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Jeffrey you remember? GRAPHIC CRIME SCENE!
here comes another book. anyone here recall the case? it was pretty awful and a huge story. right up there with Manson murders. i am not buying what this author is selling. see the interview on 60 Minutes, next post. what do you think?


New York (CNN) -- Before O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony, before Scott Peterson, Amanda Knox and the cottage industry of cable news legal pundits, there was the shocking case of Jeffrey MacDonald.

Ten years after his pregnant wife and two young daughters were butchered in their home in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, MacDonald was convicted of the killings and sentenced to life in prison. While a jury was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of MacDonald's guilt, many people were still left with one lingering question: Did he really do it?

The drama surrounding the heinous crimes and the subsequent trial fascinated the public for decades. It sparked controversial best-selling books, an immensely popular television miniseries and an explosive "60 Minutes" interview that was watched by tens of millions of viewers.

Today, more than 40 years after the murders, questions are still being raised about MacDonald's guilt.

"We've been sold a bill of goods about this case," said filmmaker Errol Morris. "It's as phony as a three dollar bill."

Morris, an Academy Award-winning documentary director whose acclaimed movies include "The Fog of War" and "The Thin Blue Line," has made that opinion the centerpiece of a new investigative book, "A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald." At more than 500 pages, it aims to prove that an innocent man is in prison.

"The evidence is neither clear nor convincing," Morris told CNN. "There are many things about this case that rub me the wrong way, but principal among them was how the jury was asked to make decisions about his guilt or innocence with incomplete evidence, evidence that was withheld, corrupted and suppressed."

Flawed forensic analysis, a contaminated crime scene, damaged and destroyed evidence and an effort to bury a confession all contributed to a miscarriage of justice, according to Morris.

"This has nagged me for so many years, "Morris said. "I felt I should do something."

What is not in dispute is what happened at 544 Castle Drive in the early morning hours of February 17, 1970. Military police officers responding to a call from MacDonald found his wife, Colette, beaten and stabbed to death in the master bedroom; the couple's two daughters, Kimberly, 5, and Kristen, 3, were in their beds, also stabbed to death.

MacDonald, who was wounded with two stab wounds and a collapsed lung, told investigators that he was sleeping on the couch when he heard screaming. He said he awoke to find in his home three men and one woman, who he described as having blond hair and wearing a floppy hat. They were chanting "kill the pigs" and "acid's groovy" before attacking him, MacDonald told the investigators.

MacDonald and his claim of killer hippies made headlines around the country. They also turned him into a prime focus of the investigation.

"The story is so bizarre and unlikely and it might actually be true," said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. "It seems too preposterous on its face that a smart guy might have come up with something better, which raises the possibility that it might actually be true."

What is absolutely certain is that a military inquiry into the murders recommended MacDonald not be court-martialed, citing a lack of evidence. MacDonald was granted an honorable discharge.

He moved to Southern California, where he practiced medicine. But the case against him was far from over. In 1975, a grand jury indicted MacDonald for the murders. He was ultimately convicted in 1979 and sentenced to life in prison.

"He is almost the definition of an unlikely murder suspect," said Toobin. "Princeton graduate, medical doctor, Green Beret, these are the kinds of credentials we associate with people at the top of the heap in this country, not convicted murderers."

Was MacDonald the victim of injustice or a manipulative, cold-blooded killer? "Fatal Vision," the 1983 book on the case by Joe McGinniss, portrayed MacDonald as a cunning sociopath.

Asked to comment on "Wilderness of Error," McGinniss issued the following statement to CNN:

"Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted of the murders of his wife and two young daughters in 1979. In all the years since, every court that has considered the case -- including the United States Supreme Court -- has upheld that verdict in every aspect. MacDonald is guilty not simply beyond a reasonable doubt, but beyond any doubt."

A key figure in Morris' bid to show MacDonald is innocent is Helena Stoeckley, the woman who confessed to being in the home the night of the murders. Stoeckley, who had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and who died in 1983, testified that she had no involvement in the murders. Morris said she was encouraged by a prosecutor to alter her testimony.

