For researchers of the Jeffrey MacDonald case: The murders of Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald


October 24, 1974
Dillard Browning (CID) at the Grand Jury

The following testimony was taken on Thursday, October 24, beginning at 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Jury Room, Federal Building, Raleigh, North Carolina. All Grand Jurors were present at this time with the exception of Mrs. Katie O. Durham, who was excused by the foreman. The following proceedings were held to wit:


Q  Mr. Browning, you understand that your testimony at this time is pursuant to the oath that was administered to you yesterday by our foreman, when you took the stand?
A  Yes. I do.
Q  Mr. Browning, coming to the examination you made of various fibers and threads that was submitted to you, what did you use as the -- as a standard for purposes of comparison? Was it a pajama top that was submitted to you?
A  It was exhibit D210 which was a torn pajama top. I used this as a known. When I received this pajama top, it was, of course, in a very ripped and torn condition. I believe the pocket was missing and all of the seams were ripped open at the seams. It was a rather old jacket from looking at it under the microscope. You could tell that it had been fuzzed and pretty well used. And the seams were sewn with a cotton type thread.
     This thread, I called it purple, was actually, I'm sure, at one time blue. But when the blue color is subjected to bleaching and such, quite often it takes on a bluish-purple appearance. This was apparently what had happened in this case. The seams that were ripped -- it ripped into hundreds of little curly fibers of thread. The seams were sewn with a criss-crossed type of sewing action. And when the seams are ripped, these little criss-crosses in sections, I would say if you straightened them out, I'd say they would be three-quarters, maybe, of an inch long, each. And these were -- many of them still adhering in the seams to the jacket, itself. I removed some of these for controls. The body part was a polyester cotton blend and it seemed to be more, had more strength, or be more substantial. Incidentally, the threads, the purple threads I was just talking about, the cotton threads used to sew the jacket, was so rotten that you could take actually your fingers and grab on these two little threads and give it a good strong pull and it would break. It was pretty well deteriorated. The polyester, of course, was much more stable and it was a much stronger thread. But still, it was also very well worn. This was sent to me and I used this as a control. Because, as I started inventoring the exhibits and going through the exhibits, one exhibit after another would contain one or more, some cases, maybe twenty or thirty of these little curly sections of thread. And since, obviously, even to the naked eye they looked or appeared to be similar to the threads still on the jacket, I started comparing one against the other under the microscope.
Q  All right. What were you looking for in your microscopic examination?
A  Of course, the thing I was trying to do was determine whether or not the cotton threads found at various parts of the house came from that particular pajama jacket. And to do this, we go through a routine of comparing the denier or the size of the thread. We look for the number of fibers in, what we call, a fiber bundle. Many threads are made by twisting several fibers together. We call this a fiber bundle. Of course, I wasn't particularly interested in the color. The color is not really all that important because color can change from normal factors such as perspiration, for instance. The seam under the arm would probably be a slightly different color than the seam down near the side which has not been subjected to perspiration or other body fluids. So, color isn't really that important. In this case, and most cases and most instances in this case, the color was identically very good, but, still that isn't really a real major factor.
Q  Now, using exhibit 210 as a known specimen, you were able to match up a number of threads and fibers for comparison purposes, by comparison procedures, and by microscopic examination as being comparable to the threads and fibers in D210. Were you not?
A  This is correct.
Q  Now, I have a list of exhibits here. It starts with D23 and goes down to E303. For the record, the D numbers are 23, 123, 221, 229, 237.
A  Also, if you will notice down in the middle of the page there is a D118 out of order.
Q  D118. That is correct. And the E numbers are 3, 6, 16, 19A, 20A, 24, 32, 52NB, 116, 119, 205, 300, 301, 302, 303. Now, can you go through this list and tell us what conclusions, what it was you examined, and possibly where it came from, and what your conclusions were, and so forth, as far as its being identical to D210?
A  Yes. This morning I made a short summary here to make this faster.
Q  I wonder if I might just have a minute to run down to my room? Is that the thing you gave me a copy of?
A  Yes. The summary. Yes.
Q  I Xeroxed something off it and I would like to have it with me, if possible.


