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


July 30, 1979
Hilyard Medlin (CID) at trial

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, we call Mr. Hilyard Medlin.

(Whereupon, HILYARD ORVIS MEDLIN was called as a witness, duly sworn, and testified as follows:)

D I R E C T  E X A M I N A T I O N  4:07 p.m.

Q  State your name, sir?
A  Hilyard Orvis Medlin -- O-r-v-i-s.
Q  Mr. Medlin, where do you currently reside?
A  2310 Young Drive; Augusta, Georgia.
Q  How are you employed at the present time?
A  At the present time, I am a Field Agent with the Department of Revenue for the State of Georgia.
Q  How long have you been so-employed, sir?
A  Just a few months.
Q  I believe at one time, you worked for the CID; is that correct?
A  Yes, sir; I did.
Q  What are the dates that you worked for them?
A  From 1963, I was in the CID Laboratory until 1971, when I retired in June.
Q  When you went to work for the CID in 1963, in what capacity did you go, sir?
A  At first, I was a student in the Criminal Investigation Course -- Course Number Eight. And then I was assigned to the laboratory as a fingerprint trainee.
Q  As a what?
A  Latent fingerprint trainee.
Q  How long did you remain a trainee there?
A  Two years internship.
Q  What did you do as a trainee?
A  All of those programs of instruction covering development of latent prints, recognizing classification of prints, processing crime scenes, processing palmprints, footprints, identifying the same by comparison methods with record prints submitted, doing all of the work that was required of a fingerprint person to include a distaff side of learning something about photography and some chemistry which was just part of the program of instruction. I am not a chemist, and I do not profess to know any of the chemical names involved in the use in the fingerprint processing.
Q  Now, you spoke of during this two-year period of working in crime scenes; is that correct?
A  That is right.
Q  Can you estimate, sir, approximately how many crime scenes you have dusted for prints?
A  During my training period?
Q  Yes, sir.
A  Or during the entire time.
Q  During the training period?
A  I accompanied the chief of the section on at least five crime scenes as part of my training and assisted him in processing crime scenes as a trainee.
Q  After you served your two-year period as a trainee, what did you do next?
A  I was certified by the Department of Defense or United States Army as a fingerprint examiner -- latent fingerprint examiner.
Q  How long did you remain in that capacity, sir, with the CID?
A  Until I retired in June of '71.
Q  Now, from the time that you were certified as an examiner and until 1971, can you estimate, sir, approximately how many crime scenes you dusted for prints in?
A  After that?
Q  Yes, sir.
A  More than 15.
Q  I am sorry?
A  More than 15 crime scenes.
Q  What is your educational background, sir?
A  I have a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, an Associate of Arts in criminal justice. I am a graduate of the Military Police Supervisor's Course -- an honor graduate. I was number eight in my class of 40 in the criminal investigation course. I was a policeman for a short time in Concord, North Carolina, in 1947. I was with the CID in the United States Army in Alaska as a clerk and as an apprentice. I am a military police officer. At the time I was in the CID laboratory, I held the reserve commission of a major; in active duty as a Master Sergeant.
Q  Now, you spoke of all your experience and training in order to become a latent fingerprint examiner. What training, if any, have you had in searching or dusting for footprints?
A  In the Institute of Applied Science course, which I completed and graduated from in 1957, I was the NCRC at the Military Police detachment in Nashville, Tennessee. During my training there, I went with the detectives on crime scene searches, as they instructed me.
     Later, at the Laboratory, we would be required to identify deceased persons -- primarily pilots -- by their feet, which is the last part to be consumed in a plane crash, being protected by their boots.
     On two occasions, I was directly responsible for comparing and identifying two babies -- two separate cases -- where babies are supposed to have been mixed up. In dusting one crime scene, the perpetrator took his socks off, put them on his hands, and walked across the polished floor. We merely removed the flooring and identified the individual out of 580 suspects.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, I think this is the appropriate time to offer this witness as an expert in the field of fingerprint and footprint examination.

