CARROLLTON, Texas — A Texas man who had just lost custody of his 1-year-old daughter is accused of wearing blackface as a disguise as he stabbed and shot the baby’s mother to death outside her workplace earlier this month.
Andrew Charles Beard, 33, of Rowlett, is charged with murder in the Oct. 2 killing of Alyssa Ann Burkett, 24, of Rockwall. Beard is being held in lieu of $1 million in the Dallas County Jail.
“During the investigation, detectives learned that the suspect and victim had recently been involved in a contentious custody battle,” a police statement said. “The child is unharmed and in the protective custody of Texas Child Protective Services.”
Burkett was awarded custody of her daughter, Willow, on Sept. 30, just two days before she was slain.
According to her obituary, Burkett had a “good grasp for life and a bright future.”
“Alyssa was strong-willed, ambitious, fiercely determined and driven,” the obituary said. “She had many friends and she was a natural leader among them.”
She was well-loved, her family wrote.
“Her presence will be deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved her,” the obituary said.
A probable cause affidavit obtained by the Carrollton Leader and other local media lays out detectives' case against Beard, who surrendered to police last week after learning of the warrant for his arrest.
Carrollton police officers were called around 9:15 a.m. Oct. 2 to the Greentree Apartments, where they found Burkett lying on the steps of the leasing office suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. According to the Dallas Morning News, she also had multiple stab wounds to the torso and arms.
Burkett’s co-workers were rendering first aid, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
One of Burkett’s colleagues told officers she was inside the office when she saw a man get out of a black vehicle and approach Burkett’s vehicle, which was parked out front, and fire a shot at Burkett from the driver’s side of her car.
According to her family, Burkett’s killer chased her “to make sure the deed was done.”
Other witnesses to the shooting described the man as about 6 feet tall and between 150 and 170 pounds. He was dressed in black and wore a face covering, according to the affidavit.
Two of the witnesses who saw the side of the man’s face described him as a Black man because of his apparent skin tone, the News reported.
When detectives spoke to Burkett’s boyfriend, her mother and a colleague, however, they learned of the custody battle and Burkett’s fear of Beard, who she “believed … was going to kill her,” according to the Leader.
On a GoFundMe page set up to help pay her legal costs, Burkett had described several confrontations with Beard, the Leader reported.
“It has been made clear this man will do whatever it takes to cut me out of the picture, and I’m worried that what is coming next will be worse,” one of Burkett’s posts read.
Burkett’s boyfriend told investigators she believed Beard had been tracking her because he “seemed to always know where she was,” the affidavit states.
Detectives found a tracking device attached to the underneath of Burkett’s car, the News reported. Burkett’s boyfriend found a similar device attached to his own vehicle that same day.
According to the Leader, detectives obtained a search warrant for Beard’s home, where they found more of the tracking devices. They also seized his white Ford F-150, in which they discovered a trash bag containing black boots that had been cut into pieces and smelled strongly of bleach.
Inside another bag in the truck were a serrated knife, a screwdriver and two bottles of dark brown liquid foundation makeup, the affidavit states. Detectives also found partially burned makeup wipes, with brown residue on them, and what appeared to be part of a burned makeup brush.
The day after Burkett’s killing, officers in Rowlett found an abandoned black 2004 Ford Expedition matching the description of the vehicle driven by her attacker, the Leader reported. It was found in the 5500 block of Onset Bay Drive, about one-third of a mile from Beard’s home.
Trails and open areas connect Beard’s home to the alley in which the vehicle was found, authorities said. According to Google Maps, it is a four-minute walk from Beard’s Flamingo Drive home to where the SUV was dumped.
Inside the abandoned vehicle, detectives found a dark hair with apparent blood on it, as well as a dark-colored fake beard that contained traces of brown makeup, the affidavit states.
Security camera footage from a home in the neighborhood showed the SUV being driven toward its recovery spot around 9:47 a.m. Oct. 2.
“It should be noted that this was approximately 30 minutes after the murder occurred,” the affidavit states. “The distance between Greentree Apartments and where the Expedition was recovered is approximately 26.8 miles.”
Residents in the area of the alley told police the SUV appeared there within the week prior to its discovery. One resident said she saw the vehicle being moved around 1:30 p.m. the day of Burkett’s killing and that before that, she’d spotted a silver van parked in that spot in the alley.
Detectives spoke to the Expedition’s registered owner, who told them she’d sold the SUV via Craigslist on Sept. 26, the News reported. She described the man she’d sold it to as about 6 feet tall and about 190 pounds.
He was wearing a face covering and a baseball cap and driving a silver van when she met with him, the affidavit states.
Burkett’s GoFundMe page has since been turned into a fund to help her family with burial expenses and with expenses for her young daughter. As of Monday afternoon, the page had raised more than $32,000 for Willow.
“Let me start with assuring each of you that Alyssa’s family felt all of the love and support this past week as they navigated the unchartered waters of laying her to rest,” an update on the page states. "The prayers have been felt by all.
© 2020 Cox Media Group