Jeffrey MacDonald, Wade Smith and Me

Jeffrey MacDonald, Wade Smith and Me
                In the summer of 2004, the 25th anniversary of the federal prosecution and conviction of Jeffrey MacDonald for the murder of his pregnant wife and two small daughters, Jim Heavner, the owner of WCHL, the flagship radio station of Chapel Hill, conducted a wide ranging three part interview with Wade Smith, one of MacDonald’s defense attorneys and also later one of my defense attorneys, and myself. During the middle hour of the interview, we talked in detail about the MacDonald trial.
                Now, we are putting portions of that interview, unedited and just as it was then done, on my website which is If you go to the home page and scroll to the bottom middle, you can click on and just listen. You don’t need a special device, just the ability to click. In coming days we will have more of the interview, but for now, there is a very interesting several minute clip.
                Some of you may not know, but at the end of the trial, during the time of the closing arguments, Wade, who was supposed to be the closer for his side and make the last argument for about an hour, never got the chance to really speak. That is because the other defense attorney, Bernie Segal of California, took three hours and fourteen minutes for his argument, leaving Wade just sixty seconds to argue his points to the jury.
                I was worried that the Court might give Wade more time, and so perhaps as a preemptive move, I offered Wade ten minutes of my time, which he took. During the entire defense argument to the jury, this was the quietest the courtroom ever got. In the book Fatal Vision, Joe McGinniss quotes a juror as saying “perhaps if Mr. Smith had spoken more”. But he didn’t, and we will never know.
                Wade and I talk about this moment in the clip on my website. You can hear his own personal thoughts about that time, now long ago, but still fresh in memory.   And, you will hear me say it might have made a difference.

Comments are closed.