La Reig, North Carolina (AP) —Friday’s federal judge refuses to release former Army captain, who had been imprisoned for decades for the murder of his wife and two young daughters, and is not authorized to consider Jeffrey McDonald’s request. I decided.
Judge Terrence Boyle of the U.S. District Court announced a refusal four weeks after McDonald’s lawyer Came to court He is in poor health and asks the judge to go home.
McDonald’s was convicted in 1979 for murdering his pregnant wife Colette in 1970. 5-year-old daughter Kimberly; 2-year-old daughter Kristen at her parents’ home in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
McDonald’s declared his innocence and spent years appealing the “Fatal Vision” case, named after a book on investigations. The Federal Court of Appeals refused to grant McDonald’s a new trial in December 2018, and arbitrating new evidence did not justify it.
McDonald’s, now 77 years old and serving a prison in Maryland, suffers from chronic kidney disease, skin cancer and high blood pressure.
His lawyer said in a hearing that resentment was justified because his life was nearing the end, especially when regular dialysis treatment was needed, and because he was a model prisoner.
However, Boyle backed a U.S. government lawyer who claimed that federal law prevented him from adjusting Boyle’s prison time because of McDonald’s crimes years before the new law allowed judges to intervene. did. A US law firm in Raleigh.
Boyle said in a Friday ruling, “The court’s power to consider the compassionate release request filed by the defendant does not extend to older law defendants such as McDonald’s convicted of previously committed crimes. I wrote. The location according to the current judgment law.
A McDonald’s lawyer said in a statement that the ruling rested on a technical issue that Congress wanted to consider changing.
“We understand the court’s ruling that due to the technical legislative history of compassionate release law, the court lacks the authority to grant compassionate release requests from” old law “defendants such as McDonald’s. “We do,” said a statement sent by lawyer Elliott S. Abrams in an email.
A 1979 trial prosecutor said doctor McDonald had used a knife and ice pick to kill his wife and children at home before stabbing with a scalpel.
McDonald’s claimed he was falsely convicted and pointed out “hippies crazy about drugs” as murderers. However, prosecutors said he wore surgical gloves and used his wife’s blood to write the word “PIG” on the bed, mimicking Charles Manson’s murder the previous year.
According to lawyers, McDonald’s second wife, Kathryn, lives in Maryland and will take care of him if released.
McDonald’s statutory document cited the COVID-19 threat to his already vulnerable health as the reason he should be released. McDonald’s tested positive for coronavirus in January. US lawyers argue that McDonald’s recent refusal to vaccinate COVID-19 means he cannot rely on the potential risk of illness to justify his release.
The federal grand jury charged McDonald’s in 1975. The Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his convictions in 1980, but the US Supreme Court revived them in 1982.
___ AP Communications Writer Jonathan Sandrew of Durham contributed to this report.
This story was modified to indicate that the Manson murder took place in 1969 instead of 1970.