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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s arguably one of North Carolina’s biggest murder trials of all time. Monday it was put back in the spotlight several decades after Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two little girls.

MacDonald, an ex-Green Beret doctor is asking a judge to grant him a new trial in light of new evidence his attorney says will prove his innocence 33 years after being convicted. Monday was his first day back in court in the Port City.

68-year MacDonald, who is currently serving three life sentences, may get a chance to prove he did not murder his wife Collete and two daughters, one five and the other two years old back in 1970. His defense attorney, Gordon Widenhouse, hopes the judge will consider new DNA evidence several strands of hair found at the scene and on the victim’s bodies.

“We thing the judge is being very attentive and patient with everybody and we feel like our evidence is coming in the way we want it to,” Widenhouse says. “So we’re very pleased at this time.”

Wade Smith, a defense attorney for MacDonald during the 1979 trial, testified Monday. Smith told the court that in January 2005 federal marshal Jimmy Britt told him he heard Helena Stoeckley say she was threatened by the prosecutor.

“He heard prosecutors threaten Helena Stoeckley,” says Errol Morris, author of ‘A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald.'”This is the crucial defense witness in 1979 threaten by the prosecution.”

Smith says Britt, who died in 2008, told him Stoeckley, a police informant and witness in the case, was in the house the night of the murders. And that the prosecutor told Stoeckley she’d be charged with murder if she repeated that story in court.

The hearing will continue Tuesday morning. It could last a few weeks and the judge will ultimately have to decide if it is worth re-examining the case.

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27 Comments on "MacDonald returns to court in ‘Fatal Vision’ case"

2015 years 10 months ago

be specific. If you were serving aboard an air base or missle base, they were secure. If you were serving aboard a nuclear sub, their morring areas were secure. If you were serving aboard Bragg or LeJeune, in the 1970s, they were easy on and easy off.

All a question of where you served.

2015 years 10 months ago

I’m not going to disagree with you but I was in served in the military prior to the 1970’s and I saw no open bases as you describe. Again I won’t disagree with you….maybe the rules were relaxed after I left the military in 1965.

Guest 36
2015 years 10 months ago

It was covered that this actual base at the time of the murders was open to the public if you will. Anyone could come on base.

Also, someone commented on how Hippies would stand out on a military base….. It was the middle of the night…. and Jeffs sketches…. all the men had short hair so they could have just looked like military personal in street clothes.

Dont get me wrong, I dont believe him… I think he did it.

But i put that on the facts that can not be blamed on a cover up, tampering, etc.

I base my belive that he is guily around his claims of doing CPR.

He stated himself he tried on all 3 victims TWICE. Transcripts state this, taped video interviews stated this.

And I have posted this several times and have had no one offer an explanation. So the only conclusion is that he lied about doing CPR. And if he lied about trying to save his family, there must be more to this story. He did not want them to survive. And since a Dr and a Father would by instinct feel the need to save them, had he not been the one to end their lives, he would have tried with all his might.

So here are the issues that sold me on his guilt….

How did he move the bodies to the right position and arch the neck with his hands to perform CPR on 3 people twice yet leave no bloody hand prints anywhere in the house?
***Jeff said he did this. So he can not argue against it. And I dont care who you are, if your family is dying and you really tried to save them, the blood involved in these murders was extensive and he would have been covered, hands, mouth etc. FACT. Yet the place was basically spotless outside the beds in the kids rooms. Not possible. And look the the crime scene photos of the manson murders. they did not neatly kill them leaving in one place.

Then, how did he perform CPR on a bed? I am CPR certified, I was told they must be on a hard flat surface. Being a dr, he for sure knew this. We know they were not moved as there would have been blood all over. A blood pattern of him sliding them from the bed to the floor and the floor. He never said he moved them to the floor. And, there was no sliding blood pattern (fact and that would not have been able to be cleaned up as it would stain) and while there was nothing on the floor, I will not address that as it could have been cleaned up. So again, no one can aruge the first points….Unless Jeff did not tell the truth

The bodies of the children were at one point on their sides (FACT, we have photos). Yet to do CPR as Jeff states, they would have been rolled to their backs (still not a hard surface but Ill focus just on this point here). The blood stains would have been in 2 places on the bedding and the mattress. It was not. We have photos of the bedding, the kids in the bed and the mattress. No one can even state that someone could have “cleaned up”. The blood stains would not have been cleaned up from the bed as it would have stained the same way the other blood spots left permanant stains.

