In 1979, Jeffrey MacDonald, a handsome, Ivy League–educated Green Beret Army doctor, began serving two life sentences for brutally stabbing and clubbing to death his pregnant wife and two young daughters. Four years later, Joe McGinniss published the definitive account of the case, Fatal Vision But in the decades since his conviction, MacDonald has never stopped filing appeals, and several high-profile writers—including filmmaker Errol Morris—have raised questions about whether he might be innocent after all. Now in his new Byliner Original, Final Vision, McGinniss finally addresses them all in this compelling follow-up to his 1983 bestseller.
Husbands accused of killing wives are among the most horrific of legal cases. Earier this year, Franklin Foer chronicled a murder that shocked Georgetown. "On Aug. 12 last year, Muth called 911 and reported that he returned from his morning walk to find his wife splayed on their bathroom floor," Foer wrote. "A 91-year-old tumbling in a bathroom is hardly uncommon, so detectives didn’t initially investigate her death. It took the medical examiner to point out, a day later, that her scalp was bruised, her thumbnail torn and the cartilage in her neck fractured. She had been strangled and bludgeoned to death."
In 2000, Tad Friend told the story of a doctor whose wife disappeared and how the women he subsequently dated—"the Harriet the Spy Club"—started piecing together the real story. "As their musings grew increasingly somber,," Friend reported. "the Harriets wondered if someone shouldn’t tell Bob’s new wife about their concerns. No one volunteered."
And in an extraordinary story about an innocent man convicted of killing his wife, Pamela Colloff excerpted a powerful note Michael Morton sent the judge who presided over his trial: "I must reiterate my innocence. I did NOT kill my wife. You cannot imagine what it is like to lose your wife the way I did, then to be falsely accused and convicted of this terrible crime."