A Massachusetts man was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of his wife, a beloved Lynn teacher, though he maintained at the Monday hearing that he was innocent.
Andrew MacCormack, 31, was found guilty last month of strangling, beating and stabbing 30-year-old Vanessa MacCormack on Sept. 23, 2017, while their then-1-year-old daughter was in the room next door.
A medical examiner found that Vanessa had blunt head trauma, stab and slash wounds to the neck, and signs of both strangulation and suffocation. She was found at the couple’s Revere home with a trash bag over her head when her body was discovered, according to authorities.
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"In my 40 years of the criminal justice system, I don’t think I’ve seen a homicide committed with such brutality," Judge Mary Ames said at the sentencing. "For this, you will spend the rest of your life in prison, as you should."
But Andrew MacCormack maintained his innocence, using his opportunity to address Suffolk County Superior Court Monday morning to defend himself.
"I have not raised a finger to Vanessa. And I sure as hell did not kill her," MacCormack said. "There is somebody out there getting away with murder right now walking free."
He said he misses his wife every day and cast their daughter as a double victim, first of Vanessa's murder and now of "this faulty justice system."
Before the sentence was announced, the victim's mother, father and sister made emotional impact statements.
Mother Karen Masucci told the court how much Vanessa's murder has impacted her life.
"It's something that's very difficult to put into words. Vanessa is the last thing I think about at night when I close my eyes and the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning," Karen Masucci said.
"It breaks my heart when Adriana routinely says 'Mommy Vanessa lives in the clouds,'" Vanessa’s sister, Angela Masucci, said through tears. "And how one day, while driving, Adriana asked me if I could drive to heaven so she could see her mommy."
During the investigation, authorities said Andrew had been spending hundreds of dollars a week to fuel his drug habit. When Vanessa discovered this, she texted him that she would consult a divorce lawyer if he didn't "shape up." The couple had been fighting for months over Andrew’s drug use and spending habits, according to prosecutors.
"I cannot recover from the fact that he hugged me with the same hands that he used to kill her," Angela Masucci said.
But Andrew MacCormack said there was "zero physical evidence linking me to my wife's murder" and said the investigation "was carried out with blinders on."
Vanessa was a popular second grade teacher at Connery Elementary School in Lynn.
"Vanessa was loved by students, parents, and colleagues. She was involved in every aspect of the school and a great friend to everyone on staff," said Connery Elementary School principal Dr. Mary Dill shortly after the tragedy.