Over the years there
have been conflicting descriptions as of Jeffrey MacDonald's wounds.
Statements like "barely hurt" or "only scratches
with a few cuts and bruises" were used to describe his condition.
Medical and court records
substantiate MacDonald was knocked unconscious. MacDonald was
taken to Womack Army Hospital. His injuries outlined below were
documented by the doctors there who examined him; Dr. Severt Jacobson,
Dr. Merrill Bronstein and Dr.Gemma.
Wounds to MacDonald’s
head included discolored, swollen, scraped blunt trauma to the
left forehead at the hair line. A smaller bruise on the right
forehead. On the left posterior portion of his head, covered by
his hair, was a contusion.
There was a large bruise
on the left shoulder and left upper arm. A complete, through and
through knife wound, that entered one place and exited another,
was found on the left bicep muscle along with several puncture
wounds. There were cuts on the left hand and fingers, in the web
of the index finger and thumb.
4 – 5 puncture
wounds were found above the heart area, on the left chest . The
right chest wound was 3/4" wide, going into the anterior
chest, between the ribs, at the 7th intercostal space that collapsed
his lung. A 3" long, jagged laceration down the rectus muscle,
in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen intersected another
knife laceration, extending outward and down. These 2 different
knife wounds formed an inversed "V" with the outer side
of the laceration slightly shorter than the inside.
There were several
punch marks across the center of the abdomen. Merrill Bronstein,
MD, described the abdominal laceration as "gaping" --exposing
the fascia of the muscle. The doctor stated this wound should
have been sutured, but they were more concerned with the serious
chest wound, bubbling blood froth with ever quick breath, indicating
a collapsed lung, so the abdominal wound was taped closed.
did not include any fingernail scratch marks according to CID
reports and an interview with Dr. Severt Jacobson.
At the Article 32 hearing,
in 1970, every doctor who had examined MacDonald was asked if
it were possible for him to stab himself, causing the lung to
collapse. All of the physicians agreed it was considered too dangerous.
Dr Gemma explained the liver changes position with each inhalation
and exhalation. If the knife was angled downward slightly, it
might need only to go in 2 – 3 inches to damage the liver.
James Blackburn, one
prosecutor, told the jurors at the 1979 trial that MacDonald only
had a bump on the head, a cut on the left arm, a paper cut on
his finger, several abrasions on his chest and an incision on
his chest. He also stated that MacDonald sustained no defense
type wounds on his body, arms or hands consistent with an ice
pick. That was not true.
At the1979 trial the
same doctors who testified this couldn't be self-inflicted wounds
changed their opinion. They testified it was possible to control
the depth of self inflicted wounds. On cross examination, Dr.
Jacobson made it clear he was not suggesting that MacDonald had
wounded himself. He reconfirmed earlier testimony that if MacDonald
were to inflict a wound upon himself, he would have chosen a different
location, because vital structures in this area that would make
it extremely risky.
In a 1989 interview,
Dr. Jacobson was asked why the change in the doctors minds. He
responded that during the grand jury hearing, the prosecutor’s
information convinced him that he was testifying about a man who
had murdered his family. The prosecutor showed him evidence --
proof -- MacDonald had done it. Despite this admission, the CID
still claims, to this day, all his injuries were self inflicted.
What about Colette
and the children -- Did their autopsies
give any clue to the identity of the killer?