When I read this article I was heartened to know that I was not alone in still thinking about, and mourning the MacDonald family murders. After all, it did happen over thirty years ago, and most people don't hold onto deep feelings of grief over crimes that they are not personally connected to. It might stay in ones temporal memory bank, but the natural course of thingsseems to be that the passage of time dissapates the worst of the pain we felt in reaction to such "tragedies." But then again, I've always different in this regard
This crime has probably so long haunted me for a few reasons; First, was the barbaric level of violence that was committed against the victims which included two small children. This is something that I can never scrub out of my mind- or my heart, no matter how much time passes. Also murdered that night was a lovely young woman, the mother of those two little girls, twenty six years old Collette MacDonald. She along with her children, was literally butchered to death in her home one rainy summer night in north Carolina, the year was 1970.
Sadly enough, statistics bear out that 8 out of 10 murders such as these wind up being committed by the father of the children, the husband of the slain wife.
This story would have been yet another tragic domestic violence case that ended in murder had it not been for a few factors that wound up transfixing the nation's attention. First and foremost was the severe nature of the murders, the clear rage behind them, and the fact that the man of the house, a green beret military MD, was home and survived the nights carnage with relatively slight injuries, especially in such sharp contrast to what befell his wife and children.
They were literally unrecognizable from multiple stab wounds and severe blunt force trauma caused by brutal blows to their faces and heads. Complete overkill.
And Why was Dr MacDonald spared the savagery that was wielded upon his entire family? Why would the killers leave him, the biggest threat in the house, alive and nearly unscathed? Forensic science shows that when there is a home invasion or murders of a family like this, the intruder or intruders almost always kill the man of the house first,or at least ties him up and disables him. They logically want to get rid of the strongest person right off the bat in order to be unhindered with the rest of the occupants, be it to rob or rape if that is the motive. That should have meant that Dr MacDonald was killed and killed first. Not only was he not dead or tied up but rather lucid whenparmdics arrived with three small puncture wounds one of which caused a very neatly collapsed lung. Bear in mind that an army MD would know exactly where to self inflict such a wound in order to collapse a lung And this of course would help give him much needed credibility in his role as co- victim
The killers, according to MacDonald were a"wild eyed group of hippies" who he claimed broke into the family's home late that night, while he slept on the couch unawares, they assaulted the girls first-he heard his children screaming, he lept up to help them and was attacked by 3 hippie men and a blond haired woman who was carrying a candle (yes, that's right -a candle.) And, one of them chanted "acid is groovy, kill the pigs" He managed to ward all of them off with his pajama top.(Yes his pajama top.!)
In case some of this sounds vaguely familiar its because it is; In 1970 the Manson family murders had just happened (aug 1969 ) The story of those horrific crimes had been all over the media and and printed press- In fact an extensive article about the tate labianca cases was publised in a Vanity fair article, the very same issue that just happened to be sitting on the MACDonald family coffeetable. Apparently the pages containing the story, including a photo of the door with the word Pig written in blood. were dog=eared and looked well worn to any objective party.
The police already knew that something was very wrong with this crime scene. macdonalds family was brutally murdered and somehow the assailants decided to leave him with 3 small and neat puncture wounds, wounds that appeared to be from a small ice pick , not a large knife, as his family had used against them. ---
In fact, The three girls had over 60 deep knife stabs and slashes between them and many severe blunt force blows made with a heavy object This object turned out to be a piece of wood which was found at the crime scene. There appeared no motive for the crimes, no sexual assault of any of the victims and no robbery.
The " traumatized "MacDonald managed to somehow call an ambulance before "passing out".
Although I was a little girl at the time of these murders I can recall hearing about them on the news and being very very disturbed at the prospect that the father of those children could have killed his own family-this suspicion was literally swirling just beneath the surface of many of the news stories.
However, so convincing was the bereaved husband and father, who happened to be a military Doctor, and so poor was the police work, that the original charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
MacDonald was and is a classic sociopath; intelligent,articulate, even charming when he needed to be, so much so, that at the time of the media blitz surrounding the murder, his slain wife's dad, fred kasab, was quoted as saying "this man was the perfect son in law and if I had another daughter I would be thrilled if she were to bring him home" How awful to hear this in retrospect.
Kassab knew there was some suspicion still being directed at MacDonald (he naively thought it was simply because he survived and his family didn't) and as such, he was ready to help deflect any concerns that MacDonald might have committed these heinous acts.
Fortunately, being a prototypical sociopath , MacDonald could not keep his big mouth shut and it would lead to his undoing; Once the original charges were dropped for insufficient evidence, he obviously felt that he was in the clear and began to make public appearances on various talk shows as well as several magazine interviews. He was actually becoming some kind of sick celebrity. ie"the doctor falsely accused of killing his family is on TV tonight!..."
Many People were very discomfited over the lack of resolution of the case and suspicion against MacDonald was still palpable, Yet there were also those that were charmed by the handsome young doctors loquaciousness and charm and based on this shallow kind of reasoning, they refused to believe that anyone who looked liked this and sounded like this, could commit such vile acts- especially against his own children!
