Last updated: August 26. 2014 6:57AM - 598 Views

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FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — Lawyers for Jeffery MacDonald, convicted more than four decades ago in the stabbing deaths of his wife and two daughters, are asking to appeal a federal judge’s ruling and get their client a new trial.


The Fayetteville Observer reports that attorneys for the former Army captain filed a motion last week arguing they should be allowed to appeal a ruling last month by Senior U.S. District Judge James Fox.


Fox said the attorneys failed to establish during a 2012 hearing that McDonald should not have been convicted of the 1970 slayings.


MacDonald is serving three life sentences in the stabbing deaths of his pregnant wife, Colette, and daughters Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2, in their home on Fort Bragg. He was convicted following a seven-week trial in 1979.


MacDonald contends the deaths were the result of a home invasion. He has said he woke up to find three men and a woman, who he described as “drug-crazed hippies” in his home. He said he was knocked unconscious and stabbed once. Prosecutors said MacDonald made up the story.


The MacDonald case has long drawn national attention and was the subject of the 1983 true crime book “Fatal Vision,” which later was made into a television miniseries.


In his ruling last month, Fox denied what is called a “certificate of appealability” which would allow attorneys to appeal his decision to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


In the new motion, attorneys for the 70-year-old MacDonald seek a new trial citing a new federal report calling into question the work of a former FBI investigator who worked on the MacDonald case.


The motion noted that about the time Fox ruled, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Justice released a report on the FBI Laboratory.


Attorneys said the report devoted an entire chapter to Michael Malone and said it found Malone “repeatedly created scientifically unsupportable lab reports and provided false, misleading, or inaccurate testimony at criminal trials.”


The motion says defense attorneys were not aware the government was reviewing Malone’s work and that Fox did not consider the report in his ruling.

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