Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

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Post by CritterFan1 on Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:58 pm

Jeffrey R. MacDonald
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jeffrey Robert MacDonald, M.D., (born October 12, 1943), is an American convicted in 1979 for the murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters in February 1970. At the time of the murders, MacDonald was an Army officer, medical doctor and practicing physician.

Jeffrey Robert MacDonald was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, New York. At Patchogue High School, he was voted both "most popular" and "most likely to succeed", and won a scholarship to Princeton University. While at Princeton, MacDonald resumed a romantic relationship with Colette Stevenson, whom he had dated while in high school. In the fall of 1963, upon learning Colette was pregnant with his child, the couple married. Their daughter Kimberley MacDonald was born in April 1964.

After attending Princeton for three years, he and his family moved to Chicago, where he had been accepted to Northwestern University Medical School. Their second child, Kristen, was born in May 1967. The following year, upon his graduation from medical school, MacDonald completed an internship at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. He decided to join the Army and the entire family moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he held the rank of Captain. MacDonald was assigned to the Green Berets as a Group Surgeon to the 3rd Special Forces Group in 1969.[1]
[edit] The murders

At 3:42 a.m. on the morning of February 17, 1970, dispatchers at Fort Bragg received an emergency phone call from MacDonald, who reported a "stabbing." Four responding military police officers arrived to find Colette, Kimberley, and Kristen all dead in their respective bedrooms.

Colette, who had been pregnant with her third child, was lying on the floor of her bedroom. She had been repeatedly clubbed (both her arms were broken) and stabbed 37 times (21 times with an ice pick and 16 times with a knife). Her husband's torn pajama top was draped upon her chest. On the headboard of the bed the word "pig" was written in blood.

Kimberley, age five, was found in her bed. She had been clubbed in the head and stabbed in the neck with a knife between eight and ten times. Her younger sister Kristen, age two, was also found in her bed. She had been stabbed with a knife 33 times and stabbed with an ice pick 15 times.[2] [3] [4]

MacDonald was found next to his wife, alive but wounded. He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital. His wounds were much less severe than his family's injuries. In addition to various cuts and bruises on his face and chest, he had what a staff surgeon referred to as a "clean, small, sharp" incision that caused one lung to partially collapse, as well as a mild concussion. He was treated in the hospital and released after one week.[5]
[edit] MacDonald's account

MacDonald told investigators that on the evening of February 16, he had fallen asleep on the living room couch. He told investigators that he was sleeping on the couch because his youngest daughter had been in bed with his wife and had wet his side of the bed. He was later awakened by the sounds of Colette and Kimberley's screams. As he rose from the living room couch to go to their aid, he was attacked by three male intruders. A fourth intruder, described as a white female with long blond hair and wearing a white floppy hat partially covering her face, stood nearby with a lighted candle and chanted "Acid is groovy, kill the pigs." The three males attacked him with a club and ice pick. During the struggle, MacDonald claimed that his pajama top was pulled over his head and he then used it to ward off thrusts from the ice pick. Eventually, MacDonald stated that he was overcome by his assailants and was knocked unconscious in the living room end of the hallway leading to the bedrooms.

The army's Criminal Investigation Division (C.I.D.) did not believe MacDonald's version of events. As they studied the physical evidence, it did not seem to support the story told by MacDonald. The living room, where MacDonald had supposedly fought for his life against three armed assailants, showed little sign of a struggle apart from an overturned coffee table and knocked over flower plant.[7] Fibers from MacDonald's torn pajama top were not found in the living room, where he claimed that it was torn. Instead fibers from the pajama top were found under the body of Colette and in Kimberley's and Kristen's bedrooms. One fiber was found under Kristen's fingernail.[8] The murder weapons were found outside the back door; all three were determined to have come from the MacDonald house. The tips of surgical gloves were found beneath the headboard where "pig" was written in blood; they were identical in composition to a supply MacDonald kept in the kitchen.

The MacDonald family all had different blood types — a statistical anomaly that was used to track what had happened in the apartment. Investigators theorized that a fight began in the master bedroom between MacDonald and his wife, Colette. Investigators speculated that Colette hit her husband on the forehead with a hairbrush which resulted in his head wound. As MacDonald retaliated by beating her with a piece of lumber, Kimberley — whose brain serum was found in the doorway — was struck, possibly by accident. Believing Colette dead, MacDonald carried the mortally wounded Kimberley back to her bedroom. After stabbing and bludgeoning her (Kimberley's blood was discovered on the pajama top MacDonald said he had not been wearing while in her room), he went to Kristen's room, intent on disposing of the last remaining witness. Before he could do so, Colette — whose blood was found on Kristen's bedcovers and on one wall of the room — apparently regained consciousness, stumbled in, and threw herself over her daughter. After killing them, MacDonald wrapped his wife's body in a sheet and carried it back to the master bedroom, leaving a footprint of Colette's blood on his way out of Kristen's bedroom.[9]

C.I.D. investigators then theorized that MacDonald attempted to cover-up the murders, using articles on the Manson Family murders that he found in an issue of Esquire in the living room. He then took a scalpel blade from a supply in the hallway closet and went to the adjacent bathroom and stabbed himself once. Putting on surgical gloves from his supply, he went to the master bedroom, where he used Colette's blood to write "pig" on the headboard. Finally, he laid his pajama top over Colette and repeatedly stabbed her in the chest with an ice pick. MacDonald used the telephone to summon an ambulance, discarded the weapons out the back door, and lay by the body of his wife while he waited for the military police to arrive.

On April 6, 1970, Army investigators interrogated MacDonald. Less than a month later, on May 1, the Army formally charged MacDonald with the murder of his family.[10]

An initial Army Article 32 hearing into MacDonald's possible guilt, overseen by Colonel Warren Rock, convened in July 1970 and ran through September. MacDonald was represented by Bernard L. Segal, a civilian defense attorney from Philadelphia. Segal's defense concentrated on the poor quality of the C.I.D. investigation and the existence of other suspects, specifically Helena Stoeckley.

Segal presented evidence that the C.I.D. had not properly managed the crime scene and lost critical evidence, including skin found under Colette's fingernails. In addition, he claimed to have located Helena Stoeckley, the woman that MacDonald claimed to have seen in his apartment during the murders. Stoeckley was a well-known drug user in the area. Witnesses claimed that Stoeckley had admitted involvement in the crimes, and several remembered her wearing clothing similar to what MacDonald had described.

In October 1970, Colonel Rock issued a report recommending that charges be dismissed against MacDonald because they were "not true", and he recommended that civilian authorities investigate Stoeckley. MacDonald received an honorable discharge from the Army and returned to his home state New York.[11]

After the Article 32 hearing MacDonald returned to work as a doctor, briefly in New York and then in Long Beach, California, where he was an emergency room physician at the St. Mary Medical Center. [11] He also made media appearances, most notably The Dick Cavett Show, during which he made jokes and complained about the investigation and its focus on him as a suspect.

Between 1972 and 1974 the case remained trapped within the Justice Department as they struggled over whether to prosecute.[12] In April 1974, after much persistence in pursuing the prosecution of MacDonald, [13][14] Alfred and Mildred Kassab, Colette's stepfather and mother, filed a formal complaint against MacDonald for the murders. [15] As a result of the complaint, a grand jury was convened in August 1974.

A grand jury in North Carolina indicted MacDonald on January 24, 1975 and within the hour MacDonald was arrested in California. On January 31, 1975 he was freed on $100,000 bail pending disposition of the charges. On July 29, 1975, District Judge Franklin T. Dupree Jr. denied MacDonald's double jeopardy and speedy trial arguments and allowed the trial date of August 18, 1975 to stand. On August 15, 1975, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the trial and on January 23, 1976, a panel of that court, in a 2–1 split, ordered the indictment dismissed on speedy trial grounds. An appeal on behalf of the Government led to an 8–0 reinstatement of the indictment by the U.S. Supreme Court on May 1, 1978. On October 22, 1978, the Fourth Circuit rejected MacDonald's double jeopardy arguments and, on March 19, 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review that decision.

