Federal court dismisses Jeffrey MacDonald’s appeal; will serve life sentences for killing family at Fort Bragg

Cumberland County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A federal court denied another request from convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald to be freed over his age and failing health.

The former Army captain and surgeon will continue to serve three life sentences for the 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two young children.

MacDonald, 77, has previously filed numerous unsuccessful challenges to his murder convictions, which have been repeatedly rejected by federal courts at every level.

MacDonald’s latest appeal was filed in November 2020. He asked the court to grant him “compassionate release” and reduce his life sentences.

On April 9, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle denied MacDonald’s motion.

MacDonald appealed that decision.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal through an order issued Thursday.

MacDonald has maintained he was wrongly convicted while the police let the real killers get away.

He claims that a group of hippies slaughtered 26-year-old Colette MacDonald and their daughters Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2, during a drug-fueled attack in 1970 that left him severely injured.

MacDonald called police on Feb. 17, 1970 because he was awakened by the screams of his wife and daughters and was attacked by intruders. He said the intruders, three men and a woman with long blond hair, a floppy hat, and boots who carried a lighted candle, chanted “acid is groovy; kill the pigs.”

Prosecutors still maintain that the evidence shows MacDonald killed them and wrote the word “PIG” in blood over their bed in an attempt to imitate the Charles Manson murders six months earlier.

The case was later the focus of a true-crime book called “Fatal Vision.”

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