The husband of a Massachusetts elementary school teacher found strangled and stabbed in the face and neck with a trash bag over her head has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Andrew MacCormack, 29, of Revere, was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court. He was indicted last month in the death of 30-year-old Vanessa MacCormack, a Lynn teacher found dead in September in the couple's Revere home.
A grand jury indicted him on a first-degree murder charge earlier this month.
Prosecutors said Andrew murdered his wife on Sept. 23, hours before going to Saugus for a carpentry job, where he brought their 1-year-old daughter with him. Authorities have said they believe the child was home at the time of her mother's murder.
Investigators said Andrew had been spending $400 to $500 a week on cocaine, and that his wife had found out, threatening to consult a divorce attorney if he didn't "shape up" in a text message. He allegedly responded, "Ur crazy, I will never sign anything."
Prosecutors said externally, the marriage "looked good," but the text messages between husband and wife told a different story. There were financial problems and unexplained disappearances of money that Andrew blamed on "Asian hackers."
Police said Vanessa was found face down, with massive blunt trauma to her face, her nose broken and her teeth damaged. She had five stab wounds to her back and the side of her neck and three long slash wounds across the front of her neck. Inside her neck, bone and cartilage were broken, signs of a strangulation.
The crime scene smelled strongly of bleach, and investigators said Vanessa's body had chemical burns on it consistent with bleach having been poured on her back after she was killed.
A knife was also missing from a block in the kitchen, and police said there was no sign of any forced entry to the home. Traces of blood were also found on the steering wheel of the car Andrew had been driving.
Andrew MacCormack's lawyer asked for $50,000 cash bail, arguing that much of the evidence the prosecution is relying on is circumstantial, saying police decided within minutes that they were going to show that he murdered his wife.
The case "rests a lot on taking innocent facts and twisting them a certain way," defense attorney John Hayes said.
Thirty-year-old Vanessa MacCormack was a beloved a second grade teacher at Connery Elementary School in Lynn. Her coworkers as well as her neighbors were shocked by her death.
"Vanessa was loved by students, parents, and colleagues," Dr. Mary Dill, principal at Connery, said in a statement in September. "She was involved in every aspect of the school and a great friend to everyone on staff."
Andrew MacCormack will be back in court on Dec. 12 and is expected to face trial late next year.