Party Ranch Intoxication Manslaughter Suspect Sent to Mental Hospital


The final defendant in the Party Ranch case involving the reckless death of Marine Donald Di Pietro has been ordered to spend another year in a mental treatment facility, following a competency hearing held on Monday afternoon in Judge Tom Gossett’s court.

In a previous hearing held on March 5, 2014, Gossett heard testimony from medical and psychiatric experts, leading him to conclude that defendant 67-year-old Malcolm Guy McBurnett has a mental illness that is likely to last more than 90 days and that he is likely to cause serious harm to others. He was ordered to spend no more than 12 months in the Big Spring State Hospital.

Defense attorney Melvin Gray explained to the court on Monday that McBurnett is making progress, but still isn’t necessarily cognizant of what’s going on around him. Gray said that while McBurnett is optimistic about his treatment, he couldn’t remember a conversation he’d had with his attorney days prior and is still easily confused.

According to a complaint filed with the case, McBurnett was at the Party Ranch on March 9, 2013, where he consumed several alcoholic beverages and then tried to leave but his vehicle wouldn’t start.

“The truck battery was dead so he had some friends push his vehicle into Christoval Road so he could start the truck by popping the clutch,” SAPD Officer Jason Chegwidden wrote in his arrest report. “While McBurnett was in the roadway, a motorcycle crashed into the truck. The driver of the motorcycle was killed by the impact.”

McBurnett failed field sobriety tests after the crash and refused to provide a breath specimen. He was jailed for intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and manslaughter, both second-degree felonies enhanced to the first degree due to three prior DWI convictions, as well as criminally negligent homicide, a state jail felony, and go off bond for DWI. He also had two prior DWIs pending prosecution.

After his arrest, McBurnett was evaluated for competency to stand trial in June 2013 by Dr. Jarvis Wright, who determined that McBurnett was not only incompetent but also diagnosed the defendant with alcohol dependence and “dementia not otherwise specified (possibly due to chronic substance abuse),” a report states.

McBurnett was then admitted to the North Texas State Hospital for competency restoration treatment, where he remained until Nov. 2013, when he was released as competent. His attorney, however, felt that the treatment was unsuccessful and requested another evaluation.

At the court’s order, a forensic psychological evaluation was conducted on McBurnett while in custody at the county jail on Jan. 30, 2014 by Dr. Jason Dunham.

Dunham expressed in a report that McBurnett was not only incompetent to stand trial, but that he was easily confused and continually digressed during the interview to unrelated topics that made little or no sense. Due to his inability to hold a rational conversation, Dunham terminated the interview earlier than usual, he wrote.

“Immediately after discussing the purpose of the examination, I asked him (McBurnett) why he believed he was being evaluated for competency,” Dunham wrote. “Mr. McBurnett replied, ‘I got hit in the head. Mental capacity. I got hit in the eye. A man came on to me. He was gay.’”

Dunham explained in his report that McBurnett seemed to believe that a recent physical altercation in the jail had led to the evaluation.

“When asked why he believed he was found incompetent to stand trial and committed to the hospital (North Texas State), he responded, ‘Melvin (Gray). Inheritance money. He owes me so much money. I’ll probably get his ranch,’” Dunham wrote.

McBurnett then continued to explain that he believed his attorney owes him money that he spent gambling and has conspired to put him in first a hospital and now jail so that he would not have to pay him back.

Despite his belief that Melvin Gray gambled away his inheritance, McBurnett told Dr. Dunham that the two are friends and described Gray as a “natural-born comedian,” who can make anyone laugh.

He also did not understand his charges, Dunham wrote, noting bits of the conversation that were just as muddled as the first part.

“When asked to identify his current charge, Mr. McBurnett stated, ‘Nonvoluntary Manslaughter’ before completely digressing into unrelated themes,” Dunham wrote. “He (McBurnett) added, ‘This guy, a good fellow, 24 years old. He ran into me on a motorcycle. That Party Ranch is a good place…Good harmonica music. When I get out, I’ve got plenty of food…Lots of pretty girls. Those people that work there…’

Dunham reported that McBurnett insisted his charge is labeled “nonvoluntary” instead of intoxication manslaughter, “because I passed all those tests on the road and at Shannon. I stayed here (in jail) because of Melvin and the money,” Dunham wrote.

