Air Force Major Andre McDonald described in detail the way he killed his wife and later mutilated her body while taking the stand in his own defense during his trial on murder charges late Monday afternoon.
The defendant told jurors in San Antonio that he acted in self-defense when an argument about money and fidelity turned physical. In the end, the altercation turned fatal for 29-year-old Andreen McDonald.
The defendant said he learned that his wife left his name off of an important document establishing an assisted-living business when reviewing tax files at an H&R Block on Feb. 28, 2019.
“It’s not every day you find out your wife’s ripping you off,” McDonald said in a Bexar County court.
The ill feelings that resulted from that discovery, he added, were particularly bitter because he had also recently learned that Andreen McDonald was talking to an old boyfriend in the couple’s home country of Jamaica. So, he said, he left and went to a nearby park to cool down and listen to music until past midnight.
On March 1, 2019, the defendant said he returned home and was heading to the master bedroom when he unexpectedly saw his wife sitting alone in the living room. The discovery, he told jurors, prompted him to tell her he would file for divorce the next day – and unlike a prior divorce threat, he would go through with it this time.
In turn, McDonald said, his wife cursed him in Jamaican Patois: telling him to perform oral sex on his mother and calling him a term that refers to a homosexual. Both of those curses, he testified, would be considered fighting words among many in Jamaica.
After clarifying what she meant, the defendant said, he tried to retreat to the master bedroom but his wife followed him there. McDonald said he made a comment about splitting up the business in the divorce which incensed his wife further. He repeatedly insisted that his efforts to deescalate the situation went nowhere as the Patois insults continued and that eventually, Andreen McDonald spit in his face.
At that point he said, he reflexively grabbed her face and the couple’s heads made contact – likely resulting in a “cut” on “her lower face” because of the wife being “a bit taller” than the defendant. Then, McDonald told jurors, his wife ran into the master bathroom, inspected her face, saw the blood, and got “extremely angry.”
McDonald said his wife then rushed over, attacked him, and began throwing punches. A scuffle ensued, he said, and he intentionally tripped his wife down to the ground. The defendant then told jurors he “landed, like, a couple of kicks” and upon the second kick, he “heard some type of wheezing coming out of her.”
The fight in all, he said, lasted less than a minute or so.
Around the same time as it ended, McDonald said, he heard “some footsteps running” and discovered that the couple’s special-needs child was out of bed. He then said he went upstairs to take her back to bed. When he returned, he said, McDonald found his wife dead.
“Honestly, man, I became pretty frantic at that point,” the defendant testified on direct examination about when he discovered Andreen McDonald lacked a pulse. “She’s dead on the floor. We just had a fight. Obviously, I’m going to get blamed for this and I’ve got a 7-year-old autistic kid upstairs. Who’s going to take care of her?”
Then, Andre McDonald said, he felt hot inside the house so he stepped outside. Soon enough, the defendant admitted, he hatched a plan to dispose of his wife’s body so his daughter wouldn’t find it.
First, he got two trash bags from the garage.
“She’s pretty big,” McDonald said in response to questions from his attorney. “I drug her in plastic bags through the house. But before I did that I think I used like a belt or something to tie the two bags together. And then I drug her through the house. Through the front door.”
After expending some effort getting her in the trunk of his Chevy Malibu, the defendant said, he disposed of the body on a rural property near a soccer field on Specht Road in north Bexar County.
“I remember there was a dead cow right next to where I ended up,” the defendant said, describing the process of concealing his wife’s corpse.
The defendant said he then went home and burned his wife’s clothes – and possibly his own clothes – in a plastic bucket that melted in the backyard. Burning the clothes that way, he admitted, was “a pretty stupid thing to do” because of the mark the burned plastic left outside.
The next morning, McDonald said, he got his daughter ready for school and put her on a bus. Next, he fed the dogs, sent his wife a text message, destroyed her cellular phone, dumped some of the evidence, and went to work. Upon arriving home that day, he found his wife’s relatives and law enforcement. After a custodial interview with police during which he requested an attorney, McDonald was released.
The defendant returned to the property on Specht Road late the next night.
This time, he said, he brought a hammer and a can of gasoline.
“I was angry as hell,” the defendant said, as he jumped a fence. “At that point, I’m like really angry.”
The defense counsel then asked him to elaborate on his anger.
“The reason why I’m really really angry is just because, like, I’m thinking about this whole situation, like, a lot of it,” he explained.
“Like, I left the house just to avoid the very situation that I’m in: a confrontation with Andreen, okay?” McDonald continued. “And all of this, in my opinion, like, could have been avoided. Like, if Andreen wanted to go be with somebody else, she was free to do that. She had a degree. She owned half of the business.”
The defendant was then asked what happened next.
“At that point, I poured the gas on her and I lit the fire,” he said – telling jurors the blaze quickly died. “At that point, you know, I got a hammer, and, you know. The body’s, like, right there. So at that point, I just got really pissed off. I started, like, hitting the body with the hammer.”
Pressed to account for the blows and the location of them, the defendant said he struck her “multiple times” with the mallet in the face before using the claw on her “neck area,” where it got “stuck in her neck,” leading to him “ripping the hammer out,” out of anger.
“I think I thought I was done, but as I like, by the time I walk away, I give it like one more whack,” the defendant admitted. “Somewhere on the body. I’m not sure where that landed.”
On cross-examination, the defendant admitted that he returned to the field the next night and placed cow bones on her body.
The state’s attorney then asked McDonald if he intended to desecrate his wife’s body with the hammer.
“I don’t know if you can desecrate a body with a hammer, sir, but you can hit it pretty hard,” he said.
[image via screengrab/Law&Crime Network]
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