Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
4

The Murderer and the Fourth Circuit

For the last 41 years, Jeffrey MacDonald, formerly a surgeon in the Green Berets, has been saying that he did not kill his wife and children. You may remember him from either the commissioned assassination performed by Joe McGinniss in Fatal Vision or perhaps the uncommissioned and far more articulate assassination of McGinniss in Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer. In a decision yesterday by the Fourth Circuit (PDF), MacDonald has been granted the right to present new evidence in federal court—a rather clear right, it seems, that the lower court didn't feel like extending. The sheer amount of time that has passed means that MacDonald's "new" witnesses keep dying: both the woman who claimed to have invaded his house on the night of the murders and the federal marshall who claimed he witnessed her intimidation into lying on the stand have both passed away.

Meanwhile, McGinniss is busy writing his book on Sarah Palin, having returned from Wasilla, where he had no view into the Palin's bedrooms from his rented property next door. Palin is a subject Malcolm has some thoughts regarding as well.

4 Comments / Post A Comment

You know there's something fishy when a white dude is in prison that long. He's either guilty or like the worst white guy ever. I mean the worst at being white not the worst guy who happens to be white.

MichelleDean (#7,041)

This post is morally indefensible.

#injokeformalcolmfans

GailPink (#9,712)

It never occured to me that he wasn't guilty. If that's the case, what a horrific tragedy for everyone.

@GailPink To be fair, it has not really occurred to anyone anywhere, pretty much, that he is not guilty. By which I mean… this is a great court decision for America! And rather without point in this case.

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