Ex-Army captain convicted of killing family at Fort Bragg home seeks prison release due to COVID-19 and failing health

North Carolina news

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — A former Army captain and surgeon serving three life sentences for the 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two young children has asked a federal judge to free him due to his age and failing health.

A hearing for Jeffrey MacDonald is scheduled to take place on Thursday in a Raleigh federal courtroom at 3 p.m. MacDonald is seeking a compassionate release amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

MacDonald, who is now 77 years old, was convicted in 1979 for the murder of his family in their Fort Bragg home.

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 told the police he called to his home on Feb. 17, 1970, that he was awakened by the screams of his wife and daughters and was attacked by intruders – three men and a woman with long blond hair, a floppy hat, and boots who carried a lighted candle and 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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