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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
New DNA Evidence May Grant Man New Trial
Aired March 14, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, exclusive: New DNA test results in the notorious Jeffrey MacDonald murder case. His hair found in his murdered wife's hand but unidentified hair under his murdered daughter's fingernail. Will this help or hurt the former Army surgeon still trying to clear his name after 27 years in jail for the brutal murders of his pregnant wife and their two daughters?
And now in their first interview since the long awaited new findings, Jeffrey MacDonald's current wife and the brother of his murdered first wife all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. This story keeps on keeping on. Before we hear from Mrs. MacDonald, just a word or two to let you know that we tried to have Jeffrey MacDonald join tonight's discussion by phone from prison, unfortunately were unable to secure the necessary arrangements. I've interviewed Jeffrey on a number of occasions, twice when he was in federal prison.
OK, what's your reaction to the new DNA results, mixed?
KATHRYN MACDONALD, MARRIED JEFFREY MACDONALD IN PRISON: No, we are very, very excited about the results because considering that these are 36 year old exhibits and the exhibits that were allowed to be tested are very limited. We're talking about nine to 12 hair samples only, not blood, and so forth, and eight and a half years of DNA testing time going by.
The fact that we'd get something so exculpatory as an unsourced hair lodged under the fingernail of little Kristin who was in a defensive pose speaks volumes. It's extremely exculpatory.
KING: Couldn't that hair have come from anyone she touched at school?
KING: In the house, anyone?
MACDONALD: Well, I think the government would like to have that be, you know, their rendition of what they believe would be the case in such a situation but I'm certain if that were Jeff's hair under Kristen's nail they would be saying it was extremely inculpatory.
KING: What about Jeff's hair under the other nail?
MACDONALD: Well, his hair isn't under anyone's nails, in fact... KING: What of his was found?
MACDONALD: His hair, a limb hair was found on Colette's hand and this has been really blown out of proportion just since the results were released initially just to the defense and the government. And, I think the government, and I say the government, see they can sort of be under that guise of "the government" rather than a person being responsible.
This is a man's life we're talking about. Put aside someone that I love and my husband, this is a man's freedom and yet they're playing very, very -- they put out a press release that has so many falsities into it, it made me ill to read it and the main thing being that the main suspects, the people who confessed in this case, can now be ruled out because theirs were not among the nine hairs of 50 exhibits that we wanted after 36 years.
And, this hair that was found on Mrs. MacDonald, Colette, she was laying on the floor like this is just a source this hair on hand. It doesn't say in her hand, clutched in her hand, nothing like that and Jeff gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Jeff laid on her left side of her body when he was resuscitated. Why wouldn't his limb hair be there?
KING: What happened to the story that we did a show on with the federal marshal who came forward after many years to say that this woman had said she was in the house, et cetera, and then the prosecutor never let her take the stand and never told the defense about it? What happened to that story?
MACDONALD: Well that's the linchpin that's reopening this case is the federal marshal coming forward, Mr. Brith (ph).
KING: Are they going to reopen it?
MACDONALD: Well, the circuit court has remanded it back to the district court judge who is now -- the posture it's in is he -- he basically said in an order to the government "I've read this and tell me why I shouldn't vacate." It hasn't been said in those exact words. It was more like I want to hear your response.
KING: And they haven't responded yet?
MACDONALD: They have until March 30th to respond to the judge and so these results coming in sort of trying to divert attention from the fact that the government is now taking on the government. In past appeals it's always been the defense saying this happened, this happened, and this happened.
Now it's one of their own and someone who is unimpeachable so they're trying to frame a story around DNA tests and saying things that are not only -- I wouldn't even say specious. They're not true. They're false and they should be ashamed of themselves.
KING: When did you see Jeffrey last?
MACDONALD: This weekend.
KING: What's his reaction to all this?
MACDONALD: Well, of course, he felt as I did about the government's statements on the DNA making it sound like those were results rather than their statement but he was extremely encouraged. It's bittersweet to have the evidence that will be another prong, another layer about your innocence be from your little daughter that you loved so much. That was very difficult for him.
But, on the same token, we're so grateful that these limited tests after all these years turned up something that is extremely exculpatory and all the lawyers on our team agree and they are the best and there's six of them.
KING: And we're going to meet, Barry Scheck is on here tonight.