A  Examination of fibers has a lot to do with simple observation. For instance, in these cases when the individual fibers are picked up and put by themselves on a hard surface they assume the same exact shape that they had been in the jacket for I don't know how long, but for quite a while. You could pull a jacket -- a piece of thread out of the jacket which is still adhering to the jacket and drop it right beside of it, and it would assume the same exact shape. So, much of this is just a -- of course, it is always a possiblity that it could have been from another jacket or another source, and just simple things like this. The odds are extremely rare that it would be. Of course, when we examine things under the microscope we look for, in this case, things like fuzzing. As a thread gets older, it gets fuzzier, as we call it. You aren't able to observe this, of course, with the naked eye. But as you look at it under the microscope you can see more and more fuzzing on the thread.
     When thread is new, it is polished, mercerized, and it's a real hard-looking surface, but the longer it wears, the more fuzzier -- I use that term -- it gets.
Q  Okay. The first item is D23.
A  D23 was in the master bedroom between the chair and the bed. This was not under the body of Mrs. MacDonald. I found several bloodstained fibers in this exhibit.
Q  Are these fibers that you can identify as being identical with the fibers in the pajama top?
A  Yes. These were purple cotton threads that I mentioned earlier. We have two kinds of fibers here which may be a little confusing. You have the purple cotton blend that was used in the main body of the jacket. So in this exhibit, D23, I had several cotton threads, no polyester.
Q  You stated that was between the chair and the bed. Did you also find in the vial that contained these purple cotton threads any wood splinters?
A  Yes. In this particular exhibit there were two large wood splinters present.
Q  And you previously testified that those were comparable to the wooden club?
A  Yes.
Q  All right. Now the next item is D123. D123 I've listed here as purple bed covering, bearing red-brown stains from bed in south bedroom. That would be Kimberly's bedroom.
A  Yes. Kimberly's bedroom.
Q  Okay.
A  On this, I would say numerous fibers. In my original inventory I did not make a number count. At the time, it didn't seem important. I noted in my notes that this bedspread contained numerous fibers, purple cotton, and two polyester fibers. This sample also contained head hair and a wax sample which was the unknown wax sample.
Q  All right. And the purple cotton thread and the polyester fibers were identical to the thread that was used in the pajamas, and the fibers from which it was woven.
A  Yes. They were.
Q  The next item is D221.
A  D221 was a terrycloth robe bearing red-brown stains which was on the door from the hall to the master bedroom. On this I found one cotton thread from the jacket. Also, a head hair from Kimberly.
Q  All right. Next is D229.
A  D229 was a multicolored bedspread bearing red-brown stains from the east bedroom. That's the master bedroom. On that I found several of the cotton threads and one polyester thread. Also, in this exhibit, I found hair from Colette and hair from Kimberly. Kimberly's hair was bloodstained.
A  All right. Just for the record, you remember there was a sheet and bedspread found in this location. That's the -- the bedspread that he is referring to is the bedspread that was found at that point. Next is D237.
A  D237 was the fingernail scrapings from the left hand of Kristen MacDonald. And in the fingernail scrapings I found one very small piece of blue polyester fiber from the pajama jacket. This is a very small piece mounted on a slide. And, at first, I had to wash it. Of course, everything under the fingernails were bloodstained. And, so, I had to wash and clean up the fiber and mounted it under a slide for examination under the microscope.
Q  All right, sir. Next is --
A  Next is -- I have it listed as exhibit E3. E3 was debris from the mouth of Colette MacDonald. In this I found one polyester fiber and also one of Colette's hairs.
Q  All right, sir. E6 is the next one.
A  Yes. E6 is debris from the fractured site of right forearm of Colette MacDonald. On this I found just one fiber.
Q  And this --
A  (Interposing) This is a polyester --
Q  -- polyester fiber.
A  Polyester fiber, E6.
Q  All right, sir. Next is E16.
A  These are fibers from underside of throw rug in east bedroom.
Q  When you say the underside of the throw rug --
A  The throw rug, as I remember, was at her feet and it had an area turned over and turned under.
Q  I see. And it was on this area that was turned over that these were located?
A  Turned under.
Q  All right, sir. What did you find there?
A  On this I found several fibers from polyester fibers. No cotton.
Q  Right. And was there some bloodstains?
A  Yes. They were bloodstained.
Q  All right. Next is 19A.
A  19A was debris from sheet on bed in east bedroom.
Q  That would be the master bedroom. Right?
A  Yes.
Q  And it's a sheet that was still on the bed. Not on the floor. Is that correct?
A  Yes. It was the sheet remaining on the bed. I found several cotton fibers here and several fibers of polyester. There was only one piece of the polyester fiber that had bloodstains. The rest did not. On this bed was several splinters of wood. One of the splinters was blood-stained, and a small piece of surgeon's glove.
Q  Next is E20A.
A  E20A was debris from pillow case on bed in east bedroom.
Q  That's the master bedroom.
A  Master bedroom, again. Yes. On this pillow case was several cotton fibers, two polyester. And one of the polyester fibers was bloodstained. Also, on this pillow, we found one piece of Colette's hair which was badly damaged and broken in several places.
Q  All right, sir.
A  The next one is E24. This is debris from the inside body outline of Colette MacDonald in east bedroom. I had it listed in my notes as under the body in master bedroom. And I found several fibers from the cotton -- of cotton thread. No polyester, I believe.
Q  All right, sir. Next is E32.
A  E32 is debris from hallway near stairs. This is one purple cotton and one polyester fiber. One each was found at that location.
Q  And were these the specimens that were found at the point closest to the living room that any fibers were found?
A  Yes. To the best of my recollection this was the stairs leading up from the living room to the hall. This was about three feet down the hall from the stairs.
Q  All right, sir. Next is 52NB, meaning north bedroom, Kristen's bedroom.
A  E52NB was hairs and fibers from bedspread on bed in north bedroom. On this exhibit I found one polyester and one cotton fiber.
Q  From the pajama top.
A  From the pajama top. Yes. Each of these that I mentioned in any of these exhibits, actually were compared with and originated from the pajama top. In exhibit E210 there were other fibers, many other fibers, which did not compare with this jacket. Of course, for consolidation, I ignored these since I could find no correlation between the jacket and other fibers found around the house.
Q  Next is E116.
