How brutal ‘Doctor Death’ slaughtered the whole family and staged a bloody crime scene – only to be caught off guard by key clues

AFTER slaughtering his entire family and smearing blood on the walls of their home, “Doctor Death”, Jeffrey MacDonald called the police.

Covered in the blood of his wife and children, he told the 911 operator a chilling story that his house had been raided by Charles Manson-style hippies – claiming they had killed his wife and his two daughters.


Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald Killed His Entire Family Then Covered It Up
Dr. MacDonald and his wife Collette seemed like the perfect American couple


Dr. MacDonald and his wife Collette seemed like the perfect American couple
The couple have two children, Kimberley, right, and Kristen, left, with a third on the way


The couple have two children, Kimberley, right, and Kristen, left, with a third on the way

MacDonald – a tall and handsome military surgeon – seemed like the ideal family man and he was initially able to convince the cops that he was the victim.

No one would have suspected that he could have been capable of such unhealthy violence.

The All-American doctor thought he had done the perfect murders and was going to get away with his crimes.

But after nine years, he was finally caught as a detective and his stepfather managed to unravel the twisted surgeon’s web of lies.

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Despite his cool and professional demeanor, MacDonald came through with several key clues.

The discovery of the murder weapons in the back garden of the house, with fingerprints mysteriously erased, indicated a killer who had not left the scene.

He also provided very little evidence to support his lurid claims of a marauding gang of murderous hippies and refused to take a lie detector test.

Moreover, despite his training in unarmed combat, the room where MacDonald supposedly fought for his life with his attackers showed few signs of a struggle.

Fibers from his pajama top were found under his wife’s body and in the bedrooms of his two daughters.

When police first arrived at the home in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, they were greeted with a sickening scene.

Cold and calculated, MacDonald himself had called the police at 3:30 a.m. on February 17, 1970.

When the police arrived, they found him covered in blood lying next to the corpse of his pregnant wife.

Colette had been stabbed 16 times with a kitchen knife and 21 times with an ice pick, and both of her arms were broken.

The couple’s eldest daughter, five-year-old Kimberley, had been bludgeoned to death and stabbed in the neck.

Two-year-old Kristen suffered 48 separate stab wounds.

MacDonald, 26, a doctor and Green Beret, had suffered a punctured lung and multiple stab wounds, as well as a bruise to the head.

He had just finished a 24-hour shift at nearby Hamlet Hospital.

In the garden, the investigators then found the murder weapons, an ice pick and a large piece of wood.

MacDonald told police he was sleeping on the couch when he was attacked by “a hippie gang”.

They included a woman in a hat who chanted “acid is groovy” and “kill the pigs”.


The word “pig” had been scrawled in blood on a headboard, in an apparent imitation of the Charles Manson murders a year earlier.

MacDonald said he was knocked unconscious in the attack, and when he came to, his wife of six years and two young daughters were all dead.

Born in Long Island, New York, at school, Jeffrey was a popular kid in school, becoming student body president and prom king and was voted the most popular and most likely to succeed by his classmates. .

He met his wife Collette in 9th grade and they started dating, although they later broke up, but the high school sweethearts eventually got back together, and in 1963 the couple were married at a a shotgun wedding after learning that Collette was pregnant.

A year later, their first child Kimberley was born.

After joining the military and later volunteering to become Green Berets, the family eventually moved into a townhouse in Fort Bragg and Collette became pregnant for a third time with the couple’s first son.

The crime scene was horrified - but cops suspected nothing seemed out of place beyond the


The crime scene was horrified – but cops suspected nothing seemed out of place beyond theCredit: North Carolina Police
His daughters had been brutally murdered in their bed


His daughters had been brutally murdered in their bedCredit: North Carolina Police

After MacDonald was treated for his injuries – which were much less serious than those suffered by the rest of his family, he was questioned by the CID.

Further investigations revealed that there was no evidence of MacDonald’s “hippie gang”, and several alleged weapons discovered around the property had been suspected of having their fingerprints erased.

The forensic tests also came up with a number of additional findings and evidence that contradicted what MacDonald claimed to have happened.

MacDonald himself also provided little evidence to back up his claims and refused to take a polygraph test after previously agreeing to do so.

On May 1, 1970, he was charged with murder.


At his first trial, MacDonald’s attorney, Bernard Segal, alleged that forensic investigators destroyed crucial evidence supporting his client’s story.

He even offered a woman as a potential suspect – teenage drug addict and police informant Helena Stoeckley.

She matched MacDonald’s description of a blonde woman who he said had been at the scene of the murders and had been seen by a witness on the night the murders took place with several young men.

Stoeckley also couldn’t remember where she was on the night of the crimes and allegedly told a witness that she couldn’t marry her boyfriend until they killed someone.

Although Stoeckley and her boyfriend were questioned about the murders, they were never brought to justice, and ultimately the charges against MacDonald were dropped in October 1970.

The murder scene had been designed to look like the Manson murders


The murder scene had been designed to look like the Manson murdersCredit: AP:Associated Press

After being discharged from the army, MacDonald moved to California to work as a doctor.

He became something of a celebrity, even appearing on television for interviews.

However, Collette’s father-in-law, Alfred Kassab, who had initially supported MacDonald, had grown increasingly suspicious of him.

He began his own investigation, obtained a transcript of the MacDonald police interview, and even revisited the original crime scene.

Eventually, Kassab was convinced; MacDonald had murdered his stepdaughter and two children.

After a long legal dispute, MacDonald was arraigned for the second time on July 16, 1979.

On August 29, 1979, MacDonald was convicted of one count of first degree murder and two counts of second degree murder and was sentenced to three life terms.

MacDonald was so convinced he would be found innocent that before being convicted, he invited author Joe McGinniss to write a book about the case that would clear him.

Instead, the book Fatal Invasion portrays MacDonald as a cold, calculating killer with no remorse for his actions.

I am a decent human being. My guilt was not being able to defend my family

Jeffrey MacDonaldSerial killer

More than four decades have passed since his conviction, but MacDonald has maintained his innocence to this day.

He has filed several appeals but remains incarcerated at Cumberland Federal Correctional Institution in Maryland.

In August 2002, he even married the owner of the children’s theater school Kathryn Kurichh.

In 1998, MacDonald once again maintained his innocence in an interview with Vanity Fair.

“I am a decent human being,” he asserted. “My guilt was not being able to defend my family.

“They died. I didn’t…I didn’t have the luxury of picking my assailants and telling them the foot pounds per square inch they were to apply to my head and chest.”

He has his defenders. Campaign filmmaker Errol Morris launched a bid to free MacDonald in 2012.

Speaking to CBS at the time, Morris said, “I believe him innocent because no one has ever shown me a convincing argument for his guilt.”

He even wrote a book, A Wilderness of Error, which lays out all the evidence he thinks should free MacDonald.

However, last year The Fayetteville Observer reported that MacDonald had abandoned his latest offer of freedom.

Federal records did not indicate why the 78-year-old rescinded his request for release, and it is unclear whether he ultimately resigned himself to dying in prison.

MacDonald, now 78, continues to maintain his innocence to this day


MacDonald, now 78, continues to maintain his innocence to this dayCredit: Getty

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