"Stoeckley was crucial to the defense case because she gave us reason to believe that MacDonald was telling the truth," Morris said. "But if you cut her out of the story by pressuring her to change her story, you are going to change the outcome of the trial."

James Blackburn, the prosecutor who MacDonald said threatened Stoeckley, would not comment on the charge because of pending litigation.

"I was the prosecutor in the case, and I did that job to the best of my ability," Blackburn told CNN. "I did it in great reliance of the evidence the government had and we presented an honorable case and it was straightforward and it was based on good and competent evidence. And I agree with the jury's verdict."

Today, MacDonald, who will be 69 in October, still has his believers. In addition to Morris, they include Hammond A. Beale, who served as a legal adviser during the Fort Bragg military inquiry into the murders.

"I think those of us that are on the side that believes he is totally innocent can't believe this happened," Beale said. "This guy has not only lost his wife and kids but loses his career and ends up in prison for the rest of his life. That's horrendous."

"The army got it right, the federal courts royally screwed it up," Beale added. "I don't think this will ever go away until justice is done."

Morris doubts the conviction will be overturned. Still, he is hopeful MacDonald will one day be freed from custody.

"It's a principle of fairness," Morris said. "You don't want to convict an innocent man."

i did find this book credible:

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the 60 Minutes video:

It was a chilling crime that stunned the nation: Jeffrey MacDonald, a Green Beret doctor, convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in 1970. Mike Wallace interviews MacDonald in prison, along with Joe McGinnis, the author of a book on the case.

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FBI photo of alleged wound (scar) of Jeffrey MacDonald:

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Oh my God. Those pictures are heartbreaking. I don't know what to think about Mac's guilt or innocence. I would have to read more. I do find it interesting that the Army didn't feel he was guilty though.
Devil Money Stealing Aunt Smiley_emoticons_fies
there is a LOT to the story.
her parents were instrumental in having him charged and tried.
they had dated as teens. she was pregnant when murdered.
he said hippies came in and attacked them. while he was sleeping on couch.

Colette's parents, the Kassabs.

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Sketch of so-called "female intruder"
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Kimberley, Kristen and Colette's gravesites prior to name change

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Kimberley and Kristen's grave site after name changed

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Freddy and Mildred Kassab and Edward C. Stevenson's (Colette and Bobby's father and Mildred's first husband) grave sites

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Colette's grave site after name changed

LC, this has always been a facsinating case, although, now that I see the brutality of what was done to those little girls, I'm sick to my stomach.

As a seasoned LEO, what's your professional take?

Do they have the right man?
i never found his story credible or convincing. he rode on the wave of the Sharon Tate/manson murders horror, and subsequent public fear of "hippies". i don't feel like going into all the tons of evidence right now, but there is plenty on the web. recommended book: Fatal Vision. post 1.

those wounds were from an icepick.

To me the case really dismissed facts about the woman in the floppy hat. McDonald described her while being tended to immediately at the scene. She was witnessed in the area the night of the murders by MP's responding to the scene. She then came forward, and was dismissed. Seems damn odd to me.

Add to that lost evidence by a poorly equipped CID team, hairs in the hands and under the fingernails of the murdered children than belonged to no one in the house, and an author (McGinniss) who had to settle a lawsuit with a guilty criminal... well, there is enough weird stuff with this case to think maybe an innocent guy went to prison.

McDonald may not be a nice guy, but he may have been railroaded as well.
i agree with looking at all the evidence dispassionately, not reading slanted/biased items.

"She then came forward, and was dismissed".

because she was a local whackjob junkie who could not tell the same version of anything twice.

"hairs in the hands and under the fingernails of the murdered children" THAT i have to research.

(09-08-2012, 05:05 PM)Lady Cop Wrote: i agree with looking at all the evidence dispassionately, not reading slanted/biased items.

"She then came forward, and was dismissed".

because she was a local whackjob junkie who could not tell the same version of anything twice.

