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Thread: Todric Deon McDonald Sentenced to LWOP in 2014 TX Murder of Javier Gonzalez and Ulysses Gonzalez

  1. #11
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Capital murder defendant jailed 4 years set for trial

    By Tommy Witherspoon
    Waco Tribune-Herald

    After spending more than four years in the McLennan County Jail, it appears Todric Deon McDonald soon will be getting his day in court.

    As of Thursday's pretrial hearing for McDonald, the 32-year-old capital murder defendant had been in the county jail 1,722 days awaiting trial. His trial in the May 2014 shooting deaths of cousins Justin Javier Gonzalez and Ulysses Gonzalez at the Pecan Tree Apartments, 2600 Grimm Ave., is set to start Feb. 11.

    Prosecutors announced more than three years ago they would seek the death penalty in the case. However, they since have changed their minds, announcing in August they had taken the death penalty off the table, meaning if McDonald is convicted of capital murder, he faces an automatic sentence of life in prison with no parole.

    Judge Ralph Strother has set jury selection to start Feb. 11. Testimony should start the next day, the judge said during Thursday's brief hearing involving prosecutor Hilary LaBorde and McDonald's defense team, John Donahue and Jon Evans.

    The hearing involved mostly last-minute discovery issues, including discussion of a firearm, ammunition and projectiles that are still being tested by a defense expert but should be done in time for trial.

    Donahue also asked LaBorde to clarify which among 50 hours of recorded jail phone conversations the state plans to use in evidence against McDonald. LaBorde said she has narrowed it down to portions of 30 to 40 phone calls, each lasting 15 minutes, that she and fellow prosecutors Robert Moody and Evan O'Donnell plan to introduce, and she gave copies to Donahue.

    Evans asked the judge if parties in the case are still under a court-issued gag order, preventing them from discussing the case with the media. Strother said his order is still in effect.

    McDonald also has a number of other felony and misdemeanor cases pending against him, including two counts of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, endangering a child, assault-family violence, unlawful possession of a firearm, indecent exposure, assault on a public servant, retaliation and evading arrest or detention.

    A status conference in the capital murder case of McDonald's co-defendant, Tony Olivarez, 34, is set for Feb. 22 in Waco's 54th State District Court. No trial date has been set in Olivarez's case.

    https://www.wacotrib.com/news/courts...982bce46a.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  2. #12
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Capital murder trial set to start Monday

    By TOMMY WITHERSPOON
    Waco Tribune-Herald

    Jury selection is set to start Monday in Waco’s 19th State District Court in the capital murder trial of Todric Deon McDonald.

    McDonald, 32, is charged in the May 2014 shooting deaths of cousins Justin Javier Gonzalez and Ulysses Gonzalez at the Pecan Tree Apartments, 2600 Grimm Ave. Testimony is set to start Tuesday morning.

    Prosecutors Hilary LaBorde, Robert Moody and Evan O’Donnell are not seeking the death penalty in the case. If McDonald is convicted of capital murder, he faces an automatic life sentence with no parole.

    State prosecutors initially announced they would seek the death penalty against McDonald. However, in August, they told Judge Ralph Strother they changed their minds, which will shorten the length and expense of McDonald’s trial significantly. McDonald is represented by John Donahue and Jon Evans.

    McDonald’s co-defendant, Tony Olivarez, 34, is charged with capital murder in Waco’s 54th State District Court. He has a status conference set for Feb. 22. No trial date has been set.

    At a hearing last month in McDonald’s case, prosecutors and defense attorneys discussed recorded jail phone conversations the state intends to use in evidence against McDonald, who has been in the McLennan County Jail more than four years awaiting trial.

    Strother has placed the attorneys under a gag order, precluding them from discussing the case with the media.

    McDonald also has a number of other felony and misdemeanor cases pending against him, including some he has picked up since he was jailed. They include two counts of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, endangering a child, assault-family violence, unlawful possession of a firearm, indecent exposure, assault on a public servant, retaliation and evading arrest or detention.

    Court officials expect the trial to last about five days.

    https://www.wacotrib.com/news/courts...2ab40ec52.html
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  3. #13
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Testimony begins Tuesday in trial of local man accused of killing 2

    By Paul J. Gately
    KWTX

    WACO, Texas - Opening statements, and then testimony is set Tuesday in a Waco district court room in the trial for a man charged with capital murder in two cousins’ deaths.