THE COURT:  Very well.

Q  Mr. Medlin, directing your attention, sir, to the 17th of February, 1970; did you have an occasion to come to Fort Bragg, North Carolina?
A  Yes, sir; I did.
Q  And for what purpose did you come?
A  To assist the CID in processing the crime scene where homicides had occurred.
Q  Now who came with you on that day, sir, from Fort Gordon?
A  Mr. Ralph Turbyfill, from the fingerprint section; Mr. Howell Page, from the photography section; and Mr. Craig Chamberlain from the chemistry section.
Q  Who, if anyone, was in charge of the group from Fort Gordon?
A  I was in charge.
Q  Approximately what time did you arrive at Fort Bragg?
A  Between 10:30 and 11:00 o'clock was when the plane touched down.
Q  What did you do when you got to Fort Bragg first?
A  Mr. Rossi met us at planeside and carried us to the crime scene, sir.
Q  By crime scene, do you mean 544 Castle Drive, the MacDonald apartment?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  When you got there, what if anything did you first do?
A  Mr. Bob Shaw and Mr. Bill Ivory were the senior investigators in charge. Members of the laboratory do not control the crime scene. We are there to assist the CID. It is their crime scene and we work for them. The first thing that we did was to stand to one side.
     As they briefed us -- Mr. Ivory and Mr. Shaw briefed Mr. Turbyfill and Mr. Chamberlain and myself -- Mr. Page took photographs of the scene as it was then, before we did anything else.
Q  After those pictures were taken, what did you do next?
A  We divided ourselves into teams. Mr. Ivory, Mr. Turbyfill and I worked together. Mr. Ivory was working different areas, making notes, answering questions that were being asked by different interested parties who had come to this crime scene.
     Mr. Shaw and Mr. Chamberlain were those gathering blood samples for the chemistry section.
Q  Now, I take it then your primary purpose in being there, besides being head of the team, was to dust for latent prints; is that correct?
A  That's right.
Q  Which part of the house did you attempt to dust for first?
A  It was decided and it is always predicated on the decision of the chemist, for us not to contaminate his blood samples. So therefore our actions were based on what area he was going to work on first.
     To the best of my memory, he and Mr. Shaw started to work in the main bedroom and from there, as they would process an area, we would move in behind them. The entrance from the hallway into the main bedroom was the first area that I processed myself for latent prints.
     What I did, before doing anything else, was to make a test print on a cleared area to determine the acceptability of the latent areas for the powder -- which powder to use, which would do better, black or grey, or silver, and et cetera.
     The area would accept black powder, but my fresh print was very good. The problem was that I attempted to see if this print would be liftable, what I call liftable. That is to use a lift, either a rubber lift or a plastic or cellophane or adhesive type fingerprint lift, to remove the fingerprint from the door frame.
     Part of the powder would adhere very easily to the cellophane; part of it would not. This indicated to me that the door frames had more than just residue on it --

MR. SEGAL:  (Interposing) I can't year you, Mr. Medlin.

THE WITNESS:  I beg your pardon.

MR. SEGAL:  I can't hear you, Mr. Medlin. You are dropping your voice.

THE COURT:  He said he thought the door frames had more than just residue on them. Go ahead from there.

