He attends Princeton University. His father, Robert ("Mac") passes away.
September 14, 1963
Jeff and Colette MacDonald are married
April 18, 1964
Daughter Kimberley Kathryn MacDonald is born
Jeff attends Northwestern University
He graduates as Doctor of Medicine
May 8, 1967
Daughter Kristen Jean is born
Jeff completes medical residency at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
July 1, 1969
He enters the US Army as a Captain in the Medical Corps
Having volunteered for Special Forces duty, Jeff is assigned as group surgeon at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
February 17, 1970
Colette, Kimberley, and Kristen are murdered in the family apartment.
February 21, 1970
Funeral services are held for Colette and the girls. Jeff is permitted to leave the hospital to attend the mass
February 25, 1970
Jeff is released from the hospital.
April 6, 1970
Jeff is informed he is the prime suspect in the murders, and submits to a full day of questioning by Army investigators
May 1, 1970
Jeff's father-in-law, Alfred Kassab, submits a statement to the press criticizing the Army's handling of the case. The Army formally charges Jeff of murdering his family.
July 5, 1970
Colonel Warren V. Rock, the presiding officer, opens the Article 32 hearing, the precursor of a court martial, to hear evidence against Capt. Jeffrey MacDonald
October 13, 1970
Colonel Rock completes his 90 page report, recommending that all charges against Jeffrey MacDonald be dropped because they are "not true"
Jeff receives an honorable discharge. He relocates to New York.
December 15, 1970
Now a civilian, and at the urging of his father-in-law, Jeff appears on the Dick Cavett Show and castigates the CID for its handling of the case.
Army begins further (illegal) investigation of former Capt. MacDonald.
Jeff moves to Long Beach, California, accepting a job as an ER physician at St. Mary Medical Center.
October 30, 1971
Alfred Kassab demonstrates his change of heart toward his son-in-law by calling CID investigator Peter Kearns to tell him of a phone conversation (Nov 1970) with Jeff during which Jeff claimed to have killed one of the intruders.
November 1, 1971
Alfred writes an irate letter to Jeff, complaining that he hadn't visited on a recent trip East.
January 17, 1972
CID Agent William Ward submits a report on the lengthy and ongoing surveillance of Jeffrey MacDonald.
February 18, 1972
Army Captain Brian Murtagh, a new lawyer in the CID, joins Peter Kearns in his attempt to bring civilian charges against Jeff MacDonald
September 8, 1972
U.S. Attorney Warren Coolidge tells the Justice Department that he is declining to prosecute Jeffrey MacDonald
October 5, 1972
The Justice Department persuades the CID to secretly re-enter the case and continue to investigate MacDonald.
December 21, 1973
Assistant Attorney General Henry Petersen writes the CID stating the case against MacDonald is too weak to prosecute. He cites "the exculpatory character of some of the evidence together with the total lack of evidence as to possible motive."
January 14, 1974
Capt. Brian Murtagh prepares a draft letter for the signature of his boss, Col. Tufts, to the Justice Dept., challenging the refusal to prosecute Jeff MacDonald. Col. Tuft does not sign.
March 4, 1974
Alfred Kassab writes Col. Tufts, stating he intends to file his own personal criminal complaint against Jeff.
April 30, 1974
Alfred Kassab, Peter Kearns, and attorney Richard Cahn present a citizen's complaint against Jeffrey MacDonald to US Chief District Court Judge Algernon Butler, requesting the convening of a grand jury.
Attorney Victor Worheide accepts the case for the purpose of a grand jury hearing. Brian Murtagh asks to be assigned to the case, as does Judge Franklin Dupree, a subordinate judge.
August 12, 1974
A grand jury is convened in Raleigh, N.C. Jeffrey MacDonald waives his rights and appears for 5 days as the first witness.
January 21, 1975
MacDonald waives his rights a second time and appears again before the grand jury.
January 24, 1975
Jeffrey MacDonald is indicted on three counts of murder, 24 days before the statue of limitations would take effect. Jeff is arrested and confined in the Orange County, CA jail.
January 31, 1975
Friends of Jeff MacDonald make the $100,000 bail, putting up their homes as collateral.
May 23, 1975
Jeff is arraigned, pleads not guilty.
