Hamilton County district attorney seeks death penalty for alleged cop killer

Hamilton County district attorney seeks death penalty for alleged cop killer

May 4th, 2011 by Todd South in Local - Breaking News

Jesse Mathews is wheeled into Judge Bob Moon's courtroom by officer Wayne Dowell during Mathews' preliminary hearing. Jesse Mathews is being charged in the April 2 shooting death of Chattanooga police Sgt. Tim Chapin. Staff Photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press

District Attorney General Bill Cox has filed a notice to seek the death penalty for a 25-year man accused of killing a Chattanooga police officer.

Jesse Ray Mathews was indicted on six charges related to his alleged robbery and gun battle at the U.S. Money Shops on Brainerd Road April 2. Court testimony and documents state that Mathews shot and killed Chattanooga Police Department Sgt. Tim Chapin while trying to flee the scene.

He is scheduled for an arraignment in Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman's courtroom on Friday.

Mathews originally was charged with felony murder, especially aggravated robbery and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

His April 27 grand jury indictment has new charges.

He now is charged with felony murder and first-degree murder, two related charges that merge upon conviction, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated robbery.

Family members of Mathews - father Ray Vance Mathews, mother Kathleen Mathews, sister Rachel Mathews and her boyfriend James Poteete - face a July 5 trial in federal court related to charges they helped Mathews both before and after the alleged robbery and lied to police concerning his whereabouts.

Documents state that, in addition to killing Chapin, Mathews fired at police officers Lorin Johnston, Mark Bender and Davis Ashley.

Johnston testified in Mathews' April hearing. Tennessee law states that especially aggravated robbery includes physical harm to the people being robbed. There have not been reports of Mathews harming the occupants of the store during the robbery.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.