The trial began on July 16, 1979 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Although MacDonald’s lawyers Bernard Segal and Wade Smith were confident of an acquittal from the first day, one thing after another went badly for the defense. It began when Judge Dupree refused to admit into evidence a psychiatric evaluation of MacDonald, which suggested that someone of his personality type was unable to kill his wife and children. Dupree explained that since no insanity plea had been entered for MacDonald, he did not want the trial bogged down by contradictory psychiatric testimony from prosecution and defense witnesses. Dupree allowed the prosecution to admit into evidence the 1970 copy of Esquire magazine, found in the MacDonald household, part of which contained the lengthy article of the Manson Family murders in August 1969. The government attorneys, James Blackburn and Brian Murtagh, wanted to introduce the magazine and suggest that this is where MacDonald got the idea of blaming a hippie gang for the murders.

Government lab technicians testified that MacDonald’s blue, button-down pajama top had 48 small, smooth and cylindrical ice pick holes through it. In order for this to have happened, the pajama top would need to remain stationary, an unlikely occurrence if MacDonald had wrapped it around his hands to defend himself from the blows from an attacker wielding an ice pick. Also, by folding the pajama top one particular way, the government demonstrated how all 48 tears could have been made by 21 thrusts of the ice pick, the same number of times that Colette MacDonald had been stabbed with the ice pick and in an identical pattern, implying that she had been repeatedly stabbed through the pajama top while it was lying on over her.[16] Prosecuting attorneys Murtagh and Blackburn staged an impromptu re-enactment of the alleged attack on MacDonald. Murtagh wrapped a pajama top around his hands and tried to fend off a series of blows that Blackburn was inflicting on him with a similar ice pick. The prosecution made two points to the demonstration. First, the ice pick holes in the pajama top were jagged and torn, not smoothly cylindrical as the holes in MacDonald’s pajama jacket. Also, Murtagh received a small wound on his left hand. When MacDonald had been examined at Womack Hospital, he had no wounds on his arms or hands which were consistent with a struggle. The inference was obvious and highly damaging to the defense.

Another piece of damaging evidence against MacDonald was an audio tape made of the April 6, 1970 interview by military investigators. Listening to this tape, the jury heard MacDonald's matter-of-fact, indifferent recitation of the murders. They heard him become emotional in response to suggestions by the investigators that he had committed the murders, asking the investigators why would they think he, who had a beautiful family and everything going for him, could have murdered his wife and two daughters. The jury also heard the investigators confront MacDonald with their knowledge of his extramarital affairs, to which MacDonald calmly responded, “You guys are more thorough than I thought.”

During the defense stage of the trial, Segal called Helena Stoeckley to the witness stand, intent on extracting a confession from her that she had been one of the intruders MacDonald claimed had entered his family's apartment, murdered his family and attacked him. Over the past nine years, Stoeckley had made several contradictory statement regarding the murders, sometimes saying she was involved, other times stating she had no recollection of her whereabouts the evening of the murders. Just prior to her testimony, separate interviews had been conducted by the defense and the prosecution, during which she denied ever being in the MacDonald apartment or ever seeing MacDonald before that very day in court. Afterwards, Segal argued for the introduction of evidence from other witnesses to whom Stoeckly had confessed. Dupree refused, in the absence of any evidence, to connect Stoeckly to the scene, and noting her history of long-term drug abuse.

MacDonald's defense called forensic expert James Thornton to the stand. He unsuccessfully tried to rebut the government's contention that the pajama top was stationary on Colette's chest, rather than wrapped around MacDonald's wrists as he warded off blows, by conducting an experiment wherein a similar pajama top was placed over a ham, moved back and forth on a sled, and stabbed at with an ice pick.[17] The defense also called several character witnesses. MacDonald took the witness stand as the last defense witness. Under Segal’s direct examination, MacDonald tearfully denied committing the murders.[18] When Blackburn cross-examined him, however, MacDonald could offer no explanation against the evidence.[19]

On August 29, 1979, MacDonald was convicted of one count of first-degree murder in the death of Kristen and two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Colette and Kimberley. Dupree gave MacDonald a life sentence for each of the three murders, to be served consecutively. He revoked MacDonald's bail. Soon after the verdict, MacDonald appealed Dupree's bail revocation ruling, asking that bail be granted pending the outcome of his appeal. On September 7, 1979, this application was rejected, and an appeal on bail was further rejected by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 20, 1979.

In June 1979, MacDonald chose Joe McGinniss to write a book about the case. He was given full access to MacDonald and the defense during the trial. MacDonald expected that the book would be about his innocence in the murders of his family. However, McGinniss' book, Fatal Vision, first published in 1983, portrayed MacDonald as a sociopath who was indeed guilty of killing his family. The book contains excerpts from court transcripts and sections entitled, "The Voice of Jeffrey MacDonald," which were based on tape recordings made by MacDonald following his conviction.

MacDonald subsequently sued McGinniss in 1987 for fraud, claiming that McGinniss pretended to believe MacDonald innocent after he came to the conclusion that MacDonald was guilty, in order to continue MacDonald's cooperation with him. [20] After a trial, which resulted in a mistrial on August 21, 1987, McGinniss and MacDonald settled out of court for $325,000.

The Journalist and the Murderer, written by Janet Malcolm and published in 1990, is about the relationship between journalists and their subjects, and explores the relationship between McGinniss and MacDonald as an example of the author's thesis that, "Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible."

On July 29, 1980, a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed MacDonald's conviction in a 2–1 split on the grounds that the delay in bringing him to trial violated his Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial. On August 22, 1980, MacDonald was freed on $100,000 bail. He subsequently returned to work at St. Mary's Medical Center in Long Beach, California as the Director of Emergency Medicine.

On December 18, 1980, the Fourth Circuit Court split 5–5 to hear the case en banc and thus the earlier decision stood. On May 26, 1981, the United States Supreme Court accepted the case for consideration and on December 7, 1981, heard oral arguments. On March 31, 1982, they ruled 6–3 that MacDonald's rights to a speedy trial were not violated. MacDonald was rearrested and returned to prison. Defense lawyers filed a new motion for MacDonald to be freed on bail pending appeal, but the Fourth Circuit refused. MacDonald's remaining points of appeal were heard on June 9, 1982 and his convictions were unanimously affirmed on August 16, 1982. A further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was refused on January 10, 1983. It was shortly after this that MacDonald's licenses to practice medicine in both North Carolina and California were revoked.

On March 1, 1985, Dupree rejected all defense motions for a new trial. Lawyers for MacDonald appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld Dupree's ruling and refused to reopen the case. On October 6, 1986 the Supreme Court upheld the lower court's decision.

In July 1991, Dupree, after hearing arguments that MacDonald should be granted a new murder trial on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, denied the petition.

The courts ruled that Dupree had acted correctly when he refused to let the jury see a transcript of the Article 32 military hearing, and, because this was not an insanity trial, had also acted properly in not allowing the jurors to hear any of the psychiatric testimony. Had he done so, the jurors would have learned that none of the doctors hired by the defense, or who worked for the Army or government at Walter Reed Hospital, concluded that MacDonald was psychologically incapable of committing the murders. The courts have also ruled that Stoeckley's confessions were unreliable and at odds with the established facts of the case, and that her treatment at trial was correct. During trial, she was arrested under a material witness warrant and testified before the jury that she could not remember her activities on the evening of the murders due to substantial drug use; witnesses to whom she had confessed were not allowed to testify.

