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New York physician Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted in 1979 for murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters, but questions remain about his guilt.
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Jeffrey MacDonald began to rebuild his life, returning to work in medicine and receiving praise for many initiatives he brought about in that field. He proved he was well-liked and admired and was even made an honorary lifetime member of the Long Beach Police Department.
After several years, a grand jury was presented with a new theory about MacDonald, and subsequently indicted him.
After studying the Article 32 transcripts,
MacDonald's father-in-law had become convinced of his guilt and began a successful campaign to have him brought to trial. A grand jury in North Carolina indicted him on January 24, 1975, and within an hour MacDonald was arrested in California.
MacDonald was unlucky in that Judge Franklin T. Dupree Jr. who was to preside over the case, was also a close friend and in-law of a government official who was out to get a conviction. It appeared the odds were stacked against the suspect. MacDonald was indicted over a period of five years, but not charged. His trial was finally set for mid-1979, nine years after the murders had occurred.
Throughout a litany of anomalies committed during the trial, the most glaring was the Amy's alleged holding back of evidence and not allowing the defense to test vital evidence in the laboratory. In addition, the Army's mishandling of the investigation, as well as positive testimonies of MacDonald's character were kept from the jury.In fact, years after the trial, the defense were able to scrutinize through the Freedom of Information Act lab notes that disclosed important findings that were never presented to the jury.
Vital pieces of evidence that were held back involved several strands of long blond hair that were found in the hand of Colette, the murdered wife. These fibers were traced to that of Helena Stoeckley's blonde wig, which she admitted she wore and disposed of shortly after the murders.
Similar hairs were also discovered on the deceased's hairbrush and Stoeckley later also admitted that she had used the hairbrush on her wig.
The prosecution also claimed that the club used to beat Colette revealed two dark fibers from MacDonald's pajamas, was sound evidence incriminating the key suspect. Years later this was found to be false.
In fact, the fibers were discovered to have come from Colette's own mouth, most likely when she was hit by the club. The fibers themselves did not match any clothes found in the house or worn by Colette or MacDonald. Furthermore three wax droppings were discovered in the house, but they did not come from any candles the MacDonalds owned. Helen Stoeckley was known to use candles for her rituals and the evidence supported MacDonald's claim that he saw a woman holding a lit candle.
Other pieces of evidence that were held back from being reported to the jury at the time included evidence of a burned match in one of the children's bedrooms and a number of bloody gloves and a syringe that was lost by the CID lab before they could be tested.
More disturbing was the amount of evidence that was simply not presented to the defense team.
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