Local News

Attorneys for Jeffrey MacDonald seek delay in hearing

Posted July 16, 2012 4:08 p.m. EDT
Updated July 16, 2012 5:57 p.m. EDT

Jeffrey MacDonald (Photo courtesy of Kathryn MacDonald)

— Attorneys for former Fort Bragg Army doctor Jeffrey MacDonald have asked a federal judge to delay a hearing next month regarding new claims in the 42-year-old murder case involving MacDonald's pregnant wife and two children.

The 68-year-old was sentenced in 1979 to three life terms in prison for the 1970 murders.

The evidentiary hearing, scheduled in federal court for Aug. 20, is to determine whether his attorneys can conduct new DNA testing on three unknown hair samples found at the crime scene, as well as matters relating to other evidence in the case that defense attorneys say warrant MacDonald a new trial.

But they have asked that the hearing be moved to Sept. 17, because they need more time to meet deadlines in other cases because of changes to North Carolina's Racial Justice Act.

MacDonald has maintained his innocence, claiming that he and his family were attacked by three men and a woman with long blonde hair, a floppy hat and boots who carried a lighted candle and chanted "acid is groovy; kill the pigs."

The case inspired the true crime book "Fatal Vision" and a TV mini-series of the same name.