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The Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald Case: Fatal Conviction?
Were the “Green Beret Murders” really the “Green Beret Set-up?”

[Editor's Note: As of March 21, 2007, Jeffrey MacDoanld has been in prison for 27 years and seven months for crimes he did not commit. By pure chance, I caught part of a 48 Hours Mystery segment  this past Saturday, March 17, 2007, on Jeffrey MacDonald. as the murderer of his wife Colette, her unborn baby, and his two young daughters. ..Ken Adachi]

By Resa LaRu Kirkland <>
July 8, 2003

The Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald Case: Fatal Conviction? by Resa LaRu Kirkland (July 8, 2003)

"I believe that the government of the United States deliberately covered up evidence to convict Jeffrey MacDonald"
- Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz

Ben Franklin once said that it was better for 100 guilty men to escape than for one innocent man to spend one day in prison. His reasoning was that a guilty man will ALWAYS eventually come to justice, either in this life by the hand of man or in the next by the hand of God, but that once deemed culpable by the state, it was next to impossible for an innocent man to re-gain his freedom, or his good name. The thought of this was so horrific to our Founding Fathers that they enacted what were supposed to be safeguards to prevent such a travesty from occurring in this New Land.

This premise is the one upon which our entire justice system was originally based. Many of us complain and moan over the fact that our courts bend over backward to protect the rights of the accused, but it is exactly because our forefathers knew that the massive influence of the state was conducive to corruption that this was done. Such wise men to understand so very long ago that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that if allowed to, even the most noble of men in positions of power--with the authority of the government firmly wedged behind them--would wield their clout with the arrogance of a king. They had not only seen it, they had lived it. The countries they had fled were the stark contrast to this new experiment called America; once accused, you were instantly condemned…truth be damned. If these Fathers of the New Republic were to truly live in the new world, these past injustices had to be prevented from creeping into the Land of the Free, even if it meant that temporarily some guilty must go free—for now. No man escapes justice forever; such is our greatest hope…such is also our greatest fear.

Thirty-three years ago, a horrible crime was committed upon the most innocent and fiercely emotional symbols of humanity—a family. On the night of February 17, 1970, a pregnant woman—Colette and her en-wombed son--and her two small out-of-the-womb daughters—Kimberly and Kristen--were literally butchered as they slept. The man of the house engaged in a struggle to fight off the attackers—one black man and two white men, and a woman wearing a long, blond wig and a floppy hat. You should recognize this story by now; after all, it was a best-selling book and TV mini-series called Fatal Vision. It was labeled the “Green Beret Murders” because the man who was the 'monster' alleged by the state, was a Green Beret stationed at Ft. Bragg: the horribly botched and wretchedly perverted case of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald.

I’m not going to waste time here repeating the fallacy that made Joe McGinniss—the author of Fatal Vision--a filthy rich man—emphasis on filthy, given the facts. I’m going to instead, state here and now, that this case bugs the ever living hell out of me, and outline exactly why.

It goes to the crux of what I claim to believe in as a human, an American, and a Christian, and it screams corruption on behalf of individuals we trust to uphold truth and right, and the institution in whose name they gleefully raped integrity.

The question arises: When did they [the prosecutors] lie? When they told Judge Dupree at trial that there was "nothing" in the handwritten lab notes to help MacDonald? Or when they later told him they'd never read the notes?—from the book Fatal Justice.

Let’s begin by pointing out that Joe McGinnis was sued by MacDonald's defense team and forced to pay about $300,000 to Dr. MacDonald when he confessed in a court of law that he had lied in his book about MacDonald abusing amphetamines and killing his family in a drugged frenzy. According to the book Fatal Justice—written by Jerry Allen Potter and Fred Bost and released in 1995 methodically de-bunking the shame of MacDonald’s case—McGinnis explained he “had introduced the diet pill theory as a dramatic device in his "new journalism" where the story is more important than the facts.” Under fierce questioning, he also finally confessed, “I’m not convinced that it actually happened.”

