18th Airborne Commander, Lieutenant General John Tolson, wanted the crime to be resolved. The CID had focused solely on MacDonald from the start. If MacDonald was acquitted, that would mean that there were 4 or more murders running around Fort Bragg loose and that is not what they wanted. An astute political observer, Colonel Francis B. Cane, Commanding Officer in the 6th Special Forces Airborne Group, was certain the CID would persist in a vendetta against MacDonald to prevent embarrassment. So they went after MacDonald.
July 6, 1970, an Article 32 Hearing (the Army's version of a Grand Jury Investigation) began. It lasted 3 months, at that time, being the longest one ever.
Captain Jim Williams had been at the crime scene early that terrible morning. He testified on behalf of MacDonald.
Williams pointed out that Fort Bragg military doctors, especially MacDonald, were known as snitches.
MacDonald and another doctor were harassed and pushed around in the clinic by soldiers wanting drugs, the MP’s were called and the soldiers were arrested just several days before the murders.
This coincides with the reports filed by Fort Bragg doctors at the Drug Rehabilitation Center and Outpatient Drug Clinic stating they were threatened and pushed around by soldiers in the drug program if they would not prescribe drugs.
MacDonald was instrumental in getting several soldiers kicked out of the service for using drugs and refusal to follow the Drug Rehabilitation Policy.
MP, Kenneth Mica, had seen the female matching the description of the female assailant when responding to the crime. He was told not to report this by his superiors.
At the Article 32 hearing, Mica testified, but did not mention seeing the female and the CID also did not share this information with the defense.
Mica was put on the witness stand to testify about finding the bodies in the house and helping the injured MacDonald, but he was ordered not to volunteer any information about the mystery woman he had seen when responding to the call.
It continued to bother Mica -- knowing something that could save an innocent man from going to jail on a murder charge. Mica's stated that his conscience bothered him.
"I just could not play games with something like this."
Mica first approached MacDonald’s mother with this information. She asked him to speak with Bernard Segal, MacDonald’s attorney. Segal was able to put him back on the stand before the hearing was closed. Mica disobeyed his superiors by telling Colonel Rock what he had seen, but did what he felt to be the right thing.
Jeffrey MacDonald's in-laws, Mildred and Freddie Kassab, stood by MacDonald throughout the Article 32 Hearing, believing in his innocence, they were among his strongest Support ers. MacDonald even loaned Kassab his copy of the Article 32 Hearing transcripts and later signed a release so Kassab could get his own copy.
At the conclusion, Colonel Warren Rock, presiding at the hearing, ruled the charges against MacDonald were not true, that all charges should be dismissed and recommended that the Army turn the case over to the civilian authorities to investigate Helena Stoeckley and her group.
After charges against him were dismissed, MacDonald received an honorable discharge and he returned to New York to try to start his life over and then out to CA to practice medicine with an old Army buddy.
Years later, Helena Stoeckley would tell Ted Gunderson, the former head of the Los Angeles FBI Office, then investigating the case, that her group went that night to teach the arrogant Captain MacDonald a lesson.
But it didn't end there the Government continued to fight until they won:
The Grand Jury Indictment against MacDonald became known as one of the most bizarre inquisitions ever to mock our constitutional due process standards.
The question is did he get a fair trial?
Judge Dupree, also known as the "Hanging Judge", should never have been allowed to hear the MacDonald case, the case that he had specifically asked to preside over.
Dupree's son in law was the first prosecutor of this case, clearly, a conflict of interest. When questioned about this, he said his daughter had divorced his prior son in law and they had never discussed the case. This is hard to believe.
Dupree was not known to show much respect for anyone.
During jury selection, there were several potential Black jurors dismissed as not being suitable, as Judge Dupree dismissed them he said, "now you can go home and help your daddy pick tobacco."
Judge Dupree seemed to show openly show contempt for the defense while displaying great respect in the court room for the prosecutors, according to the court transcripts.
Judge Dupree coached the prosecutors in how to phrase their questions, over and over again, throughout the trial. Once he instructed James Blackburn to phrase a question in the form of "if the jury should find."
He was attentive to the prosecution, but would close his eyes and lean back in his chair to give the appearance of being asleep during the defense's case.
James Blackburn explained this was because the judge was disgusted with the defense for asking the same questions over and over again. According to the court transcripts, this is not true.
During the trial, 24 consecutive defense motions for admission or recovery were denied. While the government received positive decisions on 7 out of 8 of their motions. The judge disallowed 7 critical witnesses from the defense. It is clear that the judge was not neutral in the case.
Judge Dupree remained the remained the judge in charge until his death. He denied each and every appeal filed in this case.
One example: When evidence the defense knew nothing about, because it was hidden by prosecutors for years surfaced through the Freedom Of Information Act, Dupree denied it, claiming the statute of limitations had run out. He refused to acknowledge that this was new evidence to the defense, not known about or available to them, until it was discovered due to the passing of the FOIA. How can the statute of limitations keep this information from being known or refuse to hear it? The only possible answer is it would hurt the government and prove that they were in the wrong.
Volumes could be written about the evidence the government suppressed but they did not truthfully prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. MacDonald was convicted by a jury that did not hear all the facts of the case. They were forced to make a decision based on what they were allowed to hear.
So today a man sits in prison and is labeled as a murder of the worse kind. Was justice served in this case?
As Ted Gunderson has said for years, it is corruption, a government cover up and a government frame.
MacDonald has been in prison for 22 years now and he still maintains his innocence.
Though he became eligible for parole in 1991, he didn't ask for it. To get parole, he must express remorse.
Expressing remorse is admitting guilt, it's an apology and a request for mercy.
Mercy is not what MacDonald wants, he wants justice, he will continue his fight to prove he is not guilty.
from Article 32 hearing transcripts
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Copyright Christina Masewicz 2002
Fatal Justice: Reinvestigating the Macdonald Murders by Jerry Allen Potter, Fred Bost -- A well-documented argument for the other side of the MacDonald case--an argument that the prosecution mishandled key crime-scene evidence, withheld potentially exculpatory material, and discounted confessions from other suspects. The army narrowed in on MacDonald as their prime suspect early in the investigation, and discouraged the FBI from developing alternate theories. And the judge, Franklin Dupree Jr. appeared to have been biased in favor of the prosecution.
Flame-out: From Prosecuting Jeffrey MacDonald to Serving Time to Serving Tables by James Blackburn, Wade M. Smith -- Story of prosecution of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald for the triple murders of his family. Subsequent fall from grace from the practice of law, diagnosis fo severe depression, subsequent imprisonment, and later waiting tables in very public restaurant to survive.