the judge forbade Segal to so inform the jury.
- Segal also had hoped to put before the jury the findings
of the army hearing officer back in 1970, because that information would
give the jurors some clue that the government might be lying about the
evidence at trial, and it would prove that the army investigators had tried
to finess hair evidence. But the judge ruled against Segal. He would not
allow Col. Rock's official report to be seen by the jurors.
- Segal had planned to bring to trial five psychiatrists,
including three government men, who had examined MacDonald and had found
him normal and sane, and unlikely to have murdered anyone, especially his
family, and especially in a fit of anger. Dupree, in a ruse set up with
the prosecutors and a psychiatric expert, a "new man," actually
a former army psychiatrist who had been secretly in the employ of the government
prosecutors on this very case for many years. This "new man"
had never examined MacDonald, but had made his feelings known back in the
early 70s after a visit from William Ivory, that MacDonald was guilty.
Judge Dupree insisted that MacDonald get examined by this "new man,"
who interviewed MacDonald during the trial and promptly found him a homicidal
maniac. Judge Dupree, now with an "expert" in hand who disagreed
with the five earlier experts, refused to allow any psychiatric testimony,
finding that "shrinks" had no place in trials and congress had
erred in imposing them on the courts, anyway. He ruled that character witnesses
would suffice for MacDonald. In the end, MacDonald's friends and family
would tell the jury that he was a good man, with no history of violence,
and this would be set in the jurors minds against the government prosecutors
and FBI agents talking repeatedly throughout the trial about MacDonald's
mental state while murdering his family.
- The Stoeckley Issue at Trial
- With most of his case blocked by Judge Dupree, a worried
Segal called Helena Stoeckley as a witness. He had learned she had confessed
to at least six friends and acquaintances that she had been in the MacDonald
home the night of the murders. She made these confessions while crying
and trembling and talking about "all that blood," and weeping
about the murdered children. Prince Beasley, the city drug cop who worked
her for leads in Fayetteville, said she'd confessed her involvement in
the murders to him. She had taken a polygraph test at the hands of the
army's chief polygrapher and had shown deception when she told him she
hadn't been in the home that night. But on the stand at MacDonald's trial,
facing a murder rap herself, she said she couldn't remember where she had
been during those hours.
- Having failed to get Stoeckley to incriminate herself
under oath, Segal wanted to put on the stand seven witnesses who heard
her confess to involvement in the crimes. It would have been hearsay evidence,
but Segal argued to Judge Dupree in a bench conference outside the jurors'
hearing that since Stoeckley was claiming loss of memory, this made her
an "unavailable witness," and according to the rules on hearsay
testimony the witnesses to her confessions should be allowed to tell what
she had told them, especially since what she had told them had placed her
in legal jeopardy. Segal argued further that the group Helena ran with
were violent drug dealers and users, and that two of them matched MacDonald's
descriptions of two of the intruders to an incredible degree. Helena Stoeckley
wasn't blond, but had been wearing a blond wig that night, and go go boots,
and a floppy hat, and had confessed to being at the murders. Segal also
argued that one of his witnesses was the army's chief polygrapher who had
tested Helena and had found her deceptive when she told him she wasn't
in the home on the murder night. Even though the polygraph couldn't be
used as evidence against, her, her interview with him after his polygraph
examination should be used, Segal reasoned, for it had caused the polygrapher
to report that he had tripped her up on a key issue of her story, and had
found that Stoeckley, at least, believed that she was in the home the night
of the murders and believed she had witnessed them.
- But Judge Dupree dismissed all these points and ruled
that the seven witnesses could testify, but they couldn't talk about Helena's
confessions. The prosecution pointed out to Judge Dupree that they especially
didn't want one of the witnesses to tell about Helena's references to "all
that blood." So, the witnesses went on the stand, but were carefully
enjoined not to tell the jurors anything about Stoeckley's confessions.
This left MacDonald, as far as the jurors knew, as the only viable suspect,
alone in his home with three corpses.
- Government Tricks at Trial - The Official Blood Chart
and the Pajama Top Folding Experiment
- The pajama top folding experiment was the key exhibit
of the government's case against MacDonald. Segal's cross examination of
Paul Stombaugh, the head of the Chemistry Division of the FBI lab, produced
an admission that the experiment did not prove what the prosecutors said
it did. He admitted it hadn't grown out of his own examination of the evidence,
but that Murtagh had brought it to him and asked that he do it. Segal also
got him to admit that its construction did not meet certain necessary scientific
standards. Segal thought he had made points with the jurors, but the prosecutors
continued talking about the pajama top folding experiment as if it did
prove something, and as if Stombaugh's self incriminating concessions had
never happened. As the trial neared its end, Segal feared that the science
had been too difficult for the jurors to understand.
- The government's case was skillfully driven home in closing
arguments by Murtagh's fellow prosecutor, James Blackburn, a man who has
since pled guilty and served a prison term for embezzlement, fraud, and
for creating phony court documents in other cases. Blackburn presented
evidence he said was the most important proof that MacDonald had killed
his family and was lying about intruders. In one hand Blackburn held up
the wooden club found in the back yard, the club that had been used to
murder Colette and Kimberly, and with the other hand he dramatically lifted
MacDonald's pajama top. He informed the jury that investigators had found
two dark fibers on the club, fibers from MacDonald's pajama top, fibers
that made him a liar, fibers that meant that he, not intruders, had handled
the club. It meant, Blackburn insisted, that MacDonald, not marauding hippies,
had murdered his family. However, even with this circumstantial proof before
their eyes, the jurors still had trouble believing MacDonald would kill
- They filed into the jury deliberation room with Judge
Dupree's instructions ringing in their ears, instructions assuring them
that if they found MacDonald's story at odds with the physical case presented
by Murtagh and Blackburn and the FBI, then they could deem that MacDonald
had lied, and was therefore guilty. Soon the troubled jurors called out
from their deliberations and asked for a chart of all the blood spots found
in the home. They wanted to see if blood was found on the hallway floor
where MacDonald said he fell, stabbed and bleeding. If there was blood
there, then MacDonald hadn't lied, they reasoned. If blood was absent from
this spot, then he had lied and was surely guilty. So Brian Murtagh gave
them the chart he and the FBI lab had created, without telling them he
had left off the chart the particular blood spot they were seeking. The
CID investigation report now in our possession says a spot of blood, of
MacDonald's type, was indeed found on the hallway floor exactly where he
said he fell. The jurors didn't know this most critical chart had been
finessed, but since Murtagh's official FBI chart showed no blood there,
they thought MacDonald must be lying. They voted, reluctantly, to convict
- MacDonald became eligible for parole ten years later,
in 1989, but he refused to apply. "I want out," he said. "But
I don't want out with this conviction still standing. I didn't kill my
family and the evidence shows it. I want an evidentiary hearing, and I
want a fair trial."
- "Are you willing to stay in prison forever, then?"
I asked him.
- "The prison isn't the walls here," he said.
"The prison is that people still think I killed my family. The prison
is the conviction. The evidence proves I didn't do it, if only I can get
it into court."
- First Steps in the Long Road Back