Judge to rule on gag order in Jesse Mathews death penalty case

Judge to rule on gag order in Jesse Mathews death penalty case

August 30th, 2012 by Todd South in Local - Breaking News

Jesse Mathews

A local criminal court judge heard arguments today on a gag order in a high-profile death penalty case.

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston and District Attorney Bill Cox requested the gag order in an Aug. 15 hearing in response to Times Free Press Metro columnist David Cook's attempts to interview criminal defendant Jesse Mathews.

Mathews faces a Jan. 22, 2013 death penalty trial on charges that he killed Chattanooga police Sgt. Tim Chapin during a botched Brainerd Road robbery on April 2, 2011.

Times Free Press attorneys Andrew "Bud" Jackson and Max Bahner argued that the judge should lift the overly broad order, which they say violates constitutional rights of both Mathews and the newspaper.

The gag order, issued by Judge Barry Steelman, prevents police, court personnel and anyone involved in the trial, including Mathews, from speaking with the media about the case.

For more details see tomorrow's Times Free Press.