Back in 1979, the murder trial of Jeffrey MacDonald both gripped and polarized the nation. The former United States Army officer and physician was accused and convicted of killing his pregnant wife and two daughters in their North Carolina home in 1970.
In the decades since the brutal slayings took place, MacDonald has always maintained his innocence. He alleged that four intruders — three males and one female — were the true culprits, and that the murders occurred during a robbery gone wrong.
While there was other evidence to suggest that the doctor was guilty, investigators were also struck by the fact that MacDonald himself had survived.
In 2012, writer Errol Morris published a true crime book entitled A Wilderness of Error about the reasonable doubt in the case, including mistakes made by investigators at the crime scene.
The book has been turned into a series for FX with the same name, and it is set to premiere on Sept. 25.
Continue reading for the latest Jeffrey MacDonald update — including if he can still appeal, and where he is currently being imprisoned.
Where is Jeffrey MacDonald now in 2020?
MacDonald went on trial in the summer of 1979, and he was convicted of one count of first-degree murder (for the death of his daughter, Kristen MacDonald), and two counts of second-degree murder (for the deaths of his wife, Colette MacDonald, and his other daughter, Kimberley MacDonald).
The prosecution argued that Colette MacDonald had allowed daughter Kristen to sleep on Jeffrey MacDonald’s side of the bed on Feb. 17, 1970.
After Kristen wet the bed, they surmised that the physician got angry and violent toward his wife. They claimed that, when he thought he had killed his wife, he harmed his daughters so that there would be no witnesses.
Colette MacDonald was pregnant with a boy at the time of the killings. Jeffrey MacDonald was the one who called 911. Jeffrey MacDonald claimed that intruders had come in while he was sleeping on the couch, and that he woke up when his wife and daughter began to scream.
Compelling pieces of evidence against MacDonald included his lack of significant wounds, and that there was an Esquire magazine found in his living room that detailed the Tate-LaBianca murders by members of the Manson Family. The word “Pig” was written on the headboard of the bed in Colette MacDonald’s blood (the word pig was written in blood during the Manson murders a few years earlier).
Authorities later learned that MacDonald had been having affairs during his six-year marriage.
A woman named Helena Stoeckley confessed to taking part in the murders, and she said that her boyfriend and two others had participated as well. According to Stoeckley, the three men, who were in the Army, were concerned about MacDonald’s harsh stance on drug use in the base. She said that they were using illegal substances, and they snapped.
She was 17 years old at the time of the crime. Stoeckley was a witness in MacDonald’s 1979 trial. She had made several contradictory statements about her role in the events in the years between the murder and the trial.
MacDonald was convicted of the murders in August of 1979, and he is currently serving out his three life sentences at the Federal Correctional Institute in Cumberland, Md.
The now 76-year-old got married to a woman named Kathryn in 2002. The two wed in California, where MacDonald was imprisoned at the time. He was transferred to Maryland in order to be closer to his bride. She believes in her husband’s innocence.
Can Jeffrey MacDonald appeal?
MacDonald’s legal representation appealed the conviction on the grounds that he was not given the right to a fair and speedy trial, which is protected by the Sixth Amendment. Because nine years separated the murders and the eventual trial, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction in 1980.
He was released from prison in August of 1980, and he returned to his work as a physician.
In December of 1980, the appeal application was denied by the Fourth Circuit Court in a 5-5 decision.
The United States Supreme Court voted to hear the case in 1981, and they later determined in 1982 that MacDonald had not been denied the right to a speedy trial.
Other appeals were denied in 1983, 1985, 1991, and 1992. A 2006 appeal was filed on the basis of Stoeckley’s testimony, and new information that her mother had heard her confess to participating in the murders on multiple occasions.
Another appeal was filed in 2011, but in 2014, the conviction was upheld again.
MacDonald was reportedly up for parole in May of 2020, but he is still in prison. According to a 2017 article from People, he would have to admit to the murders in order to get released. He has never confessed to the killings.
A Wilderness of Error premieres on Friday, Sept. 25 at X p.m. on FX. The five episodes will also be available to stream on Hulu the day after they air.
Things to do in Temecula for Families
Temecula is a popular resort town in the south of California. Located in Riverside County, the destination is known for its wine and golf courses, but did you know it also makes a great family vacation spot? The beautiful town has a diverse range of activities to entertain the young and young at heart, so consider heading to Temecula for your next family vacation.
Why Temecula makes a great family vacation destination
Temecula is a laidback tourist town that is extremely family friendly. From its various parks and playgrounds to the many interesting attractions, Temecula is sure to offer an experience that the whole family can enjoy. It is also considered to be extremely safe which will make parents feel at ease during their stay.
How to prepare for a family vacation to Temecula
Temecula is sure to provide a fun vacation for the whole family, but as with all trips, you will want to do a little planning beforehand to ensure everything goes smoothly. This is especially important if you are travelling with little ones who may have less patience for any delays or travel mishaps.