A  E116 is debris from pulled-back bedding of bed in south bedroom. On that I found one cotton and two polyester fibers. I also found Kimberly's hair present and wood splinters on that bed.
Q  Next is D119.
A  Yes. We went back to the D's on that. It was D118 which was a splinter bearing red-brown stain and debris off of north pillow from bed in south bedroom.
Q  So, that would be Kimberly's bed. It would be the bed nearest to the hall.
A  Pillow.
Q  Pillow nearest to the hall. Okay. Now, what did you find there?
A  I found several blue polyester fibers and one cotton fiber. Also, some wood splinters.
Q  Next is E119.
A  E119 which was debris from the bottom sheet of the bed in south bedroom and this contained one cotton fiber and one wood splinter.
Q  Next is E205.
A  Yes. E205 which was the fibers removed from the club or from exhibit A. On the club there were two purple cotton fibers and there was also numerous blue/green/yellow single-strand nylon fibers and these were identical to the rug, exhibit 227, which, this also was in the master bedroom.
Q  I see. Now, was this the throw rug that was near her feet?
A  Near her feet? Yes. This was the rug.
Q  All right, sir. Next is E300.
A  E300 was a blue fiber on floor by east wall by head of bed in east bedroom. This contained one purple cotton fiber.
Q  All right. Let me get this straight. This would be head of bed of master bedroom. That would be in the approximate location of where the word "pig" was written on the headboard of the bed. Is that correct?
A  Yes. That's correct.
Q  All right. Next is E301.
A  E301. This was in the vicinity of near left hand and arm of body in east bedroom.
Q  That would be Colette's body?
A  Right. Yes. On that I found numerous pieces of the cotton fibers, the thread, and also, wood splinters.
Q  All right. Next is E302.
A  Yes. That is the -- E302 are fibers and portions of rug bearing red-brown stains from near the north corner of footboard of bed in east bedroom. Here I found two cotton fibers and also Colette's head hair.
Q  All right, sir. Now, next is E303.
A  E303 was fibers and debris, wood chips from trunk and leg area of rug under body in east bedroom. There I found numerous cotton fibers and several polyester fibers which was under the lower portion of the legs of Colette MacDonald's body. Also, several wood splinters under here, also.
Q  All right, sir. Now, where was the, if you can tell us at this time, where was the heaviest concentration of these threads and fibers. Was it in the master bedroom?
A  Yes. By far, in the master bedroom.
Q  The largest concentration was there. And others were found principally in the bed in Kimberly's bedroom and in the bed of Kristen in the north bedroom. Is that correct?
A  Yes. This is correct.
Q  There was one example found in the hall about three feet from the --
A  (Interposing) Stairs.
Q  -- stairs. Is that correct?
A  That's correct.
Q  Now, from your experience in dealing with evidence, what conclusions did you reach to how these fibers came to be concentrated in the areas in which they were found?
A  Well, due to the number of fibers and their location I don't think it could be hardly possible for this to be just a happening, normal thing, maybe from an old jacket or something of this nature. We aren't dealing with one or two. We are dealing, like I say, I don't have the total number, I would estimate at least a hundred of these little, new, fresh fibers scattered throughout these three rooms. So, I think that the possibility of it just occurring from a rip at some time or another, a small rip in the jacket, to be almost impossible. The -- I think it was -- this was definitely fresh or fairly fresh rip, because, as I stated earlier, they retained their shape and all when dropped freely on a hard surface. They sprung right back to their original shape of the zig-zag seam in the pajama top. They were beautifully matched. Actually, the way they were torn, I guess, where the most wear occurred at the seams and they all seemed to be approximately the same length with a slight variation, of course.
     You didn't get one fiber that was maybe six or eight inches long, and another fiber that was a half inch long. They all seemed to be right in the range from, say a half inch to three-quarters of an inch, all in the same zig-zag shape which they maintained. And when I received the jacket, as I stated earlier, there were many of these same little fibers still hanging in the various seams.
     All I did was take tweezers, picked them out and put them in a separate vial for use as a known. Of course, before I started my comparison I went through the knowns, we call them, and examined these, mounted these on slides, determining under the microscope and made notations of the physical characteristics that were unusual or that stood out.
     And then, after I completed this study of knowns, I started mounting the unknowns. And I would take a known hair and mount on top and an unknown hair mounted alongside under the microscope. And, as I stated earlier, they were identical. They were perfectly matched under the microscope. Everything from simple wear, fuzzing, right on down to color, and, of course, they were all cotton.
Q  Now, assume that the person who was wearing these pajamas, top, that you examined, was engaged in a violent struggle in the course of which his pajama top was ripped and torn and pulled over his head, would you expect to find threads and fibers in the location where the pajama top was ripped and torn?
A  Yes. I think you would find the bulk of the threads there because this is an instantaneous thing. It is something that is not drawn out.
Q  So, if this struggle that I've described or referred to took place in this area, would you expect to find the bulk of the fibers in this area?
A  Yes. I think that would be logical.
Q  As a matter of fact, is it fair to say from the information that you have as to where these fibers were picked up, that the bulk of the fibers were found in this area and additional fibers were found here and here?
A  Yes. That's a good summary of it. By far, the bulk of the fibers were found in each of the other two bedrooms.
Q  And the location ranged from, let's say, the bathrobe that was hanging over the door to the headboard of the bed where the word "pig" was written, to the base of the bed and in the vicinity of the body of Colette MacDonald.
A  Yes. Two of the fibers were found near the north corner of the bed and --
Q  That's this bed?
A  Yes. And there was a large bloodstain there, also, on the bed.
Q  So, you have some photographs with you showing some of these locations. I think you have a picture of that footboard, do you not?
A  I have seen a picture, but I don't have one with me at the time.
Q  Mr. Browning, you've worked on literally hundreds of murder cases, have you not, sir?
A  Yes. This is right.
Q  Somewhere between three and four hundred?
A  Yes, on murder cases alone. If you include things like assault and other cases involving fibers and all, I would say I looked at thousands of exhibits.
Q  Well, many thousands of individual exhibits, hairs, threads, fibers. I mean, in this case, you literally examined, judging by the numbers, or you had available to you for examination, hundreds of specimens.
