Panel suggests no parole for doctor in slayings

/ Source: The Associated Press

A federal panel recommended no parole Tuesday for former Green Beret doctor Jeffrey MacDonald, whose conviction in the 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters was dramatized in the best-selling book and TV miniseries “Fatal Vision.”

The U.S. Parole Commission panel also recommended no reconsideration of the matter for 15 years, said U.S. Attorney Frank Whitney of the Eastern District of North Carolina. The recommendation will now be sent to the full commission.

Whitney made a presentation against MacDonald during the two-hour closed hearing at the Federal Correctional Institution near Cumberland. He called the murders the most heinous crimes in state history.

“We were pleased with the outcome,” Whitney said, adding that MacDonald has served less than a third of his sentence.

MacDonald, 61, has been eligible to apply for parole since 1991 but refused until this year, contending it would involve a tacit admission of guilt.

MacDonald received three consecutive life sentences for the murders of his 26-year-old wife, Colette, and their daughters, ages 2 and 5, at their apartment at Fort Bragg, N.C. He claimed he and his family were attacked by drug-crazed hippies.

Life with new wife
One of his lawyers, Tim Junkin, has said MacDonald’s change of mind about seeking parole partly reflects a desire to live with his new wife, Kathryn MacDonald, whom he married in prison in 2002.

Junkin and Kathryn MacDonald attended Tuesday’s hearing. Junkin declined to comment when reached by phone afterward. Kathryn MacDonald drove away from the prison without speaking to reporters.

At the hearing, Bob Stevenson, the 65-year-old brother of MacDonald’s slain wife, gave a very “impassioned statement describing the pain MacDonald had inflicted on his family,” Whitney said.

Stevenson said after the hearing that he was “delighted” by the panel’s decision, calling it “everything I wanted.”