MACDONALD: Yes and he's made comments of a similar nature and he's...
KING: And he's going to be with us in a little while.
MACDONALD: ...he's the man.
KING: Because he's responsible for getting more people out of prison who didn't do it than I think any other lawyer in America.
MACDONALD: Yes and I believe that he'll be there to speak about the DNA. He had actually talked to the judge in this case about DNA when it was ordered and the judge is the one who decided which lab was going to be used. He did ask for suggestions from both sides but Jeff didn't pick the lab but Barry Scheck did at oral argument speak with the judge and the judge was big enough to say, you know, educate me and Barry Scheck did.
KING: Are you confident?
MACDONALD: Oh, I -- I know that -- well let me just say Wade Smith, who is one of our attorneys in Raleigh, he gave me an analogy one time that I think of constantly. It gives me strength and it is that the truth is like a little chick inside and egg and it's pecking and pecking and pecking and finally it just breaks open and that's what I see happening here. So, yes, I'm very happy.
KING: So you think there will be a day when you and Jeffrey will walk out of that prison in Cumberland?
MACDONALD: Oh, I know it. I know it. It's never been clearer to me. Everything falling into place in such a serendipitous manner, I don't lose any sleep over that, just when and how to make it happen and how hard we have to work.
KING: We'll take a break with Kathryn MacDonald. She'll be returning later. We are going to speak to Bob Stevenson, the brother of Colette Stevenson, the uncle of Kimberly and Kristin. That was the -- Colette was the wife of Jeffrey MacDonald murdered in their home. And we'll talk with Bob Stevenson.
As we go to break, here's a portion of our interview in 2003 with Jeffrey.
KING: What can save you vis-a-vis this DNA?
J. MACDONALD: We found in the government files records that they had taken hairs from under my daughter's fingernails. They tried to match them against me secretly. They didn't tell us this. They didn't -- they're not my hair so they hid them. Well, we're trying to get those DNA tested. That's one thing.
There's blood spots that match the blood type of one of the confessors to the crime, Greg Mitchell, Helena Stokely's boyfriend. He said he murdered my wife. Helena Stokely said she watched him murder my wife. There's blood on Colette's hand that is O. That's Greg Mitchell's blood type.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED KASSAB, MACDONALD'S FORMER FATHER-IN-LAW: My wife and I both would much rather that it had been drug hippies than the person that Colette loved so much. We would much rather it had been complete strangers. But anybody that is not willing to face facts and the insurmountable evidence involved in this case, you'd have to be a complete fool. You'd have to just be an ostrich and stick your head in the sand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was the late stepfather of Colette and father-in-law of Jeffrey MacDonald, who had a lot to do with turning this case around.
Joining us now in Detroit, Michigan is Bob Stevenson, the brother of Colette Stevenson MacDonald and the uncle of Kimberly and Kristen MacDonald. What's your reaction to this DNA results Bob?
BOB STEVENSON, BROTHER OF COLETTE STEVENSON MACDONALD: I would have to say that I'm even more excited than Mrs. MacDonald is. My first comment is for Mrs. MacDonald.
Up until this time I really felt sorry for her. And, in our last meeting, which was in Cumberland, Maryland at his failed parole hearing, I told her she needed to realize that she is but his latest victim of all of his crimes.
I'm losing my patience with her, though. It seems -- I'm thinking of the line from "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" when Burl Ives says, "I got the smell of mendacity in my nose." Evidently, lies, bullshit and innuendo are something that are catching because she's caught the disease from MacDonald and she can't stop it. Most of what she has said, again is innuendo and half truths.
The fact is I'm here as little more than a financial salesman and executive. I'm neither lawyer nor am I an expert at DNA but I do know what the facts are and I can cite some things for you that I think will be very persuasive.
First of all the finding here was that the DNA testing of this hair specifically established that the hair in Colette's hands, not on it, she keeps making these little mistakes, in her hand which he has contended for more than 30 years, was the hair of the murderer. He was, in fact, correct. It was his hair.
There are a number of things like this. She then goes into talking about some evidence that might have been -- that she talks about with the smallest child. A lot of you watch shows that are like crime scene investigators. I'm sure you're all familiar with procedures of things like the bagging of evidence, the covering of hands and things.