'The story is more important than the facts'?   'I’m not convinced that it actually happened'?

Did I miss a memo? When the hell did this become acceptable? This fact alone renders McGinnis’ book suspect, and I’m throwing it out right now. For the rest of this piece, I will focus on the horribly distorted, twisted, covered-up, and suppressed facts of the case.

The bulk of the horrors inflicted upon MacDonald and the American ideals of truth and freedom are displayed in sickening detail at The Jeffrey MacDonald Case website and from the Fatal Justice book. In the interest of brevity, I will focus on only a handful.

Now understand that the heart of the prosecution’s case was their claim that there was no physical evidence to support MacDonald’s story of being attacked by four intruders. If there was a violent struggle with intruders, prosecutors said, there would have to be some evidence of their presence; evidence that would tend to support MacDonald's version of what happened, but they told the jurors that no such evidence existed. However, physical evidence of intruders in the MacDonald home on the night of murder did exist , as it was collected by Army investigators in the days immediatley following the murders, and that evidence was known to the prosecution team all along, but withheld and suppressed from the jurors at MacDonald's trial and from MacDonald's defense team

The following are only 10 of the many suspicious and telling points concerning physical evidence discovered at the crime scene from the notes of the original Army investigation that Potter and Bost dissect in their book.

Point 1: A brown hair in Colette's left hand, not MacDonald's or any other known person. Hmmmmm…..

Point 2: Human skin on Colette's fingernail, left hand, was "lost" by the Army CID . (How conveeeenient!.)

Point 3: Unmatched black wool fibers were found on Colette's mouth and shoulder. These were not reported. The fibers were important because the FBI also found black wool fibers on the murder club. At trial these black wool fibers were misrepresented to the jury as blue cotton fibers from MacDonald's pajama top, and were used to convict him. They are also important because Helena Stoeckley, a self-styled witch in her cult group, is known to have affected a wardrobe of black clothing around the time of the murders. (This was a huge part of the prosecution's case. They knew it was a lie. They knew it.)

Point 4: A blue acrylic fiber found in Colette's right hand proved to have no source among the fabrics and clothing in the MacDonald home. Another blue acrylic fiber was found where Jeffrey MacDonald said he lay unconscious. (Oh, and he was unconscious…he had to be revived when MP’s arrived…didn’t know that from the movie, did you? Neither did I)

Point 5: A brown hair with root intact was found under Kimberly's bloody fingernail. This hair was found not to be Jeffrey's or Colette's. It remains a foreign hair in the hand of a murder victim, and was unreported. Yet another brown hair with root intact was also found under baby Kristen's bloody fingernail. This hair possessed different characteristics from the hair in Kimberly's hand. It was found not to be Jeffrey’s or Colette's hair, yet this too was kept secret. (Hair fibers, clothing fibers…denied to exist by the Prosecution…WHY!?)

Point 6: Knowledge about hairs under the nails of murder victims, hairs that didn't match Dr. MacDonald, should not have been kept secret, but in long suppressed lab note "R-11" the Army lab tech wrote in the last line: ". . . they are not going to be reported by me." (Again…WHY!?)

Point 7: Blond, synthetic wig hairs, 22 inches in length, were found in a clear-handled hair brush on the telephone seat near the place MacDonald said he saw the blond female. These wig hairs would have been critical to the MacDonald defense, but even though army investigator William Ivory knew Helena Stoeckley wore a blond wig, and matched the descriptions given by Dr. MacDonald and MP Kenneth Mica, he didn't reveal the presence of these long blond wig hairs. (Why? Why, dammit WHY? This was evidence that supported MacDonald’s story…THIS WAS EVIDENCE! WHY?)

Point 8: On the morning of the murders, an adult bloody palm print was found on the footboard of the master bed near Colette MacDonald's body. The print did not match palm prints of either Jeffrey or Colette MacDonald. Neither could it be matched to palm prints from persons known to have been at the crime scene that morning. Despite extensive efforts by the FBI, the source of this bloody palm print remains unidentified. (Couldn’t that be checked now? We have massive computerized national databases that weren’t available then…what—or who-- is preventing this print from being checked NOW?)

