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NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 60 Issue: 6 Dated: (June 1993) Pages: 15-23,64-65
B M Murtagh; M P Malone
Date Published
11 pages
In 1979, Jeffrey MacDonald was tried and convicted of the murders of his wife and daughters. The defense claimed that intruders killed the family in the bedroom while MacDonald was being attacked in the living room.
However, according to this article, the physical evidence retrieved at the crime scene proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime scene had been rearranged and that only MacDonald could have rearranged it. The evidence included threads from MacDonald's pajamas found under and around the body of his wife in the bedroom, an absence of threads from his pajamas in the living room where he claimed to have been attacked by the intruders, blood samples from his daughter on his eyeglasses and blood stains from his wife on his pajama top, and other blood stains that indicated the sites of assault. Other evidence recovered at the scene included splinters from the club used to hit one daughter and the wife, MacDonald's bloody footprint leaving his daughter's room, hairs, fabric impressions, and ice pick wounds to the wife's chest. This article reviews the role the physical evidence played in MacDonald's direct appeal in 1980 and collateral attacks made in 1984 and 1990 when he filed unsuccessful motions for a new trial.