It would be interesting to note about this particular piece of evidence that, number one, that first piece of evidence was first observed in a vial by Janice Glisson (ph) on July 22, 1970, which was more than six months after the crime. If you would go to the testimony, which I have here, of one of the people that did the autopsy you will see that he testified there was no bagging of hands.
If we were to go to the testimony, you will also find that one of the defense attorneys has already impugned this as possible evidence by suggesting that because of the lack of bagging and certain other things that it was probably contaminated evidence.
KING: Bob, in the interest of time, I want to cover some other bases with you.
STEVENSON: Well, I need to cover a couple of bases too. I'd like them to tell me a few things. If they think this is all so powerful, I'd like to know...
KING: Bob, last time I checked it was my show.
STEVENSON: Yes, sir.
KING: So, if you want to say one more thing and then let me ask a few questions.
STEVENSON: Please go, sir.
KING: OK. You have never doubted Jeffrey MacDonald's guilt?
STEVENSON: Not for one moment of my life.
KING: Were you very close to your sister? STEVENSON: Yes.
KING: And did you attend the trial?
STEVENSON: I did not attend the trial. I attended part of it and I've been in the Supreme Court of the United States. As you know, it's the most litigated murder case in the history of the United States, having been there seven times with probably I think 15 appeals in the Court of Appeals. This man has had more than enough time before the courts to determine if he's innocent or guilty and he has been found guilty as you know.
KING: Why would you be so angry at Kathryn who is just trying to help someone she loves?
STEVENSON: Because she continues to tell falsehoods, innuendoes, half truths, just as he does. She never gets to things that are run to the heart of the issue here. She seems to ignore all of the things that have anything to do with his probable guilt.
The fact is that none of this in any way does anything to damage the government's case. To speak against the very specific evidence that was shown, the blood evidence, the pajama tops, all of these things, they ignore everything and they will zero in on one small thing that they can't explain but even those things can be explained very easy because they've been disposed of previously either in the trial, in various forms of testing and other things.
KING: Will you be shocked if he got a new trial?
STEVENSON: I would be very shocked if he got a new trial. I think his chances are somewhere between zero and five. Again, all of these things don't have anything to do with it. It doesn't prove that he didn't stab Colette through the pajama top. It doesn't demonstrate that his account of the attack in the living room was truthful. It doesn't explain how his pajama top was punctured with the ice picks.
The DNA evidence can explain away none of the evidence used to convict MacDonald, so how can you argue that it's so powerful that no juror knowing of the newly discovered evidence, including that which strengthens the prosecution's case would vote to convict? I mean it's a waste of time. It's a waste of money.
KING: All right, thank you Bob.
STEVENSON: He should be paying for all of this.
KING: An eloquent defense of the prosecution's case, Bob Stevenson. Before we go to break, I should mention that invitations to appear on LARRY KING LIVE were turned down by a number of key people connected to the Jeffrey MacDonald case. They are Frank Whitney, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina; former federal Assistant D.A. Jim Blackburn; the original prosecutor in the MacDonald case.
Based on an affidavit from a former deputy marshal of the United States, the MacDonald defense team now accuses Blackburn of threatening a key witness in the case. In a previous statement to LARRY KING LIVE, Blackburn has said that the assertions in the affidavit are not true and that the alleged intimidation never happened.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Murtagh (ph) another member of the MacDonald prosecution team says we also requested a representative from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory which did the court-ordered DNA testing we're talking about tonight. That invitation was declined.
And we'll be right back.
KING: Why? Why were you a suspect, which you must have asked? I mean you're a victim. You're lying there. You've got all these injuries. Why are they talking to you?
J. MACDONALD: Larry, this is the $64 million question. We have been told by many homicide detectives and one in particular from the New York Homicide Department who said that any gumshoes in any big city could have solved this crime in two to three days or at least a week or two of hard investigation.
We know now a real investigation never took place because the arriving CID agents that morning, 7:00 a.m. that morning, had not talked to a single witness, had not interviewed anyone, including me, and made a decision.
KING: Welcome back.
I'm not into technology but we've had some sort of problems in our D.C. studios and that's where all of these guests are looped through, so we can't bring you any other guests at the moment. We're working on correcting it.
So, Kathryn MacDonald returns and we'll check in with her and then check in with as many others as we can get to us during the remainder of the hour. Do you want to respond to what Mr. Stevenson had to say?