MacDonald was granted leave to file his fourth appeal on January 12, 2006. This latest appeal is based on the recent sworn affidavit of Jimmy Britt, a decorated retired United States Marshal who worked as such during the trial. Britt states that he heard the material witness in the case, Helena Stoeckley, admit to the prosecutor of the case, James Blackburn, that she was present at the MacDonald residence at the time of the murders and that Blackburn threatened her with prosecution if she testified. Stoeckley, however, met with counsel for the defense prior to this alleged meeting with Blackburn, and she told them that she had no memory of her whereabouts the night of the murders. Defense Attorney Wade Smith advised Dupree that Stoeckley had testified on the stand essentially the same as she had stated in the defense interviews. Also, she contacted Dupree during her retention as a material witness to claim she was terrified, not of the prosecutors, but of Bernie Segal, the lead defense attorney. Britt died on October 19, 2008.

On April 16, 2007, MacDonald's attorneys filed an affidavit of Stoeckley's mother, in which she states that her daughter confessed to her twice that she was at the MacDonald residence on the evening of the murders and that she was afraid of the prosecutors. Her past statements concerning her daughter are at odds with the details contained in her affidavit.[21] MacDonald has requested to expand the appeal to include all the evidence amassed at trial, evidence which he claims was discovered subsequent to the trial (for example, alleged prosecution threats against Stoeckley) and the recently completed DNA results. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals granted MacDonald's motion for a successive habeas petition and remanded the matter back to the District Court Eastern Division for a decision. In November 2008, Judge Fox denied MacDonald's motion regarding the statement of Britt. This denial was based on the merits of the claim, generally that Stoeckley was unreliable, as she had made many, varying statements regarding the murders. Also, that MacDonald's claim that she was expected to testify in manner favorable to him until threatened by Blackburn is contradicted by the trial records. MacDonald's motions regarding the DNA results and the statement of Helena Stoeckley's mother were also denied. The denial of these two motions was based on jurisdiction issues, specifically that MacDonald had not obtained the required pre-filing authorization from the Circuit Court for these motions to the District Court.[22]

Subsequent to the November 2008 decision, a government motion to modify the decision to reflect that Britt's claims were not factual was denied. Included with the motion was jail documentation establishing that Stoeckley was originally confined to the jail in Pickens, South Carolina, not Greenville, South Carolina, as Britt had claimed. Also included were custody commitment and release forms indicating that agents other than Britt transported Stoeckley to the trial.[23]. An appeal by MacDonald of the denial by the District Court Eastern Division is under consideration by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.


MacDonald supporters claim that the prosecution suppressed evidence. In the years since the trial, defense lawyers have used the Freedom of Information Act to find evidence that the government did not present at trial. However, all of MacDonald's claims regarding suppressed evidence have been rejected by the courts, citing evidence that many of the items were indeed available to the defense and, even if they were not, the items do not establish his innocence and would not have changed the verdict of the jury.[24]

MacDonald claims that unidentified fingerprints and fibers found in the apartment were never matched to anyone known to have been in the house prior to or after the murders and that these prints are evidence of intruders. However, the prints do not match anyone named by MacDonald as the intruders, and fingerprint exemplars of the children were not obtained and Colette's fingerprint exemplars were of poor quality, as they were taken subsequent to embalming.

Other claims of withheld evidence involve two unidentified 22 inch (56 cm) long synthetic hairs were found in a hairbrush, but not pointed out specifically to the defense, and a minute spot of blood that was either type O or type B (MacDonald's blood type) that was found in the hallway. MacDonald supporters continue to insist that this was not disclosed to the defense, despite the existence of the trial transcripts which clearly show this spot was indeed disclosed and discussed. Supporters of MacDonald also point to unsourced black wool fibers found on Colette MacDonald's mouth and shoulder as evidence of intruders that the government deliberately did not report to the defense.

In 1995, two MacDonald supporters, Jerry Allen Potter and Fred Bost, wrote Fatal Justice, a book meant to both refute McGinniss' Fatal Vision and present the evidence they claimed had been hidden by government prosecutors.

Lawyers representing MacDonald were given the right to pursue DNA tests on limited hair and blood evidence in 1997 by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Testing began in December 2000. Defense lawyers hoped that the results would tie Stoeckley and her associate Greg Mitchell to the scene.

DNA test results released by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory on March 10, 2006, showed that neither Stoeckley's nor Mitchell's DNA matched any of the tested exhibits. A limb hair found stuck to the left palm of Colette MacDonald matched the DNA profile of Jeffrey MacDonald. MacDonald's DNA profile also matched body hairs found on the multi-colored bedspread from the master bed and on the top sheet of Kristen MacDonald's bed. A hair found in Colette's right palm was sourced as her own. Three hairs, one from the bedsheet, one found in Colette's body outline in the area of her legs, and one found beneath the fingernail of Kristen, did not match the DNA profile of any MacDonald family member or known suspect.[25]

There is currently no motion before the court regarding the DNA results. MacDonald was unsuccessful in incorporating a motion regarding the DNA results into his motion regarding the claims of Britt, with the court stating that MacDonald must obtain a pre-authorization for what should be a separate motion regarding the DNA results.

MacDonald is currently serving his sentence at a federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland and continues to maintain his innocence. At the urging of his second wife (whom he married in 2002) and his attorneys, he was granted a parole hearing on May 10, 2005. During the hearing, he did not admit guilt and argued that he is "factually innocent." Parole was denied, with the recommendation that another 15 years be served before another parole hearing be held.[26]

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by CritterFan1 on Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:01 pm

TRANSCRIPTS
Note from Christina Masewicz: There are many people interested in the Jeffrey MacDonald case. On a daily bases I am contacted for information. It is a case that Criminal Justice School use, and many professors/teachers and students contact me asking for information. I have therefore, on page 1, which contains both scanned documents and transcripts arranged the information most requested. Page 2 contains the remainder of the scanned documents.

Marriage license of Colette and Jeffrey MacDonald: September 14, 1963
Birth certificates of Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald
The Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald Scholarship Memorial Fund
MacDonald's wounds and autopsy photos of Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald
The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site Photo Pages
CID Records
FBI Records
April 6, 1970: Jeffrey MacDonald's CID interview with Grebner, Shaw and Ivory
Jeffrey MacDonald's notes re: evening of Feb. 16 and early a.m. of 17, 1970 & my comments
Circa 1970: MacDonald's notes re: what he did Feb. 15, 1970 and upcoming trip to Russia
Article 32 Records
June 26, 1973: Memorandum from Thomas McNamara re: the Jeffrey MacDonald case
November 6, 1974: Government Memorandum re: the MacDonald murders
1974-1975: Grand Jury Investigation Transcripts
Psychiatric and psychological evaluations and testimony
1970 and 1979 sketches of the "intruders" per Jeffrey MacDonald's recollection
Circa 1979: Memo from Jeffrey Puretz to Brian Murtagh re: Disclosure of Evidence
April 24, 1979: Letter from U.S. Department of Justice to Bernard Segal
1979 Trial Transcripts
Segal's Aug. 13-14, 1979 memo and Dupree's Sept. 14, 1979 memo re: psychiatric evidence
Kassab's work to bring justice for the murders of his beloved daughter, and grandchildren
December 1, 1981: Letter from Phyllis Hughes to Ted Gunderson re: Helena Stoeckley
Feb. 1982: Ltr from Stombaugh re: hairs in Colette's hands and sewing thread on bedspread
Sept. 9, 1982: Peter Kearns' letter re: article written in True Police Cases about MacDonald
October 27, 1982: Government memo re: letter from Dr. John Thornton
Undated notes of MacDonald's mother, (Perry) and Bob Stevenson's response
Jeffrey MacDonald M.D. license
January 15, 1983 Autopsy report: Helena Stoeckley; performed by Dr. Sandra Conradi
January 19, 1983: re: Helena Stoeckley's death
June 11, 1984: Affidavit of Brian Murtagh with attachments
MacDonald vs. McGinniss: testimony of polygraph examiner Cleve Backster: Aug. 11, 1987
September 18, 1983: 60 Minutes transcript
July 5, 1989: Memorandum to Kenneth Nimmich from Brian Murtagh
Fred Bost critiques the CID tape about the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case & my comments
March 13, 1990: Brian Murtagh's letter to the FBI re: FOI releases
August 9, 1990: Defense Case Overview Memorandum
1993: The Police Chief, "FATAL VISION" REVISITED: The MacDonald Murder Case
Regarding Fatal Justice
May 1997: Handwriting analysis of Jeffrey MacDonald
July 1998: Vanity Fair, "The Devil and Jeffrey MacDonald"
Prosecutor James Blackburn's April 3, 2001 newsletter re: the Jeffrey MacDonald case
August 27, 2004: E-mail from Bob Stevenson re: Kassab's thoughts re: motive
Jeffrey MacDonald statement analysis by Mark Mcclish
Jeffrey MacDonald's parole hearing
December 20, 2005: Regarding MacDonald's New Motion Filed
DNA testing and results
Court Records
Bob Stevenson answers your questions

