Trial underway for man charged in girlfriend's death

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The trial for an Albion man charged with murdering his girlfriend is now underway.

47-year-old Jackie McDonnell is charged with second degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Donna Frost.

Opening arguments had both sides stating there was domestic abuse in the relationship, but the similarities ended there.

"He basically said they got into a fight in the bathroom, started hitting her, where she collapsed and he couldn't find a pulse," said Prosecutor David Gilbert in court Tuesday.

Defense attorney Michael Lind says that McConnell "panicked and did things he shouldn't have done, he put her in a hole and ended up in North Carolina. The shock wore off, and said, 'I need to make things right.'"

The prosecutor told the 14-member jury that Donna Frost was the victim of an 8-month abusive relationship. Gilbert told the jury he'd show McConnell confessed to dressing Frost's body afetr she died, and lied with her in bed for hours.

Gilbert says McConnell took her body into his car, and stopped at a family member's house for several hours. When he came out, she was cold to the touch.

Lind said in his opening statement that when McConnell sobered up, he helped lead investigators to Frost's body.

According to Lind, Frost had a long history of health problems to begin with, and she took part in the domestic violence.

The prosecution's first witness called was Renee Farrier, who reported her mother missing more than a week before her body was found.

She described the amount of bruises on her mother's body she had never seen until she started dating McConnell.

"Her eye, her jaw, cheek, everywhere," Farrier said.

A total of ten witnesses took the stand Tuesday, including an Albion detective who shared after more than an hour of questioning that McConnell admitted to killing Donna Frost and hiding her body.

More witness testimony is expected Wednesday.