‘You killed my mother’: The murder of Andreen McDonald

Andre McDonald attempted to cover up the slaying of his wife. His trial was full of dramatic revelations.

Andre and Andreen meet

Andre and Andreen met in 2009 in Jamaica.

Andreen, who was 10 years younger than Andre McDonald, would eventually move to the United States with him, and the two got married.

Andre was in the Air Force and at the time, stationed in Florida.

A year later, Andre was sent to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

The couple moved and soon had their daughter Alayna.

Andreen McDonald earned a degree from UTSA and soon the couple opened a home health business that Andreen ran.

Eventually, something in their marriage would change. Then came the day that Andreen disappeared.

She was last seen on February 28, 2019, sometime around midnight.

Her phone was turned off and she was never heard from again.

Andreen’s disappearance

On March 1, the day after Andreen was last seen, a friend of hers — Carol Ghanbar — got a call from one of Andreen’s employees that she wasn’t answering the phone and that Andreen didn’t show up to work.

When Ghanbar couldn’t get ahold of Andreen she went straight to the McDonald’s home and entered.

She quickly noticed something was off. Inside the master bathroom, she found blood on a light switch.

Ghanbar called Andre and got no answer.

She called Andreen’s mother Maureen Smith, went to pick her up, and then went back to the home to show Maureen the bloody light switch.

Maureen would then call the police to report Andreen missing.

Andre showed up at the home at the time the women were inside and told them he had no idea where Andreen was and that he was going to go check a nearby hospital.

This all led to a huge investigation by Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.

On the very day his wife was reported missing, Andre hired an attorney and gave either conflicting information or no information at all to police.

Days later, he was arrested on a charge of tampering with evidence.

After, it was discovered he had recently purchased gas cans, an axe, a hatchet, gloves, and a box of heavy-duty black trash bags from Lowes.

Andreen’s body is found

It would be almost five months later that Andreen McDonald’s body was found.

Her remains were found on private property less than 10 miles from the couple’s home.

Andreen’s cause of death would be ruled a homicide and Andre McDonald was charged with murder.

For almost four years, Andre McDonald kept to himself while out on bond.

The Friday before the trial was expected to start, Andreen’s sister and mother got a phone call they never expected.

It was Andre and he was ready to tell them the truth.

Trial begins

Opening statements in Andre McDonald’s murder trial were expected on January 23, two days before the trial got underway Cindy Johnson, Andreen’s sister, noticed an unknown number calling her phone.

When she answered, she was shocked to hear it was Andre.

Cindy described the phone call during testimony.

“He said he wants to speak to me and speak to mommy,” she said.

“When you realize you are speaking to Andre McDonald how are you doing?” a lawyer asked.

“I was nervous, confused, my mind was blank,” Cindy answered.

In that phone call, Cindy says that Andre tells them that on February 28, 2019, he and Andreen were arguing over a business venture that she was trying to start in her own name with both of the couple’s assets.

He said that argument escalated and got physical.

“I don’t remember the word if it’s pushed away or dropped her on the floor. I don’t remember exactly, but he um, I don’t know the word, but she fell on the ground,” Cindy said. “That he caused her to fall on the ground?” the lawyer asked. “Yes,” Cindy replied.

Cindy Johnson was the first witness to testify in the trial of Andre McDonald, who is charged in the slaying of his wife, Andreen McDonald, in 2019.

“Did he say after he caused her to go onto the ground what did he do next?” the lawyer asked. “Used his foot and stomped her,” Cindy answered.

She went on to say that Andre told them that he stopped when he heard his daughter coming down the stairs.

He said he put her back to bed, but when he came back again that Andreen was not breathing.

Andre said he panicked and just wanted to get rid of her body before their daughter could see her.

“Did he say what he was going to do with the body?” the lawyer asked.

“He said he was going to chop up the body but he changed his mind,” Cindy said.

The prosecution would put up more than 30 witnesses and when they rested, the defense had one witness take the stand and that was Andre McDonald.

Andreen’s best friend Carol Ghanbar said Andreen was a creature of habit and that Andreen told her that if anything ever happened to her that it would be because of Andre.

Years leading up to murder

In 2016, Andre said he went to six-month training in Alabama and that when he came back something had changed with Andreen.

He said he eventually filed for divorce, but they reconciled.

Then in 2018, on the 4th of July, they were at a friend’s home when Andre said he noticed two new tattoos Andreen had; The letter “A” and a date.

