Here is a prime example of how MacDonald advocates become partners in this fallacy with Helena Stoeckley being the main ingredient in this cognitive stew. MacDonald advocates have relied on the statements made by Helena Stoeckley in order to justify the position that unsourced trace evidence equals hippie home invaders. To MacDonald advocates, it doesn't really matter that unsourced synthetic fibers, hairs, dark woolen fibers, and candle wax were never linked to Stoeckley in any tangible sense.
It matters not to these same advocates that Stoeckley recanted about 50 percent of her confessions and that she testified under oath that she has no memory of her whereabouts on 2/17/70. It carries no weight with MacDonald advocates that none of her confessions match-up with one another and there seems to be a collective shrug when it is pointed out that there isn't any evidence of her presence at the crime scene.
The only thing that matters to MacDonald advocates is that Stoeckley's CLAIMS make her involvement and the involvement of others in these horrific crimes a foregone conclusion. Stoeckley and her acquaintances have to be the perps because Stoeckley said so. They add that there is evidence of her presence at the crime scene, but the CID/FBI/DOJ have conspired to manipulate, distort, and supress that evidence. All of the other more logical explanations for the household debris found at 544 Castle Drive are dismissed.
Those prosaic explanations have to be false because there is simply no getting around the fact that Stoeckley claims she was at the crime scene and that she named the "real" perps in this case. MacDonald advocates are so fixated on the unshakable notion that Stoeckley is a credible witness that they do not feel responsible for answering in detail the explanations favoring another explanation. Errol Morris ignored most of the physical evidence that led to MacDonald's conviction, so his bellwether was a two-fold process.
In essence, Morris created twin straw men. One is the credibility of Stoeckley's confessions and the other is the Pajama Top Theory. Morris believed that he had to cut down the "single most convincing" bit of proof on the other side of the case, in order to propose that the other points would fall similarly or easier. He was wrong. The 2012 evidentiary hearing demonstrated that the government's case remains rock solid and that regurgitating previously debunked claims does not provide the defense with the tools to meet their client's "daunting burden."