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Government says MacDonald not entitled to review

May 13, 1997

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Evidence offered by attorneys for convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald does not merit a new trial for the former Green Beret doctor, U.S. Justice Department attorneys say.

MacDonald, 56, was convicted in 1979 and sentenced to three life terms for killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters in 1970 at the family’s Fort Bragg home. He claimed a band of drug-crazed hippies attacked the family, chanting ``Acid is groovy. Kill the pigs.″ The case inspired the book ``Fatal Vision″ and a television film based on it.

MacDonald has no basis for an appeal because the evidence cited by his lawyers _ evidence from an FBI specialist who has come under criticism _ was insignificant in his conviction, according to a 59-page prosecution motion filed Monday. It urged the U.S. Court of Appeals reject a defense motion to reopen the case.

MacDonald’s lawyers again have brought up a fiber found in the hair brush of his wife, Colette, in their appeal. MacDonald’s lawyers say it came from a wig worn by one of the hippies, while the FBI fiber specialist, Michael Malone, said such fiber wasn’t used in wigs and likely came from a doll. A 1990 request for a new trial also relied on the fiber evidence.

Malone is among the technicians cited in a recent Justice Department report critical of the FBI lab.

MacDonald’s lawyers said in the their motion, filed last month, that Malone gave misleading statements in a deposition in MacDonald’s case. The government lawyers claim MacDonald’s attorneys are hoping to exploit criticism of Malone and the FBI Crime Lab.

Government lawyers mostly sidestepped that issue in their motion, stating that the fiber was irrelevant in the case. The government’s motion said blood and other fiber evidence proved MacDonald’s guilt.

``No quantum of `newly discovered’ evidence of intruders would have been sufficient to have refuted the government’s forensic evidence showing that only the defendant could have committed the murders and rearranged the crime scene, and that his accounts of his actions were demonstrably false,″ the government motion says.

No date has been set for a hearing on the motions.

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