Friday, January 21, 2005

True Crime

I have always been fascinated by the Jeffrey MacDonald case. Fatal Vision was one of the first true crime novels I ever read and I clearly remember watching the miniseries with my parents when it first aired (and I still watch it every time I stumble across it on A&E or another channel - it sucks me in). One of the figures from the book, of a floorplan of the house marking the spots where blood was identified (and each family member had a different blood type, making it easy to identify) is still burned in my memory. I've had Fatal Justice, MacDonald's rebuke to Joe McGinniss's book, on my to be read list for ages, but haven't been reading a lot of true crime lately. This article in today's Washington Post, along with the hour I spent afterwards perusing MacDonald's website, renewed my interest in the case and makes we want to reread Fatal Vision and follow it up with Fatal Justice. MacDonald is in a federal prison in Maryland now, recently married to a woman who lives in Howard County. One of the more interesting statements in the article is that until the mid-1990's, most people would not have even considered claims of prosecutorial misconduct or government/military interference, but "people are more willing to concede that the government or the courts could make such a terrible mistake," thanks in part to "CSI" and DNA technology. The case has turned up in the news recently, with MacDonald applying for parole for the first time and continuing DNA testing on evidence from the case. He has also added Tim Junkin, lawyer and author of Bloodsworth (a Maryland true crime case) to his defense team.