Monday, October 08, 2012

1080 The Case that Will Not Die

1080 The Case that Will Not Die

You gotta give this guy some credit for persistence.  

In the winter of 1970, someone or someones sneaked into an officer’s house at Ft. Bragg, NC and stabbed dead Collette McDonald and her two daughters, Kimberly, age 5 and Kristen, age two.  The husband and father, Jeffrey McDonald, a Green Beret and medical doctor was wounded, though not terribly.

Even though this happened in North Carolina, this was big news on Long Island and in the New York metropolitan area because Dr. McDonald was a native of Queens and a resident of Patchogue.  This ongoing story now is longer than any of us in the reporting trade were old when it started.

A lot of people thought he did it and that his wounds were self inflicted.  He said he didn’t do it.  His father-in-law, Alfred Kassab, said he didn’t do it.  The military court system says he didn’t do it.  The local prosecutor said he did.

It’s nearly impossible to count the number of trials and subsidiary court actions through which this case has gone.  Kassab later joined the “he did it” side of things.  Joe McGinniss started to write a book expecting to clear McDonald, but instead it put the author and his book and the film made from it, “Fatal Vision” into the “he did it” column.

Now, here comes inmate McDonald again.  This time, with supposedly newly discovered evidence -- DNA -- evidence that a stretch of the imagination could mean that the band of hippies and the woman in the funny hat whom McDonald blames for the attacks, actually exist... something a lot of people find hard to believe so far.

Author McGinniss, writing in the New York Times, figures the current re-boot will go on through 2018 at which time, Young Doctor McD will be in his mid 70s.

Everyone is prison was wrongly convicted.  Just ask them.  Few, though, have taken their cases on a journey this long.


--The infamous abuser of small boys, Jerry Sandusky is scheduled for sentencing tomorrow (10/9/12,) and everyone with an opinion seems to think whatever the number of years handed down, it’ll be long enough so he never gets out alive.  Like Jeffrey McDonald whose murder case has been active for over 40 years, you can count on as many appeals as Sandusky can muster, and probably with the same result.  None.

--Received a nice letter from the term life insurance company that says “thanks for being our customer for ages and ages, but since you’re now the age you are, the policy has expired so thanks for all those premium payments.”   It’s nice to be on their list of good guys.  “Hey... we’re in luck... this policy holder outlived the term and 50 years of payments go directly to our bottom line.”

--Another letter recently arrived in the mailbox of one Laverne Dobbinson of Canarsie, Brooklyn, demanding payment of $710 for damages her son Tamon, 27, caused to a police car.  The damage, a busted fender, took place when the car struck the young man and put him in the hospital, in a coma, and where he later died.  Lawyers for the city called it a mistake, but only after Ms. Dobbinson hired lawyers of her own and the story hit the papers.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012

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