Okay, so I watched People Magazine's take on the MacDonald case. Good grief. Where to even begin?
Given they subtitled the show (and MacDonald himself) "The Accused," it's really no surprise that the program itself was almost completely one-sided in MacDonald's favor. Who was the "reporter" on this "investigation?" Kathryn MacDonald? O.J. Simpson?
I am guessing that no one on staff read the Article 32 hearing transcript (the document that firmly convinced me of MacDonald's guilt.) By the same token, I'm also certain that no one read the autopsy reports, the reports of MacDonald's documented injuries or viewed crime scene photos.
Here is just a (relatively) short list of the program's oversights and flat out errors:
* MacDonald did not have some 23 stab wounds. He had one abrasion on his forehead, some scratches to his bicep and one clean incision to his abdomen/lower chest.
* Despite reporting that MacDonald was attacked and stabbed with the icepick, he had no icepick wounds on his body (unlike his wife and daughters, who were viciously attacked with it many, many times.)
* MacDonald was not "left for dead." Unless, of course, one could perish from excessive bicep scratching.
* Kristen was stabbed some thirty-three times; not the seventeen reported.
* The lab did not destroy the bloody footprint found in the doorway of Kristen's room. While attempting to remove it, the boards came apart.
* The statement of no one in the MacDonald residence having a drug addiction/problem may not be accurate. MacDonald had been taking Eskatrol prior to the murders. Based on his own handwritten notes, those that were given to his attorney, he was taking some 3-5 capsules per day. He was also operating on very little sleep at the time of the murders. A decade or so after the murders Eskatrol was taken off the market due to the possibility of excessive use causing paranoia and/or psychosis.
* The program's slant made it sound like MacDonald had not been granted DNA testing which would prove his innocence. That is absolutely false. DNA tests have been done. None of them show any evidence of intruders being in the home that night. To the contrary, a hair found grasped in Colette's death grip, a hair that MacDonald assured his four remaining supporters would belong to her killer, was identified as his own. (Possibly the only truth he ever uttered about this case.)
* The unidentified mystery hair is not such a mystery. It was determined to have possibly come from one of the children's dolls or even from one of Colette's own falls. The presence of a wig hair in a hairbrush does little to bolster the case of four drugged out hippies hell bent on destruction.
* Helena Stoeckley did indeed make a confession. The program neglected to also report that she recanted her confession.
* What hippies, invading a home with the desire to obliterate everyone in it, would do so without weapons handy? All weapons used in the murders came from the residence. Furthermore, what persons would attack a pregnant woman and two little girls first, leaving MacDonald - - the biggest threat - - until last? No, you would immobilize or incapacitate your biggest threat immediately. Also, as MacDonald was reportedly their target (per this program, at least), it makes no sense to not go after him first.
* The evening/early morning hours of February 16-17, 1970 was a cold, wet one. Yet not one bit of mud or water was tracked in by these intruders. The only wet blades of grass found, in fact, were adhered to the hem of MacDonald's own bathrobe (left there, perhaps, when he put his robe on to walk outside and kneel in the grass to discard the weapons?)
* The program reported that the government's case rested on the theory that the murders were committed solely because one of the children had wet the bed. They did not mention this was an incident that may have started an argument but the murders were not committed only because of it.
* The program reported that the MacDonald marriage was a happy, harmonious one. Completely at odds with what family, friends and neighbors reported and testified to about their view of the marriage in the months prior to the murders. To wit, they stated that neither Colette nor MacDonald seemed particularly happy and neither was pleased about Colette's third pregnancy. Additionally, Colette had called her mother on the morning of February 16, 1970, wanting to return home with her daughters. All three of them would be dead in less than twenty-four hours.
* The report of MacDonald having a single one-night stand is beyond laughable. MacDonald was a flagrant philanderer. The investigators knew it, Colette knew it and we know it. At the time of the Article 32 hearing, roughly two months after his family had been butchered, MacDonald was having sexual relations with a woman in his BOQ room. Hardly the grieving widower and father the program would like us to believe.
* The show did not report much on the physical evidence at all. For instance, Kimberley's blood (and brain matter) was found in the master bedroom. Colette's blood was found in Kristen's room. Other than a smudge on the Esquire magazine and a drop on the lenses of MacDonald's glasses, no blood was found in the living room (and the intruders had allegedly already attacked Colette and the girls with the very weapons they were swinging at MacDonald. Scrapes from the club were found on the ceiling of Kristen's room although she herself was not struck with the club; similarly, despite MacDonald claiming to have been struck by the club, no scrapes were found on the living room ceiling. It was proven that Colette's blood was on MacDonald's pajama top before it was torn. Kimberley's blood was found on that same pajama top although MacDonald claims to have taken it off to cover Colette before he went to check on his daughter. The urine stain found on the bed in the master bedroom was typed to Kimberley although MacDonald claimed it was Kristen that was in the bed.
* MacDonald claimed he did not go or call the neighbors for help because he did not know them well. Really? How well do you need to know someone to scream or cry for help when your family has been slaughtered?
* Children's clothing was found in a pile at the end of the hallway, closest to the living room. Colette's belongings were found jammed in a dresser drawer. A suitcase was discovered in the master bedroom; no blood on it but blood all around, indicating it was placed there after the blood was shed. (Prosecutors theorized that MacDonald planned on fleeing; I disagree. I think Colette had packed that suitcase, in the hopes that after calling her mother, she would fly home with her children. After killing his family, I believe MacDonald found that suitcase and in his attempts to stage the scene, unpacked it. I think he threw Colette's belongings into a drawer and may have forgotten about the children's, which were left in a pile on the floor. He also forgot to return the suitcase to the closet.)
* The home telephone number of MacDonald's Commanding Officer was found either on the club used in the murders or written in the MacDonald home. The wife of the CO remembers getting a phone call in the early morning hours of February 17, 1970 from a man asking for her husband who was then not at home. She claimed she could not identify MacDonald but it does seem coincidental, doesn't it? I believe that MacDonald called his CO for assistance/guidance before he decided to go with the hippie intruder story.
* MacDonald told his former father-in-law Freddie Kassab that he had tracked down and killed one of the intruders.
* The program did not show the portion of The Dick Cavett Show where MacDonald laughed about the Army's incompetence and had to be reminded that three persons (and one unborn child) had died. The program also did not report that Cavett himself felt MacDonald's affect was all wrong.
Jeffrey MacDonald is NOT the victim here. Reserve sympathy for Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald.