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Posted: September 20, 2012 8:15 p.m.
Updated: September 21, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Few crimes have attracted the attention and fascination of the public like the gruesome 1970 murder of an Army wife and her two young daughters at Fort Bragg, N.C.; the husband and father, Capt. Jeffrey McDonald, a Green Beret physician, was subsequently convicted of the murders and has been in prison since 1979. For all these years he has maintained his innocence, claiming the murders were committed by four mysterious people who invaded his army post home, stabbed him and killed his family during a drug-induced rampage.

Adding to the intrigue has been the book “Fatal Vision” by prominent author Joe McGinnis, who says he began work on the book in an effort to establish McDonald’s innocence but slowly and surely came to the conclusion that he was the perpetrator.

McDonald’s back in court now, saying new evidence will exonerate him. Adding to the intrigue are others coming forth saying at least two of the original suspects later confessed to the murders, including Helena Stoeckely, pictured as the mysterious “woman in the floppy hat” described by McDonald.

Those bringing forth new evidence say it is powerful and could set McDonald free. Others, including McGinnis, pooh-pooh, it. Woven through all the testimony and rumors and purported confessions is plenty of material to consider in the case, but everyone will be surprised if there’s anything that can lead to an overturning of the verdict. But the legal system can never be predicted. McDonald’s still vowing his innocence after more than four decades. Perhaps he will one day be vindicated.


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