Friday, June 4, 2010

Jeffrey R. MacDonald

Jeffrey Robert MacDonald graduated from Patchogue High School in Patchogue, New York in 1961. He was senior class president, football team co-captain and voted most likely to succeed. He won a scholarship to Princeton University and, in 1963, married his high school sweetheart, Colette Stevenson (who was pregnant with their first daughter). After earning his medical degree from Northwestern University and completing his internship, MacDonald decided he wanted to join the Army. He moved his family--he was by this time the father of two girls--to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1969 MacDonald held the rank of Captain and was assigned as a Group Surgeon to the 3rd Special Forces Group (The Green Berets). It was in a house at Fort Bragg that McDonald's family would be massacred. As the sole survivor of the brutal attacks, the physician quickly became the lead suspect. 

On August 29, 1979, after nearly a decade of legal maneuvering and set-backs, Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted in a civilian court of the February 17, 1970 clubbing and stabbing murders of his pregnant wife and their two children. To this day, MacDonald claims a band of acid-crazed hippies committed the home invasion murders in which he was wounded (the prosecution contended that the Army surgeon self-inflicted his relatively superficial injuries). One of the factors that convinced MacDonald's initially supportive in-laws of his guilt was his arrogance and cavalier manner during an appearance on the Dick Cavett Show in 1970.

In 1984 Gary Cole chillingly portrayed the murderous Green Beret doctor in a TV-movie adaptation of Joe McGinniss's true crime best seller, Fatal Vision. The real Jeffrey MacDonald now resides at a federal prison in Cumberland, Maryland where he is serving three consecutive life terms (he is next up for parole in 2020 and his scheduled release date is April 5, 2071). In 2002 he married his most devoted pen-pal, Kathryn Kurichh, who runs a children's drama school in Howard County, Maryland.

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