Ex-con, 66, killed DC woman, 71, ‘who he began terrorizing again’, after serving 20 years in prison for stalking and beating her – Matthew Garrett was free on compassionate release because of COVID outbreak in jail
Ex-con Matthew Garrett, 66, was arrested in the killing of a former DC prisons employee Sylvia Mathews
Garrett ‘killed Mathews who he began terrorizing her again’ after serving two decades in prison for stalking and beating her before being freed on compassionate release because of COVID outbreak
Matthews, 71, who was found unconscious in her DC home and with serious head injuries on Dec 3
Garrett was previously charged with stalking Matthews and breaking into the same home in 1999 and chasing her to a neighbor’s house
Garrett was sent to jail and served two decades in prison for the crime before he was let out on compassionate release in March due to a COVID-19 outbreak
On Oct 7, Garrett was arrested at Matthews’ front door and charged with threatening her but prosecutors declined the case
Two weeks later, on October 22, police said that Garrett beat Matthews outside her home, but prosecutors suspended by prosecutors – no reasons were given
When police responded to Matthews’ home on Dec 3, they found Garrett next to an unconscious and injured Matthews
Garrett allegedly told officers ‘he just got there’ and that Matthews had called him to come over because she believed that someone had broken into her home
Matthews was taken to a local hospital and died from her injuries the following day, police said
DC police are now working with the U.S. Attorney’s office to file additional charges against Garrett
A Washington DC woman was allegedly killed by an ex-convict who began mercilessly stalking her relentlessly and beating her after serving two decades in prison for terrorizing the same woman. The stalker was freed earlier this year because of a COVID-19 outbreak at the jail.
Sylvia Matthews, 71, was found unconscious and with serious head injuries in her Southwest Washington home on December 3, after prosecutors ignored charging Michael Garrett, 66, in two attacks on Matthews in October.
The two had met when she worked at a local prison where he was serving time before his release in 1998.
Garrett soon began stalking her and was sent back to prison for 24 years in 1999 after being convicted for breaking into the same Elmira Street home where she was found dead last week.
Set free after being sprung on compassionate release in March due to a COVID-19 outbreak among inmates, Garrett was free to resume harassing Mathews, despite The U.S. Attorney’s Office opposing his release.
Within months he was accused of stalking and beating her again.
On October 7, Garrett was arrested at Matthews’ front door and charged with threatening her but prosecutors declined the case.
On October 22, a fortnight later, police said that Garrett beat Matthews outside her home, but prosecutors suspended prosecution for unknown reasons, WUSA9.com reported.
On the day she was killed, Matthews called police at around 7:30 am to report that Garrett was breaking into her car and attempted to break into her house, but by the time police arrived to the home Garrett was gone.
Matthews then called police again at about 8:44 am to say she saw Garrett outside and she had him on the phone. Police arrived and spoke to Garrett on Matthews’ phone and told him to leave her alone, WUSA9.com reported.
Hours later, police were called once again, this time by the same person who had been helping Matthews clean up broken glass from the earlier break-in after hearing a scuffle in the home.
When police responded to the home, they found Garrett next to an unconscious, injured Matthews in the basement.
Garrett allegedly told officers ‘he just got there’ and that Matthews had called him to come over because she believed that someone had broken into her home, court documents said.
Garrett told officers that he had just gotten to the home five minutes before police did and that the door was open. He said he called 911 from Matthews’ phone because his phone was dead, court documents said.
Police arrested Garrett at the scene and charged him with assault with intent to kill, initially labelling the offense ‘domestic in nature.’
Matthews was taken to a local hospital and died from her injuries the following day, police said.
Matthews’ family say they did not know Garrett personally but knew of him.
Matthews met Garrett in 1998 when she worked at the pharmacy at Old Lorton Reformatory and he was an inmate, according to court documents.
When Garrett was released that year, he assaulted Matthews in her home and was sentenced to 24 years in prison
He was then let out on compassionate release in March as COVID-19 spread through the inmate population.
Matthews’ family said they didn’t know Garrett but knew of him.
A relative of Matthews said that Garrett should not have been released in the first place.
‘He should not have been on the street,’ she said.
She said the family is ‘devastated’ and believes that Matthews’ death was totally preventable if authorities did not ignore the serious threat Garrett posed to her.
‘It’s like the system failed us,’ she said.
Police are now working with the U.S. Attorney’s office to file additional charges against Garrett.
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