Ynobe Katron Matthews

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Banned
Ynobe Katron Matthews

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Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: 1999 - 2000
Date of arrest: May 2000
Date of birth: April 14, 1976
Victims profile: Young women
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Texas, USA
Status: Executed by lethal injection in Texas on January 6, 2004





Summary:

21-year-old Carolyn Casey attended a party at her College Station apartment complex. Matthews, who lived in the same complex, also attended the party.

Casey and Matthews were acquainted and during the party she gave him a ride to the grocery store to purchase alcohol. After returning to the party Casey became ill and left alone.

A few hours later, the fire department responded to a fire call at Casey's apartment. Casey's body was found partially nude and propped against her bed, dead as a result of manual strangulation and a broken a bone in her neck. The apartment had been ransacked and appeared to be a burglary.

Forensic testing revealed that fibers similar to the fibers of Matthews clothing were found on Casey's clothing and body. Fibers from Casey's panties were found on Matthew's shirt. Matthews DNA matched fingernail scrapings taken from Casey.

Matthews at first denied any involvement, but after being confronted with this evidence, Matthews admitted that he had gotten into a fight with Casey, during which he threw her on the bed and choked her to death. Matthews also admitted starting the fire and ransacking the apartment to make it look like a burglary.

All witnesses denied any romantic relationship between Matthews and Casey.

DNA evidence obtained after Matthews was arrested for Carolyn's murder connected him to the kidnapping, rape and murder of 21-year-old Jamie Glenda Hart, 14 months after her unclothed body was found on a rural road. Matthews pleaded guilty to the 1999 kidnap, rape and murder of Jamie Hart. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for that conviction. He was also linked to at least five other sexual assaults and is considered as a possible serial killer. Matthews waived further appeals.

Citations:

Matthews v. State, Not Reported in S.W.3d (Tex.Crim.App. 2003).

Final Meal:

Three pieces of fried chicken, one pork chop, two pieces of fried fish, strawberry ice cream, a six-pack of Coke and a pack of Newport cigarettes. Authorities refused the cigarettes because of a "no tobacco policy."

Final Words:

None.


Texas Attorney General

Media Advisory

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Ynobe Matthews scheduled to be executed

AUSTIN- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott offers the following information on Ynobe Matthews, who is scheduled to be executived after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 6, 2004.

FACTS OF THE CRIME

The evening of May 27, 2000, 21-year-old Carolyn Casey attended a party at her College Station apartment complex. Matthews, who was living with a friend in the same complex, also attended the party.

Casey and Matthews were acquaintances and during the party she gave him a ride to the grocery store to purchase alcohol. After returning to the party Casey became ill and left alone to return to her apartment. When Casey left the party, Mathews was not there. When Matthews returned to the party later, one of the hosts of the party noticed "a real foul smell" coming from him that he could not describe except to say that it was not consistent with body odor.

Around 1:30 or 2 a.m. on May 28, 2000, Casey's neighbor heard loud noise coming from Casey's apartment that sounded like multiple thuds occurring in rapid succession.

Around 4:50 a.m. that morning, the fire department responded to a structure fire call at Casey's apartment building. The smoke from the fire originated from Casey's apartment and was escaping through a partially opened window near the door. The screen on the window had been cut and folded outward.

The cuts in the window screen had allowed the perpetrator to reach through and unlock the door to the apartment. Upon entering the apartment, firefighters found a small fire still smoldering on the flesh of Casey's feet.

Casey was wearing only a t-shirt and socks, and she was positioned with the top half of her body propped against the side of her bed and the bottom half of her body lying along the floor. The inner part of her legs and vaginal area had been burned.

Paper and a container of pens and makeup brushes were placed between her legs, apparently as combustibles to start the fire. The burned area between Casey's legs contained fecal matter.

Police recovered a pair of torn blue panties from Casey's bed. A large amount of fecal matter was discovered inside the panties. The waistband to the panties were discovered underneath the bedding. The contents of Casey's purse, including her wallet and checkbook, had been dumped onto the living room table.

Casey's car and house keys were missing but a number of other valuable items remained in the apartment. The toilet seat in the bathroom was raised, there were towels on the floor and the fire alarm was lying in the sink. A partial set of knives was found in the kitchen.

One knife in the set was found in Casey's bedroom underneath the bed. Towels matching those found on Casey's bathroom floor and Casey's house and car keys were later found in one of the apartment complex dumpsters.

Police interviewed Matthews and his roommate in connection with Casey's murder. In response to their request, Matthews turned over the clothing that he was wearing the night of the party. Matthews also consented to the collection of samples of his head hair, pubic hair, blood and saliva.

Forensic testing revealed that fibers similar to the fibers of Matthews clothing were found on Casey's clothing, her body, and under her fingernails. Fibers from Casey's panties were found on Matthew's shirt. Matthews DNA matched scrapings taken from Casey's fingernails on both hands.

