A Charlotte man who has long been an alternative suspect in the infamous Jeffrey MacDonald murder case confessed to the slaughter of MacDonald’s family some 30 years ago, a Charlotte couple say.
Chris and John Griffin, who lived in a house on Lake Wylie at the time, say Greg Mitchell made his drunken admission a year or two after MacDonald’s 1979 conviction for the gruesome stabbing and beating deaths of his pregnant wife and two young daughters.
For 42 years, MacDonald has blamed the Feb. 17, 1970, massacre on four intruders – three men and a woman – who broke into the MacDonalds’ apartment at Fort Bragg and also beat and stabbed him. MacDonald has said the woman likely was Helena Stoeckley, Mitchell’s girlfriend at the time and a focal point of a hearing this week in Wilmington where MacDonald is seeking a new trial.
On a Saturday night three decades ago, Mitchell, a Vietnam veteran and unlicensed electrician, sorrowfully confessed to the killings, the Griffins said this week.
So powerful were Mitchell’s emotions that Chris Griffin says she believes he was telling the truth, despite prosecutors’ contentions that he was not involved.
“We witnessed the rawest kind of sorrow and regret and suffering,” she said. “I have never seen anything like that in a human being.
“He did it. I believe that.”
The Griffins’ account has never before been published or entered into the voluminous MacDonald case file.
It has no legal standing and is one more piece of uncorroborated information in a case that spawned a generation of conspiracy theories and investigative dead ends.
Wade Smith, a member of MacDonald’s original defense team, called the Griffins’ account “very interesting and important information that somewhere down the line could make a difference.”
Don Connelly, the public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office handling the case, said the office had no comment on the new information.
MacDonald’s lead defense attorney, Gordon Widenhouse, could not be reached for comment.
The Griffins said they called the Observer this week after reading stories in Sunday’s paper on the new MacDonald hearing in Wilmington.