A  Yes. In this case alone I would say there would be two to four hundred examinations.
Q  In your work, how are things sent to you for examination? Garments and things like sheets and pillow cases and bedspreads and various articles of clothing. Are they placed in plastic bags and sent to you?
A  Yes. Most of our evidence comes through registered mail, since there are only three, we have only three labs world-wide. Frankfurt, Germany, Georgia and Tokyo, Japan. So, obviously, if you happen to be at a base near Tokyo, for instance, you may hand-carry your exhibits, but most of the exhibits throughout the Pacific come to the lab in Japan by registered mail. Same thing applies in Germany and here in the United States.
Q  And how are the items delivered, I mean the bulky items, like clothing and sheets and so on and so forth, packaged?
A  Packed in large plastic bags.
Q  Now, when you opened these bags, is there any distinctive odor or smell associated with the exhibits that are sent to you?
A  You are referring now to blood work, blood exhibits?
Q  Yes.
A  Yes. There is a certain, I guess you would call it a musty odor in the exhibit. It's usually discernible. I refer to musty as opposed to putrid. Occasionally, when an investigator fails to dry blood properly, which is a requirement, the blood putrifies or decays. Then, of course, you get that decaying odor which is, well, it's an entirely different odor from just the blood case, itself. In any blood case, there's a definite musty smell to the garment.
Q  Now, if you entered a room where, let's say, somebody had been fatally stabbed, bled profusely and perhaps there was more than one person assaulted in that room and bled in that room, and there was blood scattered all over the room, the ceiling, the walls, on the floor, on garments, on sheets, bedspreads, would you expect to find a -- or to notice, or to observe, a peculiar odor?
A  Yes. I haven't really worked a lot of crime scenes.
Q  I'm just talking about your experience in handling such exhibits.
A  Yes. I think that same musty odor should be present. I know it's present in autopsy rooms. I sat in on quite a few autopsies and you get that same musty odor during autopsy or in an autopsy room.
Q  Do you have any observations to make, Mr. Browning, concerning anything that appeared somewhat unusual about this case?
A  Well, the thing, one thing that struck me as unusual, were the many fibers found underneath the bodies. I think two of the victims, particularly Colette, from the location and number of the jacket, fibers from the jacket, I don't see how the fibers could have gotten there after the body was there. They weren't all congregated at the sides of the body. They were distributed well over the area under the body, under the trunk area, under the legs and so forth. And, as I said earlier, it would indicate to me if they were there when the body fell or put in that position, when the body arrived at that point, I would say the fibers were already there. The fiber under the fingernail of the youngest child is, like I say, all I do is identify. I don't know. It would be up to the grand jury to decide how it got there or other possibilities. At the laboratory we were as interested, even more interested, in finding evidence that shows the person could not have done this and freeing him as we are in finding something that convicts him. This is the important thing. And so, usually, when we start examining an exhibit, all we need to know is enough to know what type of examination to do. Obviously, you have to get enough information about what the investigator wants, so that you will know what to look for.
     But other than that, we care nothing about the details, and whenever we get a detail, it's always long after the exam is completed and the case is coming to trial or this type thing. So, at the time we made these notes, for instance, which was right after the murder, and, at the time, up until the trial1, we obviously read more in the newspaper and heard more, then we can put the case together a little bit, form some conclusions on your own. But, up until that time, you just merely work the exhibits. I noticed several of the fibers were found near the headboard, I believe, of the bed in the master bedroom, and they were found near a bloodstain on the footboard. The fibers seemed to be pretty well distributed throughout those three rooms where the action took place, where the people were stabbed or hurt or something. Many of the fibers were in positions that indicated they were there during or before the time that it occurred. There were some, of course, found on the floor, on top of the bedspread, could have occurred after the action. But, when you found the fibers underneath the covers and underneath the bodies, it indicates to me that it was possibly there before the children were killed.
Q  Now, getting to your exhibit E50, I noticed that consists of various items that were taken from the sink in this bathroom here, the sink being approximately in this location.
A  Yes.
Q  And at that point there were found hairs of both Kimberly and Colette MacDonald. I'm not certain that I brought this out yesterday. Were the hairs of both Kimberly and Colette MacDonald, as found in the sink, bloodstained? Or the wash basin, I should say, rather than the sink?
A  Okay. I'll just read my notes here, which, as I stated earlier, were made when the exhibit was first opened for examination and this is on 10 March 1970 by the time I got to exhibit #50. I listed an exhibit CSE, which was later called E50, hair and debris, was removed from sink in hall bathroom. Vial contains one long human head hair. This was March 10. By that time, I had the hairs that I had collected for knowns from the clothing of Mrs. MacDonald and Kimberly. And I also had the known hairs from the body of Kristen.
     So, as I went along, I was comparing hairs from the 10 of March. The vial contains one long human head hair, grossly similar to the head hair of Mrs. MacDonald. Also, two short broken pieces that are similar to Mrs. MacDonald's hair. And one short hair, broken in two places, that is grossly similar to the head hair of Kimberly MacDonald. I also have listed here one short hair present (unidentified) that is covered with a black tar-like substance. Several hairs contained bloodstains. I also have one blue single thread nylon fiber, bloodstained. This was identical to the blue fibers present in the multicolored rug in the master bedroom. In that exhibit I found fibers that were grossly similar to the fibers in the master bedroom. I found broken head hairs of both Kimberly and Mrs. MacDonald.
Q  So, both of those, both the head hair that you found there of Colette MacDonald and the head hair that you found there of Kimberly MacDonald, were damaged as though by a blow or something. Is that correct?
A  Yes.
Q  You also found fibers that came from the rug in the master bedroom.
A  Yes.
Q  And these hairs were bloodstained. Is that correct? Was there bloodstains associated with the hair?
A  Yes, sir. They were. They were bloodstained. The nylon fiber from the rug in the master bedroom was also bloodstained, if that's important.

