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MacDonald's Lawyers Seek Faster Review of Murder Appeal

Posted December 4, 2007

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— Lawyers for Jeffrey MacDonald, the former Army doctor convicted of killing his wife and two daughters 27 years ago, have asked a federal judge in Raleigh to speed up a review of his case.

In 2006, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to give the case another look after a retired U.S. marshal swore in an affidavit that  woman told him she was in MacDonald's home on Fort Bragg home on the night of the murders. The marshal also said he heard  the woman make the same claim to federal prosecutor Jim Blackburn and that Blackburn threatened to indict her for murder if she made the claim on the witness stand.

Blackburn has denied the allegations.

U.S. District Judge James C. Fox has been reviewing the case for more than a year. He could decide to hear the new evidence or he could decline.

MacDonald’s lawyers have asked Fox for a status hearing because the retired marshal is in poor health and his participation in any court hearing is doubtful. A status hearing would provide the lawyers with a timeline as to when Fox might render his decision.

Federal prosecutors have asked the judge to deny the request for a status hearing.

There was no word on when Fox would rule on the status hearing.


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