The tale of the Green Beret physician, who has steadfastly maintained over the decades, not he but a cohort of free-spirited bohemians intoning ‘acid is enchanting, eliminate the swine,’ savagely claimed the lives of his wife and two tender daughters, is poised to endure within the hallowed halls of justice.
Jeffrey MacDonald, now at the age of 70, endures a lifetime of confinement for the grim demise of his pregnant spouse and his pair of daughters, whose lives were tragically extinguished on the 17th of February, 1970, within the sanctum of their familial abode nestled in Fort Bragg.
In spite of the most recent repudiation by the judiciary concerning his asseverations of innocence, along with an entreaty for a fresh trial, his legal representative, Gordon Widenhouse, declared on a Friday, ‘Further legal proceedings are impending.’
MacDonald, whose conviction transpired in the year 1979, a brief respite experienced in 1980, only to be ensnared once again in 1982, has steadfastly clung to his claim of innocence across the span of the past 44 years.
A handcuffed Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald is led away from Federal Court in Raleigh on Wednesday, August 28, 1979 after a jury found him guilty of one count of first degree murder and the two count of of second degree murder
Grounded upon a deliberation that was convened nearly two years prior, Judge James C. Fox repudiated both MacDonald’s assertion of innocence and his plea for redress. ‘…the court discerns that MacDonald has not substantiated, by lucid and compelling testimony, that no judicious fact-finder would have arrived at a verdict of culpability for the slaying of his wife and daughters…’ Fox inscribed, appending that MacDonald ‘fell short of substantiating any purported plea of absolute innocence.’ During that momentous hearing, the legal counsel for MacDonald underscored the exclusion of Helena Stoeckley, who gave her testimony during MacDonald’s trial, from any involvement in the homicides, contending she was unaware of her whereabouts at the juncture when Colette MacDonald, the five-year-old Kimberley, and the two-year-old Kristen met their tragic fates.
Her legal advocate, Jerry Leonard, deposed during the 2012 hearing that Stoeckley, who met her demise in 1983, conveyed two variant chronicles: one delineating her absence from the domicile, and the other asserting her presence, albeit uninvolved in the malevolent transpirations. ‘We are undeniably disheartened by Judge Fox’s negation of our pleas for redress, as we harbored the belief that we had introduced plausible substantiation, which had eluded the purview of the jury during the trial, especially the revelations emanating from Helena Stoeckley. We were convinced that these disclosures could have potentially altered the outcome, considering the circumstantial case mounted by the prosecution during the trial,’ lamented Widenhouse.
Former family man: This 1969 photo shows Jeffrey MacDonald and his wife Colette in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A year later, a pregnant Colette and her two daughters were brutally slain
U.S. Attorney Thomas Walker divulged in a press release that MacDonald must procure consent from the esteemed 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to launch an appeal against Fox’s verdict.
The legal team representing MacDonald postulated further that novel evidence, including DNA extracted from the domicile, a genetic blueprint incongruent with that of MacDonald or his kin, lent validation to MacDonald’s assertions. Additionally, they proffered witness testimonies that expounded upon statements rendered by a retired U.S. marshal, now deceased, insinuating that a prosecutor coerced Stoeckley into mendacity while testifying under oath.
Judge Fox posited that the declarations of the marshal were apt to be ‘fabrications or convoluted recollections,’ a perspective that cast doubt on their reliability. The DNA evidentiary matter, according to the judge, ‘fails to exhibit unequivocally and persuasively the unblemished innocence of MacDonald.’
Bob Stevenson, the sibling of Colette MacDonald, divulged on a Friday his profound gratification with Judge Fox’s pronouncement. He expressed minimal surprise at MacDonald’s resolve to persist in pursuing the case, articulating, ‘I am cognizant that the saga will not culminate until either his demise or mine.’
The tragic slayings within the MacDonald family instilled a sense of foreboding within the community, transpiring but a few months after the atrocities committed by the acolytes of Charles Manson in California, where ‘pig’ was inscribed in blood upon the threshold of the residence housing the thespian Sharon Tate and four other hapless souls. Similar to the Manson murders, the carnage within the MacDonald household gave rise to literary works, the most eminent among them being ‘Fatal Vision.’
Penned by the scribe Joe McGinness, this tome – and the subsequent miniseries that took inspiration from it – culminated in the asseveration of MacDonald’s culpability. In the lead-up to the 2012 hearing for MacDonald, the documentarian Errol Morris unveiled ‘A Wilderness of Error,’ a volume that propounded the notion of MacDonald being denied an impartial trial, casting aspersions on his guilt.