SAN ANTONIO — After discussing the evidence for several hours Thursday afternoon, the jury deliberating over a verdict in the Andre McDonald murder trial has left for the day and will reconvene on Friday.
Attorneys delivered their closing arguments Thursday morning in the case of the U.S. Air Force Reserve major accused of killing his wife, Andreen, in 2019. On Monday McDonald admitted to killing her and disposing of her body, arguing it was out of self-defense.
This week's winter storm shelved court proceedings on Tuesday and Wednesday as most Bexar County services were put on hold.
The prosecution’s closing arguments highlighted a timeline of McDonald’s actions before and after Andreen’s death. Prosecutor Steven Speir emphasized that all of the evidence presented, including testimony from McDonald, prove murder and the defendant’s efforts to cover up his tracks by disposing of the body, lying to family about Andreen’s whereabouts and sending text messages to his wife’s phone after she died.
The prosecution refuted one of the defense’s main arguments that law enforcement executed warrantless searches of the McDonald’s residence.
“Folks, it is time for responsibility. It is time for justice for Andreen," Speir said. "It’s time for justice for her daughter."
Defense attorney John Convery reiterated to the jury that his client acted in self-defense following a buildup of tension and an unsteady relationship.
McDonald on Monday testified that he felt robbed and betrayed by Andreen, who he said left his name out of a property deal to expand her assisted living business.
McDonald said the business-related argument at a tax office on Feb. 28, 2019, escalated into a brutal brawl in the bedroom just after midnight on March 1. His testimony revealed Andreen shouted sexually charged and homophobic insults toward him when he came home. McDonald said Andreen attacked him after he said he planned to follow through with filing for divorce.
The defendant said he kicked Andreen twice while she was on the ground. The prosecution pointed out the discrepancy between what McDonald said on the witness stand and what he told Andreen’s mother and sister just days before the trial.
Andreen’s sister Cindy Ann Johnson testified that McDonald stomped on her sister, although the defendant didn’t specify where on the body.
The defense emphasized this isn’t a murder case, but a case about showing a degree of responsibility. Convery noted McDonald never planned to kill his wife.
“Andre McDonald did not intentionally or knowingly murder Andreen McDonald. Whether he was reckless is for you to decide," Convery said.
It’s possible the jury finds McDonald not guilty of murder, but of manslaughter. They are expected to resume deliberations at 9:15 a.m. Friday.
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