January 8, 2014

The MacDonald Case: The Dining Room

Area of the MacDonald dining room, showing Colette's handbag and the clear handled hairbrush on the sideboard, as well as a portion of the rug.  Marks where blood smears leading into the kitchen were found are visible.

When investigators arrived at 544 Castle Drive early on the morning of February 17, 1970, they found the dining room area of the apartment remarkably untouched. 

A table with four chairs was positioned in the middle of the room.  There was a buffet table with Valentine's Day cards placed atop it, all cards still standing upright.  Several sidechairs jockeyed for space.  None of  the furniture was broken or displaced.  A rug that was easily scuffed and moved remained flat on the floor.  Colette MacDonald's handbag sat on the sideboard, untouched, along with a clear handled hairbrush, with a few strands of hair.  Blood smears led from the dining room floor to the kitchen doorway. 

Just feet away, Jeffrey MacDonald allegedly fought with at least four murderous intruders who, according to him, had already slaughtered his family or were in the process of slaughtering his family, and were intent on killing him.  MacDonald was a 26 year old Green Beret, physically fit.  Despite having been woken from sleep on the sofa, according to his account, he claimed to be fighting for his life and the lives of his wife and children. 

So wouldn't you expect for the fight to spill over into the adjoining dining area?  Wouldn't you expect for the table and chairs to be shoved around?  For the cards on top of the relatively unstable buffet table to fall down?  (In fact, Freddy Kassab upon his revisit to the crime scene stomped his foot several times and the cards fell down).  For the cabinet itself perhaps suffer broken glass?  For the rug to be bunched up and moved around?  For the sidechairs to be pushed aside, knocked over?

Close up of Colette's handbag and the infamous clear handled hairbrush.
Wouldn't there be some evidence of intruders, especially if blood was found anywhere in that room - - even in minute quantities?  The victims' blood being found there would indicate that either a victim or victims bled in that room or their killer or killers were in that room in a bloody state. 

Since the blood found was in small quantities, that rules out direct bleeding by a victim.  It's likely the blood was transferred from or smeared by a weapon or a piece of clothing or fabric.  An intruder, having just committed murder, and walking around the apartment in the dark (per MacDonald's testimony of no lights being on in the living room, dining area or kitchen) would very likely stumble into a piece of furniture, don't you think?  Or leave fingerprints on said furniture or walls. 

So why was blood found there?  I believe it's from the bloody bedsheet that was used to transport Colette's bloody and bleeding body into the master bedroom and Kimberley's body into her bedroom.  I think the killer, in an attempt to clean up and stage the crime scene, planned to take the bedsheet to the kitchen, where the washing machine was located, to launder it and in doing so, left those marks.

Below are more pictures taken of the dining room on the morning of February 17.  Note how close the room is to the living room, where the life and death struggle supposedly took place.  Note how cramped the space was.  Now imagine a minimum of four intruders fighting with a Green Beret and what that room should look like.

Photos: www.thejeffreymacdonaldcase.com

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