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


September 13, 1984
Affidavit of James Jenkins (FBI)

(with link to FBI Fingerprint Report attachment dated February 12, 1975)


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA : Criminal No. 75-26 CR-3
v. :
JEFFREY R. MACDONALD : Civil No. 84-41 CIV-3



I, James E. Jenkins, being duly sworn do depose and say that:

(1) I am employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Identification Division.

(2) I have been further employed by the FBI as a fingerprint examiner in the Latent Fingerprint Section, and as such I performed all of the examinations relating to questioned fingerprints submitted by the Army to the FBI, as they pertain to the MacDonald case.

(3) Along with the results of my examinations, the fact that more negatives than photographs of latent prints were delivered to me by then Captain Brian Murtagh, USACIDC, on November 27, 1974, for examination is reflected in the attached Report of the Identification Division, dated February 12, 1974, under the heading "Specimens". (see enclosure)

(4) In the spring of 1979, I received a phone message that Bernard Segal, an attorney representing Jeffrey MacDonald, had called to speak with me. Prior to returning Mr. Segalís call I contacted Brian M. Murtagh, the Justice Department attorney handling the trial preparation and arranged for him to be present when Mr. Segal called back. Subsequently, Mr. Segal called and stated, in substance, that he wanted to talk to me about the FBIís examination of the fingerprints in the MacDonald case. Before Mr. Segal got too far along I explained that the prosecutor, Mr. Murtagh, was also on the line. At that point Mr. Segal said he had another call to take or return and he terminated the conversation. To the best of my recollection, I was never contacted again by Mr. Segal or any other of the MacDonald defense team. To the best of my recollection, Mr. Segal did not request that the FBI furnish him with copies of all the photographs and negatives of latent areas submitted by the CID for examination. Had Mr. Segal done so the only photographs and negatives which I would have been able to furnish him in 1979, would have copies made by the Identification Division of latent prints previously identified, and copies of photographs and negatives of unidentified latents determined to be of value for comparison purposes. All of the original photographs, negatives and record fingerprints previously submitted by the Army for examination in 1974, and had been returned to the CID in 1975.

(5) Based on my training and experience as a fingerprint examiner in the Identification Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I can state the following in regards to the enhancement of photographs of latent areas: a photograph of a latent area can be enhanced for comparison purposes if the negative is in focus, by reprinting the photograph on various types of paper to enhance the contrast in the photograph. This has long been a standard operating procedure employed by fingerprint examiners. From my experience, and based on the standard operating procedures employed by the FBI, I can further state, that when the negative is out of focus because there was improper focusing of the camera lens or movement occurred during the taking of the photograph, enhancement as described above will not correct the blurring of the image. Accordingly, the photograph from such a blurred negative will not be rendered valuable for comparison purposes merely because it has been printed on a photographic paper with different contrast characteristics.

Further you affiant sayeth not.

James E. Jenkins

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 13 day of September, 1984

Sharon L. Tucci
Notary Public

Attachment  (FBI Fingerprint Report dated February 12, 1975)