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‘Fatal Vision’ becomes final: Jeffrey MacDonald murders get movie treatment again

Dr. Jeffery MacDonald, center, arrives at U.S. District Court with attorneys Wade Smith, left, and Bernard Segal, far right, in 1979.
Dr. Jeffery MacDonald, center, arrives at U.S. District Court with attorneys Wade Smith, left, and Bernard Segal, far right, in 1979.

In 1979, Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters in their Fort Bragg home nine years earlier.

The crime was the subject of a made-for-TV miniseries called “Fatal Vision” in 1984, based on the 1983 book by Joe McGinniss by the same name. Now it’s getting the Hollywood treatment again.

Scott Foley (“The Unit,” “Scandal”) and Dave Annable (“Brothers & Sisters,” “666 Park Avenue”) will star in a true-crime series on Investigation Discovery, Variety reported Tuesday.

Foley will play MacDonald, now 73, the former Army doctor who was convicted of brutally murdering his wife, Colette, pregnant with their son, and their two daughters, Kimberly, 4, and Kristen, 2, in the Fort Bragg apartment where they lived.

The series will begin as a story about an innocent man failed by a flawed legal system before weaving a story that exposes MacDonald’s character, Variety reported. The series will be made up of five TV movies. The films begin production this month and are scheduled to premiere in 2017, though a specific date was not announced, Variety reported.

The MacDonald case is the longest-running criminal case in U.S. history and MacDonald asked for yet another case review in Sept. 2014, contending that DNA evidence along with other evidence and other testimony, proves him innocent. MacDonald has requested that the verdicts be vacated after a judge ruled in July of that year to uphold his convictions.

MacDonald applied for and was denied parole in 2005. His next scheduled parole hearing is May 2020.

Trial testimony says military police responded to an emergency call around 3 a.m. from MacDonald on Feb. 17, 1970. MacDonald called to report a stabbing at his home at 544 Castle Drive. Police found the victims dead in their bedrooms. Colette had been clubbed repeatedly and both of her arms were broken. She was stabbed 21 times with an ice pick and 16 times with a knife. The word “pig” was written on the headboard of the bed in blood. Kimberly was clubbed in the head and stabbed in the neck with a knife 8-10 times. Kristen was stabbed 33 times with a knife and 15 times with an ice pick. MacDonald was found next to his wife, wounded.

MacDonald argued for more than three decades that he was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.

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