THE WITNESS:  Thank you, sir. Meaning that inside of a house, during warm weather and winter weather, they tend to accumulate steam or heat or whatever moisture of some type. This particular instance, the print that I made was a nice print, but it would not lift very clearly -- the entire print. It was my decision at that time -- it was my decision at that time.
     I told Mr. Turbyfill that we would try one more print to see if it would be able to be lifted, once it was processed. The print that I tried to lift would not. Therefore, it was my decision to protect the latent prints as they were developed after they were photographed.
     Therefore, the sequence was, I made two test prints, attempted to lift them, was unable to do it to my satisfaction, made a decision to have the latent print photographed, and protected by putting the transparent tape over the top of them. The prints are still in that condition in that place.
Q  Mr. Medlin, explain to us, if you will, sir, after you put -- well in this case, I take it you were unable to lift the prints due to the condition of the wall and jambs and so forth; is that correct?
A  That was the way it appeared to be; yes, sir.
Q  How did you obtain prints?
A  By the method just explained. We would process an area for latent prints.
Q  Okay. Now which part of the master bedroom did you go into first to take the prints from?
A  From the door facing, entering from the hallway after Mr. Chamberlain -- primarily Mr. Chamberlain -- gave us the go ahead.
Q  When you speak of the fact that the prints are still in that condition, what do you mean?
A  You can still see the latent prints on the door jambs and the areas where we have covered them up with the transparent tape.
Q  In other words, the tape is still there; is that what you are saying?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Now approximately what time of day was this when you were taking these prints?
A  After the briefing, we continued to work until about 3:30, when someone remembered that we had not been fed, and brought us some hamburgers. We stopped for a few minutes and had a general eating period. Then we went back to work.
     I believe it was about 10:30 that night before we pooped out and went to get some supper over at the club, and went to the motel.
Q  Now, Mr. Page, I suppose, was the photographer, is that right?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  In what areas generally, if you would describe for us, did you dust for prints in the house?
A  Mr. Ivory and Mr. Shaw told us that the perpetrator of the crime was described as three male adults and one female adult. Therefore, we searched the area which we thought to be in the adult height or the adult placement on the different door facings, doorways, walls, and et cetera.
     In other words, we did not look for prints below about 24 inches from the floor nor did we search for prints by a very tall person, such as 6' 5". We searched in an area generally from our own head top down to just about our thighs.
Q  What rooms of the apartment, sir, di you dust for prints in?
A  We dusted all of them, sir.
Q  Now, during the time you were in the master bedroom, sir, did you ever have an occasion to locate anything of significance to you or the investigation in the master bedroom?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  What was that?
A  I found a part of a glove which appeared to be the end of a glove which had blood inside of it, sir.
Q  After you found it, what did you do with it?
A  After I held it and realized that it had too much blood inside to have retained a fingerprint, I turned it over to Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Ivory or -- excuse me, Mr. Shaw.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this time, we would mark for identification Government Exhibit 483(a).

(Government Exhibit No. 483(a) was marked for identification.)

Q  Mr. Medlin, if you would take a look, sir, at Government Exhibit 483(a) and tell me if you can tell us what that is, sir.
A  Excuse me, sir -- may I?


THE WITNESS:  Generally, this is the way it appeared on the head of the bed in the master bedroom. The word "Pig" was written in some foreign substance which appeared to be blood.