Requests for change of venue and a new judge are denied. Judge Dupree will preside over the trial by jury, and Brian Murtagh has been allowed to resign his Army commission to accept a post in the Justice Department to prosecute the MacDonald case.
January 26, 1976
The 4th Circuit Cout of Appeals dismisses all charges against Jeff MacDonald on the grounds that a speedy trial has been denied.
May 1, 1978
The Supreme Court reverses the lower court's decision, stating that a trial must be held before a speedy trial complaint becomes valid.
March 19, 1979
The Supreme Court dclines to hear arguments regarding MacDonald's "double jeopardy" complaint.
June 18, 1979
The Long Beach Police Association hosts a $100 per plate dinner to raise money for Jeff's defense.
July 16, 1979
Jeffrey MacDonald goes on trial for murder in Raleigh, NC.
August 29, 1979
Jeffrey MacDonald is convicted of the murders of Colette, Kimberley and Kristen.
October 4, 1979
Jeff is denied bail and completes a cross-country trip via bus to the federal prison at Terminal Island in Long Beach, CA
August 22. 1980
The Fourth Circuit court dismisses all charges against Jeff MacDonald, based on the speedy trial issue.
November 1, 1980
Jeff returns to work at St. Mary Medical Center, where his job and office have been kept waiting for him.
Jeff is engaged to Randi Markwith, a volunteer at the hospital.
March 31, 1982
The Supreme Court reverses the speedy trial win. Jeff is rearrested and returned to prison.
August 27, 1982
Jeff is moved from the prison in Long Beach to Bastrop Texas. His engagement to Randi ends.
Attorney Bernard Segal, disgusted and frustrated, convinced MacDonald that a fresh approach might be in order, and that he would remain available for counsel. Attorney Brian O'Neill replaces Segal.
January 14, 1983
Helena Stoeckley is found dead in her apartment, Seneca, SC
February 1, 1983
Congressmen Metzenbaum of OH and Cranston of CA pressure the government to override Murtagh's orders, and begin releasing Freedom of Information Act materials (FOIA) requested by MacDonald in 1980.
The book "FATAL VISION" by Joe McGinniss (who had been granted full access to the defense before, during and after trial) is published. By deliberately manipulating conversations and events, Jeff's "best friend" paints him as a narcissistic psychopath, despite a written promise to "tell the truth". The book becomes a best seller.
May 29, 1984
The Fourth Circuit Court of APpeals upholds Judge DuPree's ruling to deny defense access to the former MacDonald apartment.
June 4, 1984
Although the prosecution had convinced the court that the apt. held nothing of evidentiary value, Mutagh requests that FBI agent Madden be escorted though the premises by Lt. Col. McNeill. Madden collects items he considers useful to the prosecution.
June 6, 1984
The apartment is destroyed, all contents including walls, floors, and appliances are burned and buried at the dump in Ft. Bragg
August 21, 1984
Judge DuPree refuses to remove himself from the case, citing that his former son-in-law, James Proctor, being formerly being part of the prosecution, did not influence his ability to be impartial.
August 31, 1984
Law student Donna Bruce convinces MacDonald to file a civil suit for fraud against Joe McGinniss. Attorney Gary Bostwick files.
November 18-19, 1984
The mini-series based on "FATAL VISION" is aired on NBC, and is #1 in the ratings for the week.
January 18, 1985
Warren Coolidge, former US Attorney for the Eastern District of NC, who fought so hard to indict MacDonald, is disbarred after being caught embezzling funds from clients.
March 1, 1985
Judge DuPree rejects all defense motions for a new trial. He cites the 2 pajama fibers found on the club (murder weapon) as the most incriminating evidence offered at trial. (Later found to be black wool, through FOIA). The defense appeals.
June 10, 1985
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) files a friend of the court brief, contending that MacDonald is wrongly convicted.
December 17, 1985
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Dupree's ruling and refuses to reopen the case.
December 19, 1985
Jeff MacDonald is transferred from the prison in TX to FCI Black Canyon in Phoenix, AZ.
March 18, 1986
Dr. David C. Raskin, one of the country's renowned polygraphers, tests MacDonald and finds "no deception"
September 4, 1986
Dr. Thomas T. Noguchi, a leading forensic expert, publishes an opinion on the MacDonald case, stating that, given the physical evidence, one person alone could not have committed the murders.