Point 9: The night of the murders, Jimmy Friar tried to reach a Dr. Richard MacDonald going through the switchboard at Womack Army Hospital (located on Ft. Bragg), but was erroneously connected to the home of Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald. Friar called around 2 am, the approximate time of the attacks, and hears a woman pick up the phone and laughs at the request to speak with Dr. MacDonald. “He’s busy,” she cackles. A male voice in the background shouts, “Hang up the goddamned phone!” She does.

Eerily enough, Helena Stoeckley later confesses to the crimes, and out of the blue, mentions that she had answered a phone call from a man at about the same time that night. An MP driving on his way to the crime scene that night had seen a woman standing on a corner a few blocks from the crime scene. She was wearing a long blond wig and a floppy hat. He was told NOT to report this to the MacDonald defense team. (Eyewitness testimony from not one, but two individuals supporting Dr. MacDonald's version of events. How much more must truth tolerate?)

Point 10: Most disturbing of all to me is the fact that three—count ‘em, THREE--of the prosecutors in the MacDonald case were subsequently disgraced and/or disbarred for misconduct and such crimes as forging signatures, embezzling, and changing court documents. In particular, James Blackburn, prosecutor in MacDonald’s case, served three years in prison for faking a lawsuit, forging the signatures of judges, preparing phony court documents, and embezzling over $200,000. Let me repeat that: FAKING LAWUITS, FORGING JUDGES’ SIGNATURES, PHONY COURT DOCUMENTS, AND EMBEZZLING. (What was that about Absolute Power again…?)

OK, three words pop to mind here: WHAT THE HELL…?

When did the job of the prosecution change from seeking justice for the people of the state to conviction at any cost, even the truth? When did the words of those whose jobs and livelihoods depend upon the number of convictions they rack up take precedence over those who were actually there? And who is more likely to have committed this crime of overkill…four drug-crazed psychos, or a doctor sleeping comfortably in his own home?

How on God’s green earth, in my beloved America, did this happen? I mean, at the very least MacDonald didn’t receive a fair trial, and at the most appalling, he is an innocent man jailed for 24 years now. Look, I’m no judge or lawyer—thank God—but I can read, I can evaluate, I can discern, and I will go on record now as saying that I believe Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald is an innocent man, not just wrongfully convicted, but deliberately and knowingly so.

I believed McGinnis’ version when I first saw it on TV in 1984, but that is because I didn’t know I was being lied to. As the viewing public, we did not have access to all of the evidence; McGinnis and the prosecution did. This makes them far more culpable, and far more evil.

We live in a strange time in history, when convictions are being overturned right and left because of DNA evidence, and cases of police and prosecution corruption are so overwhelming that we often feel helpless in the face of its enormity. But hear me now—THIS IS EVIL. Not only do we have the right to demand the truth, WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO DO SO. Being an elected official—in spite of what we saw in the Clinton years—does NOT give carte blanche to rape the law you are sworn to defend. The ends do not justify the means when you are dealing with people’s lives.

America, it’s time to give the courts a taste of their own medicine with a dose of “Power to the People” reality check. I say that we demand from this day forward that any judge, lawyer, investigator, or police officer found to have covered up, manufactured, manipulated, twisted or lied about evidence in order to convict at any cost be sentenced to the same judgment he was demanding for the accused. This perversion of justice will continue only so long as we allow it. Every one of you out there who claims to believe in what you claim to believe must now get up and act. They did this to a decent, loving, innocent man, and before all that is holy and sacred, they can do this to you as well. Think of it as self-preservation…you could be next.

Resa LaRu Kirkland <>

First published at etherzone.
Resa LaRu Kirkland is an avid military historian, with her main focus the Korean War and its forgotten warriors. Visit her website at: Forgotten Warrior Project

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