CHELSEA, Mass. – A man accused of strangling and stabbing his elementary school teacher wife inside their home cleaned the murder scene with bleach and then went to buy cocaine with the couple's 1-year-old daughter in tow, prosecutors said.
Andrew MacCormack, 29, pleaded not guilty to murder at his arraignment Wednesday in Chelsea District Court in the death of 30-year-old Vanessa MacCormack, a second-grade teacher at Connery Elementary School in Lynn. He cried as he was ordered held without bail.
She was found dead Saturday in their Revere home. She was strangled and had stab wounds on her neck and a trash bag over her head, prosecutors said. Some of her teeth had also been knocked out, according to a police report.
"The place smelled of bleach," Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum said during the arraignment. "The bedroom had been cleaned, but the efforts had not removed all of the blood in the room."
According to court records, bleach was poured on Vanessa MacCormack's body and was used to clean the bathroom and wipe down a TV, according to the Boston Globe.
A butcher block located on the kitchen counter was missing a large knife from the set, and there was no sign of a forced entry into the home, authorities said. Andrew MacCormack, a drywall installer, was arrested Tuesday.
Prosecutors said the couple was having financial problems and Vanessa MacCormack had confronted her husband about his drug use before her death.
Court papers say a cocaine dealer told investigators Andrew MacCormack spent $400 to $500 a week on drugs, the Boston Herald reported. MacCormack's wife threatened to consult a divorce lawyer if he didn't "shape up," prosecutors said.
"I hate you so much you've ruined (our daughter's) life because she won't have her parents together.," Vanessa MacCormack wrote in a text message on Aug. 31, according to court documents. "I'll talk to (agent) tomorrow about listing the house and I'll look into divorce lawyers."
"Ur crazy," Andrew MacCormack replied, according to the documents. "I'm not signing anything to sell the house or get divorced."
Authorities believe the couple's toddler daughter was at home at the time of the killing. They allege MacCormack took the girl with him when he then went to buy $100 worth of cocaine, according to the Boston Herald.
Defense attorney John Hayes acknowledges the couple was struggling but said they were "happily married" and had a future together. He said authorities should look for other suspects and noted that his client had never been convicted of a crime.
"It's very easy to say the husband did it. It's easy to focus and turn the lens on one person and make innocent things look bad," Hayes said, according to the Boston Herald.