MACDONALD: I certainly wouldn't address any of the personal things that he had to say. The show is about the case and what's going on with it and I'd like to address that.
KING: No, but he says you've been duped.
MACDONALD: He never met me. He doesn't know me.
KING: No, he said you've been duped by Jeffrey.
MACDONALD: Right, well he's entitled to his opinion. I don't know what else to say other than that's his opinion.
KING: Do you understand his harshness?
MACDONALD: No, I don't.
KING: In other words, his sister and his two nieces.
MACDONALD: I guess I thought you were referring to his harshness towards me and...
KING: Well his general attitude toward...
MACDONALD: ...after all this time. I never knew him to be intimately involved in the case or like that up until recently. But, again, I really wouldn't want to.
KING: You mean he wasn't very vocal about the case in the past?
MACDONALD: No. When Colette and the children were murdered he was not there as far as I know. He was not -- he didn't come to North Carolina. He did not attend the trial and so forth but I think he's, you know, very influenced by his father-in-law and we all know how he felt about -- eventually felt.
But I think it's kind of fascinating that this clip you showed of Mr. Kassab where he said, you know, that the man that Colette loved so much. Colette was a smart woman and smart women I don't believe love people who don't deserve it and I identify with her on that level.
I never knew her, of course, but I feel a kinship with her and I know she would be just appalled to see all of this going on now. I just really -- I really know she would. And I know that Jeff would give anything for them to be back and I would give anything for them to be back so none of this would have ever happened.
KING: How did you and Jeff get together?
MACDONALD: We met briefly at a conference where a group I was in was performing, you know, we shook hands and like that after the performance but I was just a teen at the time and he was a doctor and a person in the audience. But I remembered him because he's a very memorable person.
KING: Well, his wife had been killed already?
MACDONALD: This was in maybe 1977, something like that.
KING: And he was not arrested or anything, he was out?
MACDONALD: No, he was practicing medicine, was the head of the emergency department at the hospital he worked at in Long Beach. And then sometime after that I read the first book that came out and then I read "Fatal Justice" and thought I can't believe he's still in prison.
And that when I -- I wrote him a letter to offer my help as to writing letters or like that, if there was some way I could help. I'm a fast typist. And, he eventually responded and I wrote some letters and he thought they were good, so we struck up a conversation and it mainly centered around my mother who was dying at the time.
And he's a wonderful doctor and diagnostician. And, even though he was going through an appeals process at that time in 1997 I think it was, he reached out to me and tried to help me at a time that I was suffering and touched me very much.
KING: Had you read "Fatal Vision"?
MACDONALD: Yes, I read it when it came out.
KING: Did that impress you at all?
MACDONALD: No, actually I had a really strong impression. I remember it very -- because it was on the best seller list.
KING: It sure was.
MACDONALD: And, I remember reading it and I thought it was overly dramatic and I thought just the fact that there was a woman on the street corner that met his description upon being resuscitated that was what I really remembered of the whole book.
And, I thought they sent him to prison? That will be gone. That will be over within a year and I never thought about it again. I didn't, you know, it wasn't like I knew him personally well or anything like that, so I didn't really think about it until years later when I found out he was still there.
KING: What's it like to be married to a prisoner?
MACDONALD: It's very difficult to be married to someone in prison. I wouldn't wish it on anyone but I know the man and I separate that from the circumstances. I look at it very much -- I very much identified with Dana and Christopher Reeve in that, you know, she loved him for him. It didn't matter what his situation was and I feel the same way.
This is a person who is deserving of freedom. He is an innocent man and this whole case is not about -- what the government is trying to do now is not talk about guilt or innocence. It's a game. It's like who wins? In fact, I told you the last time that we spoke about meeting with Jim Blackburn and I discussed that with him in detail.
I said, "So, this happened and this happened and it really wasn't about the truth was it? It was about -- it was about who wins" and he said, "Well that's how prosecutor's are trained. We're rewarded for winning." And, of course, he was then -- became the U.S. attorney for North Carolina and then was eventually disbarred.
So, this case has never been about the truth and if the government were really interested in the truth, why not just let it come out? Why try to make things look a way that they're not or suppress evidence? It makes no sense. KING: We'll take a break and we'll be back with more. We hope to have some things cleared up. Don't go away.