“He then began discussing something about his attorney being a ‘tough old boot’ in the hospital. Mr. McBurnett also insisted that his DWI charges have been dismissed,” Dunham continued. “He stated, ‘They dropped those at Vernon…Hell, they legalized marijuana up in Colorado. $651 a day of taxpayer money to keep me here (in jail). That’s Theft in the First Degree…”

At the early conclusion of the interview, Dunham confirmed Dr. Wright’s previous diagnosis of dementia, which he attributed to McBurnett’s prolonged history of alcohol abuse. He declared McBurnett incompetent to stand trial and stated he believed his mental illness to be progressively worsening.

“Because of his deficits, I do not believe that Mr. McBurnett can be restored to trial competency in the foreseeable future,” Dunham wrote, concluding with the recommendation that McBurnett be civilly committed to an inpatient psychiatric facility.

Having heard the opinions of medical personnel, Judge Tom Gossett ordered that Malcolm McBurnett be committed to the Big Spring State Hospital for a period not to exceed 12 months.

After Monday’s hearing that period was extended by another 12 months, with defense attorney Melvin Gray optimistic that his client is making progress toward competency.

As of yet, when and if McBurnett will stand trial for the charges against him is unknown. His co-defendant, Allen Schmidt, went to trial in August 2014 and was sentenced to 10 years probation for manslaughter. Schmidt was the man who pushed McBurnett’s truck into the road after drinking beer with him at the bar. After the crash, he returned inside and continued to drink and failed to tell law enforcement he had been involved or was a witness.


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The words of a lifelong alcoholic. That stuff will fry your brain, and yet we as a nation still exalt drinking. Why? Why? Why? Not one good thing has ever come from consuming alcohol. Ever.

This guy just needs to be put in the state system somewhere. BSSH won't do him any good as it never does anyone else any good to go there! Gossett just needs to have him committed to a State Supported Living Center for the remainder of his life, then we know he's off the streets and can no longer kill anyone else.

With 17 prior felonies, Malcolm McBurnett deserves to DIE for killing my son but at least he is being punished, unlike Allen Lee Schmidt who CHOSE to push McBurnett's truck into the road, blocking an entire lane, in almost complete darkness, who REFUSED help when a man and woman stopped and said, "You're going to kill someone - can we help?", who jumped out of the way to save his own life, who didn't even render aid to my son and WENT BACK INTO THE BAR AND STARTED DRINKING AGAIN WHILE MY SON LAY DYING IN THE ROAD, who lied to the police and said he was not involved, who went on the run for 2 months before the police could find and arrest him, who pleaded INNOCENT, was found GUILTY BUT ONLY RECEIVED PROBATION. You WILL go to prison Allen Schmidt!! I will NEVER stop seeking justice for you killing my son and not being punished. I have the FBI, The Texas Rangers and The Texas State Bar investigating this and I have an attorney from Dallas who is suing you in order to try to punish you in a financial way, but I know you are a PIECE OF CRAP DRUNK who still lives with his mommy, who still drives around in the truck he used to kill my son, EVEN WITHOUT CAR INSURANCE and if we cannot take any money away from you, YOU PATHETIC LOSER, I hope the process of being sued tortures you and your family who NEVER ONCE SHOWED AN OUNCE OF REMORSE AND ONLY SAID, "It's been hard on us." When you go to prison you will not last long when the other inmates found out you killed a Marine. I am still in so much pain I cannot go back to work yet, I cannot sleep and if I do I have nightmares, I've lost 55 lbs., I constantly cry no matter where I am, and I have no will to go on. You are lucky Allen Schmidt that I have been able to keep my ex-husband from going to your house and getting the justice my honorable and beloved son deserves. Tick, tick, tick... God sees you Allen Schmidt and you may have gotten away with murder for now, but it is just a matter of time, either in this life or once your dead, that you will PAY!! We miss you SO MUCH Donald, my son, my Marine, Staff Sergeant Donald J. DiPietro.

I knew Guy McBurnett in high school. He was not a bad guy. I ran into him long after those days, and I still thought him to not be a bad guy, but let us say his line of thinking did not parallel mine. I chose not to become a close confidant of his.

