Burroughs teacher charged with attempted murder, makes bail

A Burroughs Community School teacher, Jeffery MacDonald, faces trial Dec. 13 on felony charges of first-degree attempted murder of his estranged wife and making terroristic threats against her.

MacDonald, 37, a 4th-grade teacher at Burroughs, 1501 W. 50th St., has been on leave without pay since Oct. 8, said district spokesperson Sarah Snapp. MacDonald was arrested Sept. 25 and has pleaded not guilty to the charges, posting $500,000 bail Nov. 9. Snapp said MacDonald probably would not return to Burroughs until his case is resolved.

According to court documents, MacDonald's release conditions include no controlled substance usage, no contact with the alleged victim, no weapons and random urinalysis tests.

Robert D. Miller, MacDonald's defense attorney, said he's confident his client would be found not guilty. "When the smoke clears on this case, he'll be acquitted," Miller said.

The criminal complaint said MacDonald allegedly lured his estranged wife to his house the night of Sept. 24, asking if she could feed his dog while he was away. MacDonald hid in the basement, then allegedly ambushed and assaulted the woman, threatening to kill her and himself.

The victim escaped by convincing MacDonald she'd consider reconciling, and when he left the room to get wine, she fled.

Attorney Miller said MacDonald has a lot of supporters and is being routinely monitored for mental health issues, protocol for a case like this.

Snapp said the district hired MacDonald as an educational assistant in April 1996, and he became a reserve teacher in February 1998. He began teaching full-time at Burroughs in August 1998.

If convicted, MacDonald faces up to 15 years in prison for the attempted first-degree murder charge and up to five years in prison for the terroristic threat charge.