The Jeffrey MacDonald case is an interesting reference case to the Chris Watts case. MacDonald, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was convicted in 1979 of murdering his pregnant wife and two daughters in February 1970. The decade between the murders and the arrest, trial, conviction and incarceration provides a theoretical premise for a man who – at least temporarily – got away with murder.
MacDonald’s version of events turned out to be a whopper, as the clip with Larry King below illustrates. The important thing is MacDonald [a medical doctor] thought it was believable and credible, which is why he thought he would get away with what he did.
And this idea was part of the psychological ether floating around Fort Bragg in the early 80’s. Chris Watts was born into that ether on May 16, 1985. The distance between the Watts home in Spring Lake and Fort Bragg is less than 12 miles.
When military police officer Ken Mica arrived at Jeffrey MacDonald’s Fort Bragg, North Carolina apartment on Feb. 17, 1970, he saw MacDonald in the master bedroom, lying on his stomach next to his bloodied wife, Colette.
“I see he’s still alive and I lean down next to him and say, ‘Who did this?’ ” Mica tells PEOPLE. “And he starts describing three guys and a woman.”
The woman he described — long blonde hair or wig, a floppy hat and knee-high boots — resembled a woman Mica had passed on the way to the apartment belonging to MacDonald, a Green Beret surgeon. Mica says it was unusual to see a woman alone at that hour at Fort Bragg.
He told his lieutenant to send a police car, but no car was ever sent.
The Devil and Jeffrey MacDonald – Vanity Fair
During the first day of the trial, Dupree allowed the prosecution to admit into evidence the 1970 copy of Esquire magazine, found in the MacDonald house, part of which contained the lengthy article about the Manson Family murders of August 1969. Prosecutors James Blackburn and Brian Murtagh wanted to introduce the magazine and suggest that this is where MacDonald got the idea of blaming a hippie gang for the murders.