    State and defense attorneys on Monday seated a jury in Judge Ralph Strother’s 19th District Court where Todric Deon McDonald, 32, is on trial for the May 2014 murders of cousins Ulysses Gonzalez and Justin Javier Gonzalez at the apartments at 2600 Grimm Ave.

    McDonald has been in custody in the McLennan County Jail for more than 1,730 days since his arrest on May 16, 2014.

    He faces the capital murder charge, plus two counts of indecent exposure, one count of obstruction or retaliation and one count of assault on a public servant, the last four filed against him while he was in custody, jail records show.

    The state is not seeking the death penalty, which means if convicted, McDonald will automatically be assessed a penalty of life without the possibility of parole.

    Not being considered in the Monday trial, McDonald also is charged with theft by possession, endangering a child, failure to stop and identify, unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, assault family violence by strangulation and aggravated robbery as well as one count of assault and one count of evading.

    Attorneys say they expect the trial to last three to four days.

    Tony Olivarez, 42, also is charged in connection with the killings, prosecutors say, but was only named as a co-defendant in the case in 2017, in spite of the fact investigators considered him a suspect long before his indictment.

    Olivarez remains in custody in the McLennan County Jail where he is held in lieu of bonds totaling $1.004 million, county jail records show.

    His case, being heard in 54th District Court, is set for a hearing on Aug. 17, the court docket reflects.

    Police were sent at about 4:30 a.m. May 13, 2014 to an apartment at 2600 Grim, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

    Officers first at the scene found two bodies inside one of the apartments.

    A subsequent autopsy revealed both men died from gunshot wounds.

    https://www.kwtx.com/content/news/Ac...505667161.html
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  4. #14
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    2 women identify McDonald as killer in double murder trial

    By TOMMY WITHERSPOON
    Waco Tribune-Herald

    Two women who cowered in fear in a North Waco apartment as two cousins were gunned down in 2014 identified Todric Deon McDonald on Tuesday as one of two gunmen.

    The two women and a third witness who said McDonald told her he killed the two men highlighted opening-day testimony in McDonald’s capital murder trial in Waco’s 19th State District Court.

    McDonald, 32, is charged in the May 2014 shooting deaths of Justin Javier Gonzalez, 24, and Ulysses Gonzalez, 30, at the Pecan Tree Apartments, 2600 Grim Ave.

    Lisa Muniz and Ruby Murray told the jury of 10 women and two men that they were friends with Justin Gonzalez, who temporarily was selling methamphetamine out of Murray’s apartment and sharing drugs and a portion of the proceeds with them.

    Muniz started crying when asked if she recognized McDonald as one of two men who shot and killed the cousins.

    “When I look at him, it’s the eyes, the eyes,” she said, sobbing quietly as she identified McDonald as one of the men who shot and killed Justin Gonzalez and Ulysses Gonzalez.

    Tony Olivarez, 34, is charged with capital murder as McDonald’s co-defendant in the shooting deaths. His case is pending in Waco’s 54th State District Court.

    Half of the courtroom Monday was filled with family members and friends of the victims, several of whom started crying when prosecutors Hilary LaBorde, Robert Moody and Evan O’Donnell showed crime-scene photos of the two men.

    Muniz, who wore shackles and jail garb, is in the McLennan County Jail on forgery and drug possession charges. She testified that she met Justin Gonzalez through her sister and that their friendship centered around drug use. She said Justin Gonzalez was a drug dealer and that she had only seen Ulysses Gonzalez twice when he was hanging out with Justin.

    She said the four of them were doing drugs at Murray’s Grim Avenue apartment the night of the shootings when she went to the store to buy cigarettes and cigars for the group. Muniz said she was driving Justin’s car when she met McDonald and another man, who were driving into the parking lot as she was leaving.

    McDonald asked where Justin was, but she pretended she did not know who he was talking about because she did not know McDonald or his intentions, she said. They followed her to the store, and McDonald walked in behind her, she said. She said she got what she wanted and left, and that she called Justin Gonzalez on the way to tell her she was being followed by two men who were asking about him.

    She said Justin met her in the parking lot when she returned. He shook hands with McDonald and invited him and the other man to Murray’s second-story apartment, Muniz said.

