A Rowlett man who cyberstalked his ex-girlfriend and shot and stabbed her to death in the midst of a bitter custody dispute was sentenced today to 43 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Andrew Charles Beard, 36, was charged in October 2020. He pleaded guilty to cyberstalking using a dangerous weapon resulting in death and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence in June 2022 and was sentenced on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle.
“This case is a sobering reminder of the brutal violence some women endure at the hands of their intimate partners. The victim in this case fought valiantly until the end. We hope today’s sentence brings a measure of peace to her family,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton.
In plea papers, Mr. Beard admitted that he cyberstalked and murdered his ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Alyssa Ann Burkett, in a parking lot in Carrollton on Oct. 2, 2020, in an attempt to gain custody of their young daughter. He admitted that he placed a GPS tracking device on Ms. Burkett’s car, entered a black SUV he had purchased for the occasion, followed her to the apartment complex where she worked, and donned a disguise. He then exited his vehicle with a shotgun and shot Ms. Burkett in the head as she sat behind the wheel of her car. Believing that he had fatally shot her, Mr. Beard ran back to the SUV to drive away.
However, Ms. Burkett—severely injured and bloodied from the shotgun blast—staggered out of her car and attempted to enter a nearby building for help.
Realizing that his ex-girlfriend was still alive, Mr. Beard exited the SUV, ran up to her, grabbed her from behind, and stabbed her 13 times through the upper body with a sharp object. She died in the parking lot as he raced away from the scene.
Ms. Burkett’s mother and coworkers told responding officers that Ms. Burkett feared Mr. Beard, believed he was tracking her, and worried he would kill her. Her boyfriend told police that Mr. Beard had seemed “overly obsessed” with Ms. Burkett and their child.
Three hours later, officers stopped Mr. Beard as he drove away from his residence in a white pickup truck. They seized three phones from Mr. Beard, including a prepaid burner phone. On one phone, they found an internet search for “what is the best way to remove gunpowder residue from hands.”
Officers also searched his vehicle, where they found a pair of men’s hiking boots cut into pieces and soaking in bleach, and they searched his residence, where they found a battery that matched the GPS trackers affixed to Ms. Burkett’s vehicle. They also found a written script Mr. Beard had used to phone in a false drug tip against Ms. Burkett a month earlier.
In plea papers, Mr. Beard admitted that he called in the fake tip on September 2, 2020, after planting drugs and a gun in her car. Identifying himself as “Frank Marrow,” he claimed Ms. Burkett was selling drugs out of the trunk of her car and advised police to check the spare tire well. Officers searched the tire well and found illegal drugs and a pistol with an obliterated serial number. Ms. Burkett vehemently denied selling drugs and stated that she believed Mr. Beard had planted the evidence in her vehicle.
The day after the murder, officers found the black SUV Mr. Beard had driven to and from the murder scene abandoned in a residential neighborhood near Mr. Beard’s home. Dried blood recovered from the vehicle contained DNA that matched Ms. Burkett. A fake beard recovered from the vehicle contained DNA that matched Mr. Beard.