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Last edited by Wrapitup on Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:37 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added link)

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by Guest on Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:17 pm

There was a movie about this murder. I remember seeing but can't think of the name of it right now. I am adding him as a category in convicted. Thanks critter your doing a great job here.

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Normal Fatal Vision

Post by Nama on Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:14 pm

I saw the movie and read the book. The book is a must read!

Fatal Vision is a best-selling true crime book published in 1983 by journalist and author Joe McGinniss. The following year it was made into an NBC television miniseries under the same name. Fatal Vision is the real-life story of Captain Jeffrey MacDonald, M.D., who in 1979 was convicted of the murder of his pregnant wife and his two young daughters. These murders took place in 1970 while MacDonald was a Green Beret captain and physician in the US Army, stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by artgal16 on Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:12 am

Dr McDonald to this day professes his innocence. I believe he married again while in prison - I saw his wife several years ago on Larry King - he is still fighting for release.

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by CritterFan1 on Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:45 pm

His wife is headmistress of a girls school. She has been drinking the Jeffrey MacDonald Kool Aid.
Scott Peterson and OJ say they are innocent, also. When Jeffrey MacDonald dies he will end up in hell. There is a special place for people like him.

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Normal Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders

Post by Nama on Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:08 pm

Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders

The infamous "Fatal Vision" case could be thrust back into the national spotlight as the legal team of convicted murderer Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald got about 45 minutes in court today to prove he deserves a new trial.

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Jeff MacDonald, right, and his wife Colette in Ft. Bragg, N.C.


However the family of one of MacDonald's alleged victims is holding out hope he will remain in prison for the rest of his life.

It's been 40 years since MacDonald's wife, Colette, and their two young daughters were brutally murdered in their home in Fort Bragg, N.C., and 31 years since MacDonald, a former army surgeon, was convicted in their murders. He claimed that a group of people, high on drugs, attacked him and murdered his wife and children.

The murders came just six months after the Charles Manson killings and immediately captivated an already shocked nation, spawning the book and TV miniseries "Fatal Vision."

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by laga on Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:25 pm

He wants a new trial?......maybe the prosecution can go for the dp this time.

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by lisette on Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:15 pm

I have never doubted that he did it after reading Fatal Vision years ago...This "new evidence" is just old stuff that has been disproven and rejected before...He is just dredging it up again to try to get out...Hope he doesn't succeed in deceiving new authorities!

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Normal Memories of the MacDonald case

Post by Nama on Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:09 am

Lawyers for a former Army doctor convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters argued Tuesday that new DNA evidence and a witness statement show he's innocent of the grisly crime 40 years ago that spawned the book and television miniseries "Fatal Vision."

Attorneys for former Long Beach doctor Jeffrey MacDonald told the federal appeals court that the evidence, including a federal marshal's claim that a prosecutor in North Carolina threatened a key witness, support his assertion that four drug-crazed hippies killed his family.

Federal prosecutors argued the DNA test results cannot be considered by the appeals court at this time, that the threat claim lacks merit and that MacDonald is rehashing a lot of old evidence from previous unsuccessful appeals.

"At some point the litigation in this case must come to an end," Justice Department lawyer John De Pue told a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The panel is expected to decide within a few weeks whether MacDonald should get a new trial.

MacDonald is serving three life terms at the federal penitentiary in Cumberland, Md., for the 1970 slayings of his wife Colette and daughters Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2, at their Fort Bragg, N.C., home. The killings shocked a nation still reeling from the Charles Manson murders six months earlier.

MacDonald was assigned to Special Forces at the time his family was slain. He claimed the

killers stabbed and clubbed his family to death while one chanted, "Acid is groovy. Kill the pigs." The highly publicized case was recounted in a best-selling book, "Fatal Vision," and television miniseries.
The Army said it didn't have enough evidence to try MacDonald, and he went free for years.

During that time, he moved to Long Beach and became the director of emergency services at St. Mary Medical Center, where he was working when the Justice Department reopened the case and charged him with murder.

A federal court jury in Raleigh convicted MacDonald of the killings in 1979.

In 2006, the appeals court ruled that MacDonald could seek a new trial based on retired Deputy U.S. Marshal Jim Britt's statement that he heard prosecutor James Blackburn threaten witness Helena Stoeckley. MacDonald's attorney, Joe Zeszotarski, said Stoeckley was prepared to testify she was in the MacDonald home the night of the murders until Blackburn threatened to charge her with the slayings. She later testified she couldn't remember where she was that night.

Britt died in 2008, however, and Senior U.S. District Judge James C. Fox rejected MacDonald's bid for a new trial two weeks later. De Pue said it would be improper to allow Britt's "hearsay evidence" now, but Zeszotarski said the law requires the court to consider all the evidence at its disposal.

The other key issue is DNA test results from a hair found under Kristen's fingernail. The hair did not match MacDonald or anyone in his family.

"That's vitally important evidence of innocence in this case," Zeszotarski said.

Federal prosecutors contend MacDonald is overstating the impact of the DNA tests, which also did not implicate Stoeckley or her boyfriend Greg Mitchell, who also had told people conflicting stories about whether he was involved in the beating and stabbing deaths. Stoeckley and Mitchell are both dead.

De Pue also said the DNA test results came after the appeal was authorized and therefore were not among the items the court said could be considered. He said MacDonald would have to file a separate petition if he wants the DNA results considered.

The judges vigorously questioned the attorneys during the 45-minute hearing on whether the court must limit its inquiry or whether it can consider all the evidence, including the late-arriving DNA results.

"How do you determine what a fact-finder might do if you don't take a broad view of the evidence as a whole?" asked Judge Robert King.

Kathryn MacDonald, who married MacDonald after he had been in prison for more than two decades, and several friends attended the hearing.

"From what I saw today, this court is saying let's look at the totality of the evidence," MacDonald said after the hearing. "I am greatly encouraged."

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THE MACDONALD CASE: We remember, oddly vividly, picking up the Press-Telegram one morning in February 1970 and reading that Jeffrey MacDonald, an Army captain, was wounded while his wife and two daughters, 5 and 2, were brutally killed at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Other than that sobering and horrifying news, much of the balance of the story that day was strangely comical, which is why we've always remembered it.

According to the wire report in the newspaper, "MacDonald said the assailants included two white males, a Negro man and a blonde woman wearing a floppy hat and muddy boots and carrying a candle."

Not hippie enough for you? Authorities told reporters that the mod squad "may have been on an LSD trip." LSD, we were informed by the report, is "a mind-expanding drug, referred to as 'acid."' That, then, would explain why the three men and floppy-hatted woman were, according to MacDonald, chanting "acid is groovy" and "kill the pigs."