    “It looked like everything was good, like it was going to be OK,” Muniz said.

    But she said Justin and McDonald got into an argument, and the other man with McDonald locked the door and pulled out a pistol. McDonald also pulled a pistol, she said. Murray tried to run into the other room, but the other man grabbed her, put a gun to her head and forced her to her knees.

    That was when McDonald shot Ulysses, Muniz said. She covered her face and heard Justin say, “No.” McDonald also shot Justin, she said, adding that she heard eight or nine shots. After the shooting stopped, McDonald pointed the gun at her and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about what she saw.

    After the pair left, she turned in time to see Justin take his last breath, she said. Murray locked the door but started panicking again because she said she could hear the men returning to the apartment.

    O’Donnell told the jury in opening statements that they returned because they had second-thoughts about leaving witnesses behind and intended to kill them, too.

    The men tried to kick open the door and then fired shots at the locks, but that only jammed the door shut, Muniz said. Muniz asked Murray if there was another way out, and Murray led her to a sliding door in the bedroom that led to a balcony. Muniz said she jumped from the second floor and landed on her back. She lost a shoe and her phone as she fled down the street to a friend’s house, where she called her brother, she said.

    Her brother came to pick her up, and they called police.

    Under cross-examination from defense attorney John Donahue, Muniz said her prolonged methamphetamine use made her memory of the incident worse and that she had been smoking meth all day and into the early morning hours.

    Donahue asked her about a police report in which she told investigators that the “fat one” shot Justin, which would not have been McDonald. Donahue wondered how she could see Justin get shot if she closed her eyes and flinched as she described. Donahue also said she was unable to pick McDonald out of a police photo array a few days after the murders.

    Murray said she and Justin, who was selling drugs out of her apartment, had been up “partying” for two days straight when the man she identified as McDonald and another man came in and pulled guns. She said she thinks both men may have fired shots that night, which is consistent with testimony from Waco crime scene officials who found .40-caliber and .380 shell casings inside and outside the apartment.

    After Muniz jumped, Murray said she hid under a futon on the balcony until she heard the voices of police officers.

    Murray told LaBorde she initially lied to police about what she saw because she did not want to get involved.

    “I was scared. I was full of drugs. I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “But Justin was a friend, and I know he didn’t deserve to get killed the way he got killed. He didn’t deserve any of that.”

    In other testimony, Melissa Moore, a friend of McDonald’s, said she let McDonald hide out at her house for a couple of days and helped him arrange to hide the stolen dark blue SUV he was driving on the night of the shootings. He told her he was ducking his girlfriend, Moore said.

    She said she had no idea McDonald was involved in the deaths until she saw how he reacted to a television news account of the killings. “I didn’t put it all together until after the news came on and he burned out of there,” she said.

    Moore initially testified that McDonald said that he f----- up as he ran out the door. Later, after some prodding from LaBorde, she said McDonald confessed to her that he killed the men.

    Prosecution testimony resumes Wednesday morning.

    https://www.wacotrib.com/news/courts...3898222dd.html
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  5. #15
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    UPDATE: Todric McDonald found guilty of capital murder, sentenced to life without parole

    Todric McDonald was accused of killing two men at an apartment in Waco in 2014. He was found guilty of capital murder in court on Thursday

    By Patrick Mueller and Lea Wilson
    KCEN-TV

    WACO, Texas — Todric McDonald was found guilty of capital murder on Thursday, and he was handed a life sentence without parole, McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson said.

    According to police, the 32-year-old shot and killed two men in an apartment at the intersection of 26th Street and Grim Avenue on May 12, 2014.

    Justin Gonzales, 24, and Ulyssess Gonzales, 30, were the victims of the apartment murders.

    McDonald's trial began Monday.

    During Tuesday's testimonies, a witness described her drug use and connection to the case around the time the two men were killed. Another woman took the stand and described her friendship with McDonald before the shooting.

    McDonald also faced additional charges of aggravated robbery, evading arrest and aggravated assault.

    Police said five hours before the double homicide, McDonald and another suspect were involved in an altercation with a person in the 2300 block of Morrow Avenue, who was able to get away unharmed, according to police.

    https://www.kcentv.com/article/news/...4-95c4d4d32637
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    “There are some people who just do not deserve to live,”
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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