The media, as always, saw the public's interest in MacDonald and latched right onto it, television networks competed to bring him on their talk shows, they knew the controversy surrounding him would mean big ratings-and it did. They didn't know however that their shows would be the key to re-opening the MacDonald family murder case within the course of merely a few months time.
The irony is that MacDonald could have chosen to lay low after the murders, perhaps changed his name, and started a new quiet life in another state, having basically gotten away with a triple murder. But being the classic sociopath he thrived on attention as well as the allure of an infinite number of female admirers-and some men, who he figured he could probably dupe out of anything and everything that they'd be willing to part with.
Sociopaths see other human beings as little more than marks-sources for obtaining whatever gratification they want at that moment, be it money, sex, attention, favors and yes, fame , Even when it is highly impractical to be in the spotlight ,they often cant resist )
They are unable to have real attachments with other human beings, but they do know how to fake the intimacy that eludes them, because they realized early in life that a certain degree of "humanness" is expected. They hone these skills and they become consummate deceivers and manipulators, It is little more than a game to them and it is a complete lack of conscience that totally sets them apart from us, and this gives them an advantage. They have no moral compass, the only thing they do care about is not being detected, found out, or, worst of all, caught or held accountable.
They feel disdain and disgust for the people that they steal from, manipulate and victimize-In their inner world you are foolish for falling for their B.S and thus you deserve whatever they do to you or steal from you or use you for..
In the realm of hurting others or taking lives, either you insulted their ego, somehow "made a fool of them" or...you become a liability in some way to them or outgrown your usefullness... Or, you are simply worth more dead then alive.
Some sociopaths also kill because they are sexual sadists,they get off on sexual assault which is about power and control not sex, and from a practical standpoint they realize that the only way to insure that they get away with raping is kill their victims. They certainly are not going to go to prison for their crimes- rules and laws don't apply to them-- they're "special"
A smaller but very dangerous subtype of sociopath derive pleasure what they see as the ultimate control over another human being- taking someones life. (think of the btk killer et al) In MacDonald's case, i BELIEVE his wife had outgrown her usefulness to him and was becoming a liability in his mind and he resented her and his children- Collette was 4 months pregnant at the time of her death and pregnancy is a statistically bad time for assault and murder for women by an intimate partner.
I surmise that MacDonald wound up having some kind of violent assault against his wife that night and his older daughter saw some of the attack. He knew at 6 she was a witness even just to say 'I saw daddy hurting mommy ' And thus, he killed her, with little compunction, and then worst of all after hed killed his wife and older daughter, he went to his littlest girls room and he proceeded to kill her in complete cold blood. Kimberly was only 2 years old. Two years old. It completely breaks my heart,
Apparently, the televised interviews that McDonald was doing were quickly showing him as a less than sympathetic figure . Even those who had stalwartly stood by him believed in him in the many years after the crimes, began to falter as they watched a man who was not in the least bit bereaved or grieving what was a horrific massacre of his family.
He was responding to questions about the murders in what can only be called an extremely inappropriate manner, in fact he bordered on downright giddy at times. When Collette MacDonald's father, fred kasab , saw one of these interviews, he was convinced then and there that his son in law had been putting on a helluva an act for him; He began to look through the police transcripts, pictures and evidence files, anything related to the case, and he quickly saw that there was zero evidence supporting MacDonald's version of events that fateful night;There were no intruders in the house that night, and based upon this alone, MacDonald had to be the killer.
With Collette's fathers on the hunt, the district attorney resumed interest in the case and managed to get enough evidence together for an indictment. Thankfully, the jury saw the truth and convicted MacDonald of first degree murder for his wife and second degree for his two daughters, this nearly 10 years after the crimes occurred. He received 2 life sentences and he is currently serving them. but as expected-not quietly.
In classic sociopath fashion, McDonald has never admitted his guilt. He continues to collect outside sympathizers while in prison, conning them via letters phone calls, that he is innocent, he has been railroaded"
Sooner than later he tells them how special they are and how he wants to get out of prison mostly to be with them, to marry them and live happily ever after.
There are a bunch of women who have come forward admitting that they fell for his BS for a time, until they began to see the emotional shallowness and manipulation behind the flowery words. His fans are mostly women , but he is reportedly not opposed to manipulating men if it will gain him something; Through these misguided minions He manages to pay for attorneys to file appeals and continues to shout from the proverbial roof tops THAT his life has been wrecked and that he will prove his innocence.
The sad thing is that with violent crimes like this families have a very hard time with a true sense of closure if they don't know the truth about what happened to their loved ones. There is a driving need to know how the crimes happened pehaps even why-And in this case, the truth is forever locked up inside a psychopaths belligerent mind.
In any case, please say a prayer if you are so inclined for Colette ,Kimberly and Kristan, this week is the 38th anniversery of thier deaths, may they rest in peace in Gods loving arms.
Remembering Colette, Kimberley and Kristen