Crime Scene Photography · North Carolina

The MacDonald murders (extremely graphic)

February 17, 1970
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
3 members of the MacDonald family are found dead

WARNING: THE PHOTOS ACCOMPANYING THIS ARTICLE ARE EXTREMELY GRAPHIC AND INVOLVE CHILDREN. DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Emergency services received a call from a distressed Jeffrey MacDonald reporting a stabbing in his home. When responding military police arrived to investigate they discovered Colette MacDonald, who was carrying her third child, dead on her bedroom floor. She was clubbed so severely her arms were broken, and had been stabbed 21 times with an ice pick and 16 with a knife. Kimberly (5) was found in her bed, clubbed in the head and stabbed 8-10 times in the neck; evidence showed she was injured or killed elsewhere before her bloodied body was placed in her bed and her pink security blanket placed in her arms. Kristen (2) was also found in her own bed and had been stabbed 33 times with a knife and 15 with an ice pick.

Jeffrey MacDonald, a doctor and green beret, claimed he managed to survive the attack: he had a small, clean cut, a partially collapsed lung, and some bruises. When questioned, he claimed he had fallen asleep on the couch after Kristen had wet his side of the bed during the night. He awoke to “hippies,” 2 white men, 1 black man, and 1 white woman, chanting “acid is groovy, kill the pigs” while lighting candles. He also stated he was rendered unconscious in the attack.

Forensic evidence, documented by the rare occurrence that all members of the household had different blood types making a timeline if events fairly easy to follow, gave investigators a theory of the events leading to the family’s murder. They theorized an argument erupted in the master bedroom, possibly when Jeffrey became angry his side of the bed had been wet by Kristen. From Jeffery’s concussion and bruising, it is thought Colette may have struck him causing Jeffrey to retaliate by hitting her with his fists and a piece of lumber.

Kimberly’s head serum was discovered on the door frame if the master bedroom leading to the suspicion she had come to see what the commotion was about and may have been struck in the head intentionally or accidentally. Jeffrey carried her body, either mortally wounded or dead, to her bed and stabbed her in the neck. Jeffrey then went to Kristen’s room to kill her, though Colette had regained consciousness and threw herself on the toddler to shield her (Colette’s blood was found on the wall and bed) but Jeffrey stabbed both to death. He then wrapped Colette’s body in a sheet to drag back to the master bedroom but left a footprint smudge of Colette’s blood outside Kristen’s room as he dragged his wife’s body.

Jeffrey was convicted of first degree murder for the death of Kristen, second degree murder for Colette, and second degree murder for Kimberly. He was sentenced to life sentences for each victim to be served consecutively. In 2017, he made an appeal which challenged a 2014 decision to not retry MacDonald based on newer, more reliable DNA evidence. The evidence in question, it’s claimed, paints a more complete story of the events than what simple blood type testing could show. As of February 2018, no new court decisions in the case have been reached.

IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE GRAPHIC CRIME SCENE PHOTOS, STOP HERE.

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