After slaughtering his entire family and smearing blood on the walls of their “Doctor Death” home, Jeffrey MacDonald called the police.
Covered in the blood of his wife and children, he told the 911 operator a chilling story that his home had been stormed by Charles Manson-style hippies – saying they had killed his wife and two daughters.
MacDonald – a tall, handsome army surgeon – seemed like the ideal family man and initially managed to convince the police that he was the victim.
No one would have guessed that he could be capable of such morbid violence.
The all-American doctor thought he had committed the perfect murders and would get away with his crimes.
But after nine years he was finally caught as a detective and his father-in-law managed to unravel the twisted surgeon’s web of lies.
Despite his cool and professional demeanor, MacDonald shared some important clues.
The discovery of the murder weapons in the back yard of the home, with fingerprints mysteriously wiped away, pointed to a killer who had not left the scene.
He also provided very little evidence to support his lurid claims about a marauding gang of murderous hippies and refused to take a lie detector test.
Additionally, the room where MacDonald allegedly fought for his life with his assailants showed few signs of combat, despite his training in unarmed combat.
Fibers from his pajama top were found under his wife’s body and in the bedrooms of his two daughters.
When police first arrived at the home in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, they were greeted with a sickening scene.
Cold and calculated, MacDonald himself had made the call to the police at 3:30 a.m. on February 17, 1970.
When police arrived, they found him covered in blood lying next to the body of his pregnant wife.
Colette had been stabbed 16 times with a kitchen knife and 21 times with an ice pick, and both of her arms were broken.
The couple’s eldest daughter, five-year-old Kimberley, was beaten to death and stabbed in the neck.
Little Kristen, two, had 48 separate stab wounds.
MacDonald, 26, a doctor and Green Beret, had a punctured lung and sustained multiple stab wounds and a contusion to the head.
He had recently completed a 24-hour shift at nearby Hamlet Hospital.
Investigators later found the murder weapons, an ice pick and a large piece of wood in the garden.
MacDonald claimed to police he was asleep on the sofa when he was attacked by “a hippie gang”.
This included a woman in a hat singing “Acid is Groovy” and “Kill the Pigs.”
The word “pig” had been scrawled in blood on a headboard in an apparent imitation of the Charles Manson murders a year earlier.
MacDonald said he was knocked unconscious in the attack and when he came to, his wife of six and two young daughters were all dead.
Born at school in Long Island, New York, Jeffrey was a popular kid at school who became student body president and prom king, and was voted most popular and promising by his classmates.
He met his wife Collette in 9th grade and they began dating, although they later broke up, but the high school sweethearts eventually got back together and in 1963 the two wed in a shotgun wedding after learning Collette was pregnant .
A year later their first child, Kimberley, was born.
After joining the Army and later volunteering as a Green Beret, the family eventually moved to a townhouse in Fort Bragg and Collette became pregnant a third time with the couple’s first son.
After MacDonald was treated for his injuries – which were far less serious than those sustained by the rest of his family – he was questioned by the CID.
Further investigation revealed that there was no evidence of MacDonald’s “hippie gang” and several suspected weapons discovered at the property had been suspected of being fingerprinted.
Forensic testing also produced a range of findings and additional evidence that contradicted what MacDonald had claimed.
MacDonald himself also offered little evidence to back his claims, refusing to take a lie detector test after previously agreeing to do so.
On May 1, 1970, he was charged with murder.
At his first trial, MacDonald’s attorney, Bernard Segal, claimed that forensic investigators destroyed crucial evidence supporting his client’s story.
He even suggested a woman as a potential suspect – teenage drug addict and police informant Helena Stoeckley.
She matched MacDonald’s description of a blonde woman who he claimed was at the scene and was seen by a witness with several young men on the night the murders took place.
Stoeckley also couldn’t remember where she’d been on the night of the crimes, and allegedly told a witness she couldn’t marry her boyfriend until they killed someone.
Although both Stoeckley and her boyfriend were questioned about the murders, they were never brought to trial, and eventually the charges against MacDonald were dropped in October 1970.
After his discharge from the Army, MacDonald moved to California to work as a doctor.
He became something of a celebrity, even appearing for television interviews.
However, Collette’s stepfather, Alfred Kassab, who had originally supported MacDonald, had become increasingly suspicious of him.
He began his own investigations, acquired a transcript of MacDonald’s police interrogation, and even revisited the original crime scene.
Eventually Kassab was convinced; MacDonald had murdered his stepdaughter and two children.
After a long legal battle, MacDonald was tried for a second time on July 16, 1979.
On August 29, 1979, MacDonald was found guilty of one first-degree murder and two second-degree murders and was sentenced to three life terms.
MacDonald was so confident he would be found innocent that he invited author Joe McGinniss to write a book on the case that would exonerate him before he was convicted.
The book instead Deadly Invasion portrayed MacDonald as a cold, calculating murderer with no remorse for his actions.
I’m a decent person. My guilt was over for not being able to defend my family
More than four decades have passed since his conviction, but MacDonald maintains his innocence to this day.
He has filed multiple appeals but remains incarcerated at Cumberland Federal Correctional Institution in Maryland.
In August 2002, he even married the former owner of his children’s drama school, Kathryn Kurichh.
In 1998, MacDonald again protested his innocence in an interview with Vanity Fair.
“I’m a decent person,” he claimed. “My guilt was over for not being able to defend my family.
“They died. I didn’t…I didn’t have the luxury of picking my attackers and telling them the foot-pounds per square inch to put on my head and chest.”
He has his defenders. Campaign filmmaker Errol Morris launched a bid for MacDonald’s release in 2012.
Speaking to CBS at the time, Morris said, “I believe he’s innocent because no one has ever shown me a convincing argument to prove his guilt.”
He even wrote a book, A Wilderness of Error, which lays out all the evidence he believes should free MacDonald.
However, last year The Fayetteville Observer reported that MacDonald had dropped his latest motion for freedom.
Federal files do not reveal why the 78-year-old withdrew his request for release, and it is not known if he finally came to terms with dying in prison.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6045880/jeffrey-macdonald-murders-north-carolina-trial-green-berets/ How brutally “Doctor Death” slaughtered the entire family and staged a bloody crime scene – only to be caught by important clues