Q  Mr. Medlin, sir, do you have an opinion satisfactory to yourself as to whether or not any covering was used on the part of the hand that wrote those words?
A  Yes, sir; I do.
Q  What is that opinion, sir?
A  I had a plastic glove with me which I was using to protect my hands from the black powder and other things about the area. I took a clean glove and dipped it in water and made an impression on the headboard to see if I could determine or get an idea of how this was done.
     With the fingers there at the end of the stroke in this fashion here, there was ridges that I could see that I left with my bare fingers. When I took the glove and did the same thing, by going in this fashion here, it appeared in this fashion. There was no ridges left. Therefore, I concluded that quite possibly the rubber glove, the remainder of which I had found on the bed, had been used to make this writing.
Q  Mr. Medlin, in the process of dusting for prints during this first week, I take it that you relied on the necessity of obtaining record prints from other individuals; is that correct?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  From whom in the family -- all four people -- sir, did you request that prints be obtained?
A  I requested that the record fingerprints -- palm prints -- be received from Captain MacDonald -- then Captain MacDonald -- Mrs. MacDonald, and Kimberly. However, through a misinterpretation of what I said and what I meant, the investigator said, "Do you want the baby's prints?" I understood the baby to mean the two year old. My children five and up are children. To him, Kimberly was a baby. Kristen was a baby.
     So, when he said "babies," he was speaking of the plural, and I was speaking of the singular, and so, therefore, he only went to the hospital and got the record prints of Captain MacDonald and Mrs. MacDonald.
     He had problems even with Mrs. MacDonald's prints --
Q  (Interposing) Before you get to that point, who was the "he" to whom you are referring?
A  I beg your pardon. I was speaking either to Mr. Shaw, Mr. Ivory, Mr. Rossii, Mr. Hawkins -- Bennie Hawkins who was there. Mr. Rossi was more or less one of our runners also. I received prints from also a person named Charlie Cooper during these --
Q  (Interposing) You speak of getting palm prints. Can you identify people through palm prints?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Have you ever done that?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  I believe you just mentioned there was some difficulty in obtaining prints from Colette MacDonald; is that correct?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  What in your opinion, sir, is involved in obtaining a print -- finger, palm, or foot -- from a person who has been embalmed?
A  It is very difficult. The formaldehyde causes the skin to become very brittle and it will not allow the ink -- it will not adhere to formaldehyde. Prior to this -- digressing if I may.
Q  Yes, sir.
A  Most of those, I'm told, in the hospital knew the MacDonald family -- knew they were nice people and so on like Army people do. We are a family. We know our family. So, therefore, when Mrs. MacDonald and Kristen and Kimberly arrived, I'm told that the medics immediately recognized them as part of their family and followed their normal procedure of a death and placed them in a cooler.
     By the time that we arrived at the scene, and by the time that the investigator went to get the fingerprints, the bodies were quite cold and stiff, and it is not as possible to get very good record fingerprints when a person as rigor mortis as compared to fingerprinting them immediately after their death.
Q  How would classify [sic], sir, the prints that you received from Colette MacDonald?
A  I would classify them as incomplete.

MR. SEGAL:  I'm sorry. As what, sir?

