Jeffrey MacDonald, a green beret and doctor who was convicted 33 years ago in the stabbing and beating deaths of his pregnant wife and two daughters, will be back in court on Monday as a judge considers new evidence that may prove his innocence.
The 68-year-old, who is serving three life sentences, will be eligible for parole in 2020, however supporters are hoping new DNA evidence, which was not available at the time of his conviction, as well as witness testimony, will exonerate him.
"The case has bothered me for years," said Errol Morris, a former private detective and author of "A Wilderness of Error," a book examining MacDonald's case.
"The trial in and of itself was a terrible miscarriage of justice. He's been asking for three decades for someone to listen to all the evidence and this will be the first time that that has happened," Morris said.
On Feb. 17, 1970, MacDonald said he woke up on his sofa in his North Carolina home to find drugged-up hippies-- three men and a woman-- beating his pregnant wife, Colette, and their two daughters, 5-year-old Kimberley and 2-year-old Kristen.
The word "Pig" was written in blood on the headboard in MacDonald's bedroom.
The gruesome murders, which came months after details of the Manson Family murders were revealed, captivated the nation and eventually spawned a best selling book, "Fatal Vision," and a 1984 television mini-series.
Freddy Kassab, MacDonald's father-in-law, initially stood by him following the murders, however over time his confidence in MacDonald's story faded. He pushed for charges to be brought against his son-in-law.
MacDonald was convicted in 1979, nine years after the slayings.
In a letter provided to the Associated Press from 2000, MacDonald wrote to his new wife, Kathryn: "It would be a dishonor to their memory to compromise the truth and 'admit' to something I didn't do — no matter how long it takes."
Now, nearly 33 years to the day he was convicted, MacDonald may have a solid opportunity to clear his name.
- Crime & Justice
- Politics & Government
- Jeffrey MacDonald
- Errol Morris