Jeffrey Robert MacDonald was convicted in 1979 of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters in February 1970, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
MacDonald was a U.S. Army officer (Special Forces Green Beret) and a medical doctor. He maintains that a group of Charles Manson-type hippies committed the murders.
In 2011, an Innocence Project press release stated :
Since MacDonald was convicted of the murders in 1979, considerable evidence of his innocence has come to light. Most recently, retired US Marshall Jimmy Britt came forward with information that another suspect in the case, Helena Stoeckley, admitted to the prosecutor that she was in the house on the night of MacDonald’s murder and that he treated to indict her for first degree murder if she admitted that in court. In addition, DNA testing on evidence that was recovered from the fingernails scrapings of one of the victims and a hair found under another victim did not match MacDonald. Earlier, evidence came to light that a FBI forensic examiner mislead the jury about synthetic hair evidence. MacDonald claimed the hairs were from the wig of one of the murders, but the forensic examiner incorrectly claimed they were from one of the children’s dolls.
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BBC Documentary (1989):
Notes on the first 30 minutes of the BBC documentary:
MacDonald, and his family, were victims of drug addicts.
Stoeckly was a major informant, but also using, LSD, heroin. She had a strange cult, at a house on Hay Street, taking drugs like crazy. She knew about the Manson murders, and was fascinated by them. Fayetteville by night was violent, drugs, MacDonald was treating them. He was not sympathetic.
Addicts hated MacDonald because he wouldn’t give them methodone, they viewed him as callous. His first loyalty was to the military.
According to Stoeckly, an addict had been turned in by MacDonald and expelled from the army. He had 50 hits of acid on him when he was arrested, but MacDonald was disliked for turning him in.
Greg Mitchell, a black man, and Stoeckly were seen getting out of a blue mustang on Hay St. Stoeckly was wearing a floppy hat. She had a blonde wig, pale white boots, a mini skirt.
Mitchell was Helena’s boyfriend. The 911 call was 3:40am. A woman was seen standing near the scene by responders, wearing a floppy hat and boots ( Ken Mica, ex military police ). Very unusual for a woman to be there at that time in the morning.
MacDonald described one of the assailants as a girl, with a floppy hat and white boots. It was Stoeckly.
His family (two children, wife, were all dead). MacDonald was stabbed.
Officers had the impression MacDonald didn’t know his family were dead, even thought they were alive.
A doctor friend who attended MacDonald on the day heard his account of the attack and believed him absolutely.
Beazley knew immediately who the attackers were, Stoeckly and her gang.
Beazley found Stoeckly within 24 hours, and she said she thought she was there, at the murders. He reported it to army CID, but they did not respond. Stoeckly told Beazley she had tried to ride a horse,and it was broken. There was a hobby horse in the home, broken.(25:17)
The crime scene was not properly preserved.
A neighbour of Stoeckly (Jim Posey) saw her come home at 4am in a blue car. Had the floppy hat on her head. The guys had the usual garb on. Stoeckly later told the Posey she was present, and held a candle. She also told him she had been spotted by an MP car.
Stoeckly was interviewed, but inexplicably no notes were taken, and she was let go. [ I would say due to her usefulness as an informant, with over 500 arrests, she was protected ]
At the conclusion of the army investigation, MacDonald was cleared, and rightly so, recommendation was to look at Stoeckly. It all went wrong from there.
[ Notes end 38 minutes in ]