MR. WOERHEIDE:  Mr. Foreman and members of the grand jury, do you have some matters that you wish to inquire of Mr. Browning?

FOREMAN:  I want to ask -- the bloodstaining that you refer to similar to those fibers that you just stated from the mat and hairs, and so forth, was that blood able to be typed off of those hairs and fibers?

A  I'm sure many of the fibers -- it would have been able to be typed. I didn't do any of the typing of blood in this particular case. There was so much blood work involved that it was assigned to Mrs. Glisson and she had two or three assistants that helped her in this. And I was assigned the miscellaneous things, such as wax, wood chips and so forth. So, I didn't do any of the blood work. I'm not sure whether Mrs. Glisson did any examination of the fibers themselves, or not.

MR. WOERHEIDE:  We will have Mrs. Glisson as a witness later, Mr. Foreman, and she will testify as to what blood examinations she made and what types.

FOREMAN:  The small fiber that you found under, I believe it was Kristen's nails, the very small fiber.

A  Yes.

FOREMAN:  Could that have been transferred by normal scuffling or playing around or something of that nature? You know how you sometimes carry a child to play with them or something. Could it have been transferred that way? Was it that -- I think you know what I am getting at.

A  Yes. I realize what you're getting at. You see, I didn't take the fingernail scrapings. These were taken by the doctor at the autopsy of the child. And when I received it, each fingernail scraping was -- well, each hand was separated. These scrapings were put on a small piece of paper and all of the scrapings were completely bloodstained. In fact, I thought when I first came across this -- I was picking through the scrapings and using what we call a stereo microscope. It's a microscope that doesn't have the magnification or the power of a regular microscope but enables you to look at small, small things and be able to pick out things of interest and ignore other things. So, when I first saw this on the stereoscope, I thought it was -- it looked like a little glob of blood, but I separated it out, increased my magnification, and started looking at it, and I realized it was a fiber. So, we have these micro test tubes and I carefully washed it, removed the blood and all from it, because it was so bloodstained that even -- there was no way I could examine it under a microscope without cleaning it up first. So, I cleaned it up. I washed it with saline and with soapy water first and then rinsed it with water, mounted it on a slide and examined it under a microscope. It was then that I determined it was from the pajama jacket of Captain MacDonald's. Now, how it could have gotten there and be bloodstained and blood-soaked at the same time it would -- well, my personal opinion is that it would be pretty hard to do.

