Jeffrey R. MacDonald
Military physician, convicted of murder
Jeffrey R. MacDonald
Jeffrey Robert MacDonald, 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 a U.S. Army officer, medical doctor, and practicing physician. MacDonald maintains that a group of Charles Manson-type hippies committed the crimes and has filed several unsuccessful appeals attempting to overturn his convictions.
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Timeline of Events in the Jeffrey MacDonald Case
ABC News - 25 days
A timeline of major events in the 'Fatal Vision' case against former Army surgeon Jeffrey MacDonald
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ABC News article
9 True Crime Books That Will Absolutely Disturb You
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Lately, I have had a horrible time getting to sleep. Last night, the anxiety was so bad that I had to put on an Audrey Hepburn movie on Netflix to calm my terrifying thoughts. Why is this going on? Stress at work? Trouble with my family? Nope, it's because I'm currently reading Truman Capote's classic, In Cold Blood, and it is scaring the hell out of me. I openly admit that I'm probably not the ideal reader of True Crime books; I definitely think about getting murdered more than the average person does, and my overactive imagination and extreme anxiety don't make matters any better. What is it about the True Crime genre that keeps me coming back for more, even though these stories petrify me? The truth is, I can't help it; the suspense reels me in. Who are these people who can take a life without thinking twice about it? Why are they the way they are? Whether or not you're as anxious and jumpy as me, I can guarantee that these books will leave you keeping the hall light on ...
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Huffington Post article
Chaplains In Great Demand In Aftermath Of Boston Marathon Bombing
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald Religion News Service BOSTON (RNS) Two days after the Boston Marathon bombings, Boston Medical Center chaplain Sister Maryanne Ruzzo was checking on staffers who'd been caring for the injured when she received a page. A bombing victim wanted to see her. The bedside was fraught with worry. A woman in her 30s had lost a leg to amputation as surgeons deemed it unsalvageable. Still suffering multiple injuries, she was now heading into surgery again, knowing she might wake up with no legs at all. Ruzzo stood among the woman's parents and siblings and did what she does best: listen. She heard their fears, including concern for the woman's husband, who was being treated at a different hospital and who also might lose a leg to amputation. Then she prayed. "Other people might not want to feel the pain and say, 'Oh, it's going to be fine,'" said Ruzzo, the Archdiocese of Boston's coordinator of Catholic services at BMC. "We just try to be present and ...
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Huffington Post article
The Fort Bragg murders: is Jeffrey MacDonald innocent?
Guardian (UK) - almost 4 years
In 1970, Colette MacDonald and her two daughters were stabbed to death in a savage frenzy, setting in motion America's longest-running murder trial. After decades of legal wrangles, her husband, a military doctor, remains in jail for the crime. We spoke to Errol Morris, an Oscar-winning film-maker who has written a book about the case which reaches some startling conclusions… The Oscar-winning film-maker Errol Morris made his name in 1988 with The Thin Blue Line, a bravura piece of documentary-making that gained the release from prison of an innocent man who had been on death row. But although he spent several years working on that investigation, it's not this crime that has maintained the most insistent hold on his intellect and imagination. That prize goes to one committed on 17 February 1970 at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He is not alone in his obsession. The killings that took place in the early hours of that morning and their protracted aftermath have cast an ever-lengthening ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Alcoholics Anonymous Wrestles With Its Spiritual Roots
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
By G. Jeffrey Macdonald Religion News Service BEVERLY, Mass. (RNS) For Alcoholics Anonymous to continue helping addicts find freedom in sobriety, the 75-year-old organization has to reclaim its spiritual roots. That's the message coming from reformers who say the group has drifted from core principles and is failing addicts who can't save themselves. But what constitutes the heart of AA spirituality is a matter of spirited debate. Has AA become too God-focused and rigid? Or have groups watered down beliefs and methods so much that they're now ineffective? "Some think AA is not strict enough," said Lee Ann Kaskutas, senior scientist at the Public Health Institute's Alcohol Research Group in Emeryville, Calif. "Others think it's too strict, so they want to change AA and make it get with the times." With more than 100,000 local meetings and an estimated two million members worldwide, AA is grappling with how much diversity it can handle. Over the past two years, u ...