Either the killers had borrowed heavily and ham-handedly from the Manson family murders of the previous summer, or MacDonald (at whose home was found an Esquire article detailing the Tate murder scene) had.

Most youngsters in 1970 knew that even if you thought acid was groovy, you didn't chant that fact. We put the captain down as "guilty" and went on with our young life.

Almost a decade and a half later, we found ourself working for the Press-Telegram and on the MacDonald beat.

In the intervening years, MacDonald had spent a long stretch as a free man, following the Army's inability to come up with sufficient evidence to try him.
He had moved to sunny Long Beach and lived the good life as a bachelor and director of emergency services at St. Mary Medical Center, where he built a heroic reputation for himself and was largely admired by medical professionals as well as local police and fire departments.

His father-in-law, Fred Kassab, initially a huge supporter of MacDonald, began learning things about the case, and began feeling queasy about seeing the widower hamming it up on TV and living large in Southern California.

Kassab relentlessly pushed for a trial, which resulted in a federal court jury in Raleigh finding MacDonald guilty of the killings. The entire epic was chronicled in a damning if flawed book, "Fatal Vision" by Joe McGinniss, and a subsequent TV miniseries of the same name.

Over the years, we've spent hours talking with MacDonald in prisons in Arizona and Texas. We flew to New York to visit his father- and mother-in-law. We were open-minded, hoping to find a reason to believe MacDonald. We were always willing to listen to his story, and we listened to a lot of it.

We never heard anything close to a good reason for MacDonald to leave prison.

We thought he was a decent man. We knew he had done fine work in Long Beach. We had heard dozens of testimonials regarding his kindness and professionalism.

We felt, though, that once, anyway - perhaps addled by then-legal and easily acquired amphetamines, overworked all day, studying until the early hours, snapping from the weight of it all in a blind, unthinking rage - MacDonald had had a very bad night.

We'd even go so far as to believe that, somehow, he imagines he's innocent.

But you could pick anything you want to imagine otherwise: his slight and surgically precise stab wounds as opposed to the wild slashings that made a gruesome ending of his wife and daughters; his glib and distanced manner in talking of his murdered wife and children; his swinging and relaxed lifestyle in the wake of the death of his family ("What was I supposed to do, mourn forever?" he asked us in frustration. Yes, would be our answer) - and that's to say nothing of the crime scene evidence, which was more than sufficient to land him in prison to serve three consecutive life sentences.

Now comes news in our Wednesday paper, some 40 years later, that MacDonald is appealing the case again.

It hardly matters anymore. It's unlikely to be heard, or, if heard, taken seriously. If, against all odds, he is freed, he'll find friends waiting for him in Long Beach, but practically everyone else from his earlier life is gone - the lady in the floppy hat (a flighty and wobbly witness named Helen Stoeckley) is dead. So is her boyfriend. So is Freddy Kassab.

And so is MacDonald's wife Colette, dead at 26, and the couple's daughters Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2.

If it helps you sleep better, go ahead and believe it was hippies who killed them.

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Following our Thursday column about former Long Beach physician and convicted triple-murderer Jeffrey MacDonald, we imagined we'd get a lot more response from those local readers who continue to maintain the charismatic doctor's innocence in the 1970 slaying of his wife and two young daughters.

He had been immensely popular in Long Beach, where he was director of emergency services at St. Mary Medical Center. He was a social fixture here, attending the right charity parties, serving as president of the Long Beach Heart Association in 1977, the toast of the police, fire and medical communities. And a lot of those people remained unwaveringly loyal to MacDonald long after his conviction, finally, in 1979.

In fact, during his resurgence in the news following Joe McGinniss' damning saga of the murders and trials in the 1983 book "Fatal Vision" and the TV miniseries of the same name the following year, MacDonald refused interviews on NBC News (NBC carried the miniseries), the New York Times and everyone else except the Press-Telegram, because he felt Long Beach was the city most sympathetic toward him.

And it was, for a while, but we only heard from one person remaining faithful to the doctor - though there's undoubtedly plenty of others. Most of the feedback was in favor of the former doctor spending the rest of his life in prison.

"I, too, was a believer of his innocence," writes Tom Richey. "After all, he had treated

my daughter at St. Mary's emergency room and could not have been more kind to a very frightened family and a terrified little girl.
"During the '80s," he continues, "I worked with a fellow who had known Jeffrey growing up and all he said was he had a dark, smoldering temper that was known to explode at times. I know it's third-hand, but I sleep better knowing he is behind bars."

A reader named Leslie, who says she worked with MacDonald at St. Mary, writes, "He was SO charismatic and good at just about everything. He was my most influential mentor ... He was my softball coach ... This is the man I knew.

"After `Fatal Vision,' however, I came to realizations I didn't want to come to: Almost anyone is capable of almost anything given the right circumstances. ... If he's guilty, he's suffering and if there's a hell, he'll go there for all eternity. If he's not guilty, and there's a heaven, he'll be OK."

In recalling a co-worker who had dated MacDonald in Long Beach, an e-mailer recalls asking about his personality: "And her answer was `He is a great guy, but I have seen his temper - which is why I no longer date him - and, yes, he is capable of murder.' "

McGinniss sent us an e-mail, too, explaining MacDonald's case's current status and his umpteenth effort for a new trial.

We had run into the writer a few times during the course of covering MacDonald in the '80s - and again at the O.J. Simpson murder trial (which he had covered for the purpose of writing a book. Following the not-guilty verdict, he returned his $1 million advance, declaring the trial to be "a farce") - and he had set out, he says, to write a book about MacDonald's side of the story. Later, he became convinced of his guilt.

"So many decent people have wasted so much time, energy and money believing in MacDonald. Including - at the start - Freddy and Mildred Kassab (his father- and mother-in-law)," writes McGinniss.

"I will always be grateful to Joe Wambaugh for introducing me to the concept of MacDonald as charming psychopath. He suckered me far too long, and has suckered others for much longer."

McGinniss also brought up the name of Brian Murtagh, an extraordinarily companionable Justice Department attorney who has always been great and lucid in explaining the various and sometimes complicated aspects of MacDonald's many attempts to go free.

"If this grindingly sad tale has a hero, it is Brian Murtagh," McGinniss tells us. "He was then and still is a mid-level Justice Department attorney who has dotted every i and crossed every t since the '70s. Every bit of the scut work the government has had to do to deny each and every outlandish MacDonald motion has been done by Murtagh.

"He's an anonymous civil servant drone in Washington who deserves the thanks of everyone who cares about justice being done and staying done."

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Post by artgal16 on Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:53 pm

I was 23 years old when I read about this case.
I read every book and article about McDonald - he came out to California and worked in Long Beach
for a time. Its unbelievable that he has never given up trying to get out of jail. It was hard to believe that he killed his family - it still is hard to believe. He was taking an upper - a diet pill that a friend of mine also took - if you took too many it would cause you to fly into a rage over some minor thing. It was those pills
that they thought he was abusing that caused him to go "off" and kill his wife and children. Still one wonders......

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Post by Nama on Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:13 am

artgal, do you have the book Fatal Vision? I read it, but don't have it anymore and I've been trying to find the last line in the book. Something about Colleen and a "fatal vision". Can you help?

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Post by musicmahm on Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:17 pm

I just finished the book yesterday. Here is the last paragraph...it's MacDonald speaking: "Colette, sort of in a sentence, was to me soft and feminine and beautiful, big brown eyes, very intelligent, quiet sense of humor, not very aggressive, but a magnificent woman. Without any question the neatest woman I ever met. I still see her as the epitome of womanhood. A fatal vision."

I hope that's what you wanted!

