MacDonald, still alive, was rushed to the hospital. "They finally brought in a doctor who I knew on the staff. And he is the one, I believe, who told me that Colette, Kim, and Chris were dead. And you can't accept something like that. It doesn't make any sense," he recalls.
In fact, that morning MacDonald wasn't the only one having trouble making sense of what happened.
Bill Ivory was in charge of the investigation to determine exactly what did happen to the MacDonald family. "I was a CID agent, which is a criminal investigator for the Department of the Army," he explains. "We sent agents to interview him at the hospital…they had been told that he had been attacked by some hippies."
It's a story that MacDonald has not wavered from in 37 years. Asked what he remembers of the people he says attacked him and his family, MacDonald says, "I saw four people. I saw two white males and one black male, as they were assaulting me. One glimpse I saw what looked like a blonde female and she had a floppy hat on. And there was a light under her face. To this day, I don't know if she was holding a candle, or it was a light."
"I heard a female voice say, 'Acid is groovy, kill the pigs.' I heard that several times," MacDonald recalls. "There became a moment in time where all I was doing was fending off blows with both my hands wrapped up in my pajama to."
Suddenly, MacDonald says he felt a chest pain. "Jeff MacDonald was stabbed right in the center of his chest with an ice pick, puncturing his skin, puncturing the layers below," explains his lawyer, Bernard Segal.
But the attack on his family was considerably more vicious as revealed by their autopsies. Colette suffered two broken arms, a fractured skull and was stabbed more than 30 times. Five-year-old Kimberly's skull, jaw and nose were badly broken and her throat was severely cut. And Kristen, just two and a half, was stabbed repeatedly in her chest and back. The autopsy also revealed one last devastating detail: Colette was five and half months pregnant with a son.
That's MacDonald's version of what happened that night and he tells a very compelling story and his new wife Kathryn agrees. "He's not a criminal. If I thought otherwise, I wouldn't be involved at all. And much less devote my entire life," she explains.
And with that kind of support, MacDonald did something he swore he would never do: in 2005, he applied for parole. "It's possible they might consider the full record of my conduct, my behavior, my personality, how I've carried myself through 25 years of imprisonment, look at that in conjunction with my record as a civilian," he says.
But there are others who feel that MacDonald is right where he belongs. For one, former CID agent Bill Ivory says he's "not buying it."
It has been more than three decades since Ivory first set foot inside the home of Jeffery MacDonald. But the memories of that morning are still fresh.
"On the headboard of the bed, the word pig was written in blood," he recalls.
MacDonald had told investigators that these brutal murders were committed by hippies, who had broken into his house – a story that in today's world, seems a little tough to swallow.
Peter Kearns, an Army investigator from Washington DC, led a follow-up investigation into the MacDonald case, which included producing and starring in a filmed presentation of the evidence.
MacDonald tells Lagattuta he believes the perpetrator was someone he had turned in for illegal drug use.
But the more closely investigators examined the apartment, the more closely they began to question MacDonald's claims. "The coffee table was laying on its side but other than that there was no sign of any monumental struggle with him and three or four other people," Ivory remembers.