THE WITNESS:  As incomplete. Complete record prints are from nail edge to nail edge -- the entire print -- because in our examination we need the size of the fingers as well as the central part or where the core is. If you can imagine a person touching an object, normally does not touch it full-fingered consciously; they grasp it either with their thumb and the side of their finger or else they grasp it with their finger and the side of their thumb.
     This is the way that most of us are constructed so, therefore, any prints -- and these were elimination prints, I would add, because it did not make sense to us at that time for anything like this.
Q  You spoke a moment ago or directing someone that you did not need the baby's prints, and by that, you meant Kristen?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Why, sir, in your opinion, did you not need Kristen's prints?
A  One of he reasons is that we were looking for adults' fingerprints, palm prints, anything to do with adults. The children -- Kimberly was large enough to reach up and grasp a door knob or touch a door facing in the area in which we were searching and processing. Since the fingerprints or the ridges of a person's hands, fingers, and feet become prevalent in the fourth month of the fetal period and continue to grow and develop, they never change until after death and decomposition sets in; therefore, Kristen's prints were too fine, and besides that, they would have probably been lower than what we were searching for. Kimberly's prints were larger. The ridges were larger and better formed, and she could reach the area in which we were searching.
Q  You would like to have had Kimberly's prints?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  You would have liked to have had better prints of Colette?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Directing your attention to Kristen's bedroom, the youngest child, during the time that you were there, did you ever have an occasion to observe any footprints on the floor?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  When did you first observe the footprint or more than one, sir?
A  for the first time, sir?
Q  Yes, sir.
A  As we were walking through the crime scene after Mr. Page got therough making photographs of the entire area, I noted the footprint. We put something to protect it.
Q  Do you recall what the something was that you used to protect the footprint?
A  First, I put a box over it -- a little cardboard box.
Q  Now, did there ever come a time, sir, when you had occasion to attempt to examine that footprint?
A  On Wednesday; yes, sir.
Q  Continue.
A  On Wednesday evening, the FBI and the CID and some of the other investigative persons were having a conference and they called me at the apartment. Mr. Turbyfill -- and I can't remember the big investigator or whoever took him to the funeral home to get the prints -- Mr. Turbyfill was not there. Mr. Page and I were there. At that time, Mr. Murphy, who was the Director or head of the North Carolina FBI, asked me to make a determination of whose footprint that was.
     In the meantime, I had received partial footprints of Colette, footprints of Lieutenant Harrison, and footprints of a Captain MacDonald -- the victim.
Q  When you speak of identifying that footprint, do you mean the footprints exiting the room in Kristen's room; is that correct?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Continue.
A  At that time, the method of searching -- making a direct search -- was to take a strong light and encircle the area moving about it until you can see it. This is what I did using a 200-watt light bulb in a lamp. I moved it around until I could see impressions in the bloody footprint at which time I proceeded to get down on my hands and knees with my viewing glass and using the record footprint, it was the left footprint in blood. Using the footprints that I had of the three persons I mentioned, I made a direct comparison.
Q  Who else was with you in the room at that time, if you remember?
A  I was by myself at the time, but Mr. Page in the other part.
Q  By "viewing glass," you mean magnifying glass?
A  Yes, sir. May I show the jury what I am talking about?
Q  Yes, sir.
A  This is the type of glass that we use when comparing record prints with latent prints. It is a magnifying glass which is a Bausch-Lombe and one of the best made.
Q  Mr. Medlin, can you speak up just a little bit louder?
A  The method which I used at that particular time was to set the glass over the footprint on the floor in blood in this fashion because the light was from this direction. I looked for certain characteristics to give me a starting point in this footprint.
     I found what is a bifurcation, which is a forking of two ridges. The upper ridge continued, but the second ridge or the lower ridge was what we call a spur. It ended very abruptly. Below that was a ridge which curved and which sometimes I mistakenly call a fish-hook type ridge. It is a slightly curved ridge.
     Seeing this in the latent print, and seeing other characteristics in that area, I searched in the same general area, which was the ball pattern zone of the left foot, which is this area right below the big toe, and could not find any matching characteristics in Colette's record footprint -- that which we had -- or Lieutenant Harrison's footprint which we had.
     However, I found more than 14 points of comparison between the fixed footprint in the blood and the record footprint of Jeffrey Macdonald's left foot. I so told Mr. Murphy, and he thanked me very much.
Q  Is it your opinion, then, that the left footprint exiting the bedroom of Kristen's belonged to Jeffrey MacDonald, is that correct?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Once you made that finding, sir, what if anything did you do with respect to that footprint?
A  I called Mr. Page in and asked him to photograph the footprint so that we could make a record of it, and he attempted to do this using Polaroid film to see if he could do it, as my eyes had seen; but every time he would get the camera in the same position that my nose and my eyes was [sic] -- which as you can see is quite close to the floor -- the light would shine directly into the lens of the camera. Every time he would snap the shutter, it would pick up the light bulb.
     Therefore, he was not able to take a phtoograph of the different characteristics in the formation of the foot as I was viewing it through my glass. He had no magnifying lens for his camera, and therefore he did the best he could.
Q  Well, now, did there ever come a time when photographs were in fact made of that footprint?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  When was that?
A  Mr. Page made negatives, made a overdraft overview, of both the latent print and the record print so that we might be able to show definitely whose print it was.
Q  As a result of taking those photographs, were you ever able to subsequently tell whose print it was from the pictures?
A  The only thing -- may I explain how the laboratory works?
Q  Yes, sir.

MR. SEGAL:  could we have a "yes" or "no" answer to that question first, Your Honor?

THE COURT:  I thought he said "yes." Did you not say you could do so?

THE WITNESS:  Yes, sir; however, I said, "may I explain the workings of our lab?"