FOREMAN:  There was blood on the fibers in Kimberly's room. I believe you stated there was blood on those fibers. But you said you didn't do any of the blood work, so I'll skip over that.

A  No. I didn't do any of the blood work at all on that.

FOREMAN:  Was there any dirt or other foreign matter on these fibers that may have indicated that they were stepped on, or could have been transferred from one spot to another, or would you conclude that where they picked up is where they were felled.

A  In most cases I would think that where they were picked up is where they were felled. Once again, if a fiber, particularly if it had been blood-soaked or bloodstained, if it had been stepped on, well, it would have been flattened out. I think under a stereoscope it would be obvious that it had been walked on or drugged or picked up lint, things like this, from the floor.

FOREMAN:  So, you would say they were where they fell?

A  Yes. Relatively close to where they fell. I guess with wind currents and all that, they may have moved on the floor a foot or so, but I think under the circumstances and most of the rooms had carpets and things of this nature that the fibers, I assume, were close to where they fell.

FOREMAN:  Were there any hairs found by you that were not similar to the knowns that you had?

A  Yes. I found one set of hairs which was gray at the root and had been dyed. There were quite a few of those in a hairbrush. At this time, once again, we didn't have controls, so I was unable to identify those. I understand from Mrs. Glisson that later she examined hairs from Mrs. Kassab, the mother-in-law, I mean the mother of Mrs. MacDonald. I think these matched very well and were identified as her head hair by Mrs. Glisson.

FOREMAN:  These were the only ones that were presented to you that did not match any of your knowns, except for the one in the kitchen sink2 that had the tar-like substance?

A  Yes. That and there were some of these hairs that I recall in the original examination turned out to be animal hairs upon examination. So, of course, they were ignored. I'm sure you are familiar with the original fact that the newspaper made a lot out of, over the fact that the investigator that sent me one of Captain MacDonald's jackets or rather it was a T-shirt, sweat shirt, and he made a mistake of putting in there -- he could see some hairs on the T-shirt, so he put on the request that this exhibit contained hairs of Captain MacDonald. Of course, when I got it in the lab and mounted it on a slide and looked at it under the microscope, immediately I saw it was animal hair. It wasn't human hair. So, I called the investigator back and told him he would have to send me more clothing. At that time, if you remember, we -- Captain MacDonald had been refusing to give known head hairs which we had asked for, so we were trying to get some knowns from him as we had previously done with Mrs. MacDonald and the other child. In this case, he happened to select a sweat shirt Captain MacDonald, I guess, had used to ride a pony that I understand that they had now, and the four or five hairs on the front of the sweat shirt were horse hairs. Of course, I called the investigator and told him to find some other clothing of Captain MacDonald's and send them to me. But then, when we got to court, I kept hearing reports that Captain MacDonald's hair had been found later to be horse hair or something to this effect. It was a lot made over a rather routine mistake on the part of an investigator.

FOREMAN:  So, there were not any other hairs that you could not identify other than the tar-soaked one and the one with the gray roots. The rest you could identify as being one of the three women, children?

A  Before I answer that, let me look quickly through here. We are talking about over four years ago and --

FOREMAN:  Do you know what that black stuff was on that hair in the sink?

A  No, I don't.

FOREMAN:  Was it human hair?

A  To the best of my knowledge, it was. I'm not sure. I'm trying to think. I don't remember any unknown hairs found at the time. Now, in exhibit E5, there was a lot made, a lot to do over E5, which was Mrs. MacDonald's left hand. It contained two long hairs which I identified. They were identical to the knowns that I had from Mrs. MacDonald's clothing. Let me find that right quick. And there was one unknown darker hair which I think was -- again, there was a lot of speculation as to whether or not that could have been Captain MacDonald's hair. On E5 I said debris removed from Mrs. MacDonald's left hand. Vial contained one green single strand of nylon fiber. This was identical to the green fiber of the multicolored rug in the north bedroom. This was heavily bloodstained, and I have down here one short medium brown head hair. Then, I have a question mark and a little note written above it. So, this may have turned out to be an animal hair or something. You see, I was writing this as I opened the vials and inventoried it. And, like I stated earlier, there is no way you can look at a hair and tell absolutely sure that it's a human hair or a long-haired animal. Once you put it under a microscope it's a simple matter because you can see the medulla and the cortex and they are all entirely different. It's a very simple matter to identify not only whether it's an animal hair, what family of animal it is, like the cat family, the horse family or the cow. They all have different type medulla, different type of characteristics, so it's pretty easy to identify.
     But when you are inventoring something and writing it down from looking at it, it's very easy to say this is a head hair or a human hair and later find it to be a long-haired animal hair.
     I also have here two blonde human head hairs, bloodstained, and one wooden splinter similar to the wood of the club. Now, this one short medium brown head hair which I have under the question mark turned out later on, I think, to be a body hair or a limb hair -- some -- it was darker and all. But it was human, but it was a limb hair. And this was the hair that they were trying to get samples from Captain MacDonald to examine. In this same exhibit, I also had two fine blonde human head hairs that I identified readily. They were bloodstained and I identified readily as being from Colette MacDonald. Her own hair. This was in exhibit E5. At the trial,3 there seemed to be some -- the defense objected, of course, to the way I got the knowns from Mrs. MacDonald's body, that the blonde hairs present could have been from the blonde woman that he claimed was also in the house, that the blonde hair in Colette MacDonald's hand was identical to the blonde hair known that I removed from some of her winter clothing. Using that as a known, it was Colette MacDonald's hair and no one else.

