Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dad sentenced in murder of girlfriend, the mother of their 6-week-old twins; hid body under blankets from other children (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Dad MARK DONALDSON had just become a father, since his girlfriend had just given birth to their twin daughters 6 weeks before. Now these babies will never know their mother. But they will be spared what Mom's older children witnessed.

Seems Dad shot the mother to death in the home, and the 7-year-old son saw her dead and bleeding on the floor (in fact, the little boy told his teacher the very next day that "his mommy would never pick him up again" because she was dead). The 3-year-old girl knew what had happened too. And after all that trauma, Daddy hid the mom's body under blankets for 5 DAYS while the rest of the family continued to live in the home.

Later, after authorities followed up on the little boy's story, the little girl lead the aunt to the mother's body, who then called the police.

Despite Dad's great play at taking responsibility, he really isn't. He blames drugs (methamphetamine). And he also has the freaking nerve to say that the mother had turned violent on him after giving birth and had beat him unconscious. I think that this in highly unlikely. The vast majority of new mothers just want to sleep, thank you very much. Where would you find the energy to beat somebody up? This is just bull patootie. Oh, and this freak thought Mom was having an affair? Just after giving birth to twins? More bull patootie. Why does the press even print his self-serving crap?


Man who hid dead girlfriend under blankets from kids sentenced
By Cara McCoy

Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 12:33 p.m.

At the end of the school day on Oct. 24, 2005, Erika Fuentes-De-Espinal’s 7-year-old son told his teacher his mommy would never pick him up again. The second-grader said his mother was dead.

The next day, police learned that the boy’s mother’s live-in boyfriend, Mark Donaldson, had shot the 26-year-old woman to death about five days earlier, wrapped her in blankets and left her decomposing body in the bedroom. Meanwhile, Donaldson, the boy, the boy’s 3-year-old sister and six-week-old twin girls Donaldson fathered with Fuentes-De-Espinal continued to live in the home.

On Monday, Donaldson, 30, was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes. He said he was on drugs when he killed Fuentes-De-Espinal and was sorry for what happened.

“All I ever wanted to do was to be a good son and a good dad to my children,” he said. “Unfortunately, that changed the day I became addicted to methamphetamine. I was unable to think clearly and lost control of my actions.”

He apologized to Fuentes-De-Espinal’s family and said he was “incredibly remorseful” for his actions.

Donaldson pleaded guilty in November to first-degree murder as well as two counts of child abuse and neglect with substantial mental harm for keeping the children in the house with their dead mother.

Judge David Wall sentenced him to life in prison with parole eligibility after 20 years for her murder. He was sentenced to 20 years with parole eligibility after eight years on the two child abuse counts, which will run concurrently to each other but consecutively to the sentence on the murder charge.

The soonest he would be eligible for parole is 28 years.

“This case is among the most hideous of all the offenses that have ever come before me, either as an attorney or on the bench,” Wall said.

He told Donaldson not to construe his agreement to abide by the attorneys’ negotiations as mercy; rather, he said he wanted to keep the two children from having to testify at a trial.

Many of Fuentes-De-Espinal’s family members were in court for the sentencing. Eliazar Diaz addressed the judge on the family’s behalf.

“There is no forgiveness. It doesn’t matter what state of mind the individual was in, nothing is going to bring this girl back,” he said, adding that the family felt that a sentence of 20 years to life wasn’t justice.

“This man gets to see, breathe and eat every day, something that (Fuentes-De-Espinal) will never do again,” Diaz said. “There is no excuse for what this man has done.”

Donaldson’s attorney, James Ruggeroli, said negotiations in the case were extensive and that it took about two years to reach an agreement. He said his client had taken full responsibility for his actions.

“Judge, we are appearing before your honor with no defenses because there are none,” he said. He described Donaldson as “a man that was overtaken by drugs.”

Ruggeroli said he had considered pursuing an insanity defense but in having his client evaluated, had learned that Donaldson had been in what he described as a drug-induced psychosis. He said the influence of the drugs wasn’t a defense and, along with his apologies, offered his findings about the drugs to the family as a possible explanation for what had happened.

A report from the time of Donaldson’s arrest offers a glimpse into what led to the discovery of Fuentes-De-Espinal’s body.

After the boy told his teacher his mother was dead, a guidance counselor began making phone calls to various family members. An aunt was contacted and went to the apartment complex in the 8400 block of West Charleston Boulevard to check on Fuentes-De-Espinal.

When she arrived, her 3-year-old niece took her inside the bedroom where Fuentes-De-Espinal was lying on the floor, covered by blankets. Her aunt lifted the top blanket and saw her sister-in-law was dead.

The woman called police.

When investigators responded to the home, they found bloodstains throughout the bedroom. Fuentes-De-Espinal had trauma to her head and neck area.

Donaldson was taken from the apartment to the homicide bureau, where he was interviewed. He told police his relationship with Fuentes-De-Espinal had become increasingly violent since the birth of the twins. At one point, he told police, she beat him physically to the point of unconsciousness.

He said the two got into a fight and he became angry. The next night, Fuentes-De-Espinal came home late and he believed she was having an affair. He was still angry about their fight the day before, the arrest report says.

While Fuentes-De-Espinal was changing one of the babies’ diapers, Donaldson retrieved his gun from a closet and shot her in the head, according to the report.

When police interviewed the boy, he told them he saw his mother on the floor dead on the night of Oct. 20. He said he knew she was dead because he saw blood and she didn’t answer him when he spoke to her.

The girl, who was 3 at the time of her mother’s death, told police that Donaldson had told her to stay out of the bedroom where her mother was. She said her mother had died and had blood on her neck.

After the hearing, Ruggeroli said it was difficult to understand how the man he had known as his client the past several years could have done something so terrible.

“It’s a tragedy on both sides and nothing is going to heal their wounds,” he said.