January 10, 1981: Newspaper Story
"Woman in MacDonald Case Claims He Was Victim Not Murderer"
The Register, (Fayetteville, N.C.)
Note: Translation of the article following the scanned pages
SEE: January 9, 1981: News story transmitted by the Associated Press re: Helena Stoeckley
Note from Christina Masewicz: Translation of the above new story as I read it to be
From staff and wire services reports
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - A woman who claims to have witnessed the slaying of former Green Beret physician Jeffrey's wife and two children in 1970 says MacDonald was a victim, not the murder.
In a copyright story, The Fayetteville Times quoted Helena Stoeckley as say MacDonald's family was killed by members of a whitchcraft cult bent on revenge because MacDonald had "been giving drugs users a hard time..."
MacDonald who now lives Huntington Harbor was convicted in 1979 of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree murder in the beating and stabbing deaths of his wife, Colette, 26, and their daughters, Kimberly, 5, and Kristen, 2, at their home on the Fort Bragg Army base.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that conviction last year, ruling his right to a speedy trial had been violated. The government has until Feb. 17 to appeal that decision.
MacDonald, interviewed by telephone Friday, said he's convinced that Stoeckley was the woman in the floppy hat who witnessed the killing of his wife and two daughters.
"I don't think there's any question about it," he said. "We have an honest-to-God polygraph confession."
He said Stoeckley's statement and those compiled by private investigator Ted Gunderson from corroborating witnesses have vindicated him of the murder charge.
Gunderson's findings will be presented to federal law enforcement officials, MacDonald said. He said the report is 1,300 pages long and took a year to prepare at the cost of more than $100,000.
MacDonald said Stoeckley's story was not entirely new, but was part of a U.S. Army report made shortly after the murders 10 years ago. However, he said the information was ignored during his trial.
He said he won't be able to put the last 10 years behind him until the U.S. Supreme Court considers a federal prosecution appeal of his release. Then, assuming a favorable ruling, "I'll try to rebuild a normal life," he said.
For the past two months, MacDonald has been working as a physician in an area hospital, but declined to specify which one. MacDonald has maintained that his wife and daughters were killed by three men accompanied by a woman dressed in a floppy hat, with long blonde hair, wearing boots and carrying a lighted candle.
Stoeckley, who has been in hiding and met with reporters at a secret location, told the newspaper she was that woman. The newspaper said she also named the others she said were involved in the deaths, but the newspaper did not print their names.
In the past, government spokesmen have contented that remarks made by Stoeckley tending to involve her in the slaying were allusions she manufactured because her attire matched the description given by MacDonald.
She was called as a witness at MacDonald's trial, but
testified she could not recall being at the MacDonald home. U.S. District Judge Franklin Dupree Jr. subsequently referred to her as "a person whose mind is far impaired" who "remains in a constant state of hallucinations."
The Times quoted Stoeckley as saying she did not tell her story in court because she was frightened.
Stoeckley, 27, said she was talking now because "I was tired of living with this thing. I was in a private hell."
In the interview with The Times, Stoeckley described the scene at the MacDonald home as horrifying ... bloody ... out of control."
She said a scream that MacDonald attributed to his wife was her own, because of the violence developing in the house.
"I went into another room and saw another child in there.
"That's when I backed into something behind me. It was the toy riding horse ... one of the springs was loose.
"I went out of there ... the blood ... that when I realized things were out of control. That's when I screamed ..." she said.
She said she remembered going into the backyard to wait for the others, but does not remember whether she went back into the house. She said she did remember getting into a car and leaving the house.