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The Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald Case Chronology
Posted July 12, 2009

The Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald Case Chronology

Important Events in the Life of Jeffrey MacDonald
October 12, 1943 Jeffrey MacDonald is born in Jamaica, New York
1961-1964 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
1964-68 Jeff attends Northwestern University
1968 He graduates as Doctor of Medicine
May 8, 1967 Daughter Kristen Jean is born
1968-69 Jeff completes medical residency at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
July 1, 1969 He enters the US Army as a Captain in the Medical Corps
September, 1969 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"
December, 1970 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.
1971 Army begins further (illegal) investigation of former Capt. MacDonald.
July, 1971 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.
Summer, 1974 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.
May, 1975 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.
March, 1982 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.

August, 1982 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.
Spring, 1984 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.
1997-2002 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.
May, 2003 Jeff is transferred to FCI Cumberland, MD, within 500 miles of his home of record, per Bureau of Prisons guidelines.
September 2004 Attorneys Tim Junkin and Wade Smith join defense counsel.
November 2004 The Defense awaits completion of DNA testing.
January 2005 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.
July, 2005 The parole examiners' initial recommendation is upheld.  The MacDonalds and their attorneys continue to work toward vindication.
December, 2005 The defense files a motion in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals respectfully requesting a hearing on newly discovered evidence and resulting constitutional errors.
January, 2006 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).
February, 2006 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.
March, 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.
April, 2006 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.
May, 2006 A Reponse by the defense is filed per Judge Fox's request.
April, 2007 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.
May, 2007 The government responds to the submission of Helena Stoeckley's mother's affidavit and the defense files a reply.
September, 2007 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.
November, 2007 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.
October, 2008 US Marshal Jimmy B. Britt passes away after a valiant struggle with congestive heart failure.
November, 2008 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.
December, 2008 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.
January, 2009 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.
February, 2009 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).


A repository of official documents and details of the Dr. Jeffrey MacDoanld case can be examined at

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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.