TOPIC: Pajama top pocket

The pocket from Jeffrey MacDonald's pajama top was found at the feet of Colette on top of the flipped-up portion of a throw rug in the master bedroom.  The pocket was stained in six locations with Colette MacDonald's Type A blood.  CID chemist Terry Laber analyzed the six Type A blood stains on the pocket.

At the 1979 trial, Laber stated that "the pajama top was soaked with blood over the entire area where the pocket had been."  In contrast to the pajama top, the pocket was lightly stained with blood, and all six stains were located on the outside or face of the pocket.  None of the stains, however, soaked through the double-layered fabric.

Laber also labeled each blood stain found the pocket with a number designation.  The following are the blood stains that Laber identified, marked, and testified to at the 1979 trial:

  • Area 1: Light smearing stain on the pocket
  • Area 2: Smear and spatter stains along the beading
  • Area 3: Soaking stain along the pocket's edge
  • Area 4: Soaking stain
  • Area 5: Soaking stain
  • Area 6: Soaking stain

Laber concluded that the totality of the evidence indicated that the pocket was stained with Colette's blood before the pocket was torn from the jacket.  The significance of Laber's analysis can be seen in the fact that Laber was one of the few government witnesses that Bernie Segal did not cross-examine.

In regards to the Type A blood stains on the pajama top pocket, Brian Murtagh and James Blackburn presented the following analysis during their closing arguments at the 1979 trial:

Murtagh:  From the photograph, you can see that the rug is turned up and that we appear to have the pocket upside down.  I also ask you to recall, you have seen this rug and that there is no blood found on this piece of rug.  Now, you may recall the testimony of Mr. Laber, the chemist from the CID lab in 1970, as to the testimony concerning the pocket from the pajama top.  Mr. Laber, I believe, testified to not only the blood type of the 6 stains which was Type A, the same type as Colette, and I would ask you to find that it is Colette's blood on the pocket, but also that the stains were of two types —that there was smear on Area Two which is white beading and that the larger stains were contact or soaking stains.

From that, I would ask you to find that Colette's blood was on the pocket before it was torn because as you recall, the stains do not penetrate the double layers of the fabric by the seams.

Blackburn:  We know that the pocket was on the floor.  I asked him about that and he said that he could think of a number of ways that it could be kicked over there and torn off when the pajama top was torn.  Well, okay, but it is upside down and it has got Type A blood coming from the outside in and it is not spatter —it is contact.  How did that happen?  You recall Terry Laber's saying that in his opinion, that Type A blood got on there prior to the pocket being torn off and yet it didn't bleed from the inside out, but it bled from the outside in.