Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Green Beret Physician’s Appeal Of Murder Convictions, Set For A Hearing
Richmond, VA—After four decades, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond will hear arguments in 66-year-old Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald's case on Tuesday.
McDonald was convicted after a horribly botched military police investigation of the murders of his wife Collette, 26 and his daughters Kimberly, six and Kirstin, two.
The key physical evidence that convicted McDonald was a hair found in Kimberly McDonald’s fingernail that experts claimed belonged to her father Jeffery at the trial.
New DNA evidence indicates the hair was excluded as comming from any member of the McDonald family.
The Army CID was rife with incompetence back then and they did not have today’s modern investigative tools. The high profile case spun out of control and the investigation taken over by McDonald’s now deceased father-in-law and various politicians. Getting McDonald convicted became a cause celeb that generated publicity, a book, movie and lots of revenue.
The murders of McDonald’s wife and children were unimaginable and compared to the gruesome Manson Family slaughters in Los Angeles. There was evidence of a band of hippies being involved, a confession from a member of that group and allegations by a Deputy United States Marshall of witness tampering by prosecutors during the trial.
McDaonald was a handsome fellow with a roving eye for the ladies and fell to temptation as so many others have done. Prosecutors turned that into a motive for murder. Infidelity plagues American marriages but murder, thankfully is rarely involved in such relationships.
McDonald has been serving three life terms in federal prison and finally defense evidence may yet see the light of day. Witness that could of and should have given testimony for the defense have since died and admitting their hearsay but sworn statement into evidence will be difficult if not impossible now.
In addition to defense arguments there is the issue of some very real DNA evidence connected to that single hair that prosecutors have kept buried for many years.
McDonald Brief July 20 2009