MR. SEGAL:  I want to hear what the answer is before we hear the explanation.

THE COURT:  What answer did you want, a "yes" or "no"?

MR. SEGAL:  He asked the question, and as I understood it he called for a "yes" or "no" answer. He then wanted to tell us the explanation before we heard which one we were getting explained, "yes" or "no."

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, I will ask the question again.

THE COURT:  All right, let's start over and do it that way.

Q  Mr. Medlin, I believe you said that subsequently pictures were in fact made of the footprint?
A  Yes, sir; they were.
Q  Now from those photographs, or from the pictures, and not from your original examination, only from the pictures were you ever able to subsequently identify whose print it was?
A  From the design, shape, and position; yes, sir. May I go into a further explanation now, Your Honor?

THE COURT:  Well, that depends. Hearing no objection, I will let you start. Go ahead; explain your answer. You are entitled to do so.

THE WITNESS:  In the CID laboratory, we may not perform our duties as some other federal laboratories, but we are just as competent, in my very humble opinion -- moreso, sometimes. I am not taking away from anybody.
     One examiner does not say "This is the answer." Another examiner does the same comparing of the same latent prints with the same record prints. Sometimes we have as many as five examiners to give their opinions. Everybody sees the same thing.
     We look for similarities and dissimilarities. some of those who do the comparing are other individuals who are merely practicing. Even though they are examiners they like to see how a print in that particular pattern would turn out, so therefore on the footprint, more than one person would have to look at it -- not just myself.
     I was the only one who could see the footprint as it was in the room at that time because I was the only examiner there. So later, when the planks were sawed up to be removed to the laboratory, they come apart. The photographs that were taken did not show all of the ridge detail which I could see myself.
     Therefore, the other examiners, when they looked at the print, could see only one or two characteristics, but they did not see the 14 or more that I saw. So therefore, I believe the way that the chief of the section said that the report would be written was that the size, design, and shape of the foot was that of Jeffrey MacDonald.
     However, because they themselves did not see the ridge detail and characteristics that I had seen, then they themselves could not say that it was the same print.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this time we would mark for identification Government Exhibit 567 and 1132.

THE COURT:  Very well.

(Government Exhibit Nos. 567 and 1132 were marked for identification.)

Q  Mr. Medlin, let me hand you these exhibits I have just mentioned and ask you, sir, to take a look at them and tell us whether or not you can identify what they are?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  What are they, sir?
A  They are photographs of the print in blood that was in Kristen's room, sir.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, I would move these into evidence and ask that they be passed to the jury.

THE COURT:  Very well.

(Government Exhibits 567 and 1132 were received in evidence.)

(Exhibits passed among the jury.)

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, if I could have just one moment.


MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this time I would mark for identification Government Exhibits 569 and 670.

(Government Exhibits 569 and 670 were marked for identification.)

Q  Mr. Medlin, let me hand you those two exhibits and also Government Exhibit 669, and ask you to take a look at them and tell us whether or not you can tell us what they are?
A  Yes, sir. These are the overlay-type prints that I had Mr. Page prepare. This is an enlargement of the footprint in blood and this is the enlargement to scale of the record print which I used.
Q  Would you show us, sir, how you did that if you can?
A  We have a viewing box which is nothing more than a light with aplain piece of glass on top -- non-glare type. First, I laid this print down and then I took this print and laid over the top of it in this fashion here. The outline follows perfectly -- the outline of the print in blood that you are just looking at. This is an enlargement -- it is not to scale -- but it is scaled one to the other. The record footprint was made by the same person. It is not the same footprint, but it is the same footprint that made this transparency. This is the record left footprint of Jeffrey MacDonald.

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, we would move those exhibits into evidence and also ask that they be passed to the jury.

(Government Exhibits 569 and 670 were received in evidence.)

(Exhibits passed among the jury.)