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Huffington Post article
Free Massachusetts Campus Given To Christian Foundation
Huffington Post - about 4 years
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald Religion News Service (RNS) Christian institutions hoping to win a free campus in western Massachusetts might soon face competition from others who are willing to pay for it, according to terms of a year-end donation from the property's billionaire owners. Last week (Dec. 28), Hobby Lobby Stores donated a 217-acre campus in Northfield, Mass., to the National Christian Foundation (NCF), a Georgia-based charity that administers donor-advised funds. NCF now plans to do what Hobby Lobby has tried in vain to do since acquiring the property in 2009: give it to a Christian institution that will honor the legacy of its founder, 19th-century evangelist D.L. Moody. "We're committed to maintaining the spirit with which the campus was founded," said Aimee Minnich, president of NCF's office in Olathe, Kansas, in an email. "So our first intent would be to find an educational institution as the final owner of the property." NCF received no requirements fro ...
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Huffington Post article
Author, killer meet again
CNN - over 4 years
Joe McGinniss couldn't believe the man he saw in a North Carolina courtroom last week, stooped and shackled, was once the swaggering Jeffrey MacDonald who had told his story so many years ago.
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CNN article
Convicted killer, author meet again
CNN - over 4 years
The man in the North Carolina courtroom was stooped and shackled, hardly the same smooth and swaggering Jeffrey MacDonald who had told his story so many years ago. Author Joe McGinniss, convinced of MacDonald's guilt, testified for the prosecution at a federal hearing that could determine whether MacDonald deserves freedom, or at least a new trial.
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CNN article
Convicted killer, 'Fatal Vision' author meet again
CNN - over 4 years
The man in the North Carolina courtroom was stooped and shackled, hardly the same smooth and swaggering Jeffrey MacDonald who had told his story so many years ago. Author Joe McGinniss, convinced of MacDonald's guilt, testified for the prosecution at a federal hearing that could determine whether MacDonald deserves freedom, or at least a new trial.
Article Link:
CNN article
'Fatal Vision' author continues testimony in hearing on 1970 murders
Fox News - over 4 years
"Fatal Vision" author Joe McGinniss is expected to return to the witness stand today as a federal court hearing reviews the 1970 murder case that became the subject of his best-selling book. On Friday, McGinniss testified about how his impression of Jeffrey MacDonald changed from friend to psychopath. "Psychopaths are very charming people," McGinniss said. "I felt genuine affection for him... It was a tough fight for my heart." Forty-two years after the murders of MacDonald's pregnant wife and two young daughters, the former Army doctor hopes new forensic science and previously unheard testimony will convince a federal judge to either vacate his 1979 conviction or grant him a new trial. But McGinniss, who inked a deal with the defense for unrestricted access during the 1979 trial, remains convinced MacDonald is exactly where he needs to be -- in prison. During his research after the trial, McGinniss said he found a note MacDonald had written to his lawyers, indicating he mig ...
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Fox News article
'Fatal Vision' murder case revisited
Fox News - over 4 years
Is Jeffrey MacDonald really innocent?
Article Link:
Fox News article
"Fatal Vision" author doubts defense theory in 1970 killing
Yahoo News - over 4 years
WILMINGTON, North Carolina (Reuters) - The author of a best-selling book about an Army doctor convicted of killing his family testified on Friday that he never heard a key defense witness admit to being present at the 1970 murders that are once more back in the national spotlight. Author Joe McGinniss, who penned "Fatal Vision" after getting unlimited access to former Green Beret Jeffrey MacDonald and his attorneys during the doctor's 1979 trial, said he also doubted a former defense lawyer's claim that the witness had privately admitted to involvement in the crime. ...
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Yahoo News article
Jeffrey MacDonald defense offers evidence of intruders in 1970 killings
LATimes - over 4 years
At a federal hearing, three more witnesses testify about a woman who had said she was at MacDonald's house the night his wife and two daughters were killed. WILMINGTON, N.C. — Lawyers for convicted killer and former Army doctor Jeffrey MacDonald continued to present evidence Tuesday that they said suggested intruders were in his house the night his pregnant wife and two daughters were brutally killed in 1970.
Article Link:
LATimes article
'Fatal Vision' murder case gets new day in court, as brother of deceased witness testifies
Fox News - over 4 years
Former Green Beret doctor Jeffrey MacDonald hopes to overturn his 1979 murder conviction for the 1970 deaths of his pregnant wife and two young daughters with previously unheard testimony from now-deceased witnesses. On Tuesday, the brother of admitted drug user Helena Stoeckley, described their mother's deathbed conversation. "My mother said Helena was there and MacDonald was not guilty of the crimes," Eugene Stoeckley testified. MacDonald's new wife, Kathryn, who has never seen her husband outside of prison, was pleased with Stoeckley's testimony. "He said exactly what happened," she told reporters as she left the courthouse. "He's unimpeachable." Defense lawyers are trying to prove a prosecutor used the threat of murder charges to dissuade Stoeckley from testifying that she was at the crime scene with three men who attacked MacDonald, his children and his wife Colette. But Colette's brother Bob Stevenson says Stoeckley was merely being advised of her rights and insist ...