And my last issue. Jeff has stated many times, documented FACT that he struggled to breath. Even at one point could not catch his breath and had to crawl. So, have any of you ever been short of breath, asthma, a bad cold? I have been. I could not blow enough air into another human being to attempt to inflate their lungs one time, must less 6 (3 bodies and 2 attempts each). Had Jeff stated he “tried but was unable to get enough air” that would have been a much better defense. But he has never stated this. Just that he did blow air into their lungs and saw bubbbles come out of each persons lungs thru the wounds. Even said he saw this in the youngest yet she had no wounds in her chest.

The man lied.

That is a fact that can no be argued based on this evidence. The blood stains would have “stained” and no tampering would have been possible to remove those stains in the bedding and the mattress.

The rest, can be argued. But blood STAINS can not.

And if he lied about trying to save his family he loved, a father, husband and a doctor…. then you must ask why. And I do not see any reason he would have other than he did not want them to live.

So what other conclusion could you have?

Anyone that feels they can explain, I would love your opinion. I have posted this many places and not once has anyone replied with anything that could explain my points.

I did email the site that claims to give Jeff himself all the questions and asked these questions. I have not yet had a reply, but I am eager to see if I get one, and if my questions are answered directly or if I get the run around response. If I get any response, i will share.

2015 years 10 months ago

OK, Tom you’re probably right….I was stationed in Long Beach, CA aboard an aircraft carrier but visited many bases/ports in the western pacific, again I was discharged from the Navy in 1965. Thanks.

2015 years 10 months ago

I do believe there were reports of them being seen in the area. However, they wanted to blame everything on the Doctor and they did. The Military Police did a very bad job in processing the crime scene and they needed to find someone to blame it on. It was funny that the military court turned him loose and then he was tried again in civilian court.

2015 years 10 months ago

most military bases were open with very few entry restrictions. Held true until after 09/11 when many bases, including LeJuene, placed severe entry restrictions.

So back then, yes they could have been wandering around.

2015 years 10 months ago

I believe in McDonald’s innocence, I always have. You are right about a prosecutor who lies. In a documentary title “The Thin Blue Line” when Randall Adams was convicted of a murder he didn’t commit. I will ALWAYS remember this line, “Any prosecutor can convict a guilty man, but it takes a really good prosecutor to convict an innocent man.” This is a travesty. He should be freed.

2015 years 10 months ago

So you think hes innocent…. then explain how he performed CPR while struggling to breath. Not once, but 6 times since he stated he tried on all 3 victims twice.

There are not double blood stains to account for the bodies being moved. There is no way on earth either if he moved them to perform CPR (not to mention is should be done on a hard surface and both girls were in bed)he would have been covered in blood. Their necks faces were drenched, and when you have wounds like that, they would have blood in their mouths. It would have been IMPOSSIBLE for him to attempt CPR, yet not be so covered in blood that it was not dripping all over the floors, on the walls, on the beds where he was pushing himself up. And the blood would be mixed. All 3 victims blood types would be on all 3 victims. That was not the case.

Regardless of any tampering that may have been done if you belive that…. you can not deny the lack of blood.

Jeff himself stated many times he attempted CPR. Yet again….. CPR needs to be done on a hard surface. Why did he not move their bodies to the ground. He would have to adjust the necks, put his mouth on theirs. His hands and face BOTH would be covered in blood. COVERED.

It would be dripping off his face and body. IT would be all over the floor, the walls, the bed.

This was not the case. Look at the blood stains.

This was clean for the most part.

Outside the blanket that clearly shows his wife and kims bodies were wrapped in it at one time…. the kids rooms are clean other than where the bodies were and then the one foot print.

This man was not trying to save his family. Had he tried, the bloood would be everywhere.

Anything else is up for debate, but this man himself stated over and over and over that he tried twice to save his family.

It is clear he is lying. A man would not lie about trying to save his family unless he didnt want them saved.

This is so obvious it amazes me that it was never mentioned in court.

