SAN ANTONIO – Jurors in the trial of a U.S. Air Force major charged with killing his wife were shown evidence of blood and a burnt pile found at the couple’s home.
The first witness to testify was Brandon Gordon, who worked the front desk at Baptist Neighborhood Hospital at Highway 281 and Overlook Park.
Gordon testified that on March 1, Andre McDonald walked into the facility, appeared to be in a hurry and was looking for his wife. Andre McDonald asked if there was someone with the last name of McDonald being treated there. When Gordon said there was, he showed the defendant where to find the patient, but Andre McDonald instead made a strange decision.
“He stared off down the hallway, told me something like, ‘I have to go cut off the oven and left,” Gordon testified.
It ended up that the patient was not Andreen McDonald and the fact that someone being treated there by the last name of McDonald was just a mere coincidence, the prosecution said.
Next up on the witness stand was Bexar County sheriff’s deputy Filiberto Gonzalez, who was dispatched to the McDonald home on March 1 for a welfare check.
Gonzalez said when he arrived at the home, three friends and the mother of Andreen McDonald were frantic, scared and worried because they hadn’t heard from her. They showed Gonzalez around the home, where they had discovered some blood on a light switch, on the door of a bathroom and a burnt pile of clothing in the backyard.
Gonzalez said that Andre McDonald showed up at the home and told the deputy that he had gone to the hospital to see if his wife was there. The defendant said he left the hospital to tell her friends that she was there.
“I found it suspicious,” Gonzalez said of Andre McDonald’s explanation for leaving the hospital.
Gonzalez said he walked around Andre McDonald’s car and noticed some white powder on the tires and broken twigs on the outside of the trunk that seemed to indicate the vehicle had been driven off-road somewhere. The deputy then decided to contact a supervisor to get an investigator to search the home.
“It concerned me a lot, and I wanted it investigated properly,” he said.
Deputy Kristen Schroeder of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Team was sent to the McDonald home to take pictures and collect evidence.
Schroeder testified that she took more than 600 pictures at the home and collected 22 items.
Among the photos Schroeder took was the blood found on the light switch, on the door of a bathroom and the burnt pile in the backyard.
“There was burned plastic on the ground and throughout the area ... and also a zipper,” she testified.
Schroeder told jurors that Andreen McDonald’s purse and her cellphone were taken as evidence.
Jurors were also shown text messages between the couple the day Andre McDonald is accused of killing her.
The texts showed the two arguing over a business Andreen McDonald was trying to start in her own name. There was also a text from Andre regarding a reference to an affair that Andreen was having and a potential divorce.
“I’m going to protect myself from you in all circumstances. And if you bring up Ahbed, again, I will file the divorce myself, Andreen. I don’t care if you file for divorce. You don’t get to determine how I move forward,” the text said.
The jury also saw video of Andre McDonald the day after his wife was reported missing at a Lowe’s home improvement store on Loop 1604 and Blanco. The video showed the defendant buying several items, including two gas cans, a hatchet, a log splitter, some leather gloves and contractor bags.
Another video presented to the jury saw the defendant purchasing gasoline and putting it into the gas cans.
Andreen McDonald was last seen alive on Feb. 28, 2019. After months of searching, law enforcement found her remains in July 2019 at a private property in far north Bexar County.
If he is found guilty, Andre McDonald could face up to life in prison.
The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the 399th District Court. Judge Frank Castro is presiding over the trial.