Remember when Grace McDonald Dodged Murder Charges?
It’s not a cold case but I do think about it fairly often.
Back in March of 2016, the adopted son of Gregg and Jana McDonald walked into their bedroom as they slept and shot them. According to a psychological evaluation of Gabe McDonald, who was 17 at the time of the incident, the night of the shooting he went into his parents bedroom and watched them for about 30 minutes as they slept. He then went into his sisters bedroom (who is also adopted) and asked her to come into their parents bedroom with him. He allegedly told her he was going to shoot their parents. She declined and told him to go back to sleep. He then went back into his adoptive parents bedroom and shot Gregg first and then Jana as she awoke from the sounds of the gunshot.
Gabe McDonald, 17, was arrested just hours after Gregg and Jana McDonald were shot.
May 17th, 2016 he was indicted on a capital murder charge in connection with the shooting of his parents. According to an affidavit, Grace McDonald, who was 23 years old at the time, allegedly told officers that morning of the murders that he came into her room and told her that he was going to shoot their parents. She said she “thought he was kidding” but then a few moments after he left she heard two gunshots.
On September 13th, 2016, about six months after their parents death, Grace McDonald was arrested on one count of capital murder and one count of conspiracy to commit capital murder. At the time she was at a rehabilitation facility in Arizona.
On September 22nd Grace, although incarcerated, is able to facetime her grandmother, Ann McDonald, on her birthday. The next morning, September 23rd, Ann McDonald, 75, was found dead in her home from what appeared to be natural causes.
Then in June of 2017 Grace has another charge added to case. According to the indictment she allegedly had sex with Gabe only 11 days before her parents are shot. She had three counts against her included in the same indictment, Capital Murder of Multiple Persons, Criminal Conspiracy and Prohibited Sexual Conduct.
Gabe’s trial is set for June 2018. On the day of his trial, June 11th, his attorney requests a change of venue but the judge denies it, then Gabe is found competent to stand trial and the trial is set to resume on June 12th but later that afternoon Gabe takes a plea bargain in the case. Gabe decides to take a plea for the lesser charge of two counts of murder with two 50 year sentences that he will serve concurrently with time served. He will be eligible for parole in 2043.
In July of 2018 all charges are dismissed against Grace McDonald as a result of her adopted brother’s plea of guilty in his case and she is set free. Prosecutors cite insufficient evidence.
There was sufficient evidence before to keep her in prison since September 2016 but all the sudden when her brother takes a plea for lesser charges, that evidence isn’t sufficient anymore? How does that happen? I’m just really confused about how the whole judicial system works when I see stuff like this.
Some of the questions knocking around in my head are, did the conspiracy to commit murder thing and even the sex thing, did all that come from her adoptive brother? I mean did he just decide to make the pain of what he did worse by accusing his sister of being in on it? If so it would mean the courts took almost 2 years of her life away for no good reason. The flip side is that she was involved in the planning of the murder of her adoptive parents and she did in fact have a sexual relationship with her adoptive brother, allegedly. And if that’s true, Gabe is paying the price for both of them.
And we’re just ok with that?