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Fox News article
"Fatal Vision" murder convict Jeffrey MacDonald hopes DNA evidence will clear him
CBS News - over 4 years
Former Green Beret doctor serving three life sentences for death of wife, daughter, hopes DNA evidence will help clear him
Article Link:
CBS News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jeffrey R. MacDonald
  • 2015
    As of 2015, MacDonald is serving his sentence at a federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland.
    More Details Hide Details He continues to maintain his innocence. His projected "release date" after serving his three consecutive life terms from the date of his August 29, 1979 conviction is April 5, 2071 (excluding the time between July 29, 1980 and March 31, 1982 when he was free on bail), by which time he would be 127 years old.
  • 2014
    He has appealed the denial of his motion to alter or amend the July 2014 judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
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    He moved the district court to alter or amend the July 24, 2014 judgment, and the District Court denied his motion in November 2014.
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    On July 24, 2014, the District Court rejected his claims in their entirety and re-affirmed MacDonald's conviction on all counts.
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  • 2012
    In September 2012, the District Court conducted an evidentiary hearing, including MacDonald's claims of new DNA "evidence," on remand from the Fourth Circuit's April 2011 ruling.
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  • 2011
    On April 19, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit granted prefiling authorization for his DNA claim.
    More Details Hide Details The court reversed the district court and remanded for further proceedings.
    In 2011, the Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's decision, remanding MacDonald's claims back to the District Court with instructions for consideration.
    More Details Hide Details An evidentiary hearing on the Britt claim and the unknown hairs was held in September, 2012. In July 2014, Judge Fox ruled against MacDonald's appeal and upheld the conviction. MacDonald's 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 his claims regarding suppressed evidence have been rejected by the courts, citing evidence that many of the items had indeed been available to the defense and, even if they had not, the items did not establish his innocence and would not have changed the verdict of the jury. MacDonald claims that unidentified fingerprints and fibers found in the house were never matched to anyone known to have been in there prior to or after the murders and that these prints are evidence of intruders. However, the prints do not match anyone named by him 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.
  • 2008
    In November 2008, Judge Fox denied MacDonald's motion regarding the statement of Britt.
    More Details Hide Details 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 a 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 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. 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. MacDonald appealed the district court's denial of his claim to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 2006
    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, statements of individuals to whom Stoeckely had made confessions) and the DNA results completed in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
    MacDonald was granted leave to file his fourth appeal on January 12, 2006.
    More Details Hide Details This latest appeal is based on the 2005 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 house 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.
  • 2005
    At the urging of MacDonald's second wife, Kathryn MacDonald (née Kurichh, married in 2002), and his attorneys, he applied for a parole hearing, which was held on May 10, 2005.
    More Details Hide Details During it, he did not admit guilt and argued that he is "factually innocent". His parole request was immediately denied. His next scheduled parole hearing will be in May 2020.
  • 1994
    MacDonald's former in-laws, Colette's mother, Mildred, and stepfather, Freddie Kassab, who brought his case to the Justice Department, both died in 1994; she on January 19 and he on October 24.
    More Details Hide Details The courts ruled that Dupree had acted correctly when he refused to let the jury see a transcript of the 1970 Article 32 military hearing, and, because this was not an insanity trial, he 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, had concluded that MacDonald was psychologically incapable of committing the murders. The courts have also ruled that Helena Stoeckley's confessions of committing the murders were unreliable and at odds with the established facts of the case, and that her treatment at 1979 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.
  • 1992
    On June 2, 1992, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a new trial for MacDonald.
    More Details Hide Details They stated that the materials now introduced should have been presented by MacDonald's then-lawyer, Brian O'Neill, in the 1984-85 appeal. Therefore, all rights to further appeals were forfeited. The ruling was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on November 30 of that same year. Dupree died after a short illness on December 17, 1995.
  • 1991
    On October 3, 1991, his defense counsel appealed Dupree's ruling on the grounds of judicial bias due to his rulings in favor of the prosecution during the trial, and of the harshness of his prison sentence that Dupree imposed.
    More Details Hide Details The appeal was denied.
