Post by xiulan on Feb 13, 2015 2:47:06 GMT
I will start by briefly noting the unconscionable carelessness exhibited in what were the critical first moments of this investigation and a few points where the Article 32 hearing testimony brought to light further incompetence displayed by those the government attorney (prosecution) relied on to create the image of a family annihilator staging a murder scene. Then I will address the portions of the case dealing with the various psych evaluations, since that's where my experience applies. I will defer to Play to address specific legal questions/arguments at a later time.
Lieutenant Joseph Paulk, who was supposed to be in charge of the scene, stated under oath that he had no idea how many MPs had been inside the MacDonald housing unit and that at no time did he make any effort whatsoever to ascertain that or even to record the names of the MPs at and around the scene. It is known that there were more than a dozen officers inside the residence from the beginning. When he left the residence to call an ambulance and inform the Provost Marshal that there had been a family murdered on base, Lt. Paulk neglected to leave someone in charge in his place. So, immediately there is no operative chain of command inside the scene of crime.
Of course, I grant that crime scenes which include a surviving victim involve a much greater potential for "mishandling" and/or "contamination" because the first priority is giving care to possible survivors. However, this does not usually include such missteps as those above. Nor does it excuse wiping items in the home clean of prints, failure to collect hair and print samples from the victims for comparison, putting knocked-over items back on tables or shelves... Some of this is certainly inexperience and a lack of common sense at work. Some is outright incompetence. Regardless, everything that went wrong in this case went wrong right away. All evidence collected was likely contaminated and the scene itself was useless.
Then there's the suppression of the report of one MP who described a person of interest he saw en route to the MacDonald residence that night which was identical to the description given by Dr. MacDonald the same night as one of his family's assailants. The fact that she happened to be a retired Colonel's daughter and also an active narcotics informant for local LE as well as PMO had nothing to do with there being no mention of her existence when the PM was handing case information to the FBI the morning after the murders, I'm sure. By 1971, this suspect was already making statements affirmative to having been in the residence during the murders. Several other active officers' children had been linked to drug trafficking and to this suspect. Yeah, no covering up going on there...
The presiding officer of the Article 32 was correct in his finding of "not true" regarding the charges against Dr. MacDonald. All of the evidence presented and all the facts of the case supported Dr. MacDonald's account of that night's events. The active pressure applied to civilian law enforcement and civilian courts by members of the DOJ and brass at Fort Bragg in order to secure a civilian criminal trial nine years later is horrifying. I won't speak to the trial outside the parameters of the bizarre circumstances surrounding the psych evals, but I do believe that the sixth one had a definite and prejudicial negative impact on the incorrect verdict reached in the case. My comments will be much more brief on that because it is far less complex an issue, but I will post that separately a little bit later tonight.