Local News

Latest attempt for new trial in 'Fatal Vision' killings rebuffed

Posted May 29, 2015

— A federal judge has again denied attempts for a new trial for Jeffrey MacDonald, the Army surgeon who was convicted of the 1970 killings of his pregnant wife and their two daughters at their Fort Bragg home.

MacDonald, 71, has repeatedly claimed that his family was attacked during a home invasion by four hippies seeking drugs. The case spawned a book and television miniseries titled “Fatal Vision."

He has sought a new trial based on what defense attorneys said was new DNA evidence and witness testimony, but Senior U.S. District Judge James Fox ruled last year that MacDonald failed to establish any merits to his claim that he's not guilty of the murders.

MacDonald asked Fox to allow him to appeal the ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in order to challenge the findings of an FBI analyst.

The analyst said blond hairs found in a brush in the MacDonald home belonged to a doll and weren't from a wig, but MacDonald's defense noted that the U.S. Department of Justice had criticized the analyst and his testing procedures. Prosecutors never disclosed those criticisms to the defense during several rounds of appeals, according to the motion for an appeal.

In an order filed May 18, Fox said he wouldn't amend his ruling to allow an appeal.


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