    On July 8, 1991, Dupree, after hearing arguments that MacDonald should be granted a new murder trial on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, denied the petition.
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    On March 27, 1991, MacDonald became eligible for parole, but he did not apply, continuing to vehemently maintain his innocence.
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  • 1990
    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 the subject of Malcolm'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."
    More Details Hide Details Malcolm maintained that McGinniss tricked MacDonald—a claim that McGinniss subsequently responded to in the epilogue of a later edition of Fatal Vision. In a 2012 book, A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, filmmaker and writer Errol Morris argued that many of McGinniss' claims about MacDonald are untrue and irresponsible. McGinniss' book was adapted into a made-for-TV film of the same title starring Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, Andy Griffith, and Gary Cole as MacDonald. It aired on NBC in 1984. MacDonald's murders are discussed in the Jodi Picoult novel House Rules.
  • 1985
    Lawyers for MacDonald appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld Dupree's ruling on December 17, 1985 and refused to reopen the case.
    More Details Hide Details On October 6, 1986 the Supreme Court upheld the lower court's decision.
  • 1982
    His remaining points of appeal were heard on June 9, 1982 and his conviction was unanimously affirmed on August 16, 1982.
    More Details Hide Details 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 January 14, 1983, Helena Stoeckley, aged 32, was found dead in her small apartment. She had apparently been dead for several days, and an autopsy revealed that she died of pneumonia and cirrhosis. On March 1, 1985, Dupree rejected all defense motions for a new trial.
    On March 31, 1982, they ruled 6–3 that MacDonald's rights to a speedy trial had not been violated.
    More Details Hide Details He was rearrested and returned to Federal prison and his original sentence of three consecutive life terms was reinstated with time already served since his 1979 conviction. Defense lawyers filed a new motion for MacDonald to be freed on bail pending appeal, but the Fourth Circuit refused.
  • 1980
    On August 22, 1980, he 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.
    More Details Hide Details On May 26, 1981, the United States Supreme Court accepted the case for consideration and on December 7, 1981, heard oral arguments.
    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 nine-year delay in bringing him to trial violated his Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy trial.
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  • 1979
    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 Kimberly after the jury deliberated for just over six hours.
    More Details Hide Details Dupree immediately gave him a life sentence for each of the murders, to be served consecutively. He also revoked his bail. Soon after the verdict, he 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 invited author Joe McGinniss to write a book about the case. McGinniss was given full access to him and the defense during the trial. He expected that the book would be about his innocence in the murders of his family. However, McGinniss' book, Fatal Vision, first published in the spring of 1983, portrayed him as "a narcissistic sociopath" who was indeed guilty of killing his family.
    More Details Hide Details It contains excerpts from court transcripts and sections entitled "The Voice of Jeffrey MacDonald," which were based on tape recordings he made following his conviction. MacDonald subsequently sued McGinniss in 1987 for fraud, claiming that McGinniss pretended to believe him innocent after he came to the conclusion that he was guilty, in order that he continue cooperating with him. After a trial, which resulted in a mistrial on August 21, 1987, they settled out of court for $325,000 on November 23, 1987.
  • 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.
    More Details Hide Details The murder trial began on July 16, 1979 in the Federal courthouse 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 Dupree refused a defense request to admit into evidence a psychiatric evaluation of MacDonald, which suggested that someone of his personality type was unable to kill his family. 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. During the first day of the trial, Dupree allowed the prosecution to admit into evidence the 1970 copy of Esquire Magazine, found in the MacDonald house, part of which contained the lengthy article of the Manson Family murders in August 1969. Prosecutors 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.
  • 1975
    On July 29, 1975, District Judge Franklin T. Dupree, Jr. denied his 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.
    More Details Hide Details 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 May 23, 1975, he was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the murders.
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    On January 31, 1975, he was freed on $100,000 bail pending disposition of the charges.
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    A grand jury in North Carolina indicted MacDonald on January 24, 1975, and within the hour he was arrested in California.
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  • 1974
    On April 30, 1974, after much persistence in pursuing the prosecution of MacDonald, Freddie and Mildred Kassab, aided by Peter Kearns, and the Kassabs' attorney Richard C. Cahn of Huntington, New York, presented a citizen's criminal complaint against MacDonald to U.S. Chief District Court Judge Algernon Butler, requesting the convening of a grand jury to indict him for the murders.
    More Details Hide Details As a result of the complaint, a grand jury was convened on August 12, 1974. Justice Department attorney Victor Worheide presented the case to the grand jury, and U.S. District Judge Franklin Dupree was assigned to oversee the hearing.
