Man found guilty of killing fiancee's family in jealous fit - FOX 32 News Chicago

Man found guilty of killing fiancee's family in jealous fit

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D'andre Howard D'andre Howard
ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A northwest suburban man was found guilty Tuesday of fatally stabbing his fiancee’s sister, father and grandmother, the Sun-Times is reporting.

D’Andre Howard of Hoffman Estates was found guilty of the attempted murder of his fiancee’s mother.

The Cook County jury had to decide whether Howard was legally insane when he stabbed three members of his fiancés family to death, and seriously injured another, in a fit of jealous rage at the family’s home.

Closing arguments in Howard’s murder trial wrapped up Tuesday afternoon at the Rolling Meadows courthouse. Afterward, Judge Ellen Mandeltort sent the seven-woman, five-man jury out to deliberate.

Throughout the trial, Howard’s attorneys have argued that their client was legally insane at the time of the attack. Prosecutors countered that the insanity defense is nothing more than an elaborate act that should make Howard worthy of a “Tony Award.”

“You can bring down the curtain on his final act,” Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Gerber told the jury during closing arguments.

In the early hours of April 17, 2009 paramedics discovered a bloodbath at the Hoffman Estates home of Howard’s fiancé, Amanda Engelhardt.

Amanda’s younger sister, Laura Engelhardt, a senior at Conant High School, lay dead. So did her father, Alan Engelhardt, 57; and her grandmother, Marlene Gacek, 73. Her mother, Shelly Engelhardt, was badly injured, but survived.

Bleach had been strewn about the crime scene. And Howard, who placed the 911 call, had several cuts to his body, but was otherwise OK.

Both side agreed that in the hours leading up to the slayings, Howard was so convinced of infidelities by Amanda Engelhardt that he kicked her out of an apartment the couple shared with their 8-month-old daughter.

But Howard’s defense argued that he suffered from delusions, paranoia and was insane when he marched to the Engelhardt household, tied up several members of the family, and disputed Amanda Engelhardt’s continued denial of his infidelity allegations while armed with a kitchen knife.

Chaos ensured, defense attorneys told the jury, when Howard untied Laura Engelhardt, who then attacked him.

“He goes nuts, ” defense attorney Deana Binstock said of Howard, attacking the same family that had treated him like a son. He’s killing his adoptive family. He is killing everything that is positive and constructive in his life. “In his mind, it is kill or be killed.”

In an unusual move, Howard took the witness stand and testified that he heard voices and sirens in the lead-up to the crime. And his attorneys told the jury Tuesday that Howard, now 26, thought angels and demons were “battling over his soul.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Gerber countered that while Howard’s testimony should make him eligible for top dramatic honors at next week’s Tony Awards, it was nonetheless “nonsense.”

And co-prosecutor Maria McCarthy argued that just because Howard had mental issues, didn’t mean old-fashioned jealousy and anger weren’t what drove him to kill.

“This case is not about insanity. It’s about jealousy anger and control,” McCarthy said. “It’s about trying to hurt Amanda in the worst way.”

Gerber called Howard “one of the great actors of our time.” Then he urged the jury for a guilty verdict that would end Howard’s “stage career.”

“You can bring down the curtain on his final act,” Gerber said.

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