The Jeffrey MacDonald case has riveted and baffled people from the beginning. But it is more than just murder, it is the devotion and courage of one family, in the face of tragedy, to fight for justice for the loss of their loved ones.
This case has been sensationalized and more than once been distorted by the press often reporting only the defendant's side, and the TV talk shows that do not give equal time to the family and investigators to express their thoughts and feelings.
The case brings out much passion and emotions in people and continues to do so even after all these many years. Some people believe he is guilty, some believe him innocent, and then there are some "on the fence," so to speak, who are not sure one way or the other.
Colette was a beautiful, blonde, twenty-six-year-old woman, who wanted only to be the wife of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald and the mother of his children and live happily forever. Their two children, Kimberley and Kristen, were both full of life. Colette was pregnant with their first son at the time of her murder.
This case starts on February 17, 1970, when the Military Police responded to a call for help in what was thought to be a domestic dispute. What they were to find would be a bloody murder scene that left them in shock and disbelief. Jeffrey MacDonald, the husband and father, was found alive and transported to the hospital for treatment. Colette, Kimberley and Kristen were transferred to the morgue.
The fact that MacDonald was left alive and with no serious injuries only adds more mystery to an already complicated case.
And so the mystery begins and has been going for years. Did a group of hippies break in and commit this vicious crime and leave him alive, or did he "lose it" for just a fraction of second and commit this crime only to invent the theory of having been attacked?
Freddy Kassab, Jeffrey MacDonald's father-in-law, was the biggest supporter of his innocence in the beginning, but over time he too became convinced that no one but his son-in-law was responsible for the murders. He was a patient man and was not going to just sit back and let MacDonald get away with it. He fought long and hard, and finally his fight came to fruition when he and his attorney, Mr. Cohen, and Peter Kearns went to Clinton, North Carolina for a meeting with Judge Algernon Butler. It was this meeting that was to lead to the grand jury investigation that brought the indictment against him, followed by the 1979 trial and his conviction of the murders of his family.
From the beginning, MacDonald's comments have always been strong and positive about himself. He sees himself as a victim, someone who had not only lost his family that night, but also someone who had been unfairly accused by the military and the federal government and his father-in-law, whom he referred to as an "alcoholic fanatic."
Initially accused by the United States Army of killing his family at the April 6, 1970 interview, he was charged with their murders on May 1, 1970. He faced formal charges of murder in an Army 32 hearing in July, 1970, at Fort Bragg. Colonel Warren V. Rock was the appointed Investigating Officer. The Army did not say the charges were not true. Colonel Rock said that. Colonel Rock's only duty was to ascertain - was a crime committed; was it possible that MacDonald was involved and then Rock was to give a recommendation to MacDonald's Commanding General whether courts-martial charges should be preferred. Note the operative words: could have been involved, recommendation for charges. He did neither, and said in effect, go look for Helena Stoeckley. That was not his job.
General Flanagan's report clearly stated that there were insufficient evidence to warrant charges at that time. That left the government free to continue to investigate and investigate they did. MacDonald was not exonerated. One can not be exonerated when they have never been tried. MacDonald applied for and was granted a hardship discharge due to the loss of his family, which is still an honorable discharge. He was free then to continue his life as he saw fit.
During the Army Article 32 hearings in the summer of 1970 Freddy said about MacDonald, "If I had another daughter, I'd still want the same son-in-law." After receiving a copy of the Article 32 transcripts, however, he declared that he would devote the remainder of his life to pursuing all avenues to bring him to justice. That meant a trial, conviction and imprisonment for the rest of his life for the murder of his beloved daughter Colette and two grandchildren, Kimberley and Kristen.
At the trial in 1979, the defense wanted to make this solely the story of Jeffrey MacDonald, his losses, what the government had done to him, and the story of the disruptions in his life because of it. There was no doubt that the opinion of the United States Government was that MacDonald had gotten away with murder for almost ten years and that justice was long overdue. Blackburn and Murtagh carefully presented the evidence in a way that helped the jury to think emotionally about the victims who had been so brutally murdered. For Segal to have even suggested that what had happened to MacDonald was more serious than the horrendous deaths of his family was a disgrace. It was a dishonor to the victims and a slap in the face to their family.
James Blackburn, one of the prosecutors, told me "MacDonald sat stone-faced during the entire trial. He showed not the slightest emotion, even when autopsy pictures of his children were being shown, and then he gets up there, puts his head down and pretends to cry. And what I couldn't really believe was that people on the jury actually cried with him."
But justice did prevail and the jurors cried not with MacDonald, but for the victims and what they had suffered because of what MacDonald did to them.