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Post by Nama on Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:39 pm

by musicmahm Today at 9:17 pm "Colette, sort of in a sentence, was to me soft and feminine and beautiful, big brown eyes, very intelligent, quiet sense of humor, not very aggressive, but a magnificent woman. Without any question the neatest woman I ever met. I still see her as the epitome of womanhood. A fatal vision."
This is exactly what I wanted. I've been looking on the web for weeks! Thank you so much for posting it.

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Post by Wrapitup on Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:43 pm

And welcome2 musicmahm!!

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Post by CritterFan1 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:19 am

artgal16 wrote:I was 23 years old when I read about this case.
I read every book and article about McDonald - he came out to California and worked in Long Beach
for a time. Its unbelievable that he has never given up trying to get out of jail. It was hard to believe that he killed his family - it still is hard to believe. He was taking an upper - a diet pill that a friend of mine also took - if you took too many it would cause you to fly into a rage over some minor thing. It was those pills
that they thought he was abusing that caused him to go "off" and kill his wife and children. Still one wonders......
Art, Those pills were everywhere back then, and he had such easy access. Was thinking of this case today, with the rumor that HaLeigh was killed with a board, just like MacDonald killed one of his girls, Kimberly, with a board. Back when MacDonald slaughtered his family America was shocked...No loving husband and father could possibly do anything so horrendous as butcher your pregnant wife and family like he did.It was such a violent crime. Breaks my heart, this type of murder has become commonplace. crying

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Post by Guest on Sun May 16, 2010 8:46 pm

Someone mentioned earlier that JMD's wife was the headmistress of a girl's school. That is incorrect. She owns and runs a drama school for young people in Laurel, Maryland.

She was also convicted of shoplifting last year from a Rite-Aid near the prison where her inmate husband is serving his sentence.

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Post by lisette on Sun May 16, 2010 11:10 pm

welcome2 to VH, Sibby!

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Post by concerned4all on Mon May 17, 2010 12:58 pm

I thought Jeffrey MacDonald was in prison in CA. Is so, why is his wife living in MD?

This horrible case took place at Camp LeJeune, NC. I have had several friends or sons of friends stationed there over the past years, and the last I heard, about 8 or 9 years ago, the place where they lived was still exactly like it was the night of the murders.

How can he ask for a new trial at this late date? I'm sure there is no new evidence that would help him prove he is innocent.

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Post by ltrina on Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:21 pm

I to believe in McDonald's guilt but if you look at it there were too many mistakes on the part of the prosecution and defense also in 1970 charges dismissed then in 1975 indicted, 1976 released 1978 reinstated indictment, 1980 reversed conviction and then in 1982 rearrested so I believe is rights to a speedy trial were violated if guilty/inocent it doesn't take 12years the true detective, and prosecuter in this case were the in-laws,they helped keep him in jail where he belongs. Makes you wonder how many innocent people may be in prison due to mistakes, luckily there is the Project Innocence Group I applaude them for all the people they have exhonerated. He has a right to appeal though it will never work because mistakes will not be admitted. He is where he should be if he did it himself or had others to do it.May he see their faces in his dreams everynight.

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Post by artgal16 on Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:32 pm

I also believed McDonald killed his family. Fred Kasab,
I think thats how he spelled his name, was the step father of McDonald's wife. It was a huge blow to them
to lose her and their grandchildren. At first he believed Jeff was innocent and then slowly changed his mind
and became a driving force in getting him reconvicted.
I saw McDonalds wife on Larry King - she was quite pretty and seemed like she was sane, though I think there is something not right about women that
marry men in prison, especially murderers and
there are sure a lot of women who do. Go figure.
I do not believe McDonald will get another trial he will die in prison.

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Post by CritterFan1 on Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:05 pm

Sibby wrote:Someone mentioned earlier that JMD's wife was the headmistress of a girl's school. That is incorrect. She owns and runs a drama school for young people in Laurel, Maryland.

She was also convicted of shoplifting last year from a Rite-Aid near the prison where her inmate husband is serving his sentence.
I am sorry, that was me. When she was om Larry King I thought she said she was head of a girls school. Sorry for the misinformation.

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Post by CritterFan1 on Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:53 pm

Every time I turn on the news I hope I will hear Dr. Jeff MacDonald has died. Sometimes the world seems to slip off of it's axis a touch, and unfair things happen. It is so unfair that Collette did not get a chance to have her baby, watch her children grow up to be fine young adults. Her children never got a chance to live life. Then there was that ba$tard living it up in California, having his precious boat. Going on Dick Cavett Show just a short time after his family died and he was laughing and cutting up, acting like a movie star. He should have been put to death years ago. The only saving grace is that he is behind bars and paying for his crimes.

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Post by laga on Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:20 pm

CritterFan1 wrote:Every time I turn on the news I hope I will hear Dr. Jeff MacDonald has died. Sometimes the world seems to slip off of it's axis a touch, and unfair things happen. It is so unfair that Collette did not get a chance to have her baby, watch her children grow up to be fine young adults. Her children never got a chance to live life. Then there was that ba$tard living it up in California, having his precious boat. Going on Dick Cavett Show just a short time after his family died and he was laughing and cutting up, acting like a movie star. He should have been put to death years ago. The only saving grace is that he is behind bars and paying for his crimes.

This guy will never die......only the good die young.

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Post by raine1953 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:33 pm

Laga, I agree

I remember that even my grandfather (who would be 113 now) thought McDonald was guilty.
He did act like he was a celebrity Lies and I hope he doesn't get a new trail and he needs to die in prison, in solitary. angry


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Post by Lilone on Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:31 pm

I borrowed the book from the library last year to re-read it. I've read it a number of times over the years. It is a most fascinating story. There was a second book written by the same author a few years after the conviction, called "Never Enough". Not as good, but an interesting follow-up. I recommend it as well.

I have not read two others by different authors. One is "Scales of Justice: The Murders of Colette, Kimberley & Kristen McDonald", and the other is "Fatal Justice."

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Post by artgal16 on Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:42 pm

When I want older books I go to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

for instance Fatal vision books start at 99 cents!

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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:32 am

I agree

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Post by CritterFan1 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:55 pm

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site is a compendium of information about the Jeffrey MacDonald case. MacDonald was convicted in 1979 of the murders of his pregnant wife and two small daughters. He is serving three life sentences for that brutal crime.

Colette was a gentle soul who loved her husband and children more than anything in the world.

They were each different and very special in their way, each unique creations, each thread of personality tenderly entwined.

Each was very special and very loved by thousands who never knew them, but will never forget them.

Sadly, their lives were taken by the husband and father, Jeffrey MacDonald on February 17, 1970.

We love them so very much and will never forget them. They are angels among us.

Kimberley, Kristen, Colette and unborn baby boy's final resting place

The Jeffrey MacDonald case has riveted and baffled people from the beginning. But it is more than just murder, it is the devotion and courage of one family, in the face of tragedy, to fight for justice for the loss of their loved ones.

This case has been sensationalized and more than once been distorted by the press often reporting only the defendant's side, and the TV talk shows that do not give equal time to the family and investigators to express their thoughts and feelings.

The case brings out much passion and emotions in people and continues to do so even after all these many years. Some people believe he is guilty, some believe him innocent, and then there are some "on the fence," so to speak, who are not sure one way or the other.

Colette was a beautiful, blonde, twenty-six-year-old woman, who wanted only to be the wife of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald and the mother of his children and live happily forever. Their two children, Kimberley and Kristen, were both full of life. Colette was pregnant with their first son at the time of her murder.

This case starts on February 17, 1970, when the Military Police responded to a call for help in what was thought to be a domestic dispute. What they were to find would be a bloody murder scene that left them in shock and disbelief. Jeffrey MacDonald, the husband and father, was found alive and transported to the hospital for treatment. Colette, Kimberley and Kristen were transferred to the morgue.

The fact that MacDonald was left alive and with no serious injuries only adds more mystery to an already complicated case.

