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: ACKERMAN, SARAH RENEE  5129 WOODLAND VIEW CIRCLE CHATTANOOGA, 37410  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County PASSING WORTHLESS CHECK(S) --- ALPERT, LISA MARIE  6804 DRY VALLEY RD ROSSVILLE, 30741  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency:  RECKLESS ... (click for more)

Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Chairman Mitchell). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. V. Ordinances – Final Reading: LEGAL a. An ordinance amending Chattanooga City Code, Chapter 2, Article II, Division 2, by adding a new Section 2-49, relating to Legal Liability ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (8)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Confronting Racism In Public Education

Like most Americans, we have been bothered by the news in recent days. And as we have struggled to understand the racial issues that continue to confront our nation, we are left to ponder the issue even more within the context of public education.  The vast majority of Americans know that racism is wrong. It is one of the few issues on which almost everyone can agree. We ... (click for more)

Ty Boeck Scores Three TDs As Soddy Daisy Wins 35-32

Justin Barnes had a tough time wiping the smile off of his face late Friday night at Soddy Daisy’s Robert Talaska Field. His Trojans had just picked up a 35-32 victory over arch-rival Red Bank in a non-district game, but he’s been involved in three of these games as a player and now five as a coach.  He won all three as Red Bank’s quarterback before graduating in 1999 and ... (click for more)

Defending Champ Farragut Clips Bears 27-21 In OT

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Farragut has one of the nation’s top-rated senior tight ends in the country and the Admirals weren’t shy about utilizing their primary offensive weapon against Bradley Central on Friday night at Bear Stadium. Jacob Warren, the super-talented 6-foot-6, 226-pound receiver caught four touchdown passes that included the game-winner in the Admirals’ 27-21 overtime ... (click for more)