Jesse Mathews Pleads Guilty To Chapin Slaying; Gets Life In Prison Without Parole

Friday, November 30, 2012
Jesse Mathews in front of Judge Barry Steelman
Jesse Mathews in front of Judge Barry Steelman
- photo by Brent McDonald (See video on NewsChannel 9)

Jesse Mathews pleaded guilty on Friday afternoon to killing Chattanooga Police Sgt. Tim Chapin.

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to six different charges - first-degree murder, felony murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. He received an additional 25 years beyond the life sentence.

The state had been seeking the death penalty against him.

Mathews gave up all of his appeal rights.

Judge Barry Steelman asked Mathews if he understood that the pleas meant "life in prison without parole." Mathews said, "I understand."

Judge Steelman had been planning to try the case here starting on Jan. 23 using a Nashville jury.

Sgt. Chapin was shot and killed near a pawn shop on Brainerd Road on April 4, 2011.

Prosecutors said members of the Chapin family went along with the plea deal.

Sgt. Chapin left behind a wife, son and daughter.

A large number of police officers were in the courtroom for the guilty plea, including Lorin Johnston, who was shot by Mathews during the same incident.

Mathews is a former Colorado parolee whose family had moved to Chattanooga after he skipped out of a halfway house and committed several new armed robberies.

The plea deal will end a lawsuit that defense attorneys Lee Davis and Bryan Hoss filed in Federal Court seeking to have prosecutor Steve Neff testify at the sentencing phase of the Mathews trial. Also in that case, the attorneys asked Federal Judge Sandy Mattice to testify.

Both prosecutor Neff and Judge Mattice declined to testify.   

District Attorney Bill Cox and chief assistant Neal Pinkston handled the case for the state.

Police had arrived quickly on the scene of the holdup at the U.S. Money Shop near Big Lots. Sgt. Chapin was among those following Mathews on a narrow road nearby. Apparently, they exchanged shots and Mathews dropped the gun he was using. However, he then reached for a second gun that he had on him and he shot Sgt. Chapin in the forehead.

Mathews was captured a short distance away by a nearby resident, who forced him to kneel until police arrived. 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AUSTIN, COURTNEY DANIELLE 7129 SNOW HILL RD OOLTEWAH, 37363 20 Chattanooga State Police DRIVING ON REVOKED LICENSE STOP SIGN VIOLATION REGISTRATION, DRIVING UNREGISTERED VEHICLE BOONE, MICHAEL ANTOINE 905 NORTH HAWTHORNE COURT CHATTANOOGA, 37406 33 Chattanooga LIGHT LAW VIOLATION DRIVING ... (click for more)

Lightner Charged In Incident In Which Police Vehicles Were Rammed

Police have charged Lovell Deon Lightner in an incident Wednesday in which two police vehicles were rammed. Lightner, 42, of 2219 E. 19th St., is charged with three counts of aggravated assault on police, aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000. Police said they were dispatched to a theft in progress at 1213 E. 34th St. Lightner was seen walking between the house and a storage ... (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Goodbye, Dr. Nassour

About 51 years ago, right after Jim Creel had graduated from the University of Texas and was in Guadalajara for medical school, he was surprised to find a complete stranger sitting on his battered and dusty Volkswagen. “He had seen my Longhorns sticker and was thrilled to find somebody else in Mexico who loved the University of Texas. “That’s when our friendship started and it ... (click for more)

Trojans Crush Bradley, 12-2, To Go 7-0 In 5-AAA

Soddy-Daisy is still in the clean air. Shortstop Justin Cooke and designated hitter Grant Cordell combined for four hits, eight RBIs and three runs scored Monday night as Soddy-Daisy turned a tight game into a rout with a seven-run sixth inning and clobbered visiting Bradley Central, 12-2, in a District 5-AAA baseball game at Tom Higgins Field. The win pushes the Trojans ... (click for more)

Central Scores Early, Hangs On To Beat Red Bank, 7-6

Central baseball coach Glen Carter could finally breathe a sigh of relief. His Purple Pounders had bolted to a 7-0 lead in the first three innings of Monday's 6-AA skirmish with the Red Bank Lions and things were looking pretty good for those guys in purple. But it all came down to Red Bank's final at-bat.  The Lions sent eight hitters to the plate and scored ... (click for more)