published Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Trial date set for Mathews family

The father and a friend of the man arrested in the shooting death of a Chattanooga police sergeant each face 60 to 70 years in prison if convicted.

They are accused of helping Jesse Mathews, who is accused of killing a police officer, hide after he allegedly robbed pawn shops in Colorado in the weeks prior to coming to Chattanooga.

Ray Vance Mathews, Kathleen Mathews, Rachel Mathews and James Poteete are scheduled for a July 5 trial on charges they conspired and aided Jesse Mathews in the weeks leading up to the death of Sgt. Tim Chapin.

Jesse Mathews is charged with killing Chapin on April 2 during a botched armed robbery attempt at a pawnshop on Brainerd Road.

On Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Neff read through the maximum punishments for each of the counts against Ray Mathews, Jesse Mathews’ father, and Poteete, the boyfriend of Rachel Mathews, Jesse Mathews’ sister.

The men were the only defendants at the hearing, and each pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Penalties range from three to 20 years on the counts against the two. Ray Mathews faces 11 counts; Poteete faces 10 counts.

Rachel Mathews is in custody in North Carolina awaiting extradition. She is scheduled for a hearing MondayMay 2 in Chattanooga along with her mother, Kathleen, whose health problems prevented her from being present Wednesday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Lee set the trial date and other deadlines for the defendants Wednesday afternoon. She also explained the charges to Ray Mathews and Poteete after the federal grand jury indictment against them was released Tuesday.

The Mathewses are all in custody, but Poteete is free on a $30,000 bond.

Most of the charges against Ray Mathews and Poteete relate to allegations that the men helped Jesse Mathews hide from police in the weeks after prosecutors said he robbed pawn shops in Colorado while on parole, then fled to Tennessee.

Some charges include obstructing police investigations after Chapin’s death by hiding some of the weapons stolen in the Colorado robberies, according to court documents.

Jesse Mathews appeared in Hamilton County General Sessions Court on April 13, facing charges of felony murder, attempted first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. His case was bound over to the grand jury for a possible indictment.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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