“The little viper” is how MacDonald described Murtagh to the grand jury hearing his murder case. Later, to reporters, MacDonald called Murtagh “a berserk person, a middle-level bureaucrat run amok ... paid with taxpayer money to do this to me.”
When Morris’s “A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald” came out in September, Brian Murtagh sat in the study of the Oakton home he shares with Margaret, his wife of 43 years, and read it cover to cover, all 500-plus pages. He found it credulous, manipulative, a Swiss cheese of strategic omissions. To assert this, he typed out a rebuttal — a legal brief, double-spaced, 14 pages long, with Roman numerals and alphanumerically labeled paragraphs. It is not light reading. Morris, Murtagh writes, “doesn’t explain how 60 pieces of the pajama top, including the ripped-off pocket bearing a contact stain in Colette’s blood, could be found in the master bedroom, as well as 30 seam threads. ... ” Murtagh didn’t file this odd document anywhere. He didn’t release it to the media. It was mostly for himself.