Local News

Appeals court wants more details of DNA in 'Fatal Vision' case

Posted May 6, 2010 2:50 p.m. EDT
Updated May 6, 2010 3:26 p.m. EDT

— A federal appeals court on Thursday asked prosecutors and attorneys for a former Army doctor convicted in the 1970 slayings of his pregnant wife and two daughters to submit more information on DNA evidence in the case.

Jeffrey MacDonald, 66, is serving three life terms for the murders in a Fort Bragg home that spawned the book and television miniseries "Fatal Vision." He has always maintained that four drug-crazed hippies killed his family.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March heard arguments on whether to allow him to introduce new evidence, including DNA tests and sworn statements by two people who are now dead, which he says supports his claim of innocence.

In 1997, the appeals court ordered DNA testing in the case. Defense lawyers say a hair was found under the fingernail of one of his daughters and contend that DNA helps prove the theory of intruders.

U.S. District Court judges have refused to review the DNA results on procedural grounds, but the appellate court ruled that it would consider the DNA tests and whether the original prosecutor threatened a witness during the 1979 trial.

Briefs from both sides are due June 15.