published Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denies the appeal from Jesse Mathews' family

Jesse Mathews is escorted into court in this file photo.
Jesse Mathews is escorted into court in this file photo.
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Ray Vance Mathews, father of Jesse Mathews, helped to arm him, police say.

  • photo
    Kathleen Mathews, mother of Jesse Mathews who was charged in the death of Chattanooga police Sgt. Tim Chapin last year.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    Rachel Mathews, sister of Jesse Mathews, helped him flee Colorado, police say.

The family of Jesse Mathews isn't going to get any reduction in their federal sentences.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that plea agreements reached by Ray, Kathleen and Rachel Mathews and James Poteete bar any appeals of their sentences on multiple counts. The appellate opinion also denied that the sentences were wrongly imposed.

The family pleaded guilty to charges related to helping convicted robber Jesse Mathews escape a Colorado halfway house and move to Chattanooga. The family hid him, helped him travel and traded stolen weapons at a gun show for him.

Mathews was carrying one of those weapons April 2, 2011, when he tried to rob the U.S. Money Shops pawnshop on Brainerd Road. When police showed up, Mathews got in a shoot-out with Sgt. Tim Chapin and fatally shot the veteran officer.

Jesse Mathews pleaded guilty to murder in December and was sentenced to life without parole. Ray and Kathleen Mathews are serving 20 years and 30 years, respectively. Rachel Mathews and Poteete are serving 11 and six years, respectively, in the case.

They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice, transferring firearms to a known felon and being accessories after the fact to armed robbery and brandishing a gun in a crime of violence. They attempted to appeal on grounds that the sentences were wrongly imposed and were a miscarriage of justice.

In denying the appeal, the 6th Circuit judges quoted the presentence report on the family:

"Thus, when family members of a convicted armed robber, who is on escape status, who has committed three armed robberies, who is avoiding apprehension and has a lifetime history of being violent, harbors that family member (armed robber) and provides him with weapons, they should also be held accountable for further acts of violence caused by those family members' actions. It should have been reasonably foreseeable to his parents that their actions could have resulted in further acts of violence, or even death as in this case."

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