This tragedy has ruined the lives of many people and deprived two families of their children and grandchildren. It prevented Colette, Kimberley and Kristen from living their lives to the fullest and prevented the son that Colette was pregnant with from being born. It has haunted the people who went to that crime scene that morning and who have carried with them the horrors of what they witnessed there that fateful morning. And in the end it cost Jeffrey MacDonald his freedom and he was demoted from a doctor to a federal inmate. There were no winners here; everyone lost something that can never be replaced.
Throughout this investigation and trial, I feel there were mistakes made by both sides. Because of this I think it has left many lingering questions that have never been answered and may never be answered at this late date. I have followed this case for more years than I care to remember, doing my own research looking for answers to many things. I have been able to contact and talk to many of the people who were involved in this case. I have been able to get copies of the documents through the Freedom of Information Act. I attended the trial and was able to observe MacDonald, his body language and his actions in the courtroom. Since the time of the trial I have come to believe that Judge Dupree was a man who did indeed brandish his gavel with a no-nonsense wisdom, practicality and fairness.
It is not my intent to try and change anyone's mind or beliefs. My intent is to present here some of the inside things pertaining to the investigation and trial proceedings. Documents presented here are the complete documents, and they speak for themselves, be it good or bad, for or against the Government or Jeffrey MacDonald. The information is placed here for people to read and judge for themselves.
The records here are taken from documents obtained from the FOIA, some records that were passed on to me from people in the government and others who had them as well as court records. Some of the documents here have never been touched on before or mentioned in any books or articles written.
There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that a senseless crime occurred on the late evening of February 16 and early morning of February 17, 1970. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests and points to the fact that no one but Jeffrey MacDonald was responsible for these murders.
In order to get away with a perfect murder, a person has to be incredibly lucky. For almost nine and one-half years, Jeffrey MacDonald was indeed lucky. Bernard Segal had successfully kept him from facing the justice of conviction, and thereby remaining free, but that came to an end in the late afternoon of August 29, 1979, when the jury brought back a verdict of two counts of second degree murder and one count of first degree murder.
The investigators worked hard gathering the evidence. The prosecutors who showed the people why and how the system works are to be commended for their hard work that still stands strong today. Jeffrey MacDonald may be able to aggrandize his injuries as life- threatening and cajole his supporters, but he has never been able to do so with the courts.
In the end, it was Freddy, the loving father of Colette and grandfather to Kimberley and Kristen who describe it best and in words that brings tears to my eyes when he wrote about the intruders in the house the night of the murders-
"When I read the case the first few times, I was skeptical about the existence of the 4 intruders--as skeptical & unbelieving as have been almost all who have familiarized themselves [with] this material. But on rereading portions of the transcripts again last nite, I have now come over to the belief that, as MacDonald has kept insisting, there were indeed '4 intruders.'
"MacDonald's goals from the beginning to this day have been to impress, to prove his manhood, to con, to screw--whomever he wanted, whenever he wanted, wherever he wanted. Many men want a little bit of that kind of freedom, but the normal man, the normal man [with] a wife & a family, derives enough genuine & deep & lasting satisfaction from family life, that the balance between irresponsible 'freedom' & commitment to his wife & his children--whom he truly loves more than he resents--allows him to forego that kind of self centered freedom, without too much 'burden' or sense of entrapment. For MacDonald the balance tilted far to the other side--to the point where the resentment was volcanic, the love only paper thin. So there came to be specifically 4 people--not 7, not 2--who intruded most especially upon his 'space,' 4 people who got in the way of his being the macho celeb & playboy he needed to be in order to feel alive. 4 intruders-three white, one black--just like MacDonald told us. Who were they? I can name 3 of them: Colette, Kimberly (sic), Kristy. The 4th intruder--black not in skin but figuratively black: as yet unseen, dark, invisible--the half-grown baby that Colette was carrying, MacDonald's as yet unborn son, as it turned out to be--the 4th intruder.
"In MacDonald's fatal blindness--blindness to the deep & genuine feeling that animate ordinary people & unite them to their loved ones--in his fatal blindness, he murdered the intruders, all 4, & making himself free at last! Free at last--to live out his image of the big shot, the glamor boy, the stud. This is the unbridled egomania, the wanton disregard for the feelings, even for the lives, of those who intruded most heavily upon his dreams--that Joe McGinniss quite correctly labeled 'pathological narcissism' in his book, [Fatal Vision]. And I am being flown out here 2500 miles to be asked is Joe McGinniss' interpretation/assumption a fair one! Well, my answer is that how MacDonald dealt [with] his family shows me that in one detail at least MacDonald was an honest man--for though he lied as usual [with] his mouth, [with] his brain he told the truth. Yes, there were 4 intruders in his life. And out of his pathological narcissism, he killed them. I do not know of a narcissism more pathological than this."
I hope you will enjoy your visit here and feel free to visit this site often, as new updates will be posted frequently. I welcome any comments that anyone might have and will be happy to answer any of your questions.
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