Man pleads to attack on wife

Published 10:06 pm Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Suffolk man pleaded no contest Wednesday to a litany of charges related to an attack on his wife in 2010 that left her with permanent scars and difficulty walking.

Lee Andrew Donaldson will be sentenced in April for the charges of aggravated malicious wounding; shoot, stab, cut or wound; statutory burglary; grand larceny; assault and battery of a family member; and two counts of violating a protective order.

The attack took place Oct. 10, 2010. The upstairs neighbor in Donaldson’s wife’s duplex heard thumps and screaming just after midnight, prosecutor Marie Walls said.

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The neighbor called police, who arrived to find the woman on the floor and “blood everywhere,” Walls said. The woman’s facial injuries were so extensive that police could not identify her by looking at her driver’s license, Walls added.

“Her ear was basically hanging off,” she said.

The woman was in intensive care for two and a half weeks and then was transferred to a traumatic brain center in Richmond. She will live with permanent scars and difficulty using one of her legs, Walls said.

The victim “has no memory of this event to this day” because of her head injuries, Walls said.

Walls added that the upstairs neighbor was able to identify Donaldson as she saw him leaving the home. In addition, had the case gone to trial, a fellow inmate of Donaldson’s was prepared to testify that Donaldson said he “went to the home to kill his wife,” but stopped the attack and fled when he realized a 3-month-old grandchild was in the home.

Some of the charges also stemmed from a separate event the previous month. Walls said Donaldson went to the home and “raised his hand to strike her.”

Walls said a protective order was in place at the time of both attacks.

Under a plea agreement, Donaldson’s active sentence will be 30 years or less, and he will be ordered to have no contact with the victim and to serve probation for life upon his release.