And so the mystery begins and has been going for years. Did a group of hippies break in and commit this vicious crime and leave him alive, or did he "lose it" for just a fraction of second and commit this crime only to invent the theory of having been attacked?

Freddy Kassab, Jeffrey MacDonald's father-in-law, was the biggest supporter of his innocence in the beginning, but over time he too became convinced that no one but his son-in-law was responsible for the murders. He was a patient man and was not going to just sit back and let MacDonald get away with it. He fought long and hard, and finally his fight came to fruition when he and his attorney, Mr. Cahn, and Peter Kearns went to Clinton, North Carolina for a meeting with Judge Algernon Butler. It was this meeting that was to lead to the grand jury investigation that brought the indictment against him, followed by the 1979 trial and his conviction of the murders of his family.

From the beginning, MacDonald's comments have always been strong and positive about himself. He sees himself as a victim, someone who had not only lost his family that night, but also someone who had been unfairly accused by the military and the federal government and his father-in-law, whom he referred to as an "alcoholic fanatic."

Initially accused by the United States Army of killing his family at the April 6, 1970 interview, he was charged with their murders on May 1, 1970. He faced formal charges of murder in an Army 32 hearing in July, 1970, at Fort Bragg. Colonel Warren V. Rock was the appointed Investigating Officer. The Army did not say the charges were not true. Colonel Rock said that. Colonel Rock's only duty was to ascertain - was a crime committed; was it possible that MacDonald was involved and then Rock was to give a recommendation to MacDonald's Commanding General whether courts-martial charges should be preferred. Note the operative words: could have been involved, recommendation for charges. He did neither, and said in effect, go look for Helena Stoeckley. That was not his job.

General Flanagan's report clearly stated that there were insufficient evidence to warrant charges at that time. That left the government free to continue to investigate and investigate they did. MacDonald was not exonerated. One can not be exonerated when they have never been tried. MacDonald applied for and was granted a hardship discharge due to the loss of his family, which is still an honorable discharge. He was free then to continue his life as he saw fit.

During the Army Article 32 hearings in the summer of 1970 Freddy said about MacDonald, "If I had another daughter, I'd still want the same son-in-law." After receiving a copy of the Article 32 transcripts, however, he declared that he would devote the remainder of his life to pursuing all avenues to bring him to justice. That meant a trial, conviction and imprisonment for the rest of his life for the murder of his beloved daughter Colette and two grandchildren, Kimberley and Kristen.

At the trial in 1979, the defense wanted to make this solely the story of Jeffrey MacDonald, his losses, what the government had done to him, and the story of the disruptions in his life because of it. There was no doubt that the opinion of the United States Government was that MacDonald had gotten away with murder for almost ten years and that justice was long overdue. Blackburn and Murtagh carefully presented the evidence in a way that helped the jury to think emotionally about the victims who had been so brutally murdered. For Segal to have even suggested that what had happened to MacDonald was more serious than the horrendous deaths of his family was a disgrace. It was a dishonor to the victims and a slap in the face to their family.

James Blackburn, one of the prosecutors, told me "MacDonald sat stone-faced during the entire trial. He showed not the slightest emotion, even when autopsy pictures of his children were being shown, and then he gets up there, puts his head down and pretends to cry. And what I couldn't really believe was that people on the jury actually cried with him."

But justice did prevail and the jurors cried not with MacDonald, but for the victims and what they had suffered because of what MacDonald did to them.

This tragedy has ruined the lives of many people and deprived two families of their children and grandchildren. It prevented Colette, Kimberley and Kristen from living their lives to the fullest and prevented the son that Colette was pregnant with from being born. It has haunted the people who went to that crime scene that morning and who have carried with them the horrors of what they witnessed there that fateful morning. And in the end it cost Jeffrey MacDonald his freedom and he was demoted from a doctor to a federal inmate. There were no winners here; everyone lost something that can never be replaced.

Throughout this investigation and trial, I feel there were mistakes made by both sides. Because of this I think it has left many lingering questions that have never been answered and may never be answered at this late date. I have followed this case for more years than I care to remember, doing my own research looking for answers to many things. I have been able to contact and talk to many of the people who were involved in this case. I have been able to get copies of the documents through the Freedom of Information Act. I attended the trial and was able to observe MacDonald, his body language and his actions in the courtroom. Since the time of the trial I have come to believe that Judge Dupree was a man who did indeed brandish his gavel with a no-nonsense wisdom, practicality and fairness.

It is not my intent to try and change anyone's mind or beliefs. My intent is to present here some of the inside things pertaining to the investigation and trial proceedings. Documents presented here are the complete documents, and they speak for themselves, be it good or bad, for or against the Government or Jeffrey MacDonald. The information is placed here for people to read and judge for themselves.

The records here are taken from documents obtained from the FOIA, some records that were passed on to me from people in the government and others who had them as well as court records. Some of the documents here have never been touched on before or mentioned in any books or articles written.

There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that a senseless crime occurred on the late evening of February 16 and early morning of February 17, 1970. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests and points to the fact that no one but Jeffrey MacDonald was responsible for these murders.

In order to get away with a perfect murder, a person has to be incredibly lucky. For almost nine and one-half years, Jeffrey MacDonald was indeed lucky. Bernard Segal had successfully kept him from facing the justice of conviction, and thereby remaining free, but that came to an end in the late afternoon of August 29, 1979, when the jury brought back a verdict of two counts of second degree murder and one count of first degree murder.

The investigators worked hard gathering the evidence. The prosecutors who showed the people why and how the system works are to be commended for their hard work that still stands strong today. Jeffrey MacDonald may be able to aggrandize his injuries as life- threatening and cajole his supporters, but he has never been able to do so with the courts.

In the end, it was Freddy, the loving father of Colette and grandfather to Kimberley and Kristen who describe it best and in words that brings tears to my eyes when he wrote about the intruders in the house the night of the murders-

"When I read the case the first few times, I was skeptical about the existence of the 4 intruders--as skeptical & unbelieving as have been almost all who have familiarized themselves [with] this material. But on rereading portions of the transcripts again last nite, I have now come over to the belief that, as MacDonald has kept insisting, there were indeed '4 intruders.'

"MacDonald's goals from the beginning to this day have been to impress, to prove his manhood, to con, to screw--whomever he wanted, whenever he wanted, wherever he wanted. Many men want a little bit of that kind of freedom, but the normal man, the normal man [with] a wife & a family, derives enough genuine & deep & lasting satisfaction from family life, that the balance between irresponsible 'freedom' & commitment to his wife & his children--whom he truly loves more than he resents--allows him to forego that kind of self centered freedom, without too much 'burden' or sense of entrapment. For MacDonald the balance tilted far to the other side--to the point where the resentment was volcanic, the love only paper thin. So there came to be specifically 4 people--not 7, not 2--who intruded most especially upon his 'space,' 4 people who got in the way of his being the macho celeb & playboy he needed to be in order to feel alive. 4 intruders-three white, one black--just like MacDonald told us. Who were they? I can name 3 of them: Colette, Kimberly (sic), Kristy. The 4th intruder--black not in skin but figuratively black: as yet unseen, dark, invisible--the half-grown baby that Colette was carrying, MacDonald's as yet unborn son, as it turned out to be--the 4th intruder.

"In MacDonald's fatal blindness--blindness to the deep & genuine feeling that animate ordinary people & unite them to their loved ones--in his fatal blindness, he murdered the intruders, all 4, & making himself free at last! Free at last--to live out his image of the big shot, the glamor boy, the stud. This is the unbridled egomania, the wanton disregard for the feelings, even for the lives, of those who intruded most heavily upon his dreams--that Joe McGinniss quite correctly labeled 'pathological narcissism' in his book, [Fatal Vision]. And I am being flown out here 2500 miles to be asked is Joe McGinniss' interpretation/assumption a fair one! Well, my answer is that how MacDonald dealt [with] his family shows me that in one detail at least MacDonald was an honest man--for though he lied as usual [with] his mouth, [with] his brain he told the truth. Yes, there were 4 intruders in his life. And out of his pathological narcissism, he killed them. I do not know of a narcissism more pathological than this."

