published Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Video: Judge sets 2013 trial in Officer Chapin's slaying

Trial date set for Jesse Mathews
The felony murder trial for Jesse Mathews, accused of killing Chattanooga Police Sgt. Tim Chapin, is scheduled to begin Jan. 22, 2013, after prosecution and defense teams met for a hearing in Judge Barry Steelman's Hamilton County Criminal courtroom Tuesday.
  • photo
    Jesse Mathews is charged in the death of Sgt. Tim Chapin.
    Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Should prosecutors seek the death penalty for Jesse Ray Mathews?

The death-penalty trial for the man accused of killing a Chattanooga police officer has been set for 2013.

On Tuesday, Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman set a date of Jan. 22, 2013, for the trial of 26-year-old Jesse Mathews.

Mathews faces the death penalty on charges that he killed Chattanooga police Sgt. Tim Chapin on April 2 during a botched robbery of U.S. Money Shops on Brainerd Road.

Steelman said the trial date should give both sides adequate time and avoid any rush to trial.

"It's very important we don't do that in a case where the death penalty is involved," Steelman said.

Defense attorneys Lee Davis and Bryan Hoss explained to Steelman the length of work they and their staff are conducting to prepare for the trial.

"We have in our possession 16 boxes of mitigation materials," Hoss told Steelman.

Mitigation occurs during the sentencing phase of a death penalty trial, when both sides offer factors they think should be considered to reduce punishment or to increase punishment.

Hoss said the state-appointed mitigation expert had reviewed about 20 percent of the material and estimated many more months to complete her work in the case.

Steelman set a status hearing on the case for March 12, 2012, and said he likely would decide on a deadline for motion filings at the hearing.

Davis and Hoss have requested an outside jury hear the case, but Steelman has not yet ruled on that motion.

To date, all discoverable evidence has been exchanged between the defense and prosecutors District Attorney Bill Cox and Executive Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston.

Chapin family members and fellow police officers attended the hearing, as they have all previous hearings. Family members declined to comment.

Police say Mathews shot and killed Chapin as the officer attempted to stop him from fleeing the store.

Before coming to Chattanooga, Mathews fled a Colorado halfway house after being accused of committing three robberies in February. He came to Chattanooga with the help of a girlfriend and his sister, Rachel Mathews; his mother, Kathleen Mathews; and father, Ray Vance Mathews, according to court documents.

All three have pleaded guilty in federal court and are scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 13, 2012, for aiding him while he was a fugitive.

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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sage1 said...

Can you imagine what the cost to the state will be on this piece of trash's trial? The state will, of course, pay for both sides.

Amazing......

December 14, 2011 at 7:47 a.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

Can't believe they are waiting until 2013 to try this case. Ridiculous.

December 14, 2011 at 9:09 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

Maybe the trial is being extended to be tried in 2013 because there's more to it than originally thought? If we don't know or have the inside information, and we're not suppose to, then we have no right to be judge and jury.

P/S why is there's no equal outrage when a cop wrongly kills a citizen? Every life is precious and valuable. Otherwise, all life will come to have no value to someone. Which is it? Should we consider only some life valuable at the expense of another, or is all life precious and valuable?

December 14, 2011 at 9:31 a.m.
HW34Dawg said...

Whoops! Macropetala8 accidentally let her stupid show. There IS outrage anytime a law enforcement officer is found to have killed someone unjustly. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The problem is, Macropetala8, that it is EXCEEDINGLY rare. If you get killed by a cop, 999 times out of 1,000, you did something TRULY wrong and excessively stupid. Sure, a lot of criminal thugs will turn around and say, "he wasn't doing anything wrong! Johnny Law just shot him because he could!" Well, dear, these people are called "liars." You shouldn't believe them.

Also, we have every right to be judge and jury. There's nothing to this case that we didn't originally think. This is the way the justice system works, lamb chop. There's video of this piece of human waste committing his crime and there's video of him murdering a faithful law enforcement officer rather than being held accountable for his crime. Well, he'll be held to account now. It's ridiculous that it's going to take until 2013 for it to happen, but we'll wait. We certainly won't forget. And fortunately, most in this community aren't sympathetic to cop killers and most have more respect for law enforcement than you seem to have.

Seriously, though, avail yourself of the opporuntity to run a quick Google search before you open your mouth in ignorance again. Run a search on police killings. Even in cases where the shooting is COMPLETELY justified, people march and carry on because they think the officer should have allowed himself to be killed instead of act. And in the rare case where an officer makes a mistake? Holy wow, yeah, there's outrage. Justifiably so. But don't go around acting like the people of Chattanooga don't have a right to be enraged that one of the men sworn to protect us was gunned down in cold blood by a leech who was determined to never contribute, never work for anything, only take from others who do. Don't let your ignorance show like that.

December 14, 2011 at 9:42 a.m.
ctfpfan08 said...

AND use spell check?...

December 14, 2011 at 11:54 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

HW34Dawg said... Whoops! Macropetala8 accidentally let her stupid show

I'm not a she.

999 times out of 1000 the cop is cleared. That doesn't mean the killing was justified. ;)

December 14, 2011 at 12:37 p.m.
fedup350 said...

Macropetal: you are so out of like you are irrelevant. And everyone thought you were a girl, feminine way of posting I guess, if the shoe fits....

December 14, 2011 at 5:37 p.m.
fedup350 said...

I guess some mean ol policeman gave macroplteal a ticket one time and he (she?) never got over it....

December 14, 2011 at 5:39 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

fedup350 said... Macropetal: you are so out of like you are irrelevant.

irrelevant? But you can't help but respond. So what does that make you?

I think fedup350 has a crush on me. ;) LOL!

December 14, 2011 at 5:46 p.m.
fedup350 said...

Wow, macro (he-she?) you are farther out there than I thought. There is no way I could have a crush on a racist, police hating socialst with a gender identity probelm....not that there is anything wrong with that....

December 14, 2011 at 6:48 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

fedup350 said... Wow, macro (he-she?) you are farther out there than I thought. There is no way I could have a crush on a racist, police hating socialst with a gender identity probelm....not that there is anything wrong with that....

fedup350 is obviously hallucinating.

December 14, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

They should have just let him die a slow death on the pavement from his wounds.

December 14, 2011 at 11:09 p.m.
brokentoe said...

MasterChefLen said... They should have just let him die a slow death on the pavement from his wounds.

Who? The accused or the victim? Or does it even matter anymore these days?

December 14, 2011 at 11:57 p.m.
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