Dr HM Giao
2015 years 10 months ago

Hi, Tom,

Not to quibble, but as a long time resident of New York I must point out that McDonald’s lawyer, Bernard L. Segal, was from Philadelphia when he began working on the case at the Army hearing. He later relocated to San Francisco to teach law and resided there when he was retained by McDonald for the grand jury and the trial.

2015 years 10 months ago

I stand corrected on his Yankee origin. But the fact remains he spoke far longer than had been planned; never could succeed in getting Dr McDonald to display some grief over the loss of his loved ones; and even the author conceded McDonald had a good chance of walking had Wade Smith been granted his portion of time for the closing argument.

Sorry, but Mr Segal, regardless of his state of origin did not come across as was needed.

2015 years 10 months ago

an Obama supporter :)

2015 years 10 months ago

This just goes to show you the average tea-bagger has absolutely not one iota of intelligence. Please tell me the tenuous string you use to connect the two.

2015 years 10 months ago

is unfounded. I mean you.

2015 years 10 months ago

Grocery store firebomb, the Wilmington 10 arrests, Jeffrey Macdonald cases were within a short time span of each other shortly after National Guard and police fired on a civil rights protest in Greensboro at NC A&T killing a student; as well as the Richard Nixon impeachment committee all have in common the same persons in power in North Carolina.

2015 years 10 months ago

you mean him and not I.

2015 years 10 months ago

Another very important case was transpiring at the same time these murders happened: did Green Beret Jeffrey MacDonald think he could get away with murder, with the rest of the state deeply embroiled in school segregation firebombing wars and prominate U S Senators distracted by their own power battles? http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/workshops/civilrights1/timeline3.htm
MacDonald timeline http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/timeline-events-jeffrey-macdonald-case-17244401

January 29, 1957 news archive Pg. 18 http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1454&dat=19570129&id=K2dgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=9XENAAAAIBAJ&pg=3758,4863855
Pre-cursor civil rights battles and 1.3 Billion money grab – North Carolina’s United States Senators Sam Ervin and Alton Lennon’s
state-controlled school integration battles leading up the the Wilmington Ten imprisonment
In North Carolina United States Democratic Senators Alton A. Lennon and Sam Ervin partnered together and
fought together on the Federal school
‘integration’ requirement whilst trying to find a loophole to still accept the 1.3 Billion
Federal Government money they desperately needed for North Carolina
public schools; with NO african-american student ‘integration’ strings attached
{Sam Ervin quote “all efforts to tie in integration” with the school aid program “must be aggressively and successfully
fought in Congress and by the states”
It became increasingly hostile and the President Eisenhower had to send the US Military into 1 southern state to protect
school children; where their Governor had lauched his State’s National Guard to be posted at schools; to prevent African-Americans
from attending.

2015 years 10 months ago

were you doing drugs when you wrote that?

The murders took place in 1970; he ws finally tried and convicted in 1979 or 1980.

Eisenhower was President; however he left office in 1960.

How in the world are the two connected?

2015 years 10 months ago

Hippy’s ..they would have stood out like a sore thumb wandering around military base housing looking for drugs.Far different scenario than wandering around party mansions in California.He has the ultimate narcissist mind who believes his version of truth is so superior that everyone will believe him.

2015 years 10 months ago

This guy is not guilty. It is sad he has had his life taken from him while rotting in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Cyn Rich
2015 years 10 months ago

I believe in our justice system but this man is pushing both its limits and all of my buttons.
I’ve followed this case since it hit the news, even before “Fatal Vision” was released as a book.
Yes, I will grant you that the book seemed biased but that changes none of the facts.
The facts remain solid and damning because Jeff McDonald executed his entire family. The facts are irrefutable.
Now our court system is going to yet once again be clogged with the “good” doctor who’s cried wolf from day one allegedly producing new (new?) DNA evidence.
Fine. Let’s see it.
I have been wrong before but not often and not when I have studied something this closely and have formed an opinion with total conviction.
He killed his family.
Should be “Case closed” but then, as I stated earlier — I support our justice system…. which allows any vomitous, cretinous malignant and repulsive tumor on the ass of society his day(s) in court even if they have become ad infinitum, ad nauseum………

2015 years 10 months ago

Most of the crime cases I’ve read about that have this extreme violence (overkill), where even the children are killed savagely, are usually committed by a family member who flies into a rage. I’ve always believed McDonald killed his wife and kids, and I still do. To me, believing that hippies broke into his house and killed everyone but him is just ridiculous.