Andre was upset because he thought it was for a man from Jamaica that Andre feared she was having an affair with.

He said they drove back immediately home and that during the drive they argued.

Feb. 28, 2019

On the witness stand, Andre described how he was waiting at the tax office for Andreen in February.

“When I was looking through the paperwork I noticed something, that Andreen had started this business named Alayna’s Property Management. Under the business, there was construction taking place for our fourth facility. That was supposed to be taking place under Starlight Homes on our joint property on Scarsdale. Which I found shocking because I remember when I did edits for the business plan, I submitted to Andreen to give them to the bank they were under Starlight Homes. Where here on this form it says there’s a business plan going forward under Alayna Property Management which I knew nothing about. Immediately I knew she was stealing from me,” Andre testified.

They begin to argue the rest of the day and leading to him going home.

After arguing at home, he says he left and didn’t return until around midnight thinking Andreen would be asleep.

“Right as soon as I get to where the living room area is... I noticed Andreen sitting on the couch,” Andre said. “At that point, she’s right there. So I told her look, tomorrow when I leave work I’m going to go back downtown to the divorce lawyer and I’m gonna get a divorce.”

He said that enrages her and she follows him into their bedroom where the argument continues.

He said she started insulting him and getting in his face and spitting in his face.

Andre said he grabbed her face, scratching it.

When she noticed she was bleeding, he said she went at him.

“At that point, she gets really angry. And that’s when she comes from the back where the switch is to where I was to attack me,” Andre said. “In between scuffling I remember grabbing her and tripping her over one of my legs and she falls and that’s when I kick her twice.”

March 1, 2019

It’s past midnight now and after he puts his daughter to bed, Andre realizes Andreen is not breathing and decides to dispose of her body.

“I grab a couple of trash bags and I put one over top of her and the other one on her lower limbs,” he testified. “I drug her through the house, to the front door.”

He then drove to a property he had driven by before off Specht Road and threw her body in the field.

But Andre wasn’t done yet.

He goes back the following night which was the early morning hours of March 2.

Andre said he got really angry about the whole situation because he thought Andreen wanted to off him because she recently asked to take a trip to Jamaica.

But, Andre said that was her plan to get him there for her boyfriend to kill him.

That’s when he goes back to Specht Road after the police finish searching his house.

“I was angry as hell. And I jumped over the fence and toward the body,” Andre said. “The reason I’m really angry is because I’m thinking about this whole situation. All of this in my opinion could have been avoided. Like if Andreen wanted to be with someone else she was free to do that. I get really angry so at that point I pour the gas on her and I light the fire.”

It wasn’t a lot of gas so the fire went out, but, he wasn’t finished.

“At that point, I got the hammer. The body is right there at that point I got really pissed off so I started hitting the body with the hammer,” Andre said.

“How many times?” the lawyer asked.

“Honestly, I couldn’t tell you it was multiple times. I know I was hitting in the neck and in the face area. I remember like at first I hit her in the face with the hammer and then I used the claw and hit her in the neck area and I remember the claw got stuck in like her neck and that’s when I was ripping the hammer out. I thought I was done, but as I start to walk away I gave it like one more whack on her body not sure where that landed,” he described.

There was no remorse for his actions.

Andre kept saying he was angry at the situation she put him in.

Jury deliberations

After 12 and a half hours of deliberations over two days, the jury found Andre not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Judge Frank Castro did the sentencing.

“You burned the body, beat it with a hammer, and desecrated her corpse. And after that, it almost seemed like an emotion of a serial killer. It doesn’t match up with your military career,” Castro said to Andre before sentencing. “The last thing was your emotional state throughout the trial. You just didn’t show any compassion or emotion. It disturbed me that the only time you seem to pay attention is when they put her bones up there and you were looking very interested in it. I thought if he showed sorry to the family but he was not. He was matter of fact. You’re driving and hitting the bones and it’s like a movie. No emotion whatsoever.”

Andre got the maximum of 20 years.

Victim impact

Victim impact statements were made by Andreen’s sister and father. And then a letter was read that was written by Alayna.

“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,” Alayna wrote.

A week later Andre was given an additional five years for the tampering with evidence charge.

In another twist to this story Andre’s father, Everton “Beachy Stout” McDonald is awaiting trial for the murder of two of his wives in 2009 and 2020.

According to “Loop Jamaica News” Everton will go to trial in September for the alleged murder-for-fire of his second wife.

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About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 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.

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.