Fatal Justice: Reinvestigating the MacDonald Murders

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 - Law - 479 pages
2 Reviews
"Things do not lie, " charged the prosecution in the "Fatal Vision" case, and on the basis of forensic evidence Jeffrey MacDonald was sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murders of his wife and two young daughters. Ensuring that the MacDonald murders would remain one of the most famous and disturbing criminal cases of our time, Fatal Vision, the bestselling book by Joe McGinnis and the toprated miniseries based upon it, etched a vivid portrait of a husband and father in the grip of a murderous, irrational rage and seemed to leave no doubt that the forensic evidence pointed unequivocally to Jeffrey MacDonald's guilt. This painstakingly documented book, largely based on the government's own lab notes and other case documents secured through the Freedom of Information Act, presents a very different picture, a harrowing account of justice gone wrong. Re-creating the night of the murders in unprecedented detail, Jerry Allen Potter and Fred Bost go on to reexamine every piece of the puzzle of this extraordinary case to show how the prosecution held to its belief in MacDonald's guilt in the face of evidence that might have freed him; the steps the prosecution took to keep this evidence from the defense and the jury; how the prosecution discounted the confession of another suspect in the case and prevented the jury from learning about it; how the government's own laboratory tests contradicted the prosecutor's claims about key forensic evidence; how Joe McGinnis wove the theory, in Fatal Vision, that Jeffrey MacDonald killed his family in a psychotic rage triggered by taking diet pills and how McGinnis later admitted, in a sworn deposition, "I'm not convinced that it actually happened"; that the evidence found at the crime scene does not point at Jeffrey MacDonald but in fact supports his contention that a Manson-like group of intruders committed the murders and why MacDonald's appeals have failed and what keeps him from winning the evidentiary hearing that cou

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Fatal justice: reinvestigating the MacDonald murders

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Following up on Joe McGinnis's controversial Fatal Vision (LJ 9/1/83), the authors conclude that Green Beret Captain Jeffrey MacDonald was not given a fair trial for the murder of his wife and daughters. Read full review

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Anyone who wants to know the truth about the Jeffrey MacDonald case should read "Fatal Vision" by Joe Mcginniss.
"Fatal Justice" was written with MacDonald overseeing every page written., and only
presents a very small portion of the evidence. That which is reported is distorted (they said gloves that related to the crime were found in the kitchen; they turned out to be oven mitts with no relevance to the case at all.)
There is a reason all of his appeals have been denied. The evidence that convicted him is overwhelming. He is a sociopathic narcissist who deserves to sit in prison for the remainder of his life.
"Fatal Justice" is contrived and poorly written.


PART ONE The Army Investigation 1 The Murders on Castle Drive
The Crime Scene
The Woman in the Floppy Hat
The Army Hearing
PART TWO The Trial 5 Reversals
The Evidence at Trial
Helena Stoeckley at Trial
The Psychiatric Issue at Trial
PART THREE Reverberations
PostTrial Admissions and Confessions
A Prosecutorial Attitude
A Fatal Vision
PART FOUR The Great Writ
Epilogue to the Paperback Edition

The Verdict

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About the author (1997)

Jerry Allen Potter was a novelist. He lived in Pacific Grove, California, until his death in 2004.

Fred Bost is a retired magazine and newspaper writer who lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

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