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‘Fatal Vision’ Case To Get DNA Test

March 24, 1999

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) _ A federal judge on Tuesday cleared the way for DNA testing that former Green Beret Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald hopes will overturn his convictions in the 1970 ``Fatal Vision″ slayings of his wife and daughters.

The former physician claimed a band of drug-crazed hippies attacked his family, chanting ``Acid is groovy. Kill the pigs.″ The case inspired the book ``Fatal Vision″ and a television film based on it.

Judge James Fox told lawyers for MacDonald and the government they had two weeks to pick an independent lab able to perform the tests. The lab also will determine which samples of blood, hair and fibers saved from the killing scene could spare a sample to be tested.

Fox refused requests by MacDonald lawyer Barry Scheck to allow the defense team’s representatives to oversee the unsealing of evidence stored at the FBI’s crime lab in Washington, D.C.

MacDonald, 55, is serving three life sentences at a federal prison in Sheridan, Ore., for killing his wife, Colette, and daughters Kimberly and Kristen on Feb. 17, 1970 at Fort Bragg.

The defense is trying to show that intruders were in MacDonald’s home around the time of the slayings.

``We think he’s innocent. Science will speak,″ said Andrew Good, a Boston defense attorney who is working for MacDonald without pay.

Fox said the DNA tests also carried risks for the defense, since the results could present new evidence pointing to MacDonald’s guilt. That’s the expectation of prosecutor General Brian Murtagh.

MacDonald said in a telephone interview from prison Tuesday the hearing was an attempt to force the government to produce the exhibits for testing.

``The government’s case is predicated on there’s no evidence of the presence of outside assailants,″ he said. ``There were other people in the apartment that night murdering my family.″

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