Judge sentences Andre McDonald to max of 20 years in prison after manslaughter conviction

McDonald will be eligible for parole in 7.5 years

SAN ANTONIO – A judge on Monday sentenced Andre McDonald to 20 years in prison.

399th District Court Judge Frank Castro had the legal option of sentencing Andre McDonald to a minimum of two years in prison to a maximum of 20 years for the manslaughter charge the jury found him guilty of on Friday. The defendant was originally on trial for murder in the 2019 death of his wife, Andreen McDonald, but the jury went with the lesser charge.

At the start of the trial, Andre McDonald decided to have Castro — and not the jury — decide his fate.

WATCH: Judge Frank Castro sentences Andre McDonald

Castro told McDonald that while he didn’t have a previous criminal history and he had a stellar career in the military, “nothing justifies the death” of his wife. Castro recounted how the defendant told jurors on the witness stand that he dumped her body, burned it and tried to cover up her remains with cow bones.

The judge also pointed out that Andre McDonald killed his wife in front of their special needs child.

“(It was) devastating that you had to cause the death in front of your child. “(It was) terrible that she had to be there.”

Castro told Andre McDonald that he showed “no emotion, whatsoever” or any remorse for what he did or how it affected her family. The judge also pointed out to the defendant that he was looking at his phone during the trial and only paid attention when pictures of his wife’s bones were shown to the jury.

The defendant normally would have been eligible for parole in 10 years in prison, but due to the time already served in jail, he will be eligible in 7.5 years.

Following the sentencing, victim impact statements were made by Andreen McDonald’s sister and father, and a letter was read to the defendant from his daughter, Alayna.

WATCH: Andre McDonald listens to impact statement from sister-in-law Cindy Johnson

Cindy Johnson, Andreen’s sister, asked Andre, “Why choose murder in the first degree? Why not divorce? You can think that you cannot escape your actions, you cannot escape God.”

She also told the defendant that he had “no respect, no remorse, (for) your ruthless actions.”

WATCH: Andreen McDonald’s father makes victim impact statement to Andre McDonald

Paul Anderson, Andreen McDonald’s father, was merciful to his son-in-law, forgiving him for his actions.

“You hurt my family. We spoke like fathers. You hurt me. In spite of everything, I forgive you. I love you, that cannot change. A part of me is going to jail. I forgive you and it’s your duty to see God forgive you,” Anderson said.

WATCH: Daughter’s victim impact letter read in court to Andre McDonald

The letter from Alayna McDonald, which was read by a victim’s advocate for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, said:

“To Andre McDonald: You killed my mother. You took away my life and you broke my heart. And you hurt my feelings. And you will pay for what you did. You will be punished forever.”

After the letter was read, Andre McDonald was escorted out of the courtroom to the Bexar County Jail, where he will wait to be transferred to a prison.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales issued the following statement regarding the sentence:

“Although nothing we do will bring Andreen back, this sentence will bring some finality and closure to her family. It is our hope that holding the defendant accountable for manslaughter will bring some measure of justice to the memory of Andreen. I wish to remind everyone that domestic violence in Bexar County is a scourge on our community and our office will continue to fight it every day.”

WATCH: Video snippets from sentencing of Andre McDonald

More trial coverage:

About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

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