USA residents are likely to have a relatively easy journey getting to Temecula. Depending on your location, a short domestic flight might be required. Some families might simply be able to pack their bags and drive there. For international travelers, preparations become a little more complex. You will have to think about time differences, currency exchange and entry requirements.
Entry requirements are one of the most important considerations when travelling to an overseas destination. If you do not have your paperwork in order, you may be denied entry to the USA or even prevent from boarding your plane. Imagine how devastated the whole family will be if you do not even manage to leave the airport?
Most people entering the USA will require either an ESTA America or a visa. An ESTA takes the place of a visa for eligible travelers (i.e. residents of countries that belong to the visa waiver program). If you are not a citizen of one of these countries, you will need to apply for a visa and address any other entry requirements that apply for you.
If you are eligible for an ESTA, the process is straightforward and completed entirely online. It is worth applying for an ESTA a few weeks before you travel to ensure everything goes through smoothly and avoid unnecessary stress. You can monitor the status of your ESTA using the ‘check my ESTA’ function available on the portal, which will notify you when your ESTA has been approved.
Things to do with kids in Temecula
Temecula is a great family destination with a heap of fun activities to do with the kids. We have put together some of our favorite attractions to help you plan your days.
Museums in Temecula, CA
- Temecula Valley Museum – Now a museum might not be your first thought when considering kid-friendly attractions, but Temecular Valley Museum is great for all ages. The whole family can learn about local history in an engaging way, with interactive exhibits providing great entertainment for children. They can play in the General Store, General Store or even the Ride-A-Pony Station.
- Pennypickle’s Workshop – Another fun but educational museum is Penny pickle’s Workshop. This hands-on museum is tailored specifically for children and is all about science. Each area explores a different scientific theme and productions are ran on certain days for extra excitement.
- Ronald Reagan Sports Park – With a playground, 2 football fields, picnic tables and barbecues, Ronald Reagan Sports Park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. The kids can run around while you cook lunch, and everyone can enjoy some fresh air.
- Pala Community Park – Is your family really into sports? Head to Pala Community Park. It has football fields, volleyball courts, basketball courts and tennis courts, as well as great on-site facilities.
- Get Air Trampoline Park – A slightly different sort of park but worthy of a mention nonetheless is Get Air Trampoline Park. This indoor facility has a heap of trampolines, a dodgeball section and basketball courts that will tire your kids out and ensure they have a great time doing so.
Water Parks in Temecula
- Dropzone Water Park – This water park has something for individuals of all ages. There are 3 large water slides for the big kids, a kid’s zone completes with smaller water slides for the younger kids, and a lazy river for the whole family to enjoy.
- Lake Skinner Splash Zone – This splash zone is a great place for the little kids to cool off on a hot day. Plenty of water fountains and even a playground nearby.
- The Wave Water Park – This park is a great family-friendly option. With a lazy river, 4 main waterslides and a wave machine to try out your boogie boarding, the whole family will enjoy it.
- Legoland Water Park – As the name suggests, everything in this water park is Lego-themed! There are slides, a lazy river, and a huge wave pool!
3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack
Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).
It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.
However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.
With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.
Choosing the Wrong Table
Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.
First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.
Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.
Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.
When to Hit and Stand
As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.
One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.
While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.
Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.
When to Split and Double
If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.
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Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.
While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.
It is not recommended to split when:
- You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
- You are dealt two 9s
- You are dealt two 5s
- The dealer holds a 10 or picture card
It is best to split when:
- You are dealt two 8s
- You are dealt two aces
- The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)
Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.
Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.
Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.
Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students
The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like.
Who Are You?
Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.
Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:
- What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
- What do you like or hate most about yourself?
- What is your greatest value in life?
- What emotions do you express easily?
- What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
- Who you want to become in five years?
- What is your major objective for next year?
- Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
- What motto do you try to live by?
- Where would you like to travel?
- If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?
Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.
Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:
- Before I came to college, I was interested in…
- When I was a child, I wanted to become…
- The best moment I remember most about high school is…
- My favorite pet is…
- The things I value most are…
- Five years from now I hope to be…
- My greatest personality trait is…
- My favorite subject at high school was…
- If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
- My greatest fear is…
- After I graduate from college, I…
The Reception Line
You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:
- Where would you like to travel?
- What motto do you try to follow?
- What is your favorite movie?
- What music do you like?
- What is your favorite hobby?
- Why did you choose this college?
- What do you like about college life the most?
You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:
- Watermelon or banana?
- Sweat or bitter?
- Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
- Partying or hiking?
- Listen or speak?
- Rock or pop?
- Morning or night?
- Superman or Batman?
- Robocop or Terminator?
- Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
- Los Angeles or New York?
- Liberal or conservative?
- American football or ice hockey?
My Most Embarrassing Moment
You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.
These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.