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Texas Air Force Major Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Killing Wife, Trying To Cover Up Crime
A jury found Andre McDonald guilty of manslaughter for killing his wife, Andreen. McDonald testified the killing was in self-defense when the couple got into a fight.
A Texas Air Force Major will spend up to 20 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of killing his wife in front of their special needs child, as well as burning her body and trying to cover it up, according to San Antonio ABC station KSAT.
The jury had found Andre McDonald not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter on Friday, and Judge Frank Castro sentenced him Monday to the maximum 20 years in prison for the 2019 death of his wife, Andreen. Due to time already served in jail, McDonald will be eligible for parole in 7.5 years, according to KSAT.
During the trial, the 43-year-old described in gory detail how he killed his wife and mutilated her body, claiming to jurors he was acting in self-defense during an argument, according to Law & Crime.
He testified that his 29-year-old wife left his name off an important document to establish an assisted living business and claimed Andreen was talking to an old boyfriend in the couple’s home country of Jamaica. He said that just after midnight on March 1, 2019, he told his wife he was filing for divorce, and his wife cursed at him, and followed him into their bedroom. He testified the argument escalated and that his wife spit in his face.
McDonald testified that he grabbed his wife’s face and their heads collided, and that then his wife began punching him, while he tripped her and kicked her until he “heard some type of wheezing coming out of her,” according to Law & Crime. He said the couple’s special needs child was out of bed and he took her back upstairs, then returned to find Andreen dead.
The judge recounted that moment when sentencing McDonald.
“(It was) devastating that you had to cause the death in front of your child,” Castro said on Monday, according to KSAT. “(It was) terrible that she had to be there.”
McDonald told the jury he decided to get rid of his wife’s body so his daughter wouldn’t find it — describing how he put the body in plastic bags and threw it on a rural property near a soccer field — concealing it with cow bones, Law and Crime reported.
“Honestly, man, I became pretty frantic at that point,” McDonald testified, according to Law and Crime. “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 care for her?”
He said he later went back to where he dumped his wife's body, poured gas on it and set it on fire, according to Law and Crime. He testified that when the fire went out, he hit her body with a hammer, striking her “multiple times” with a mallet in the face before using the claw on her “neck area,” where it got “stuck in her neck” and he had to rip it back out. He also admitted to burning his wife’s clothes in their backyard, as well as destroying her cell phone.
The judge said McDonald showed “no emotion, whatsoever” or any remorse for what he did, and pointed out he was looking at his phone during the trial, KSAT reported.
Family members made victim impact statements during Monday’s sentencing.
“Why choose murder in the first degree?” Cindy Johnson, Andreen’s sister, asked. “Why not divorce? You can think that you cannot escape your actions — you cannot escape God.”
A victim’s advocate for the Bexar County District Attorney’s office read a letter from McDonald’s daughter, Alayna.
“To Andre McDonald: you killed my mother. You took away my life and broke my heart. And you hurt my feelings. And you will pay for what you did. You will be punished forever,” the letter said, according to KSAT.
After his sentencing Monday, McDonald was taken to the Bexar County jail to await transfer to a prison.
A cousin of Andreen’s told San Antonio CBS station KENS that 20 years isn’t enough, and she was hoping the jury would come back with a murder conviction.
“Closure is a complicated word," Cheryl Spencer told KENS. “I’m not sure what that looks like. But Andre McDonald has held a lot of people hostage for a long time and we cannot move forward. Today we can move forward in the next step of grieving.”
“Although nothing we do will bring Andreen back, this sentence will bring some finality and closure to her family,” said Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales in a statement to KSAT. “It is our hope that holding the defendant accountable for manslaughter will bring some measure of justice to the memory of Andreen.”