Jim Green
2015 years 10 months ago

Friend—you are “ridiculous” if you think the system is infallible—that prosecutors would not lie, rather than admit that they made a mistake—The strongest evidence of MacDonald’s innocence is what he has said all along “Where is his motive”? If Dr. MacDonald had taken out $2 million in life insurance on his wife and children a week before—a motive would be glaring—but NO motive exists in this case! Further, are you saying we don’t have hippies who would commit a “copycat” murder? You are naïve—but consider this: If MacDonald is innocent, and I believe he is—can you think of a more heinous crime being committed by a “civilized” society—we have taken 32 years of his life, accused him of a horrible crime—and as a society we lost the benefit of a medical doctor! Finally, innocent people do not close the door to parole—if they would just admit their guilt—because they are innocent! See: THE HARVARD BOYS CLUB, on Amazon/Kindle

2015 years 10 months ago

Coincindentily, I just finished reading “Fatal Vision” by Joe McGuiness.

I don’t know whether or not he’s guilty. But I do know that both the military, and civilian investigators made many mistakes during the investigation. The crime scene was imeediately compromised.

There was enough reasonable doubt during his trial to drive a truck through. He was granted a new trial once already.

Were it not for his wife’s father, this case would have never gone to trial. He spent his life persuing justice for his daughter.

Had the investigation been conducted properly, we wouldn’t be here, thirty years later, spending public money to determine his guilt again.

2015 years 10 months ago

the author, as well as others conceded two issues hurt McDonald’s case.

One was his arrogant demeanor throughout the trial. He never displayed any sense of loss or regret over the deaths of his wife and children. In fact it was reported he came across as somewhat indignant that his time was being put to such use.

The second was the manner in which his New York attorney spoke to the jury during the final arguments. He actually took most of the time which had been allocated to Wade Smith for his portion of the final argument to the jury. It was repeated in the book, and follow up articles that had the New York attorney spoken much less and Wade Smith been allowed to speak more, McDonald might well have walked.

Sad to think that might have made the difference.

2015 years 10 months ago

With all the 2 sides to so many detials….. No one can really know for sure.

BUT…..We do have 2 facts in the case that together are not possible.

1. He stated over and over he gave all 3 victims CPR. Not once but twice. This is fact.
2. He also had a collasped lung. Also a fact.

Explain how a man with a collasped lung was able to give CPR? How he was struggling to breath and even passed out from this, was able to push a great deal of air into 3 people 2 times.

Then….. lets look at another peice of this…

Both kids are laying on thier sides when MPSs arrived. Maybe they were moved… but read on.

Then lets say Jeff really did attempt CPR.

This would have required them to be rolled over on their backs

Regardless of being moved or not later as far as the position they were found in we have one little factor….

The blood imprints on the bed would reflect 2 patterns of blood. One from the side, one from the back. Espeically the youngest who had most of her wounds in her back.

From the photos I have seen, this would not have been possible. There was one pattern of blood only.

So, if hes lying about performing CPR on his family….. Then I think we all have to question why.

Off The Cuff
2015 years 10 months ago

This guy should have been put to death many years ago. If you can follow fiber evidence alone and those phony stab wounds in his pajama top that clearly showed he was not moving and the garmet was folded to create more stab marks than he had wounds for, then you would convict him. Notwithstanding the trail of blood evidence.

Fibers found where they should not have been as he indicated he did not go to certain areas and such. Same with the blood evidence.

The Army may not have done a great job on the crime scene, but the narcissistic MacDonald needs to shut his trap and quit costing the tax payer time and time again.

2015 years 10 months ago

I don’t know how we can trust the fiber evidence with the mess that the initial investigators made of the crime scene.

He had an explaination for the stab holes in his pajama top. He said they pulled the pajama top up over his head and it was tied up on his arms while he was trying to fight them off.

If the killer saw him unconscious, on the hall floor, perhaps they didn’t stab him anymore because they made a mistake and thought he was already dead.

I want to read the new book out of this case. I read that it pokes more holes in the two trials.


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