Murder trial of Air Force Reserve Maj. Andre McDonald to open … – San Antonio Express-News

The long disappearance of San Antonio businesswoman Andreen Nicole McDonald, 29 — as a cloud of suspicion lingered over her Air Force officer husband — transfixed and horrified the public almost four years ago.

On Wednesday, a newly seated jury will begin hearing testimony in the murder trial of Air Force Reserve Maj. Andre Sean McDonald.

He was 40 when he was arrested two days after his wife’s burned body was found July 11, 2019, on a ranch on Specht Road, east of Camp Bullis and about 6 miles from the couple’s house in the Timberwood Park area. But he had already been charged with tampering with evidence.

Andreen McDonald was reported missing March 1, 2019. The discovery of her remains, almost by chance, brought closure to hundreds of volunteers who had helped with extensive searches across northern Bexar County for nearly four months.

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The victim was identified through dental records. Andreen McDonald appeared to have been covered by wood and some bones from a dead cow, then set on fire, officials said. Melted plastic or synthetic material was found among the remains.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has not revealed how she died. But even as the search continued, Andre McDonald had been charged with tampering with or fabricating evidence because, authorities said, he had torn up a receipt for the purchase of a shovel, an ax, gasoline, a metal barrel and other material that investigators believe he intended to use to dispose of his wife’s body.

The murder trial was delayed several times during the coronavirus pandemic.

Andre McDonald, left, a suspect in the disappearance of his wife Andreen but at the time charged only with tampering with evidence, appears in court with his lawyer John Convery for a pre-hearing conference April 22, 2019.

Andre McDonald, left, a suspect in the disappearance of his wife Andreen but at the time charged only with tampering with evidence, appears in court with his lawyer John Convery for a pre-hearing conference April 22, 2019.

Bob Owen, STAFF-photographer / Staff photographer

“It has been too long,” McDonald’s defense attorney, John Convery said in October, when the trial date was set.

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The couple had a history of domestic disturbances at their home, law enforcement reports indicate. Andre McDonald filed for divorce in 2017 but dropped the effort several months later, county records show. Andreen McDonald, a mother who owned several assisted-living homes with her husband, was reported missing after she didn’t show up for the gym or work, as was her routine.

McDonald told investigators he and Andreen fought the night before she disappeared. Details from an arrest warrant affidavit revealed that shortly after Andreen disappeared, her blood was found on a hammer and a pair of men’s jeans inside the couple’s home. Other evidence included blood and hair found on a light switch in a bathroom, and blood on the bathroom door and floor.

Evidence of burning was found in the backyard, and investigators also discovered Andre McDonald had purchased the shovel and ax — and a hatchet, large plastic bags, gloves and a couple of 5-gallon gas cans — two days after his wife disappeared.

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McDonald was held in the Bexar County jail for more than two years until he posted bond of $200,000 on Nov. 21, 2021, a figure that had been lowered from $2 million.

He has been on partial house arrest and GPS monitoring, while he works as a cyberwarfare operations officer assigned to the 426th Network Warfare Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

In October, Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Wade, the service’s chief of public affairs, confirmed McDonald still was serving a reservist tour here that began in 2018. He said pending results of the trial, “any possible disciplinary actions will be taken at the appropriate time.”

“We take the health, safety and well-being of all of our citizen airmen and their families very seriously, and we are all working closely with base and local authorities on this matter,” Wade said. “We are also keeping the entire family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Most recently, the lead prosecutor in the case, Mario Del Prado, the head of the major crimes division of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, resigned to go into private practice.

Steven Speir, who along with Del Prado was prosecuting McDonald, is now the lead prosecutor. Defense attorneys are Convery and John T. Hunter.

The trial in the 399th District Court is expected to last three weeks, with Judge Frank J. Castro presiding. If convicted, McDonald, now 43, faces up to life in prison.

Twitter: @elizabeth2863

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