KING: New DNA evidence possibly might free Jeffrey MacDonald, or get a new trial, or might keep him permanently in prison, where he's been for how long?
MACDONALD: Twenty-six years this month.
KING: Kathryn MacDonald is the wife of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, an army, doctor. He was a captain, a United States Green Beret too as I remember.
He was a Green Beret, as well.
How did you get -- and we're going to take calls for Kathryn MacDonald, if you'd like to speak with her, we'll take calls for the wife of Jeffrey MacDonald.
How did you get Barry Scheck involved? I ask because he's probably the most noted of the DNA experts who have gotten so many people out of prison.
MACDONALD: We're very fortunate to have Mr. Scheck. And he usually, through his innocence project, takes people who have no other avenue for assistance. But this case is so intrigued him. And the injustice of it all has compelled him to work on it, pro bono, all this time.
And he, as I said, went to oral argument in 1998 and talked to the judge. At the judge's request, educated the judge, to educate me about DNA and he did that. And you know, the judge was so gracious to hear him. And Barry did a fantastic job from what I understand about educating just overall about DNA.
No one knows DNA better than him. And he's been quoted recently in different news reports about these specific results and said, you know, Grate (ph) would have been an exact match to one of the assailants that Jeff knew of -- that he named and who confessed numerous times.
But the chance of that happening after 36 years with very limited exhibits and only hair was, you know, infinitesimal. So the fact that we got this hair under little Kristen's fingernail is extremely exculpatory. So he says that's very, very good.
KING: Barry's an old friend of mine and he's been on this show a number of times. Does he believe, Jeffrey MacDonald didn't do it? Because he's scheduled to be here, but we may not be able to get him on due to this technical problem we're having, looping through.
MACDONALD: Well, I have never had the pleasure of speaking to him personally. I shouldn't say that, I've spoken to him maybe once very, very briefly. But I know from our attorneys and so forth, he wouldn't devote his time and energy for free to someone that he didn't believe in.
KING: Has he spent time with Jeffrey?
MACDONALD: No. No, he's just researched all the DNA, what the judge allowed to be tested. You know, we wanted all the exhibits tested. The prosecution did not want any of the blood evidence in.
So again, saying that some assailants can now be ruled out because of some hairs is not accurate. But he argue about what the judge would allow to be tested and what not. And then he's reviewed the DNA results that have just come in. And we're doing further research on them. We have another expert, Dr. Terry Melton, who is an expert in mitochondrial DNA and she's reviewing the results.
KING: We're now being joined, I'm glad to hear, by Barry Scheck, the attorney and DNA expert, joining us from New York. And also in Hope Mills, North Carolina, is Chief John Hodges, police chief.
He was an army investigator at Ft. Bragg at the time of this. All right, Barry, rather than put other people's words in your mouth, what do you believe concerning this case? Barry, can you hear me? Barry can't hear me. Chief Hodges, can you hear me?
CHIEF JOHN HODGES, POLICE CHIEF: Yes, Sir.
KING: OK, Chief, you were the army investigator at Ft. Bragg, second investigator at the scene of the murders? What are your thoughts on all of this?
HODGES: Well, at the DNA results just solidified my opinion all along that I think Jeffrey MacDonald committed this crime.
KING: Did you think so at the time of the investigation?
HODGES: Not at first. We, of course, interviewed various hippies at the time along with SBI, Cumberland County Sheriff's Department, Fayetteville Police Department, and the FBI interviewed several hundred so-called hippies at the time. In the several days after the crime, there was even signs in the so-called hippy establishments in the Fayetteville area, signs satisfying "Help the Fuzz."
So in my opinion, if it that had been hippies that committed this crime, that we would have solved the crime within a matter of days because I think the hippies themselves would have come forward with information regarding this.
KING: Barry Scheck is co-founder of the Innocence Project, I understand he can hear us now?
BARRY SCHECK, CO-FOUNDER, INNOCENCE PROJECT: Yes.
KING: Do you believe Jeffrey MacDonald is innocent?
SCHECK: Well, I think that what's become clear from the evidence that has been adduced since the trial is I don't think he got a fair trial. You know, I'm not somebody that can tell you except in a case where there's a DNA test that can absolutely prove who did it or who didn't, anything about guilt or innocence with that kind of certainty.
