Man gets three life sentences for killing fiancee, two of her family members

Written By SUN-TIMES MEDIA Posted: 07/09/2014, 08:52pm

A northwest suburban man convicted of fatally stabbing his fiancee’s sister, father and grandmother was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.

D’Andre Howard, 26, of Hoffman Estates, was also found guilty of the attempted murder of his fiancee’s mother when he was convicted June 3 by a Cook County jury.

At a Wednesday hearing at the Rolling Meadows courthouse, Judge Ellen Mandeltort sentenced him to three life terms in prison plus an additional 60 years, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

In the early hours of April 17, 2009, paramedics discovered a bloodbath at the Hoffman Estates home of Howard’s fiancee Amanda Engelhardt, the Sun-Times reported previously.

Amanda’s younger sister, Laura Engelhardt, a senior at Conant High School, lay dead. So did her father, Alan Engelhardt, 57; and her grandmother, Marlene Gacek, 73. Her mother, Shelly Engelhardt, was badly injured, but survived.

Bleach had been strewn about the crime scene. Howard, who placed the 911 call, had several cuts to his body, but was otherwise OK, the Sun-Times reported earlier.

Prosecutors claimed Howard accused Amanda Engelhardt of cheating on him, and kicked her and their 8-month-old daughter out of the apartment they shared.

He then went to the Englehardt home in Hoffman Estates in the early morning hours of the next day, where they fought again.

It was there that Howard tied up several members of the family, and disputed Amanda Engelhardt’s continued denial of his infidelity allegations while armed with a kitchen knife. Howard later untied Laura Engelhart, who grabbed the knife and stabbed him in the arm.

After a struggle, Howard stabbed her to death, then stabbed his fiancee’s mother after she started screaming. The noise awoke the two other members of the family, and Howard stabbed them to death after they came downstairs, prosecutors said.

Howard’s attorneys had claimed he was legally insane at the time of the attack. Howard took the witness stand himself to testify he heard voices and sirens in the lead-up to the crime — testimony prosecutor Mike Gerber called “nonsense.”

“This case is not about insanity. It’s about jealousy, anger and control,” co-prosecutor Maria McCarthy said during the trial. “It’s about trying to hurt Amanda in the worst way.”

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