I do not think him to be evil, but rather dealing with demons that distort his thinking. He made a horrible mistake the night that your son lost his life, but he did not intend for such a horror to take place. He acted stupidly. Yes, he should pay a price for it.

I don't know Mr. Schmidt. Perhaps he is evil, but I suspect he is not. I suspect he was also a victim of colossal stupidity that contributed to your son's losing his life. He should pay a price for it.

What these guys did was monumentally foolish and fueled by alcohol and perhaps other things as well. Having said that, they intended no harm.

I do NOT hold them blameless, and society will likely be better off if they are put away so they cannot inflict more such poor judgment on the rest of us.

I do not ask you to forgive.

What I ask of you is to try to put away your anger. Mourn, grieve, and take yourself back to earlier times with your son. Pay him the respect he deserves and cherish your memories. Continuing with your anger will not bring him back and will only slowly dissolve you from within. That will give McBurnett and Schmidt power over you, and I know you do not want that. And, again, it will not bring your son back.

Please help yourself find peace.

Thank you for trying to help me but have you ever lost a 28 year old, highly honorable Marine son? A son who was never embarrassed to hug me in front of his friends, who, at only 23, took me in and paid for everything until I got on my feet, who told me he loved me every single time we said good bye on the phone, who opened every door, every time, who patiently waited while I shopped, who was never off the honor roll, who was completing his Bachelor's degree at Angelo State, who volunteered for Toys for Tots and every charity he found out about, a son who developed a program for the entire Marine Corps to fight the cartels, who volunteered and served in Iraq and volunteered to go back in April 2013 but was killed, and who made my heart explode with pride as he just keep achieving, and achieving, and who felt it was his destiny to serve humanity. When his body was flown back to our home in Detroit, 7 other Marines took vacation time and bought tickets to attend the funeral, including the Commanding Officer, who, when I was taken to his office the day after Donald was killed, grabbed my shoulders, was crying and said, "I loved your son." It was no accident that Allen Schmidt killed my son - he is not mentally ill. He CHOSE to kill my son by only caring about himself and what he wanted to do, who thinks he is innocent, and who has not one ounce of remorse. How can any intelligent person feel sorry for him unless they are just like him? I know you mean well and thank you again but I am a Marine mom - I made him, and the Marines have a saying, "If I lead, follow me. If I retreat, kill me. If I am killed, revenge me." Semper Fidelis my beloved child.

jdgt, Sun, 03/15/2015 - 00:12

Not to add insult to injury.. but are you aware, Teresa, that the memorial for your son was removed from beneath the tree, across from the Party Ranch? I work near there and used to see it all the time and now it's gone.

Aww, thank you so much! In February 2015, I was told that Schmidt has already broken probation by leaving the county without permission but was not being charged with violating his probation. With the intention of spying on him and catching him breaking probation a second time so we could send him to prison, I took a GPS tracker and a night vision camera, flew from Detroit to San Angelo and stayed for 17 days. My plans did not work out so I hired a private investigator - no luck yet. While I was there, I removed the memorial cross and brought it home because I did not want it to just rot away, because the Marines who put it there would soon be rotated to another location. It stands in front of my house now, in front of an Evergreen Tree (a Christmas tree) that I planted in my son's honor:

Semper Fidelis
Always Faithful
Evergreen Tree
Always Green

For 6 years, I lived in Texas with my son. God Bless all the wonderful people in San Angelo who have been so kind and supported me. Donald and I LOVED San Angelo and it's people, in fact, Donald talked about retiring there some day. Special shout out to Marty at Martinez's if you're reading this. I have SO MANY wonderful memories of your beautiful city and I will always cherish my time there with my son, at The Blues Inn, the Christmas lights on the river, the boat races, the charming shopping, Fuentes, the river walk, the cowboys, the long horns, the respectfulness and politeness we do not have in Detroit, the sense of family and unity I felt there, and of course, the most honorable and respectful Marines who worked along my son's side who keep our country safe. Thank you again!

jdgt, Sun, 03/15/2015 - 12:08

I'm glad it was you who removed it. I would have been heartbroken to find out that it was vandals or people up to no good!

What a wonderful way to remember him, with the evergreen!

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