Unit 1 Crime Conversations: The Jeffrey MacDonald Case

Posted by Stacey Leitz on 2/7/2017 9:30:00 AM

Crime Conversations: The Jeffrey MacDonald Case

Introducing Crime Conversations:

Most units we will start by having a discussion of one or more cases that relate to that week's topic.  You will be supplied with a brief video or online reading on the case, and then you will be required to post your thoughts on the case within the context of the guided questions.  


A final note, many well-publicized cases involve highly controversial topics.  When you discuss the case you need to be mindful of the guidelines that were set forth in the course expectations.  Under no circumstances should conversations deteriorate into slanderous or derogoratory comments.  This isn't YouTube or Twitter; you are being graded on these discussions in an academic forum.  If you have an concerns about the nature of the conversation, please let me know.



This week we'll consider the Jeffrey Macdonald Case.

Macdonald was a green beret doctor who was convicted of murdering his wife and two children in 1970.  Watch this video for an overview of the case.  Errol Morris reexamined the case in 2012 for his book, "A Wilderness of Error".  In it he claims the investigators "rejected, supressed and misinterpreted crime scene evidence".  In an NPR interview on "A Wilderness of Error" Morris also claims  authorities "pursued an unethical vendetta"  against Macdonald.

Click here for a recent article in People Magazine regarding the case.



  • Consider the following questions:

  • Do you think the State should reexamine cases when claims of evidence mishandling are made?

  • From your perspective, how has crime investigation changed since 1970 when these murders occurred?

  • Do you think if the case was tried now that the verdict would be different?  Why or why not?



You will earn up to 10 points for your participation in the discussion and will be assessed using the discussion rubric: General Requirements for Discussions.

Post your thoughts on the questions posed about the case and submit them by the due date. 10 points