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The University Student Who Planned The Murder Of His Mother And Stepfather To Cover Up His Own Lies


By Based On a True StoryPublished 3 months ago 4 min read

On May 25, 2013, Mark McDermott and his wife Johanna Dunn were at their home in West Virginia preparing to attend the graduation party of Donald, Johanna's son.

This man was a successful businessman from Australia and by coincidences of life he met Johanna in the United States where they were married shortly after.

Mark always treated Donald as if he were his own son, in fact they became very close and from time to time they went on a trip together. In addition, Mark bought the boy everything he wanted, from branded clothes to a car when he was old enough to drive.

According to Alex Willis, Donald's best friend, when Mark and Johanna separated for a short period of time, Donald insisted on living with his stepfather and not with his mother. Mark even paid for Donald's education at Marshall University, where his stepson also lived with his fiancée.

Everything was going well until that May 25, 2013 the police received a rather disturbing call...

In it, Johanna told the operator that she had killed her husband with a gun.

Sergeant Greg Kade was the first to arrive at the scene and observed that Mark's body was on the couch and next to Johanna was in shock.

Also with the naked eye he could see the weapon on the living room table.

When more agents arrived at the scene, they discovered a kind of farewell letter, apparently written by Johanna for her son.

Because of this, the officers arrested the woman and took Donald to the police station to take her statement.

Donald said that he was in the shower, preparing for his graduation when he suddenly heard a shot. As soon as he left, he saw something that left him horrified and that is that according to him, his mother had taken the life of his 54-year-old stepfather, while he was sitting on the couch reading a book.

The policeman who spoke to Donald realized that his behavior was not at all normal and that he was never moved by what happened, nor was he angry. According to him, it was quite flat all the time.

At that time the policeman already knew that in the adjoining room his mother had dropped that Donald had taken his stepfather's life

By telling him this, Donald revealed the truth: he was the killer, however, how and why left him in shock.

Donald confessed that since 2010 he has not been going to University because, despite the academic warnings, he had been expelled for his poor grades.

To deceive everyone, including his fiancée, he made false sheets with his notes and created a very realistic schedule of his classes. In addition, during exam times he stayed for hours in his room telling everyone that he was studying.

Donald had been living a lie all that time that was going to be discovered on the day of his supposed graduation, so during spring break he began to plan everything.

His intention was to pretend that his mother had taken his stepfather's life, and then herself. Then he would write a face on behalf of Johanna that she would leave for him telling what she had supposedly done.

To carry out his plan, he even began to go to the shooting range to practice with the weapon that his mother had on the bedside table.

On the day of the events, Donald murdered his stepfather and sat down to wait for his mother who had gone out to run some errands. When Johanna entered the door of the house, Donald appeared behind her and asked to close her eyes saying that she was going to give her a surprise.

Hoping that it was a gift related to her graduation, the woman closed her eyes and Donald put the gun on her stemple and then titched the trigger. Fortunately, he didn't shoot himself due to a malfunction that saved her life.

When the woman realized what was happening, she opened her eyes and managed to take away the gun.

Minutes later she convinced him to call the police saying that she would plead guilty, something that Donald agreed with.

During his statement to the police, Donald said that he would rather take his parents' lives than tell them the truth, since he didn't want to disappoint them. He added that he also didn't want to lose all his privileges such as his car, branded clothes or a place to live.

Donald never expressed remorse for his actions to the detectives, and even said that he would do it again.

In 2014 he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. He appealed in 2016, but the original conviction was confirmed, so his biggest appeal was denied.

Surprisingly, Johanna visited her son in prison until in July 2018, the woman died of breast cancer that she had been struggling with for 15 years.

Mark's family in Australia was devastated by the loss since according to them he had a big heart, he was a cheerful and very familiar man.


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About the Creator

Based On a True Story

Hi everyone! My name is Marta and every week I write about true crime, always with an educational purpose.

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