October 6, 1986
The Supreme Court upholds the lower courts decision.
June 26, 1987
Joe McGinniss offers MacDonald $200K to drop his law suit.
July 7, 1987
The civil trial against McGinniss begins in an LA federal court. In order to attend court, MacDonald is required to pay transportation costs from AZ to CA, the cost of his incarceration in CA, and the expense of federal marshals to guard him. Judge Rea denies McGinniss's motion to throw the case out.
August 21, 1987
The suit ends in a mistrial, as a result of a 5 to 1 hung jury in MacDonald's favor. The hold out juror had refused to deliberate after fellow jurors rebuffed her attempts to spend time listening to her views on animal rights.
November 23, 1987
Rather than face a second trial, McGinniss settles out of court for $325,000.
December 1, 1987
Alfred and Mildred Kassab file a lawsuit, requesting that the settlement money be given to them.
February 28, 1988
Jerry Potter and Fred Bost begin work on the book "FATAL JUSTICE"
January 1, 1989
After a four day trial (Kassab vs. MacDonald), Judge Ross decides the following: The $325K settlement will be divided between MacDonald's attorneys ($104K), MacDonald's mother ($93K) Mildred Kassab (80K) and the rest to Jeff MacDonald.
October 1, 1989
Attorneys Harvey Silverglate and Alan Dershowitz agree to take on Jeffrey MacDonald's case.
Feb 10, 1990
Perry MacDonald, Jeff's mother, dies
October 18, 1990
The defense files a habeas corpus petition for MacDonald, charging prosecutor Murtagh with suppression of evidence.
December 31, 1990
The FBI Lab issues a report detailing re-examination of evidence, including debris from the murder club. Agent Michael Malone lists unsourced black wool fibers, but not pajama top fibers, as being on the club.
February 19, 1991
Murtagh signs an affadavit swearing is had no knowledge at trial of the existence of the black wool fibers.
March 27, 1991
MacDonald becomes eligible for parole. He does not apply, maintaining his innocence.
April 16, 1991
The Supreme Court's ruling in the case McClesky vs Zant, heavily restricts a defendant's ability to get back into court, even with evidence of actual innocence.
June 26, 1991
Judge DuPree listens to oral arguments for a new trial based on the suppressed lab notes.
July 1, 1991
Jeff MacDonald is transferred to FCI Sheridan, OR
July 8, 1991
Judge Dupree denies the motion for a new trial, petitioned on October 19, 1990.
October 3, 1991
The defense appeals Judge DuPree's ruling.
June 2, 1992
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rules against a new trial for MacDonald. They stated that the materials now introduced should have been presented by Brian O'Neill in 1984-85. Therefore, all rights to further appeals were forfeited.
November 30, 1992
The Supreme Court declines to review the lower court's decision.
April 16, 1993-Jan 3, 1994
Former MacDonald prosecutor James Blackburn is disbarred, is indicted on 12 felony counts including changing court documents, and is sentenced to 7 years in federal prison
January 19, 1994
Colette's mother, Mildred dies at age 72
October 24, 1994
Colette's step-father, Alfred Kassab, dies at age 73.
February 15, 1995
Potter and Bost's book FATAL JUSTICE is published.
December 17, 1995
Judge DuPree dies at age 83
May 1, 1996
FOIA attorney Anthony Besceglie uncovers 1400 new pages of case documents, despite government claims that all information had been previously released to the defense. Michael Malone's report stating he found no pajama top fibers on the club is found.
April 16, 1997
The Wall Street Journal runs a front page story detailing misconduct by Michael Malone in a number of cases, including the MacDonald case.
April 22, 1997
Attorneys Silverglate&Good file a new appeal based on Malone's faulty testimony. Part of the appeal requests DNA testing of all biological evidence.
April 25, 1997
Judge Malcolm Howard recuses himself as DuPree's replacement, because he helped draft a memorandum for the prosecution in earlier court proceedings against MacDonald. Judge James C. Fox, who was a personal friend of Judge DuPree's, and gave the eulogy at his funeral, takes the case, and signs a statement saying that he can be impartial despite his friendship with DuPree.
October 17, 1997
Judge Fox has denied all defense motions, but the Fourth Circuit Court of appeals grants one defense motion- the motion for DNA testing.