FOREMAN:  Any wood fibers that you could not identify?

A  No.

FOREMAN:  Any other fibers that you could not identify as being on the jacket or something in the house?

A  Well, I found quite a few fibers and I really didn't unless it was on something, like on the club, in one of the victim's hand or on the body, something of this nature. I didn't really try to pin it down. We're talking about hundreds of hours more work for no apparent objective in mind. But there were fibers picked up throughout the house, blue, red, purple nylon and things like this, which I didn't have a known for, so I didn't examine it.

MR. WOERHEIDE:  It's a matter of fact, didn't you find, let's say, debris from a Christmas tree and all sorts of ordinary things that you are expected to find?

A  We went over the house with a fine-tooth comb picking up anything that looked unusual. We found such things as dried nut meats, and there were small fragments from broken Christmas tree ornaments and things like this in various sections of the house. But, of course, these are things that occur in a house, I guess, over a period of years of being lived in and I feel like if you went into practically any house and vacuumed the floors, went through the vacuum sweepings, you could probably find hairs that weren't really identical to any member of the family. You track these in on your feet or visitors come to the house, you're constantly losing hair. Everyone loses hair constantly through normal attrition and it's not unusual at all to find unknown hair or unknown fibers in a house.

FOREMAN:  So there was one body hair that has still not been identified, as far as you know?

A  You're talking about the one --

FOREMAN:  The one that was on Colette MacDonald's body, and, I think you said, it was --

A  I believe this is the hair -- I was on leave, I took a week's vacation, and was on leave when the hair came in from Captain MacDonald, and so Mrs. Glisson ran this. Prior to this time, I had been doing all of the hair work. Mrs. Glisson compared the main hairs from Captain MacDonald and this unknown hair. And I think she said from the point present that what she had to compare, that there wasn't enough to identify it as being -- I'm sure you have that report. I'm not sure exactly what the report did say. But I knew she could not say it was Captain MacDonald's hair.

MR. WOERHEIDE:  She couldn't say it was and she couldn't say it wasn't, as I recall. But we'll have Mrs. Glisson here and she'll testify concerning that particular hair.

A  As I remember the hair, it was a very short piece of hair. I assumed that the short piece was possibly head hair. It wasn't flat and curled like most body hair is. But I think Mrs. Glisson, under the microscope identified it as being probably a body hair, a limb hair, from the arm or the leg. Hairs from different parts of the body have different characteristics and they are pretty easy to discern under a microscope what part of the body a hair came from, but until you mount it on a slide and observe it under a microscope, you're simply guessing when you say it's a body hair, chest hair, head hair or what.

FOREMAN:  Mr. Woerheide, there's one thing --


JUROR:  Did you find any fibers on the sofa?

A  I don't remember seeing any exhibit with any soap at all in it.

JUROR:  He said sofa.

A  On the sofa. No, there were no fibers at all found on the sofa and I received no hairs. I've heard the comment from one of the investigators that there were no fibers on or around the sofa and that they made a special search for fibers on the sofa itself. But I didn't hear hairs mentioned.

JUROR:  And all of the fibers that you found in all three bedrooms were identical and did match the pajama top?

A  Yes. Every one of them of this nature. Obviously, if there was a red nylon fiber or something, I didn't even bother to record it or anything. But every fiber that I called out during this talk today, when I said purple cotton or blue polyester, I mean that this actually matched with the jacket in exhibit D210. Once again when -- I gave the same testimony once before at the Article 32 in Fort Bragg and the defense objected to identifying fibers from short length and so forth. And they had quite a few objections which I'm sure many of them are valid.
     If you were an industry, like Dupont, and a customer sends in a fiber to you and said I brought this fiber to you or this thread from you and it doesn't seem to be working properly in my weaving machine, something is wrong with it. Well, the first thing Dupont does or any other large company does is to determine that it's their fiber. I worked ten years, incidentally, with Dupont before coming with the army as a research chemist. And the first thing we would do to anything of that nature would be to determine that it is your fiber. Many times the company, they buy fibers from all other companies and they get their lots mixed up and they'll be complaining about a factor, a fiber, and you find out that you didn't even produce the fiber.
     So, the first thing to do is to determine that it's yours and then try to determine what's wrong with it. So, in a case like that, if you went into examining a fiber, you would get whole spindles, whole spools of the fiber in. You wouldn't look at little small fibers. Now, on all of the big industry fibers, each company puts its own trace element. You heard me mention before about looking for trace elements in fibers. We do this with an instrument called an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. It detects very small amounts of inorganic matters in fibers. So any time Monsanto or Dupont runs a batch of, say, nylon, they add an identifying substance to it, a tracer, they call it. Maybe it's alabamine or bismuth or something of this nature. And they put this in each of the batches. And the agreement between the major companies is that they all use different amounts so that any time we get a fiber in, for instance, now a very small piece of fiber on a screen or at the scene of a break-in, we can see it on the atomic absorption spectrophotometer and define what the trace element is. If it's alabamine, we can look up our charts and see, well, you see that Dacron's produced by the Dupont Company. And this type of thing. So we are able to use things that the companies do for their own benefit to our benefit also.

