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Man who murdered wife, 2 children could have big day in Richmond court

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RICHMOND, Va. – The lawyers of infamous convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald will argue in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond Thursday that MacDonald's conviction should be overturned based on new evidence, including DNA found under one of his victim's fingernails that is not his.

The case captivated a nation in the early seventies, inspiring a book and a movie.

Green Beret surgeon Jeffrey MacDonald was found guilty of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and their two children, ages five and two, at their home in Fort Bragg, North Carolina in February 1970.

From day one, MacDonald maintained his innocence and alleged that a group of hippies high on drugs committed the murders and that he was injured in the process.

MacDonald was found wounded beside the body of his dead wife.

MacDonald is serving time for killing his pregnant wife and two children.

MacDonald is serving time for killing his pregnant wife and two children.

"What they've always wanted is for me to stay in federal prison quietly licking my wounds, I'm an innocent person," MacDonald previously told CBS about his conviction.

But, prosecutors told a different story, and argued that MacDonald made up the tale, taking inspiration from the recent Charles Manson murders in California.

They said MacDonald used an ice pick, pairing knife, and a piece of wood to kill his family during an argument with his wife, Collette, and he injured himself in a cover-up attempt.

"I think he's absolutely responsible and totally and solely responsible for the murders of his family.  I remain absolutely convinced of that today," prosecutor James Blackburn previously told CBS.

An autopsy showed Collette MacDonald was stabbed more than 30 times, and his two-year-old daughter was stabbed repeatedly in her chest and back.

A jury believed the prosecution, and MacDonald received three life sentences.

MacDonald has never given up on getting out of prison.

CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said MacDonald has a good shot this time.

"This was a close case to begin with so this could be a big day for him because if they reverse it and send it back down I would expect he could be set free," Stone said.