It's not that kind of case. It's a circumstantial evidence case. But what I can tell you, Larry, is that these DNA results are good. The fingernail of Kristen, which had the hair on it that had a root, that's helpful evidence. There's a long pubic hair, it was described as a pubic hair, that was found between Colette's legs
That is unmatched, that's a third party's hair. And then there's another one in a bed sheet. The fact that there were some of his hairs found on or in her hand doesn't mean much, because he was trying to resuscitate her.
But what you really have to focus on and I think Kathryn said it well is that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, federal circuit, has finally remanded this case for a hearing. And the key piece of evidence is the show you did before, it's that Marshal Britt, who has said that the prosecutor in this case, Mr. Blackburn, intimidated Stoeckley so she suddenly said she had amnesia and did not corroborate MacDonald's statement, which he made right away about the woman in the floppy hat and the others who came in and committed the crime.
The fact that this man is coming forward, that he made prior consistent statements to others about what he saw the prosecutor did, is very, very disturbing to the courts. It's extremely unusual that a case like this would be remanded for this kind of an evidentiary hearing.
The DNA evidence is going to help him. But all of a sudden, what happens now is that lots of other evidence has been built up over time, will also help. The fact that there are a number of unmatched fingerprints at the crime scene, 17 of them -- 11 fingerprints, some palm prints.
The fact that there were these unmatched black fibers that were on the murder weapon and on Colette, which again are consistent with the third party theory. All these other pieces of evidence, the long blonde wig hair that was found at the scene, all of a sudden all can be considered at one time in this evidentiary hearing in front of the judge. So I think he's got a real good shot.
KING: Would it be a new trial?
SCHECK: Yes, it would be a new trial. But it's hard to see how he could be retried again after all these years. In order for him to have gotten to this stage, the Fourth Circuit has to believe that there's very good, new, substantial evidence consistent with his innocence, consistent with showing that he got an unfair trial.
And if Britt is believed at evidentiary hearing and Blackburn, who after all was disbarred and pled guilty to an embezzlement and obstruction of justice, is not believed, which is something that could very well happen given these facts, Jeffrey MacDonald has a good chance.
Because when you add this new DNA, you look at the fiber evidence, you look at the old fingerprint evidence, you look at the wig hairs, you look at all these things that are built up over time, it raises some serious concerns about this case.
KING: We'll take a break and be right back with more. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Presuming everything you say is correct, what is it like emotionally for you to be innocent and sitting in a prison?
MACDONALD: Well, it's devastating. I mean --
KING: What are your days like? what do you do?
MACDONALD: The most difficult thing to get across, Larry, is the feeling of helplessness. It's like you're fighting this unseen force and this mass. No matter how many times you throw punches, you never get a win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: With us in this segment, in Detroit, returning, Bob Stevenson, the brother of Colette Stevenson and the uncle of Kimberly and Kristin. In Hope Mills, North Carolina, Chief John Hodges, police chief of Hope Mills who was an army investigator at Ft. Bragg at the time of the murders. In New York is Dr. Larry Kobilinsky, forensic scientist, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Also in New York is judge Leslie Crocker Snyder, former prosecutor and former justice, New York Supreme Court.
We'll start with Judge Snyder. Does what Barry Scheck say, does what he says, make an impression on you, judge?
LESLIE CROCKER SNYDER, FORMER JUDGE: I think he gave a brilliant and typically brilliant defense summation on behalf of this defendant, Mr. MacDonald. And I admire Barry, his work has been incredible and had a lasting impact on the entire country.
But what we are lacking here is someone who can speak for the prosecution. And I can't say that I can because I haven't been involved in the case. The prosecution had evidence. And some of that evidence has not been impugned or impeached.
So we need someone, and I know that you extended an invitation and they declined, who can outline the evidence that they had. Again, some of which is very forceful.
Now, on the other hand, I think that if there is any issue of exculpatory evidence, having been hidden by the prosecutor at trial, that's shocking, and that the district court should have a hearing. And whatever comes out there, I don't think the DNA findings are particularly impressive for either side. But I think the hiding of exculpatory information or the suborning of perjury by a potentially key person in the case is shocking and does warrant a new hearing.
That does not mean that Dr. MacDonald is not guilty. I don't know and I don't think anyone on this program knows.
