Lawyers will convene later this month to discuss the path of a case that made it up to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year.
The case involved Jeffrey MacDonald, a former Army surgeon at Fort Bragg. MacDonald was convicted in a 1970 murder of his pregnant wife and two daughters. He maintained his innocence throughout his trial, which culminated in a 1979 conviction.
MacDonald claims that he had evidence that exonerated him. He is currently serving three life sentences, reports the Fayetteville Observer.
Throughout the ordeal, MacDonald maintained his innocence, claiming that he never killed his wife and daughters and that it was a group of hippies that committed the murders. He was twenty-six years old at the time of the murders.
The two pieces of evidence that MacDonald's lawyers wish to present were purportedly unavailable during the original trial in 1979. Those two pieces of evidence were the testimony of a retired U.S. marshal and results from a DNA test.
The retired marshal, now deceased, claimed that a prosecutor coerced and threatened a witness in order to have her lie in the 1979 case.
The DNA results from a test taken in 1997 involve several hairs found at the scene of the crime, including hairs taken from under the fingernails of one of the daughters. MacDonald's attorneys claim that these pieces of DNA should absolve Jeffrey MacDonald of the crime.
The prosecutors argued that the DNA evidence had no value and that the marshal's testimony was unreliable. A federal district court has already ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to consider the DNA evidence.
The attorneys will convene on July 28 at the federal courthouse in Wilmington to work out the procedural details of the matters remanded by the Fourth Circuit.