SAN ANTONIO – A jury on Thursday began deliberations in the Andre McDonald murder trial. After deliberating for about six hours, 399th District Court Judge Frank Castro sent the panel home and asked them to return at 9:15 a.m. Friday. They have the choice to consider murder or manslaughter in their deliberations.
Andre McDonald was facing a first-degree felony murder charge in connection with the death of his wife, Andreen McDonald, in 2019.
He was the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance when family and friends reported her missing after she was last seen alive on Feb. 28, 2019.
According to court testimony, Andre McDonald gave investigators conflicting statements on his wife’s whereabouts and then stopped cooperating after hiring an attorney.
After months of searching, officials found Andreen’s remains in July 2019 at a private property in far north Bexar County. Soon after the discovery, Andre McDonald was charged with murder.
The prosecution said during closing arguments that Andre McDonald killed his wife at their home because he was enraged that she was having an affair, thought she wanted to have him killed by her lover and wanted to open a business in her own name without him knowing about it.
“This is not self-defense, this is a cover-up,” prosecutor Steven Speir said. “This is a man who is only concerned about himself. Blames his wife for everything he did to her.”
The prosecution also said the defendant tried to cover his tracks by beating his wife’s remains with a hammer and then burning them.
“(But) he’s sorry that he got caught,” Speir said.
The prosecution said the jury needs to find Andre McDonald guilty of murder because he “intentionally or knowingly” killed his wife.
“It’s time for justice for Andreen. It’s time for justice for her daughter. It’s time to find him guilty of murder,” Speir said.
The defense countered by telling the jury that the case was not about murder and was about “what kind and degree of responsibility” his client had.
Defense attorney John Convery argued that Andre McDonald takes responsibility for the things he’s done all his life, including the death of his wife. Convery said that Andre McDonald called his sister-in-law and mother-in-law three days before the trial started to tell them his side of the story.
Convery said that Andreen McDonald was “looking for a fight” before she was killed and said that the defendant was simply defending himself.
“It’s Andreen (who) charges after him in the bedroom, she’s taunting him,” Convery said. “Spitting in someone’s face is an assault. She charges Andre, (is) probably stronger than him. He has the right to use proportionate force.”
Defense attorney John Hunter said that the jury needed to exclude the evidence that the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office found at the McDonald home on March 2, because one of its deputies went inside the home without a search warrant.
“We know that he (deputy) was sent there with an ulterior motive in mind,” Hunter said. “The intrusion was unreasonable.”
If Andre McDonald is found guilty, he has elected Castro to ultimately decide his sentence.
If the jury finds McDonald guilty of murder, he could a maximum punishment of life in prison. If he is found guilty of manslaughter, McDonald could face a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.