JUROR:  You talked about debris from the bottom sheet in the master bedroom. Did you get the whole sheet from the bed?

A  Let me look up in my original notes. I know I didn't get the sheet. The only thing I examined was debris from the vials, but I might have it as an exhibit.

MR. WOERHEIDE:  What was the question (OFF THE RECORD)

A  I have it. E19A. I got it in a vial. My notes say they were small particles removed from sheet in master bedroom. Plastic vial containing light and dark blonde head hairs, so on and so forth. So evidently, when I got it, it was a plastic vial containing the particles removed. And I assume that either the original laboratory team that went to Fort Bragg did that or else Mr. Ivory or Mr. Shaw, one of the criminal investigators did it.

JUROR:  When you say perspiration was harder to -- body fluids were harder to identify --

A  Identify blood type?

JUROR:  It deteriorated faster. How long does it take urine before you can determine what blood type it is, especially if it's taken from maybe something dry?

A  Well, I feel sure, once again, that it would be weeks -- you could still depend on four or five weeks, but I would really prefer that you ask Mrs. Glisson about that when she does appear because she is the expert in blood. She's had fifteen to twenty years or something of doing this. And even though I'm qualified in it and all, I generally do the other substances, like hairs and fibers, and so forth, and she usually handles the blood. So she would probably be able to give you much more exact figures and quotations from it. We have typed urine stains that I know of that are three and four weeks old without any problems. Of course, we constantly, when we talk to investigators in the field, we constantly request, when you get a murder or a rape or an assault, or something of this nature, send us the evidence immediately. Don't hang on to it. Some of these guys will collect it and put it in the evidence room and leave it there for weeks before they get around to sending it to the lab. And, of course, this quite often hurts our -- what we can do with the substance. But I know in the past we have typed blood types from urine stains that were three to four weeks old.

Q  (Mr. Woerheide) You've already indicated that you didn't do any of the blood typing, but do you know whether the blood from the copy of Esquire magazine that was found in the living room was typed? From the lab report, can you tell?
A  Yes. I think it was. I remember hearing, at the time, talk about the blood and the best I remember, it turned out to be Type A, I think. Do you have any idea what that exhibit is?
Q  No, I don't. I know Mrs. Glisson can give us the answer to this when she does appear. According to this, which was based on the information that's included in the lab report, the blood on that Esquire magazine was A or AB, and that means at the time the examination was made they were not able to say positively A or AB, because there may have been a deterioration of the B factor.
A  That's right. This is what I was referring to earlier. Sometimes, you know, you run controls. You run a Type A control, and Type B control, and your Type O control. And, like I say, this goes along with experience. Sometimes when you are running a sample, even though you get good agglutination, good results in Type A, your Type B controls may appear to be trying to agglutinate, not real clear like they should be. So, at that time, when we come across something like this, this is usually when we say in our report, reveals a presence of Type A blood or Type AB with deteriorated B factor. If something during the

Webmaster note:  Pages 72 and 73 are missing from this transcript. Page 74 continues below.

a known from that rug.

JUROR:  And you didn't find any fibers that were from this rug on the club at all?

A  No. Not from this rug. Only from the throw rug. But, once again, you have to remember that this was a very looped-type rug. If you've seen the picture of -- some fibers are much harder to come off than others. The throw rug was probably a shaggy-type thing that shed fibers much easier than the hard crest rug of the wall-to-wall carpeting.

JUROR:  Let me ask one question. If there had been a struggle in the living room, wouldn't there have been some fibers found in there, more than the one or two you say you found?

A  Yes. I think, personally, that if a struggle had occurred in the living room, that the bulk of the fibers would be in the living room. I can see no possible way when a jacket is ripped like that and hundreds, at least many fibers are produced, that the bulk of them would not be where the ripping takes place. I see no way it could possibly occur without the bulk of the fibers being there.

FOREMAN:  I guess that's everything. Mr. Woerheide, if it's all right with you, we will excuse Mr. Browning.

MR. WOERHEIDE:  Thank you, sir.

FOREMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Browning.


1  Webmaster note:  By "trial," Browning is referring to the Article 32 military investigative hearing held in 1970.

2  Webmaster note:  The Foreman misspoke. Browning testified earlier that this hair was found in the bathroom sink, not the kitchen sink.

3  Webmaster note:  By "trial," Browning is referring to the Article 32 hearing.