How brutally “Doctor Death” killed the whole family and staged the crime scene

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

Covered in the blood of his wife and children, he told the 911 operator a horrifying story about his home being stormed by Charles Manson-style hippies — saying they killed his wife and two daughters.

Dr. Jeffrey McDonald killed his entire family and then covered it up
Dr. MacDonald and his wife, Colette, seemed like the perfect American couple


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


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

MacDonald – a tall, good-looking army surgeon – seemed like the ideal family man and at first managed to convince the cops that he was the victim.

No one would suspect that he was capable of such sickening violence.

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

But after nine years, he is eventually caught as detectives, and his father-in-law manages to unravel the crooked surgeon’s web of lies.

Despite his cool and professional demeanor, McDonald gave away a few key clues.

The discovery of the murder weapons in the back garden of the house, with fingerprints mysteriously erased, points to a killer who did not leave the crime scene.

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

Also, despite his training in unarmed combat, the room where MacDonald is supposed to have fought for his life with his attackers showed little sign 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 gruesome scene.

Cool and calculating, MacDonald himself 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 body of his pregnant wife.

Colette was 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 Kimberly, was beaten to death and stabbed in the neck.

Little Kristen, two, had 48 separate stab wounds.

Macdonald, 26, a medic and Green Beret, suffered a punctured lung and several stab wounds, as well as a bruised head.

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

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

MacDonald claimed to police that he was sleeping on the couch when he was attacked by “a bunch of hippies.”

They included a woman wearing a hat chanting “acid is great” and “kill the pigs”.


The word “pig” was scrawled in blood on the board, in apparent imitation of the Charles Manson murders a year earlier.

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

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

He met his wife Colette in the 9th grade and they began dating, although they later split up, but the high school sweethearts eventually reunited and in 1963 the couple married in a wedding after finds out that Colette is pregnant.

A year later, their first child, Kimberly, was born.

After joining the Army and later volunteering to become a Green Beret, the family eventually moved into a row house at Fort Bragg and Colette became pregnant for the third time with the couple’s first son.

The crime scene was horrified - but cops were suspicious that nothing looked out of place outside of it


The crime scene was horrified – but cops were suspicious that nothing looked out of place outside of itPhoto: North Carolina State Police
His daughters were brutally murdered in their beds


His daughters were brutally murdered in their bedsPhoto: North Carolina State Police

After McDonald was treated for his injuries – which were far less severe than those the rest of his family suffered – he was questioned by CID.

Further investigations found that there was no evidence of Macdonald’s “hippie gang” and several suspected weapons found around the property were suspiciously wiped of fingerprints.

Forensic tests also came up with a number of findings and additional evidence that contradicted what McDonald claimed happened.

McDonald himself also provided little evidence to support his claims and refused to take a lie detector 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, argued that coroners had destroyed important evidence to support his client’s story.

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

She fits MacDonald’s description of a blonde woman who he claims was at the scene of the murders and was seen by a witness on the night of the murders with several young men.

Stockley also could not remember where she was on the night of the crimes and allegedly told a witness that she could not marry her boyfriend until someone had been killed.

Although Stockley and her boyfriend were both questioned about the murders, they were never brought to trial and the charges against Macdonald were eventually dropped in October 1970.

The murder scene was made to look like the Manson murders


The murder scene was made to look like the Manson murdersCredit: AP: Associated Press

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

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

However, Colette’s stepfather Alfred Kassab, who initially supported Macdonald, became increasingly suspicious of him.

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

Eventually, Kasab was convinced; Macdonald had killed his stepdaughter and two children.

After a lengthy legal battle, MacDonald went on trial for a second time on July 16, 1979.

On August 29, 1979, MacDonald was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder and received three life sentences.

Macdonald was so convinced he would be found innocent that before he was sentenced he invited writer Joe McGuinness to write a book about the case exonerating him.

Instead, the book A fatal invasion described Macdonald as a cold, calculating killer with no remorse for his actions.

I am a decent person. It was my fault that I failed to protect my family

Geoffrey McDonaldSerial killer

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

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

In August 2002, he even married his former children’s drama school owner Catherine Kurich.

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

“I am a decent man,” he said. “It was my fault that I failed to protect my family.

“They died. No… I didn’t have the luxury of picking my attackers and telling them the foot-pounds per square inch to apply to my head and chest.

He has his defenders. Campaign director Errol Morris launched an attempt to free McDonald in 2012.

Speaking to CBS at the time, Morris said, “I believe he’s innocent because no one has ever shown me any convincing evidence of his guilt.”

He even wrote a book, A Wilderness of Error, which laid out all the evidence he believed should exonerate MacDonald.

Last year, however, The Fayetteville Observer reported that MacDonald had given up on his latest bid for freedom.

Federal records do not indicate why the 78-year-old rescinded his request to be released, and it is not known if he finally resigned himself to die in prison.

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


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

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