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The trial of getting Andre McDonald to trial

Accused murderer Andre McDonald scored another reduction in his bond amount in court Friday. The proceedings also revealed challenges in getting him to trial.

SAN ANTONIO — Andre McDonald continues his days behind bars. 

In a court proceeding Friday, he hoped a judge would allow him to await trial for his wife's disappearance and murder at home. That did not happen.

Instead, the U.S. Air Force veteran received the grace of $200,000 shaved off his total bond amount. The 42-year-old father and murder suspect has been in jail since July of 2019, facing a charge of murder and tampering with evidence.

Bexar Count deputies say he killed his successful wife, Andreen McDonald. Her last contact with family and friends, per the investigation, was at the end of February 2019.

March 1 saw the start of the investigation into the missing mother and wife. Deputies arrested McDonald for tampering with evidence two days later after executing a search warrant at the couple's home. According to an arrest affidavit, the findings were human blood on a light switch, a shovel, an ax, work gloves and gasoline.

McDonald made bond. But 106 days later, a man came across remains on a remote piece of land believed to be Andreen. On July 13, 2019, the Bexar County Medical Examiner confirmed it was her. 

McDonald was back in jail, facing a murder charge and bonds exceeding $2 million.

This past March, his bond on the murder charge was reduced to $450,000. But the $300,000 remained on the tampering with evidence offense.

Two years and three months later after the discovery of Andreen's remains, attorney John Convery admitted his client received  $6,000 a month as he sat in jail. But the checks from the Air Force have stopped. The properties he and his late wife owned won't help him.

He said even setting the bond at $30,000 or $40,000 would not help. McDonald's declining financial status did not draw sympathy from visiting Judge Raymond Angelini.

The judge also heard concerns from the Bexar District Attorney's Office and Convery about getting to trial on Nov. 8.

According to the defense, evidence from prosecutors continues to trickle in. By law, McDonald has a right to see what the state plans to use as prosecution.

Convery said he's getting portions of video testimony from the DA's office of McDonald's daughter. Described as a special-needs witness, investigators have long thought she witnessed something crucial between her parents.

The defense argued the child's testimony needs to get examined.

"State (Bexar County prosecution), you need to get it to him in two weeks. Everything. That means everything," Angelini said.

Prosecutors said they now have 100,000 images newly discovered by Bexar County investigators. Going through them all and getting them to the defense by trial did not seem possible.

"We're not ready because two and half weeks ago we got notice from the sheriff's department that they discovered another shared drive with substantial amounts of information on it," prosecutors said. 

According to prosecutors, they had team members who had the coronavirus, and a former key investigator with BCSO was battling cancer. 

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar offered no comment about the new evidence or the fingers pointing at his investigators slowing down the trial process. In a statement, Salazar said, "we defer all inquiries regarding this ongoing criminal case to the District Attorney's Office."

Angelini scolded prosecutors to issue a subpoena and get deputies in court to answer for delays.

Both sides are back in court on Nov. 5 to flesh out where they stand in the case. They are not sure if the looming trial date is a reality.

"It's really a mess," Convery said.

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