Local News

50 years later, Fort Bragg murder case still intrigues

Posted February 16, 2020 8:37 a.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2020 6:06 p.m. EST

— It was Feb. 17, 1970, some 50 years ago.

The call for help came shortly after 3:30 on a Tuesday morning. The man who dialed the operator relayed a desperate situation.

He said his name was Capt. MacDonald, there had been stabbings, and he needed a doctor, military police and an ambulance to come to his home at 544 Castle Drive on Fort Bragg.

When military police arrived, they found Jeffrey MacDonald lying next to his wife on a blood-covered floor in the master bedroom. The 26-year-old Army doctor had a puncture wound to his chest, but he was alive.

Colette MacDonald, 26, lay dead. So did 5-year-old Kimberley and 2-year-old Kristen in their bedrooms nearby.

Who did this?

The question terrified the people of Fayetteville and Fort Bragg on that miserable February morning. And it has captivated the public for five decades.

MacDonald, 76, is serving three consecutive life sentences in federal prison for the murders. He says he was wrongly convicted while the police let the real killers, often described as a group of four “drug-crazed hippies,” get away.

MacDonald has been in and out of courtrooms since the summer of 1970 to assert his claim he is innocent.

Sometimes he won; ultimately he lost.

The facts for and against MacDonald have been hashed out since 1970 in news accounts, at least five books, on television and, in modern times, on websites and in true-crime podcasts. Read more on The Fayetteville Observer.

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