"MY HOPES ARE TO BE LEGALLY VINDICATED AND WALK OUT OF PRISON A FREE MAN," SAYS JEFFREY MACDONALD, CONVICTED OF MURDERING HIS FAMILY, IN A JAILHOUSE INTERVIEW WITH "48 HOURS MYSTERY"
-- SATURDAY, NOV. 5
It's one of the country's most enduring mysteries, the 1970 murders of U.S. Army Doctor Jeffrey MacDonald's pregnant wife and two young daughters at their Fort Bragg home in Fayetteville, N.C. Having served 25 years in prison for those murders, MacDonald, now 61, still proclaims his innocence and tells correspondent Bill Lagattuta, in a jailhouse interview, "My hopes are to be legally vindicated and walk out of prison a free man." 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Jeffrey MacDonald: Time for Truth," will be broadcast Saturday, Nov. 5 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
This case has fascinated and confounded the American public for more than three decades. From the day after it happened 35 years ago, MacDonald has maintained that it was a group of crazed, drug-fueled hippies who broke into his apartment and viciously murdered his family. However, Army investigators were convinced by evidence they found at the scene that it was, in fact, MacDonald who committed the crimes. It took the U.S. government nine years to make its case against him, but in 1979, a jury convicted MacDonald of three counts of first-degree murder -- a conviction based entirely on circumstantial evidence.
Since then, MacDonald and his lawyers have exhausted every avenue of appeal. The case has been in front of the United States Supreme Court more than any other in history. And yet, MacDonald continues to fight. Over the years, new evidence has been discovered and new witnesses have come forward. MacDonald recently found another reason to keep fighting: his new wife, Kathryn. Married two-and-a-half years ago behind bars, this past summer MacDonald did something that he swore he would never do: with his wife by his side, he faced a parole board for the first time. In his ongoing fight to prove his innocence, MacDonald is hoping that DNA testing being done now on hair and blood evidence from the crime scene may confirm what he has claimed for 25 years: that he did not kill his family. His hope is that this testing will set him free.
48 HOURS has obtained interviews from every major party connected to this case, from the original investigators to MacDonald's new wife. 48 HOURS has also built a full-scale replica of the MacDonald apartment -- no longer in existence -- to clearly illustrate the conflicting accounts of events that took place 35 years ago.**
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Jeffrey MacDonald: Time for Truth" is produced by Josh Gelman. Al Briganti is the executive editor and Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.