Sunday People

Father hid behind make-up disguise to shoot his ex

A bitter custody battle ended in bloodshed when mum-of-one Alyssa Ann Burkett was attacked, but her killer had taken steps to try to ensure he wouldn’t get caught


While Alyssa Ann Burkett had moved on from her relationsh­ip and was trying to build a new life, she couldn’t escape her past. It was 2020 and Alyssa, 24, was involved in a protracted legal battle with her ex-boyfriend, Andrew Charles Beard, over custody of their one-year-old daughter.

Convinced Beard was trying to manipulate the legal proceeding­s, Alyssa, who was in a new relationsh­ip, was afraid of losing her little girl. She had even posted a public fundraisin­g page to cover her legal fees. She described being taken to court several times by her ex during the previous year in his attempt to gain custody. She also accused him of breaking a court order and not returning their daughter.

“At this point, I’m scared for my life and my daughter’s life,” she wrote.

On 2 September, someone who called himself Frank Marrow tipped off authoritie­s, alleging that Alyssa was selling drugs from the trunk of her car. “Frank” told them to check the spare tyre. Officers followed up the lead and after a search, sure enough, they found drugs including cocaine and marijuana along with a pistol and ammunition right where he had said. The serial number was scratched off the gun so it couldn’t be traced.

Alyssa was in disbelief. She strongly denied knowing anything about the findings and accused Beard of planting the drugs and the weapon. She was convinced that Beard was trying to discredit her, but she also couldn’t explain why he always seemed to know where she was. Officers investigat­ed her allegation and Alyssa wasn’t charged.

Then on 30 September, Alyssa was awarded custody of her daughter. It should have been a huge relief but was it really the end of the acrimony?

Car park crime scene

On 2 October 2020, Alyssa arrived at work at a property leasing company in Carrollton, Texas, where she was a manager. As she parked outside, a man dressed in black walked up to her vehicle with a gun. Alyssa was sitting behind the wheel when he raised the weapon and shot her in the head. The attacker headed back to an SUV – with the intention of driving off, but incredibly, Alyssa managed to get herself out of her car. Bleeding heavily, she staggered towards the door of her workplace for help. Alyssa’s attacker saw that she wasn’t dead and got back out of the SUV.

He went over to Alyssa, grabbed her and stabbed her 13 times in her upper body. She collapsed and her attacker fled. Despite colleagues desperatel­y trying to save her life, and emergency services rushing to the scene, Alyssa died from her injuries in the car park. It was a fast, brutal attack at 9am.

Alyssa’s family immediatel­y suspected Beard and told police, but two witnesses described the killer as being a Black male. They also reported seeing a black SUV – very different from the white pick-up truck Beard usually drove. If it was an attempted robbery, what was the point if nothing was taken? Alyssa’s mum and colleagues informed police that she was scared of Beard and was convinced he was tracking her somehow. Alyssa’s boyfriend told officers that Beard seemed “overly obsessed” with Alyssa and their child. Plus Alyssa had told her boyfriend that Beard “always seemed to know where she was”, which was scaring her.

Three hours after the attack, Beard was stopped by police driving away from his home in a white pick-up truck. Officers

found three phones in his possession including a prepaid burner phone. On one of the phones, there was an internet search for “how to remove gunpowder residue from hands”. Beard was now the prime suspect.

A day after the killing, police also found the black SUV used at the murder scene. It was abandoned near Beard’s home and they discovered it did belong to him – he’d recently purchased it with cash. There was dried blood in the vehicle that matched Alyssa’s. Investigat­ors also found evidence to show that Beard had tried to disguise his race. There were two bottles of dark liquid foundation make-up, wipes with brown residue on and a dark prosthetic beard that had dark brown make-up on it. Officers found wipes with a brown residue on, which Beard had tried to burn, along with a burnt metal cylinder that looked like a make-up brush container. It appeared that Beard had tried to pass himself off as a Black man before attacking Alyssa, believing it would rule him out as a suspect.

Incriminat­ing evidence

Investigat­ors also found a pair of men’s hiking boots, cut into pieces and soaked in bleach, as well as a knife and a screwdrive­r. At Beard’s home, they found a battery matching a GPS tracker that investigat­ors found on the underside of Alyssa’s car.

He’d also placed one on the car driven by her boyfriend.

A script was found, which

Beard had written and used when phoning in the false allegation about Alyssa dealing drugs a month earlier. As Alyssa had suspected, her ex was willing to do anything to get her out of the picture and gain custody of their daughter. Beard was arrested. Incredibly, he managed to raise the $1 million bond needed and was placed under house arrest, much to the horror of Alyssa’s family. But he was soon behind bars again for owning an unregulate­d silencer for a weapon.

Her family turned the fundraisin­g page Alyssa had set up to pay the legal fees for her custody dispute into a fund to help raise money for her funeral and her daughter’s future.

In June last year, Beard pleaded guilty to cyberstalk­ing, using a dangerous weapon resulting in death and dischargin­g a firearm during a crime of violence. He admitted placing GPS devices in the cars belonging to Alyssa and her boyfriend and following their movements. He also admitted trying to hide his race and that he’d bought an SUV for the crime, just days before the attack, with cash from a private seller on Craigslist. The motive was to gain custody of their daughter – a girl who had lost her mum and whose dad was destined for prison.

In May this year, Beard, 36, was sentenced to 43 years behind bars. The prosecutio­n said it was a “sobering reminder” of the violence women could endure at the hands of their intimate partners.

Alyssa was hunted and killed as she tried to protect her daughter. Her family have vowed that the young girl will grow up knowing how much her mother loved her.

Alyssa was scared of Beard and was convinced he was tracking her somehow

 ?? ?? The car park where Alyssa was murdered
The car park where Alyssa was murdered
 ?? ?? Alyssa Ann Burkett
Alyssa Ann Burkett
 ?? ?? Alyssa had a young daughter
Alyssa had a young daughter
 ?? ?? Andrew Charles Beard
Andrew Charles Beard

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