Sounds like MacDonald may have known about her being on/around the Post, and conveniently used that knowledge when forming his story.

I think he's guilty. Always have.
She was also used as an informant by the local and military PD...

Whatever. I have no dog in the hunt on this LC. I just think that there was enough shoddy work done at the crime scene that he might not have been lying.

He's still an arrogant SOB however.
Odd that these marauding murdering hippies were so clever as to never be found, and also apparently never attacked any family ever again?

And chanting "acid's groovy" - GMAB!

I've always thought he was guilty.
OJ killed once and never killed again.
(09-08-2012, 06:57 PM)Jimbone Wrote: OJ killed once and never killed again.

twice actually.

and i don't have a dog in this fight either, i simply believe jeff did it. horrible as it is to comprehend.

he MAY have been doing speed and/or other drugs then.

and those murders were crimes of passion, frenzied, personal, up close. no stranger did that to those babies.

My dad, an obstetrician worked side by side with MacDonald at a hospital in Long Beach back in the 70's.
I was fascinated with this case from the beginning and read Fatal Vision. (I love how the author was sued by MacDonald as he truly believed during the interviews McGuiness was 'on his side', so to speak. In some ways the author did
start out that way but like the murder victim's father, turned on the evidence).

It's a true narcissist who can hang on to his "innocence" decades later even though he knows he's not fooling anyone that is close to the case.
I read Fatal Vision years ago and then Fatal Justice. After reading the first, FVision, I was convinced MacDonald was guilty. Then when I finished the second one, FJustice, I had a completely different opinion. This case has always frustrated me. I cannot state conclusively that he is innocent or guilty. If guilty, then he definitely deserves what he is getting; however, if innocent, what a miscarriage of justice for him. I am more inclined to believe he is an innocent man. Will we ever know?

From Wikipedia: (concerning three unidentified hairs at the scene)

DNA testing

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]

His appeal of the circuit court's decision is currently under consideration by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
My parents knew him while my Daddy was in the miltary and stationed in FB. I don't always agree with my Mom, who is a retired detective but I believe she is mostly right about a lot of criminal cases. She never believed he did this. But she has always believed he had someone do it for him.
i'd love to discuss case with your Mom Tammy!

but i would respectfully disagree that he hired/recruited someone. these kinds of vicious savage attacks on children especially are not typical of a hired killer. they are typical of someone close to the victims. it was personal without a doubt. hired killers usually do a clean fast job. of course it was supposed to be murdering hippies like manson followers. it takes a "special" person to butcher little babies.

why was jeffrey left with no wounds and the family hacked to pieces?
his chest wound was made by someone (a doctor?) who knew how and where to cut.

This is the first time I have seen the crime scene photos. There was some rage going on there. If [someone] wanted to kill the wife and kids they could have just slit their throats with a butcher knife. Why all the overkill? What was the killer so angry about? His wife having another child when he just wanted to be free of her and their kids?

In this case the kids were hacked to death with an icepick and the Green Beret was superficially wounded. (Non withstanding the collapsed lung, which a doctor would know how to do so it wasn't fatal.) It's tough for me to buy it. It reminds me of Diane Downs and her gunshot wound to the arm when her kids were critically shot (one fatally) by the "Bushy Haired stranger". If a random person(s) did the crime, they would take out the biggest threat first, no?

As for the unidentified hairs, we each pick-up hair, skin cells, saliva and other random bits and pieces of those we associate with every day. These hairs could have been from daily life.
(09-10-2012, 05:12 PM)Lady Cop Wrote:
why was jeffrey left with no wounds and the family hacked to pieces?
his chest wound was made by someone (a doctor?) who knew how and where to cut.

That totally reminds me of Diana Downs!

I know my Mom would love to relive glory days but 10 yrs ago she had a couple of strokes and this summer she had bypass surgery (ummmm, Detectives don't have AnY stress on them do they, especially females?...) but I know once she gets closer to recovering, I will definitely share this site with her!