KING: Bob Stevenson, you must respect Barry Scheck. What do you think about what he said?
STEVENSON: I just lost a lot of respect for Barry Scheck and I'll tell you why. He too is dealing in innuendo. Barry, I'm just a salesman. You're the guy who knows mitochondrial DNA.
You know the fact is that mitochondrial DNA may not be able to rule in a suspect but it rules them out. We just got rid of Helena Stokley and Greg Mitchell through that. Another one of the supposed suspects was black and we can't compare that because his hairs are different. Two other people had a good alibi.
Where are we going to start to get some more suspects from? The other thing is you bring up another aspect of half -- while truths they're still half truths and innuendo. You talk about during the investigation phase that there were numerous fingerprints and things that were never looked at.
The fact is there was no attempt ever to get exemplars of anybody. Not the MPs, not the people that came in, not the neighbors, and there is DNA evidence in every person's house in this country. There are 10,000 DNA samples right there in your studio.
KING: Barry's not with us in this segment. So I want to get everybody in. Dr. Kobilinsky, what do you think of this whole matter?
DR. LARRY KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: I think -- I'm not going to talk for the prosecution or the defense. I'm a scientist. But I can tell you that science has changed an awful lot over the last three decades. Science has changed, crime scene work has changed.
We know that now we have DNA technology. We can do an analysis of hair we never could do before. I think in the interest of justice, as long as there is evidence that remains, I see no reason why it should not be tested again. And this time using more sensitive techniques.
I'm impressed with the fact that we have this two-year-old that has a hair under her fingernail that cannot be sourced. And that may be very meaningful. And I think that requires further consideration and analysis.
KING: We'll get Chief Hodges' comments and he rejoins us when we come back. We'll take a break. Don't go away.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Army investigated MacDonald for the murder of his family, then released him. The story might have ended there except for MacDonald's in-laws, Mildred and Freddy Kassab. They believe MacDonald killed Collette and the kids and that belief became an obsession.
FRED KASSAB, MACDONALD'S FORMER FATHER-IN-LAW: No one should be able to commit three murders, be found guilty, and through a technicality of some kind be allowed to go off Scot free.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Are you optimistic?
MACDONALD: I'm optimistic if the tests are done legitimately, yes. There is no way that those people were in that house and didn't leave evidence. And the government record shows the evidence. It shows wig fibers from Helena Stokley's wig. It shows brown hair in my wife's hand that was secretly tried to match --
KING: You're saying the government knew this and still went ahead --
MACDONALD: Still went ahead and prosecuted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Bernie Segal joins us from San Francisco. Jeffrey MacDonald's original defense attorney continues to work with the MacDonald legal team. He is a professor at Golden Gate University Law School. Are you encouraged by these events?
BERNARD SEGAL, JEFFREY MACDONALD'S ORIGINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Very much so, Larry. This is a very important finding. Let me make one short comment. The government had the burden of proof to prove the truth of their accusation. Instead, they proved a lie at trial. And the lie was that there was no evidence of other persons in the MacDonald house. Having stripped that lie away it is time Jeff MacDonald be given a new trial that he deserves.
KING: Chief Hodges, have you had second thoughts?
HODGES: No, sir. Larry, based on what I saw that morning in the house, it is my opinion then and now that the only persons in the house that morning was Colette, Kristin, Kimberly, and Jeffrey MacDonald. There was no evidence of any intrusion. If there was anybody else there that morning, it had to be the phantom. Because nobody else -- there was no indication that I saw that morning of anyone else in the house.
KING: Barry Scheck, does that impress you? SCHECK: Well, no, I think that one of the key issues here is that there was lots of evidence, as Bernie said. Whether it was wax candle drippings, the long blonde wig hairs, the black fiber evidence, the fingerprints that aren't matched to people, and now some hairs, one under the fingernail of Kristin, a pubic hair in the legs of Colette, and another bed hair that are unsourced.
I don't want to oversell anything here. Because I think that the main break in the case that has gotten Jeffrey this new hearing from the Fourth Circuit and I think eventually from the district judge, as Judge Snyder was saying, that this allegation of intimidation and perjury of the key witness is what is going to put all of this in play. It is the most important thing that happened for MacDonald.