MR. BLACKBURN:  Your Honor, at this time, we would mark for identification Government Exhibit 1085.

(Government Exhibit 1085 was marked for identification.)

Q  Mr. Medlin, let me put Government Exhibit 1085 up here and ask you, sir, to take a look at it and tell us what that is?
A  That is an enlargement of the same pictures that they are looking at there. This is an enlargement of the print in blood and this is an enlargement of the record print of the left foot of Jeffrey MacDonald.
Q  Mr. Medlin, first of all, how long did you remain at Fort Bragg?
A  Until Saturday about noon -- Saturday afternoon.
Q  Of that week of the 17th?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Now, during that time, did you ever have an occasion to work with Mr. Bill Ivory in the living room area, sir?
A  Yes, sir; I did.
Q  What were yo udoing with Mr. Ivory in the living room?
A  During an area of time when Mr. Shaw and Mr. Chamberlain were processing a particular part of the building in which we could not get into, Mr. Ivory and Mr. Turbyfill and I worked on several things -- one of which was, and concerned, the coffee table. We also did some verbal -- rather, Mr. Ivory and Mr. Turbyfill did some verbal exercises.
Q  Did you ever have an occasion to search the carpet area of the living room for anything?
A  In what respect did you mean, sir?
Q  Did you ever check the nap of the carpet in the living room area for any debris or anything of that nature?
A  Yes, sir. Actually we were looking for -- in processing the coffee table, we did not want to contaminate any blood which might be in the area. Therefore, we searched the area for blood before we did much of anything else with our black powder, sir.
Q  Now during the entire time that you were at the MacDonald apartment, how many prints -- finger, palm, and footprints, sir -- did you seek to obtain?
A  At the particular time that we were there, on the final debriefing, I gave a report of 44 latent fingerprints, 29 latent palmprints, and 2 footprints. Later, it was found that two latent fingerprints were actually the left foot of Mrs. Colette Macdonald.
Q  Where were they located?
A  On the edge of the coffee table, sir.
Q  Now of these prints that were taken, how many did you initially identify as belonging to someone, if you can recall?
A  to the best of my memory, I believe it was 31, sir.
Q  By 32 you mean 32 what?
A  Thirty-one fingerprints.
Q  How many palmprints, if you recall?
A  I could not swear to it, sir.
Q  All right. How many footprints?
A  Two, excuse me, sir. The two footprints that I was talking about identifying was done. The footprint in blood was identified first. The footprint of Mrs. MacDonald was identified second.
Q  Now during the taking of the photographs of these prints, did it subsequently develop that there was any difficulty whatsoever in the photographing of the fingerprints?
A  Well, some of the prints did not turn out on the film; yes, sir.
Q  And why was that, if you know?
A  The hallway of the house is such that heavy trucks going along the pavement out in the road, and even an individual walking down the hallway, or something of that nature, would cause the tripod to move slightly, and the photographer did not realize this until after he had taken the photograph of the latent print and developed the negatives.
     When he attempted, or when he printed the negative, we could see that it was not clear. Therefore, it was considered by us, through camera error, that certain prints were not photographed to our liking.
Q  As a result of that, what, if anything, occurred afterwards?
A  The photographer was sent back to Fort Bragg and reshot those that we had marked, sir.
Q  To your knowledge, sir, how many prints that you attempted to take during the week of the 17th of February were lost as a result of that?
A  May I qualify your word, "lost," sir?
Q  Certainly.
A  The word "lost" connotes that the print is no longer there. But this is the misuse of the word "lost." The print was not lost; the print is still in exactly the same place that it was developed on the item. The print -- the photographer's print -- his paper print -- was lost for our comparison purposes through camera error.
     So the word "lost," I would encourage any a person who visualizes the print just disappearing, as understanding what I am referring to. The print is still there. The print was still there.
Q  When the photographer returned to the house to take these prints, how does he do it if the tape is already on the surface?
A  It is a transparent tape, sir.
Q  So he can take a picture through the tape; is that correct?
A  Yes, sir.
Q  Now what about with respect to the back screen door of the MacDonald apartment. Do you recall whether or not you were able to obtain any prints on that door?
