He was the best of the best — a medical doctor, a Green Beret, the group surgeon at Fort Bragg, a ruggedly handsome soldier married to a loving woman who was soon to give birth to their third child. Then, something happened.
The Jeffrey MacDonald case has spawned its own cottage industry — books, articles, web sites, and a battalion of true crime aficionados who have microanalyzed every nuance, every shred of evidence. More than three decades have passed since someone savagely murdered Collette Katherine MacDonald, five-year-old Kimberly Kathryn, and two-year-old Kristin Jean. Questions linger, opinions leave little room for a middle ground: Jeff MacDonald killed his family; intruders killed MacDonald’s wife and two children, and assaulted the doctor. Take your pick.
MacDonald has maintained his innocence, and appeals in the case continue. In 1997 an appellate court granted defense counsel’s request for DNA testing on trace evidence. MacDonald still awaits the results. In his winter 2003 letter to friends (published at themacdonaldcase.org), he writes:
Josh Gewolb is indeed a talented writer, a 2001 Harvard grad with the non-profit Foundation for Equal Rights in Education (FIRE). FIRE was co-founded in 1998 by Harvey A. Silverglate, pro bono counsel for Jeffrey MacDonald for the last dozen years. Co-webmaster Kathryn Kurichh, Director of the Young Artists Theater in Laurel, Maryland, may or may not be "a paralegal," but she recently married and changed her name. She is Kathryn MacDonald now.
The secrecy attending the couple’s exchange of vows is reminiscent of the weddings of some of Hollywood’s beautiful people. Instead of a chapel in the Bahamas, picture the Federal Prison in Victorville, California. The marriage license is confidential, allowable under California law. Following the ceremony, inmate number 00131-177 requested a move within the federal system. Jeffrey MacDonald is now housed at the Cumberland facility in western Maryland, considerably closer to the new Mrs. MacDonald.
Other Articles by John Philpin:
Copyright John Philpin
Fatal Justice: Reinvestigating the Macdonald Murders by Jerry Allen Potter, Fred Bost -- A well-documented argument for the other side of the MacDonald case--an argument that the prosecution mishandled key crime-scene evidence, withheld potentially exculpatory material, and discounted confessions from other suspects. The army narrowed in on MacDonald as their prime suspect early in the investigation, and discouraged the FBI from developing alternate theories. And the judge, Franklin Dupree Jr. appeared to have been biased in favor of the prosecution.
Flame-out: From Prosecuting Jeffrey MacDonald to Serving Time to Serving Tables by James Blackburn, Wade M. Smith -- Story of prosecution of MacDonald for the triple murders of his family. Subsequent fall from grace from the practice of law, diagnosis fo severe depression, subsequent imprisonment, and later waiting tables in very public restaurant to survive.