Timeline of events in the Jeffrey MacDonald case

AP News
Posted: Sep 15, 2012 11:50 AM
Timeline of events in the Jeffrey MacDonald case

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — — Feb. 17, 1970: Colette, Kimberley, and Kristen MacDonald — the wife and daughters of Capt. Jeffrey MacDonald — are killed in the family apartment on Fort Bragg, N.C.

— May 1, 1970: The Army formally charges MacDonald with killing his family.

— July 5, 1970: The Army opens an Article 32 hearing against MacDonald.

— Oct. 13, 1970: The Army recommends all charges against MacDonald be dropped.

— December 1970: MacDonald receives an honorable discharge.

— Jan. 24, 1975: Jeffrey MacDonald is indicted on three counts of murder in federal court, mainly because of the persistence of Colette's stepfather, Alfred Kassab. He was one of MacDonald's early supporters but later became convinced of MacDonald's guilt.

— Aug. 29, 1979: MacDonald is convicted of the murders of Colette, Kimberley and Kristen and sentenced to life in prison.

— Aug. 22, 1980: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses all charges against MacDonald, who is released.

— March 31, 1982: The U.S. Supreme Court reverses the 4th Circuit decision. MacDonald is rearrested and returned to prison.

— Spring 1984: The book "Fatal Vision" by Joe McGinniss, who had access to MacDonald and his defense team during the trial, is published. McGinniss had thought MacDonald was innocent, then changed his mind. MacDonald eventually sued McGinniss for breach of contract, and the two reached a $325,000 settlement. MacDonald was not allowed to keep most of the money, which went into a trust.

— Nov. 18-19, 1984: The mini-series based on "Fatal Vision" airs on NBC.

— March 27, 1991: MacDonald, now eligible for parole, maintains his innocence and doesn't apply.

— 1995: "Fatal Justice: Reinvestigating the MacDonald Murders," written by MacDonald supporters Fred Bost and Jerry Allen Potter, is published.

— Aug. 30, 2002: Jeffrey and Kathryn MacDonald are married.

— May 10, 2005: MacDonald attends his first parole hearing after 14 years of eligibility. He continues to maintain his innocence, and the board turns down his request within a few months.

— December 2005: MacDonald's attorneys file motion in 4th Circuit requesting a hearing on newly discovered evidence.

— Jan. 13, 2006 — 4th Circuit rules that MacDonald can introduce evidence of Jimmy Britt, a retired deputy U.S. marshal who said he heard prosecutor Jim Blackburn threaten a witness, Helena Stoeckley.

— March 10, 2006: DNA testing shows MacDonald's hair was found in Colette's hand. Also, hair from unidentified person is found under fingernail of a daughter.

— Nov. 4, 2008: U.S. District Court Judge James Fox dismisses the appeal filed by MacDonald's attorneys.

— Feb. 19, 2009: MacDonald's attorneys ask 4th Circuit to order a new trial.

— April 19, 2011: 4th Circuit orders Fox to consider new evidence.

— Sept. 2, 2012: "A Wilderness of Error," written by documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, is published.

— Sept. 17, 2012: After several scheduling delays, the hearing on new evidence is on the calendar in U.S. District Court in Wilmington.