‘Beachy Stout’ had big mood swing after wife’s death, says witness
WELL-KNOWN Portland businessman Everton ‘Beachy Stout’ McDonald had reportedly reacted with surprise and anger on learning of his wife’s death and was washed in emotion when he visited her murder scene and identified her partially burnt body.
Tonia McDonald’s body was found with the throat slashed inside a car in Sherwood Forest, Portland, on July 20, 2020.
But a day after the gruesome act, the businessman reportedly returned to work, where he went off on a tirade in which he accused his wife of embezzling $30 million or $35 million from the supermarket and wholesale business.
The 67-year-old businessman reportedly also insinuated that his wife was cheating and that it was her lover who had killed her.
The details were shared on Monday by a former employee, who testified at the trial in the Home Circuit Court, where McDonald and his co-accused Oscar Barnes are being tried for Tonia’s murder.
McDonald, who was dressed in a pair of brown shorts and grey T-shirt, had appeared to be in a good mood and was seen smiling before the first witness took the stand. However, when the testimony got under way, he appeared to be scowling.
The middle-aged witness, who said he was McDonald’s right-hand man and was also like a son, testified that on the night of Tonia’s murder, he and another worker were at the supermarket when he overheard the businessman using expletives after taking a phone call.
“How we deh yah and nobody nuh tell mi seh me wife car bun up and mi a hear it from foreign?” the witness recalled hearing.
“Yuh serious? Den how she reach up deh suh? Mi tell ‘ar bout dem man deh weh she a keep y’know,” he also remembered hearing.
The witness, who had worked as a packer and security guard at the supermarket, testified that his upset boss shouted at them while ordering them to drive him to the scene.
The court further heard that while travelling to the deserted, dark location, they got lost and had to turn back after calling for directions.
But as soon as they arrived, he said McDonald walked up to the scene, saying, “A mi wife. Dem kill mi wife,” but was stopped from going beyond caution tapes.
On seeing Tonia’s body lying on the ground, he said that McDonald held down his head as if he was on the verge of tears.
The witness also recalled the businessman staggering on the scene, but was provided with support by him and the other employee.
But the next day, the witness said McDonald showed up at work and started cursing.
“He was cussing and a say, ‘Mi nuh know weh she go find man go kill off harself pon mi,” the witness recollected as members of the nearly all-male jury chuckled.
Asked by the prosecutor to describe McDonald’s demeanour then, the witness said: “He looked like normal.”
Continuing, the witness said his former boss then summoned two female employees to go through the accounting books and while doing that, started accusing Tonia of robbing the company of millions.
Later that day, the witness said his boss again shouted at him while using expletives and ordered him to remove Tonia’s car from his house.
“Him say, ‘Take her car carry it go up a har mada. Tek it out a di yard’,” he told the court.
Further in his testimony, the witness, who said he had a close relationship with the couple, shared that the couple had worked greatly together after Tonia married the defendant and took on the “boss role” in the business.
He also disclosed that McDonald had purchased a supermarket for Tonia.
But he told the court that he first worked with McDonald’s first wife Merlene and that it was she who had hired him.
However, he said that after she was killed in 2009, within four months after her burial in June, McDonald introduced the staff to Tonia and that she would come to the business regularly but stayed upstairs in his office.
Tonia, he recalled, later immersed herself in the business and started carrying out several different functions after her marriage.
But the court heard that he first met Tonia in 2009 before Merlene’s death after McDonald gave him $18,000 to buy her a cellular phone.
The witness, who testified that he and Tonia later bonded, broke down later during his evidence-in-chief as he spoke about her being dead and seeing her body.
The witness will resume his evidence today.
McDonald is being represented by attorneys-at-law Earl Hamilton, Courtney Rowe, Christopher Townsend and John Jacobs, while Earnest Davies is representing Barnes.
Meanwhile, McDonald is also charged with the May 2009 murder of his first wife Merlene, 50, who was gunned down at her gate outside her home at Boundbrook Avenue in Portland.
He is to be tried alone for that matter in January 2024.
Investigators reopened that case in 2020 following Tonia’s murder.