The jury trial for 19-year-old Gabe McDonald who is accused in the shooting deaths of his parents begins Monday.
McDonald, during a psychological evaluation, detailed the events that led to the death of his parents. The evaluation document stated that on the night of the shooting deaths of his parents, he went into his parent’s bedroom and watched them for about 30 minutes before going into his sister’s room to ask her to come into their parent’s room with him. She reportedly declined and told him to go back to sleep.
The document detailed that Gabe McDonald then went back into their room and shot his father, Gregg McDonald first. Following his mother, Jana McDonald, being awakened by the gunshot, he reportedly raised the gun, pointed at her and shot.
Gabe McDonald, along with his adopted sister, 23-year-old Grace McDonald, is facing a capital murder charge of multiple persons in connection with the shooting of Gregg and Jana McDonald on March 2, 2016, in their Conley Avenue home.
“We’re prepared to go to trial,” McDonald’s attorney, Justin Low, said. “Whether or not we actually have the guiltiness in the trial will depend on what happens in the competency trial, which will be held on Monday.”
Jury selection will begin at 9 a.m. Monday in the 224th District Court of Judge James Rush. Following jury selection, a trial will be held to determine if McDonald is competent to stand trial. If he’s found competent, the jury trial to determine his guilt begins Tuesday.
McDonald is being prosecuted by the Texas Attorney General’s Office after District Attorney Bobby Bland recused his office from the case earlier this year. Assistant Attorneys General Geoff Barr and Jane Starnes will prosecute the case, and former Deputy District Attorney Chris Fostel will serve as Low’s co-counsel.
A psychological evaluation was conducted on McDonald by Dr. Perry Marchioni and submitted to the court June 5 stating McDonald should not be considered to have an intellectual disability and should not be considered mentally ill.
“The results of the psychological evaluation, review of records, mental status exam, and competency interview suggest that Gabe McDonald should be considered competent to stand trial,” the document stated, adding that he has the capacity to testify as well.
Should McDonald be found guilty of the charge of capital murder of multiple persons, a capital felony, he could be sentenced to life in prison. Bland took death off the table for both of them, due to Gabe McDonald not being 18 at the time he was accused of the crime, and previously said the death penalty was not appropriate based on a review of the evidence in Grace McDonald’s case.
Grace McDonald is further being charged with criminal conspiracy and prohibited sexual conduct, and is accused of having sex with her adoptive brother.
A jury trial date of June 25 had previously been set for Grace McDonald, but a motion of continuance was filed last month after concern was expressed by Barr and defense attorneys Steven Brand and Thomas Fagerberg that the two siblings’ trial dates were too close together.
Jail records show Gabe McDonald has been in the Ector County Detention Center since March 2016 and has a $2 million bond.