Defense for Fairbanks man charged in wife’s death seeks to get indictment thrown out
A Fairbanks man, indicted on murder charges in his wife’s death in 2014, appeared in court again Monday.
At the hearing, the defense attorney for 40-year-old John McDonald, asked the court to throw out the indictment.
McDonald was charged in the death of Crystal S. McDonald, his wife, after police say he shot and killed her in March 2014. At the scene, McDonald told police that his wife shot herself, according to a release from the Fairbanks Police Department.
Police later determined that McDonald was responsible for Crystal’s death and indicted him on first- and second-degree murder charges.
In court Monday, Bill Satterburg, McDonald’s attorney, won a motion in court that would suppress “illegally obtained statements” that McDonald made to police back in 2014. Satterburg argues that the grand jury that indicted McDonald based its decision on “improper evidence,” CBS News 13 in Fairbanks reports.
McDonald also petitioned the court for a lower bail amount, but that petition was denied.
Crystal’s sister, Sandee Rice, flew to Fairbanks for the hearing. Rice, a Wasilla resident, says she was there as a spokesperson for the rest of the family.
“My sister is not there to speak for herself,” said Rice. “I’m representing the family to say, ‘This is what happened.'”
Initially, she says she was upset that there was a possibility that McDonald’s bail would get lowered and he would be released.
“I don’t want him out,” Rice said. “I feel it’s not good enough to let him go at this time.”
McDonald’s three children are now living in Texas with his family, Rice says. If he was able to make bail, it would give him time to be reunited with his children — but Rice says some of her family fears retaliation.
Now that the defendant’s motion has been granted, prosecutors say they will move forward with what they called “circumstantial” evidence in the case. Whether the murder indictment will get thrown out remains to be seen.
“I can only pray that the judge will leave it as is and let the jury decide his fate,” Rice said.
The trial for this case is scheduled for September.
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