MacDonald remains in prison in Oregon and, later, California, awaiting the DNA testing and results (see DNA Timeline for details). He teaches classes to prisoners, studies his medical books, and in 2001, becomes engaged to Kathryn Kurichh, a long time friend.
August 30, 2002
Jeffrey and Kathryn MacDonald are married.
Jeff is transferred to FCI Cumberland, MD, within 500 miles of his home of record, per Bureau of Prisons guidelines.
Attorneys Tim Junkin and Wade Smith join defense counsel.
The Defense awaits completion of DNA testing.
Jeff MacDonald applies for a parole hearing after 14 years of eligibility. He continues to maintain his factual innocence, and is hopeful that he will meet parole board criteria for release.
May 10, 2005
Jeff attends his first parole hearing after 14 years of eligibility, continuing to maintain his factual innocence. The initial recommendation of the examiners is to deny parole with reconsideration in 15 years, or in 2 years if new information can be supplied. The full panel's final decision will not be released for several weeks.
The parole examiners' initial recommendation is upheld. The MacDonalds and their attorneys continue to work toward vindication.
The defense files a motion in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals respectfully requesting a hearing on newly discovered evidence and resulting constitutional errors.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals panel of three unanimously grants the defense's motion to seek relief at the District Court level. The defense files with the District Court. The matter is assigned to Judge James C. Fox (the judge in this case since 1995).
Judge Fox concludes that the defense's Motion to Vacate may entitle Jeff to relief, and orders the government to file an answer on or before March 30, 2006.
The AFIP (DNA lab) releases the preliminary results of the DNA tests, filing them with the district court for the judge's evaluation. The results from the 15 exhibits tested include unsourced hairs under the nail of Kristen MacDonald and on the body of Colette MacDonald, as well as hairs from the family members, and some that yielded insufficient data for testing.
The District Court has received the DNA results, the Government Response to the Defense Motion, and additional filings from both the government and defense (see DOCUMENTS section), and these items are currently under review by Judge James C. Fox.
A Reponse by the defense is filed per Judge Fox's request.
The defense files a supplement to its motion for relief based on the affidavit of Helena Stoeckley's mother, to whom her daughter confided being involved in the murders and being threatened by the prosecutor.
The government responds to the submission of Helena Stoeckley's mother's affidavit and the defense files a reply.
The defense alerts the judge via letter that Jimmy Britt, the witness whose affidavit moved the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to remand this case for review, is critically ill, should the judge desire his testimony in person.
The defense sends a letter to the judge requesting a status conference (a discussion between the judge, defense and prosecutors about what the judge plans to do and when). The government files a motion citing its reasons for not wanting the judge to allow a status conference.
US Marshal Jimmy B. Britt passes away after a valiant struggle with congestive heart failure.
Judge Fox denies the January 2006 motion. The defense prepares to file leave to appeal. Attorney Joe Zsezotarski joins the defense. The gov't files a motion to amend the judge's decision. The defense files a response citing the lack of legal precedence and proper disclosure.
The defense files notice of appeal to the 4th Circuit, said appeal to be filed with the Circuit Court by February 19. 2009. It also files an application with the District Court and a Memorandum of Law. The government files a motion opposing the defense's request to appeal in the District Court.
The defense files a response to the government's opposition to appeal. The next day, the District Court Judge (Judge Fox) denies the government's request to amend his November 4, 2008 decision, and denies the defense's request for a certificate of appealability (COA). He does allow for grammatical and typographical errors to be corrected in the last government filing for the record.
The defense prepares its appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
February 2, 2009
Mrs. Helena Stoeckley, Sr., who had come forward to the defense in March 2007 with a sworn statement regarding her daughter's admissions to involvement in the murders, passes away.
February 19, 2009
The defense, by permission of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, files an appeal and awaits a Certificate of Appealability, which was denied by Judge Fox previously.
April 2, 2009
An Amicus (Friend of Court) Brief is sent from Barry Scheck of the (original) Innocence Project and the Innocence Projects of North Carolina and New England. On April 7, the government files an opposition brief to the filing of this Amicus Brief. On April 9, the Fourth Circuit orders leave to file the Amicus to the Innocence Project(s).
All information posted on this web site is
the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.
It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor
can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer
of your choice for medical care and advice.