A false case of murder can be well-constructed, without giving room for any legal lacuna; an innocent individual can be taken to the gallows. In a real case of murder, the murderer can go scot-free, when the law fails to establish the murder. The fabricated cases are drafted in consultation with the wily legal experts and therefore, an innocent individual is trapped. Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald was convicted in August 1979, for the murder of his wife, Colette, and two young daughters (5 year old Kimberly, and 2 year old Kristen McDonald). The ghastly murder took place in their home in the early morning hours of February 17, 1970 on Ft. Bragg Army base in North Carolina.
The murder was reportedly committed by “hippies”, a local satanic cult. The five active enlisted army men were members of this cult. A hard core drug addict can do anything, for the sake of the daily drug dose. Serious crimes, including murders, are kindergarten stuff for them. Dr. MacDonald had orders to report the names of Army personnel who took overdose of heroin and other hard drugs and were admitted to the Emergency Room. One of the cult members (Greg Mitchell) had warned Colette MacDonald of serious consequences, a day before the murder was committed.
It was a revengeful investigation by the Army CID. From the very beginning, their intention and the line of investigation were to fix MacDonald. It was a case of concealed evidence, the fact which came into light later that there were other people present at the MacDonald home at the time of the murder, was deliberately swept under the carpet. Vital evidence under their control, which would have allowed Mac/Donald to prove his innocence, was untraceable.
MacDonald is tried, found guilty and continues to serve his prison sentence. This is one of the most confusing cases in the history of jurisprudence in USA, hotly debated in newspapers and electronic media. Strong doubts exist till this day, and the debate rages whether MacDonald was really guilty of the gruesome killings. The dramatic story began when on the fateful day of February 17, 1970 MacDonald summoning the police to report that his pregnant wife and two daughters had been murdered by a gang of hippies, who had previous enmity with the Doctor, for daring to report against them for their drug related activities. Such activities had a huge commercial angle. The Doctor offered stiff resistance, fought them and in the process was knocked unconscious.
But Mr. McGinniss, to whom this book brought an avalanche of fortune, who was also one of the best friends of MacDonald, later turned enemy for the reasons best known to him, does not support his friend’s version. According to him, the Doctor injured and killed a member of his family. To cover up his misdeed, he killed all of them, and then authored a story. Before that he inflicted superficial wounds upon himself. Suspicion regarding McGinniss’s version arises at this point. An author sees stories everywhere, and this story of the Doctor butchering the family, seems to be the flight of imagination of the story writer McGinniss. He must have done that for selfish gains.
But why should a decorated army Captain, push his family into the dark valley of death? He was an outstanding member of the community. If money were the criteria for him, he would have earned millions of dollars by remaining hand in glove with the drug syndicate holed up in the army that made mockery of the service discipline! He chose the path of honesty and had to pay a very heavy price for that.
When the fox could not get at the grapes did it not say that the grapes are sour! When the drug syndicate failed to buy and bully MacDonald, they succeeded in describing him as a psychopath addicted to amphetamines. Such an individual is devoid of normal human feelings and would not care for the pain and suffering of others. He is only concerned about his welfare. Murdering others, in such a mental condition, is as good as cracking peanuts for him. That’s what McGinniss tells about his friend in his book. He claims that though he initially believed his friend to be innocent, but later changed his opinion (perhaps after having a detailed talk and finally sealing the deal with the publishers of his book ) MacGinnis, you deserve to be the leader of an international drug syndicate, not an international best-selling author! Your ditching the friend has few parallels in human history; and Mr.MacGinnis, did you change the plot of the story and the title of the book at the demand of your Publisher? Did your :Publishers recall the amount of advance paid to you, when at one stage Dr. MacDonald was declared not guilty by the Court? Were you the most affected one or the most happy individual, when Dr. MacDonald was a free citizen again, cleared off all the serious blemishes?
Dr.McDonald was cleared of all the charges in the summer of 1970, as per Article 32 military hearing. The CID tried its best to fix him and lead him up to the condemned cell. Colonel Warren V. Rock understood the carefully crafted game plan of the CID, and cleared Mc.Donald of all the charges. He ruled that the CID charges against MacDonald were simply “not true.” The emotional Dr.MacDonald made the mistake of his life by appearing on an important TV show, and did not hesitate to expose the Army CID. This happened in the month of December 1970. The rogue elephant of government prosecution was on the rampage again out to destroy the Doctor. Even in the best democratic system, an ordinary citizen can not have the advantage, might and authority available to government prosecutors. It was the battle of unequal in the Court. The reinvestigation ultimately resulted in imposition of three consecutive life term sentences (since the death penalty was outlawed). Attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Harvey Silverglate have called the MacDonald railroading one of ‘the worst cases of prosecutorial misconduct’ in the history of United States jurisprudence.
The bifacial strategy of the fox named McGinniss stood fully exposed later. It was MacDonald who selected McGnniss to write his story with the genuine hope that revenues from the book would help to mitigate his suffering in the front of legal expenses. How McGinniss stabbed his trusted in the back for his selfish self-aggrandizement, is a full blown issue, the factual account of which is known to the American Society. For the sake of dollars, he had no shame to picture his friend as a merciless killer. This killer of the American legal conscience had to pay MacDonald $ 325,000 out-of-court settlement for the fabricated plot and distortions committed on his friend through the pages of book. But MacDonald continues to be behind the bars.
Since 1997, MacDonald is making efforts to get DNA analysis tests performed on the remaining physical evidence held by the prosecutors, but has failed in his efforts. It is very interesting to know that the former CID investigator turned Justice Department prosecutor is one and the same individual, Brain Muraugh!
Several possible witnesses in favor of MacDonad are threatened with dire consequences, if they ever dare to enter the witness box to testify. A MacDonald Defense Fund has been designed by the supporters of Jeffrey MacDonald to fight the wrongful conviction, as there are several unanswered questions related to the case. I firmly believe that then investigation was thoroughly mishandled and several improprieties have been committed.
McGinniss, Joe, Book: ‘Fatal Vision.’ (ISBN 0451165667)