  • 1972
    He filed the citizen's complaint in early 1972, but it was held in limbo because the three murders happened while he was serving in the U.S. Army, and since he was no longer with the Army, the citizen's complaint was declared moot.
    More Details Hide Details Between 1972 and 1974, the case remained trapped in limbo within the files of the Justice Department as they struggled over whether or not to prosecute.
  • 1970
    He also made contradictory and at times outlandish claims; in one instance in November 1970, MacDonald told Kassab that he and some Army friends had actually tracked down, tortured, and eventually murdered one of the alleged killers of his family, but refused to provide details about who the person was or what he might have told MacDonald.
    More Details Hide Details He later claimed that it was a lie to try to put to rest Kassab's persistence about finding his stepdaughter's killers. Once Kassab finally received a copy of the Article 32 hearing transcript (after lengthy evasions by MacDonald), he noted numerous inconsistencies in MacDonald's testimony. One example was his assertion that he had sustained near-life-threatening injuries during the alleged assault on him; Kassab saw him in the hospital less than 18 hours after the attack and found him sitting up in bed, eating a meal, and with very little in the way of bandages or dressing. In March 1971, in company with U.S. Army investigators, Kassab visited the crime scene for several hours in order to test the physical evidence against MacDonald's testimony. His work convinced him that MacDonald himself had committed the crimes. Since the Army's investigation was completed, the only way that Kassab could bring him to trial was via a citizen's complaint through the Justice Department.
    He also made media appearances, most notably on the December 15, 1970 episode of The Dick Cavett Show, during which he made jokes and complained about the investigation and its focus on him as a suspect.
    More Details Hide Details During this time Freddie Kassab, MacDonald's stepfather-in-law, turned against him. Initially, he was one of his supporters and testified in support of his innocence during the Article 32 hearing; however, his support lessened after MacDonald's appearance on The Dick Cavett Show. His support continued to erode after MacDonald refused to provide him with a transcript of the Article 32 hearing.
    An initial Army Article 32 hearing into MacDonald's possible guilt, overseen by Colonel Warren Rock, convened on July 5, 1970 and ran through September.
    More Details Hide Details He 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 a woman named Helena Stoeckley. Segal presented evidence that the C.I.D. had not properly managed the crime scene and lost several items of critical evidence, including the four torn tips of rubber surgical gloves found in the master bedroom, and a single layer of skin found under one of Colette's fingernails. In addition, he claimed to have located Helena Stoeckley, the woman whom MacDonald claimed to have seen in his apartment during the murders. Stoeckley was a well-known drug user in the area who was known to socialize frequently with other heavy drug users, including Army veteran Greg Mitchell, her some-time boyfriend. Witnesses claimed that Stoeckley had admitted involvement in the crimes, and several remembered her wearing clothing similar to what MacDonald had described.
    On April 6, 1970, Army investigators interrogated MacDonald.
    More Details Hide Details Less than a month later, on May 1, the Army formally charged him with the murder of his family.
    At 3:42am on February 17, 1970, dispatchers at Fort Bragg received an emergency phone call from MacDonald, who reported a "stabbing."
    More Details Hide Details Four responding military police officers arrived at his house located at 544 Castle Drive, initially believing that they were being called to settle a domestic disturbance. They found the front door closed and locked and the house dark inside. When no one answered the door, they circled to the back of the house, where they found the back screen door closed and unlocked but wide open. Upon entering, they found Colette, Kimberly, and Kristen all dead in their respective bedrooms. Colette, who was pregnant with her third child and first son, was lying on the floor of her bedroom. She had been repeatedly clubbed (both her arms were broken) and stabbed 21 times with an ice pick and 16 times with a knife. MacDonald's torn pajama top was draped upon her chest. On the headboard of her bed, the word "pig" was written in blood.
  • 1969
    He was assigned to the Green Berets as a Group Surgeon to the 3rd Special Forces Group in September 1969.
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    He joined the Army on July 1, 1969 and the entire family moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he held the rank of Captain.
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  • 1964
    After attending Princeton for three years, MacDonald and his family moved to Chicago in 1964, where he was accepted to Northwestern University Medical School.
    More Details Hide Details Their second child, Kristen, was born on May 8, 1967. The following year, upon his graduation from medical school, he completed an internship at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.
  • 1963
    On September 14, 1963, upon learning she was pregnant with his child, they married.
    More Details Hide Details Their daughter, Kimberly, was born on April 18, 1964.
  • 1943
    Born in 1943.
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