Local News

After 30 Years, MacDonald Still Claims He's Innocent Of Murder

Posted February 16, 2000

— Thirty years ago at Fort Bragg, a pregnant woman and her two children were killed. The woman's husband, Jeffrey MacDonald, was convicted of their murders. Three decades later, MacDonald is still trying to clear his name.

Retired FBI Agent Robert Cavelry remembers the day as if it was yesterday: February 17, 1970. A pregnant Colette MacDonald and her two daughters were found murdered at Fort Bragg.

Cavelry says he has no doubt in his mind that the right man is behind bars. He has no doubt that Colette's husband, Capt. Jeffrey MacDonald, a Green Beret doctor, killed his own family.

"I still have no doubt today," Cavelry says. "His eyes got teary, but no shedding of tears, of things you would expect after your wife and two children were brutally murdered."

The case went on to tear at the hearts of the nation. A movie and book were made about the murders.

The home on 544 Castle Drive, where the murders took place, remained off limits for more than 14 years. Today, a family lives there, and the house continues to be a ghoulish attraction.

"A lot of people come by and take pictures," says neighbor Fritza White. "They come by, drive around and look around."

To this day, MacDonald claims a group of drug-crazed hippies injured him and killed his family. Helena Stoeckley even claimed she was a participant in the murders, but later recanted her story.

The 56-year-old continues to fight to clear his name. The case has been heard by the Supreme Court six times. All of MacDonald's appeals have failed.

MacDonald resides in a federal prison in Sheridan, Ore., and now communicates with his supporters throughhis own Web site. He talks about his frustration by DNA test delays and the search for new evidence that could reopen his case.

Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Cuyler Windham was an SBI agent at the time of the incident.

"It could not have happened the way he says it happened," Windham says. "It was just a hideous crime scene, that's all I can say any time when children were involved."

MacDonald and his lawyers are still awaiting the results of DNA testing on hair samples.

He continues to serve his sentence of three consecutive life terms. He has been in jail for 18 years. From staff and wire reports


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