A  The paint on the edge of the door was such that it was cracked and chipped. I could see two latent prints with my magnifying glass and I proceeded to use the powder as best I could to enhance the prints, but I was unable to make it clear enough for the camera to take a good picture of.
     The attempt to photograph these two prints resulted in the camera taking a very nice photograph of chips, splinters, and cracks in the paint, in the door itself. We were not able to take a good picture of the two latent prints that I could see through my glasses.
Q  Now, were all of the prints that you took during that week what you could call identifiable prints?
A  Not all of them, no, sir.
Q  Well, if you would at this point, explain to the jury what you mean by an identifiable print.
A  An identifiable print at a crime scene, and especially one of this nature where you have people calling and people coming by, and high ranking from high places wanting to know what's going on, the best thing that you can do is to process the crime scene if you see a certain number of characteristics, which is the formation of the ridges on the hand, finger, or foot, is to have it photographed and then move on.
     Some of the palm prints that were developed on the doorway -- as an example, in the doorway between the master bedroom and the utility room -- had many ridges, many ridges, and about four characteristics.
     This is not sufficient for us to identify -- to use to identify a person's record prints -- using only four characteristics, unless there is something abnormal or odd about the formation of the ridges themselves.
     As an example, if you -- out of all the ridges in this one illustration I just gave -- if they had been in an "S" shape with four characteristics in a particular location, then we might have used them and said that they were sufficient.
     As it were [sic], those that we said were insufficient were considered insufficient. They did not have enough characteristics for us to identify them with record prints.
Q  How long can a fingerprint, in your opinion, survive?
A  It is according to the surface that it is left on, the person's physical condition, and the environment which contains the surface which it is left on. Inside of a house it could last quite some time because it is in a sheltered place.
Q  By "quite some time," could you be more specific?
A  No, sir. In fact, I don't think anyone that is in his right mind that is a fingerprint or identification person can tell you exactly how long a print has been there unless he himself sees it placed there.
Q  In your experience as a fingerprint examiner do you know the length -- the longest print that you have ever looked at sir -- has been on a surface?
A  We developed -- Mr. Turby [sic], my chief instructor, and I developed some latent prints on a whiskey bottle that was found underneath the tattered clothes oin which -- had a skeleton in it, using the smoke process method. this is one of the articles that I wrote and presented to the International Association of Identification as a guest speaker, of which I am a member.
     We aren't sure how long this was, but the individual had died of alcoholic poisoning -- white lightening -- drank too much of it; and my [sic] using the smoke method we processed his fruit jar and was able to identify this individual who had been listed as AWOL, for more than three months.
Q  Now, besides the door jambs and things of that nature in the house, what other items, if any, did you dust for prints?
A  We processed telephones -- two telephones, a jewelry box -- now, you mean at the crime scene, sir?
Q  Well, let's stop right there. With respect to the telephones, what did you find on each of the two telephones?
A  Mr. Turbyfill processed the one in the kitchen and reported to me that he found nothing. I processed the one in the bedroom and found smudges on the earpiece only.
Q  What about with respect to the jewelry box that you just mentioned?
A  We returned it as part of the evidence to the laboratory and processed it there.

THE COURT:  That's all for today. Members of the jury, we come back tomorrow morning at 9:30. Please remember -- better remind you one by one. Don't talk about this, please, among yourselves or with others. Don't let anybody talk about it in your presence. Don't read, look at, or listen to anything. I will be asking you about that.
     Keep open minds about it. You have not heard it all yet. Have a good night. I will let the jury go now. Then we will take our recess until 9:30 tomorrow morning.

(Jury exits.)

(The proceeding was adjourned at 5:01 p.m., to reconvene at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 31, 1979.)