Chattanooga: Cop killing suspect booked into jail on murder charge

Chattanooga: Cop killing suspect booked into jail on murder charge

April 8th, 2011 in Local Regional News

Jesse Mathews, suspect in the shooting death of Chattanooga police Sgt. Tim Chapin.

Jesse Mathews, the suspect in the shooting death of Chattanooga police Sgt. Tim Chapin, was booked into the Hamilton County Jail about 12:45 p.m. today.

He was charged with one count of felony murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of especially aggravated robbery, records show.

He has not yet seen a magistrate, so no bond has been set.

The path that led to the death of a Chattanooga police officer started in Colorado and traveled through Nashville and Asheville, N.C., before finally ending here, authorities say.

Mathews' parents and sister have been charged with multiple federal felonies related to his fleeing custody in Colorado, traveling to Tennessee and acquiring firearms.

According to a federal affidavit released this morning, Jesse Mathews is accused of robbing a pawn shop in Colorado on Feb. 12, the day before he disappeared from the Department of Corrections halfway house in which he had been serving his sentence from a 2003 conviction for robbery.

Using money from the robbery, the affidavit says, he wired money to his sister Rachel Mathews so she could fly to Colorado to help him escape. The affidavit does not say where she was living at the time.

Once in Colorado, Rachel Mathews bought bus tickets for Jesse Mathews and his girlfriend - who is unnamed in the affidavit - so they could travel to Nashville. Rachel Mathews' boyfriend, James Poteete, picked the pair up at the Nashville bus station, the affidavit said. Jesse Mathews paid Poteete $1,000 to drive them to Asheville, N.C., to meet his parents, Kathleen and Ray Mathews.

Once in Asheville, Jesse Mathews told his parents that he was a fugitive and had robbed the Colorado pawn shop, the affidavit states.

At one point, the Colorado Department of Corrections called Kathleen Mathews, asking if she knew where her son was, but she said she didn't.

On March 6, Jesse, Kathleen and Ray Mathews were seen by a witness as they moved into a Chattanooga motel, the affidavit said. The witness later became Jesse Mathews' girlfriend, but she is not named in the documents.

On March 16, Kathleen and Ray Mathews moved into a house in Chattanooga, the affidavit said. Poteete told investigators with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that one of the items he moved into the house was a bulletproof vest.

On March 27, Jesse Mathews and his girlfriend attended the RK Gun Show at the National Guard Armory in Chattanooga, where he spoke with someone for about 30 minutes, the affidavit said.

He then called his parents and told his father to bring "the family collection" to the gun show, according to the affidavit. About an hour later, his father came to the girlfriend's home, where he unloaded about 10 to 12 guns, some of which were among the firearms stolen in the Colorado robbery, officials said.

In a news conference this morning, U.S. Attorney Bill Killian detailed charges against the family and the sister's boyfriend:

Kathleen Mathews, 57, is charged with being an accessory after the fact to a Hobbs Act robbery, possession of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, misprision of a felony (concealing information about a felony), disposing of a firearm to a convicted felon and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Killian said she was convicted of manslaughter in Florida.

Ray Vance Mathews, 50, is charged with being an accessory after the fact to a Hobbs Act robbery, possession of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, misprision of a felony and disposing of a firearm to a convicted felon

Rachel Mathews, 21, also is charged with being an accessory, possessing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and misprision of a felony.

Poteete, 26, is charged with accessory after the fact, misprision of a felony and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

Killian said the charges come after an investigation by the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the TBI, Chattanooga police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's office.


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