This other evidence is helpful for him. It corroborates his argument, his initial statement that Stokley was there, the woman in the floppy hat. I've always been impressed by the fact that an MP arriving on the scene saw a woman on the street that matched that description. That always struck me as helpful to Mr. MacDonald. You've got to put those things together.
KING: Dr. Kobilinsky, would you agree if that prosecutor caused someone not to testify that would have been helpful to the defense, that's going to open this whole thing up?
KOBILINSKY: There's no doubt about it. It just shows a bias that shouldn't exist in the criminal justice system. I hope that it is opened up. He's entitled to another trial.
KING: Judge Snyder, I know it's not your case but from what you hear does it appear they're going to get one?
SNYDER: The only thing that bothers me is everyone here has a completely one sided point of view except for the brother-in-law who's emotionally involved and the police chief who was involved. I don't have any emotional stake. And let's not forget, one of the purposes of the hearing, if it's granted, and it seems like maybe it should be, is to see whether the allegations are true.
It's going to be a credibility issue. Is it actually believable? It may be, I don't know, that the marshals, that the prosecutors suborned perjury, suppressed evidence, intimidated a witness, that's shocking.
I don't know why the court should not order that all fiber hair, possible DNA evidence, be examined by any test that's available today. And I don't understand why the prosecutor previously argued against all of the evidence being examined. And only certain tests, only one kind of test should be given. That I think is incomprehensible. And the court in the interest of justice should order all these tests. But let's not jump to any conclusions.
The purpose of the hearing is to make certain that this defendant got a fair trial. And everyone here, because mostly they're attached to the defense, is assuming he didn't. I'm saying, we don't really know that for a fact yet. KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments on the puzzlement of Jeffrey MacDonald and this case that lingers on. Don't go away.
KING: Bernie Segal, logically if they remand this, it's not going to be a trial, is there? Too much time has passed.
SEGAL: Larry, I wouldn't say so. The bitterness that some of the government prosecutors hold against Jeffrey MacDonald is so great, that I would not at all be willing to write off the possibility of another trial. I think you have to keep that open.
KING: Chief Hodges, I asked you earlier if anything changed your mind. Despite all the things they've listed as finding there now, it still hasn't changed your mind?
HODGES: No, sir, I haven't changed my mind. I still think he committed these -- this crime. I haven't changed my mind at all, sir.
KING: Dr. Kobilinsky, do you think we'll ever learn the whole story?
KOBILINSKY: We may not but at least let's look at the evidence using the technology and the science we have nowadays and let's come to a conclusion. Facts are facts. And then we can make a decision as to guilt or innocence.
KING: Judge Snyder, is in the kind of hearing you'd like to host?
SNYDER: Well, I think it's a fascinating -- there's so many issues here, that having been a judge for 20 years, having had some fascinating cases, I think that the issues are very important. And it would be a fascinating case. And remember, the prosecution presumably still believes in its case. And I feel like I'm playing devil's advocate on your program.
KING: Done a good job. Barry Scheck, will you argue this case?
SCHECK: I'm going to help on the -- with the DNA evidence, maybe doing something more with these fingerprints. Actually, there's more to study. There are some inconclusives here that are mixtures from the mitochondrial testing and we're going to look at the underlying data and see what we can do with it.
In fairness to Mr. Stevenson, yes, they should have bagged the hands of the victims if they didn't do that. There's probably a lot of the things they could have done with this crime scene that they didn't. Let's not oversell anything in terms of the evidence.
I think when you look back at all the different things that have been discovered over the years that are consistent with MacDonald's story, that were suppressed, and this bombshell allegation that they intimidated Stokley before she was testifying by this U.S. Marshal, and this guy was convicted of embezzlement and obstruction of justice, Jeffrey MacDonald's got a good shot.
KING: Thank you all very much for an illuminating discussion. Before we go, Mike Wallace, one of the two giants in this business, announced today that when the current TV season ends this spring, so will his brilliant career.
I spoke with Mike earlier today. What a lovely man. He's going to be with us very soon. Special guy. Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, Liza Manelli. Superstar supreme will join us and lots of interesting things to talk about.
Speaking of interesting things to talk about, we head now to New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next, and he always has interesting things to talk about, like tonight Anderson, like what?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We got a lot about President Bush and the troubles the White House is having right now. Larry, thanks very much.
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