I hope you will enjoy your visit here and feel free to visit this site often, as new updates will be posted frequently. I welcome any comments that anyone might have and will be happy to answer any of your questions.


Christina Masewicz

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by CritterFan1 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:00 pm

The above site mentioned is the best site on the internet re: the Jeffrey MacDonald Case. There are layouts of the apartment, pictures, transcripts of the first interview, amazing info Of course this is just my opinion.
Warning, the autopsy pictures can be hard to see, IMO they are an important part of the case at it's trials. I have had to look at them Could not stop myself.
This site can be addicting, like VH.

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Post by musicmahm on Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:52 pm

:high five:

I'm so glad you posted this. I love that she just says it like it is: very clear, very no nonsense.

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Post by Guest on Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:58 pm

I am looking at that site now critter. Thanks for posting it.

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Post by janie on Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:22 pm

Thanks so much critter! It really is a very interesting site!

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Post by CritterFan1 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:54 pm

musicmahm wrote: :high five:

I'm so glad you posted this. I love that she just says it like it is: very clear, very no nonsense.
musicmahm....she started out as a pen pal and "friend" of the imprisoned JMc, did not take her long to realize that she was on the wrong side, that Collette and girls were murdered by that monster that they loved.
Glad to see you here, will look fwd to your ideas, thoughts and comments. :cheering: :cheering:

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Post by charminglane on Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:35 pm

Thanks Critter, for a new addiction!

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Post by CritterFan1 on Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:37 pm

charminglane wrote:Thanks Critter, for a new addiction!
Charm, I used to spend hours on this site, hours. That was before I found all of you guys. :heart:

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Post by Guest on Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:48 pm

That site has so much information. I can see why you spent hours there. I have booked marked it.

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by Sue61 on Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:13 pm

Hi Everyone! I'm new to the board, and think Jeff is right where he belongs. I dont use Dr. because he lost his license long ago.

My first comment is about the neighbors. How could they NOT hear anything if the walls were so thin. That has bothered me for awhile now.

I also heard somewhere that his brother had roommates in New York that matched the description of the so called "intruders" that he made up. What a coincidence. I'll have to look into that, but i'm sure that's what I read somewhere on the internet.

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by lisette on Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:16 pm

Hi Sue61! welcome2 to VH!!

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Post by Nama on Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:36 pm

More on the link

The CID reinvestigation uncovered a number of potential suspects, but two groups of people came to the forefront. The New York Four consisted of Kenneth Barnett, Annette Cullity, Gary Burnett, and Joseph Lee. The Stoeckley group consisted of Helena Stoeckley, Greg Mitchell, Don Harris, Dwight Smith, Cathy Perry, Bruce Fowler, and Allen Mazzerolle.

New York Four
Law enforcement officers arrested Kenneth Barnett, Annette Cullity, Gary Burnett, and Joseph Lee in Suffolk County, New York on May 9, 1970. The Suffolk County police subsequently contacted the CID due to the fact that these four individuals matched the physical descriptions of the intruder suspects in the MacDonald murders. CID agent Bennie Hawkins subsequently traveled to Suffolk County to discuss the case with police officials. Hawkins discovered that these four individuals had rented a house in Fire Island with Jeffrey MacDonald's brother, Jay, in the Summer of 1969. Jeffrey MacDonald had visited his brother during that summer and was seen conversing with people who matched the descriptions of the New York Four at the Shortstop Bar in Long Island. Joseph Lee was an African-American male, Gary Burnett and Kenneth Barnett were Caucasian males, and Annette Cullity was a Caucasian female. Lee was seen wearing an army field jacket and Cullity was known to wear a floppy hat and hip boots. The number of intruders, their racial make-up, and their clothing items all matched the descriptions provided by Jeffrey MacDonald. Hawkins obtained fingerprint exemplars of the New York Four and their prints did not match any of the prints found at 544 Castle Drive. In December of 1970, Jeffrey MacDonald and his lawyer, Judge Rodgers, went to the Suffolk County Police Department to read the May 9, 1970 arrest report. This trip occurred several months after the completion of the Article 32 hearings. Despite the New York Four matching the descriptions of the four intruders, MacDonald never publicly commented on this visit to the Suffolk County Police Department.

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Post by Guest on Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:14 am

Does anyone else get creepy feelings reading from the McDonald information site? The murder scene tends to look staged to mimic the Manson murders. I am reading here right now http://www.thejeffreymacdonaldcase.com/html/mac_elliot_kassab_1985.html.
Christina has put in a lot of hours and work in to the above site.


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Post by Guest on Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:31 am

http://www.thejeffreymacdonaldcase.com/html/interview1970.html

I am reading the first interview with Jeffrey MacDonald. In this interview he claimed Colette was drinking even though she was pregnant? That makes no sense. Most Women do not drink while pregnant. After all these years since I read the book and saw the Movie to look back at this case. I have learned many new things from the site critter posted.

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Post by Sue61 on Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:32 pm

It is a very informative site. She put alot of time and her own money into it, just to keep everyone informed. I myself read the book Fatal Vision many many years ago, and became interested in the McDonald case again just recently. It was hard for me to see the crime scene photos, and as odd as it may seem, I wish I knew exactly what happened that night. McDonald knows, and one day he will have to stand up and explain. What he is going through now wont compare to what is coming. He will never confess to it

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Post by CritterFan1 on Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:30 pm

Sue61 wrote:Hi Everyone! I'm new to the board, and think Jeff is right where he belongs. I dont use Dr. because he lost his license long ago.

My first comment is about the neighbors. How could they NOT hear anything if the walls were so thin. That has bothered me for awhile now.

I also heard somewhere that his brother had roommates in New York that matched the description of the so called "intruders" that he made up. What a coincidence. I'll have to look into that, but i'm sure that's what I read somewhere on the internet.
Hi there!! The walls are thin, always bothered me too. Esp.since they lived on the bottom floor, the upstairs neighbors had to have heard more than they let on. Their apt. jutted out from the main apt. bldg, not all their walls had adjoining neighbors, still, no way someone did not hear such violence, rage, screaming, coming from that apt.

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Post by CritterFan1 on Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:42 pm

Linda Marie, He did say that she came home from school that night and had a drink with him before she went to bed. Of course that could be a lie, too. Back then most, Dr's would just tell a pregnant woman to do things in moderation, even drinking a drink or two, to relax. McDonald said that they had a drink together most nights. He might have just told LE that to make them seem like a happily married couple with no fight that night, a fight that ended in murder.

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Normal Re: Jeffrey MacDonald Seeks New Trial in 'Fatal Vision' Murders/Federal Judge to consider 'new' DNA evidence Monday 9.17.2012

Post by Guest on Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:30 am

I just got caught up on reading this thread. I remember seeing this movie on TV a number of years ago, but didn't remember all the details - thanks for the updates everyone!

My one question (and forgive me if it has already been mentioned above) is did LE find any evidence of intruders? I noticed what Christina M. wrote about her opinon of the "4 intruders" (his wife & two daughters & unborn son), but am wondering if LE found any evidence to suggest any intruders. Just curious! thinking

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Post by raine1953 on Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:54 am

I'm going to have to go to that link. I read the book Fatal Vision many years ago and have seen the TV movie and I think he's guilty as sin.
As far as I remember there was no evidence of the 'hippie' intruders.

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Post by CritterFan1 on Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:33 am

There was one wig hair found in the apt. LE never knew who it belonged too. More than likely it belonged to Collette. She could have had a "fall" at some point, one of those long things that made you have a long ponytail.
He is guilty as dirt , IMHO.

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