CHELSEA (WHDH) - A man accused of strangling and stabbing his wife to death pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder charges in Chelsea District Court. He was ordered held behind bars without bail after prosecutors detailed the Lynn elementary school teacher’s gruesome murder.
Police arrested Vanessa MacCormack’s husband, Andrew MacCormack, 29, Tuesday on charges he killed his 30-year-old wife, who was found dead Saturday afternoon inside their Revere home on Grand View Avenue.
Officials say MacCormack showed obvious signs of physical trauma when police officers found her around 3:30 p.m. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Prosecutors say she was found strangled with a trash bag over her head.
“A trash bag appeared to be put on her head at some point in an apparent effort to catch the blood,” prosecutor Ian Polumbaum said.
The state’s chief medical examiner found that she had suffered a blunt force injury to the head, sharp force injuries to the neck and asphyxiation. Prosecutors say the alleged killer “went to great lengths” in an effort cover up the crime.
After the murder, prosecutors allege MacCormack left the house with his 1-year-old daughter, withdrew $100 from an ATM, bought cocaine in East Boston and then returned home, where he used bleach to wipe down the bloody crime scene before calling 911.
Investigators say MacCormack sent text messages to his wife’s phone after killing her, which he was in possession of. They say he suggested a missing kitchen knife had suddenly appeared at the crime scene.
Prosecutors say the couple had been talking about divorce just weeks before the murder due to the accused killer’s expensive drug habit. The defense disputed that claim, saying the two were happy together.
Defense attorney John Hayes said his client did not commit the heinous crime and that the real killer is still on the loose.
MacCormack’s arrest followed the recovery of surveillance video, the execution of a search warrant, interviews with multiple witnesses, examination of phone and other records and other tips, according to investigators.
“Prosecutors and police detectives have worked literally around the clock since Saturday afternoon to solve Vanessa’s murder,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said. “The evidence suggests that her murder was a crime of domestic violence, committed in the very place where she should have been safest – her own home.”
MacCormack worked as a second grade teacher at Connery Elementary School in Lynn. Family members described MacCormack as the world’s best mother to her daughter, a loving wife and a devoted daughter and sister.
“I hope for my sister to be remembered as a beautiful mother, sister, wife, cousin, daughter and teacher,” said Angela Masucci, MacCormack’s sister, in a statement. “My sister was truly a good person with a heart of gold. Family was everything to her. My heart is so broken that she is gone. I just hope her legacy may live on and we get answers about her death.”
The defense requested that MacCormack’s bail be set at $50,000, citing no criminal record. The request was denied.
Authorities are still investigating the murder.
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