The decades-long saga of convicted killer Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald and the murders of his family he has always denied committing will return to the spotlight with a new TV movie about the case: Final Vision, starring Scandal star Scott Foley.
The title of the film, premiering Sunday night on Investigation Discovery and exclusively previewed above, echoes that of a controversial 1983 book about the killings, Fatal Vision, written by journalist Joe McGinniss.
Final Vision traces the work of McGinniss, played by Dave Annable, after he was asked by MacDonald, a Green Beret surgeon, to write about him and his claims of innocence in the brutal murders of his pregnant wife and two young daughters at their home in February 1970.
In the course of his work, however, McGinniss said he became convinced otherwise, and Fatal Vision came down on the side of MacDonald’s guilt. (MacDonald later sued McGinniss and the case was settled.)
For nearly 48 years, MacDonald’s account of the quadruple murders has remained the same: He has said a group of intruders killed wife Colette, 26, and daughters Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2. One of the intruders, he said, was a woman with long blonde hair, wearing a floppy hat, holding what appeared to be a candle and chanting, “Acid is groovy. Kill the pigs.”
When military police arrived at their home, an injured MacDonald was found lying next to his wife in their bedroom. He said he’d been trying in vain to resuscitate her and their children.
Three months later, the Army charged MacDonald with three counts of murder. Though ultimately cleared after a six-week hearing, MacDonald was charged again in 1975, this time by federal prosecutors who said he murdered his family in a rage.
Authorities argued he wounded himself to make it look like he was a victim as well, and that there were no signs of intruders.
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In August 1979, a jury found MacDonald guilty and he was sentenced to three consecutive life terms. He has been fighting his conviction ever since.
Despite what his defense said in June 2016 was “newly discovered evidence” — including through DNA technology that was not available at the time of his trial — the evidence against MacDonald remains “strong” and his 1979 conviction should stand, prosecutors argued in response later that year.
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“The fact that the government continues to deny that any credible evidence of innocence even exists should not surprise anyone,” one of MacDonald’s attorneys told PEOPLE in August 2016.
In the exclusive preview clip, Foley’s MacDonald discusses his upcoming testimony at trial with McGinniss.
At one point he says, “Tomorrow I’m going to get up on that stand. I hope to God they see who I am, all those people looking at me. In a lot of ways I’ve always been a performer. You can’t afford not to be, with the whole world always looking at you.”
Final Vision premieres on Sunday (8 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.