When confronted with this information, Matthews told police that he and Casey had been "seeing each other on and off" for a couple of weeks to a month and admitted that he had been in the apartment in the early morning hours of May 28th in order to engage in consensual sex with Casey.

Matthews explained that he had ripped her panties off while they were "messing around." He claimed that afterwards, they had gotten into a fight during which he threw her on the bed and choked her to death.

Matthews told police he had started the fire between Casey's leg to cover up any evidence of intercourse, used a towel to wipe down the apartment for fingerprints, and cut the screen in the window to give the appearance of a burglary.

Casey died as a result of manual strangulation which also broke a bone in her neck. No one police interviewed recalled any indication of a romantic relationship between Casey and Matthews. And the medical examiner testified that is very common for people to defecate in their undergarments when they are very scared or at the time of death.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

August 24, 2000 - Matthews was indicted for the capital murder of Carolyn Casey.

June 15, 2001 - Matthews was convicted and sentenced to death.

July 2, 2003 - The conviction was affirmed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

September 10, 2003 - Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed application for state habeas relief at his request.

September 30, 2003 - Execution scheduled for January 6, 2004, by Brazoria County District Judge Steve Smith.

CRIMINAL HISTORY

During the punishment phase of trial, the jury learned that Matthews had attempted to rape two other young women, and had succeeded in raping three other young women. Matthew had manipulated several of the women into a position of vulnerability before commencing his assaults, and. He also hit and choked several of them.

In addition, the jury learned that Matthews had raped and murdered a sixth young woman. Her body was discovered in a ditch by a passing jogger. According to the medical examiner, the woman had a black eye and numerous other bruises to the left side of her head, was strangled with a ligature but not to the point of causing death, raped, then thrown from a moving vehicle while still alive which resulted in "road rash" over most of her body, an injury to her neck causing paralysis, and skull fractures to the back of her head which caused her brain to swell and, ultimately, her death. The woman's car was discovered a short distance from where her body was found. Fingerprints and DNA tied Matthews to the offense.

In addition, a female detention officer for the Brazos County Sheriff's Office who was responsible for guarding Matthews while he was awaiting trial testified that he behaved inappropriately towards her, making aggressive sexual remarks towards her that made her uneasy.

Aside from his violent predatory sexual behavior, the jury learned that on one occasion Williams got into a fight and shattered the windshield of a car, that he had threatened to choke another man during an altercation regarding the price of some marijuana Matthews was selling, and that he had prior convictions for unlawful possession of cocaine and cruelty to animals.

They also learned that while incarcerated, Matthews had verbally abused a female officer and thrown his plastic cup at her with sufficient force to shatter the face of a nearby clock, and that as a matter of policy two officers were required to escort Matthews any time he left his cell and he was to be placed in leg irons any time he left the jail floor.


On May 27, 2000, 21-year-old Carolyn Casey attended a party in her apartment complex. Ynobe Matthews, who was living with a friend in the same complex, also attended the party.

After drinking alcohol during the evening, Carolyn claimed illness and left the party to return to her apartment. Carolyn vomited before she made her way back to her residence.

One of the hosts of the party testified that he did not see anyone leave with Carolyn, and when she left, Matthews was not in the apartment. But when Matthews returned to the party later, the host noticed "a real foul smell" coming from him that he could not describe - only that it was not consistent with body odor.

Around 1:30 or 2:00 a.m., Carolyn's neighbor heard loud noises coming from Carolyn's apartment. He testified that they sounded like "multiple thuds, kind of rapid succession, over almost as soon as they began."

Around 4:50 the morning of May 28th, the fire department responded to a structure fire call at Carolyn's apartment building.

Firefighters quickly determined that the smoke originated from Carolyn's apartment. As they climbed the stairs to Carolyn's apartment, they observed smoke coming from a partially opened window near the door.

They also noticed that the screen on the window had been cut and folded outward. Firefighters opened the door to the apartment and encountered thick smoke. Using a flashlight, they entered the bedroom and found Carolyn's body. They also observed a small fire still smoldering in the flesh of her feet.

Believing that they had discovered a crime scene, they notified the police before re-entering the apartment to extinguish what remained of the fire. Shortly thereafter, the police arrived at the apartment to investigate.

Carolyn was wearing only a t-shirt and socks, and she was positioned with the top half of her body propped against the side of her bed and the bottom half of her body lying along the floor. The inner part of her legs and vaginal area had been burned.

Paper and a container of pens and makeup brushes were placed between her legs apparently as combustibles to start the fire. Officer Anthony Kunkel observed that the burned area between the victim's legs also contained fecal matter.

Upon further investigation, he found a pair of torn blue panties on the bed. Both seams were completely torn away and the waistband was missing. A large amount of fecal material was discovered inside the panties. The waistband was later discovered underneath the bedding.

Noting the cuts in the window screen closest to the door, officers determined that someone could reach in through the slit screen and the open window and unlock the front door.

The police also discovered the contents of the victim's purse, including her wallet and checkbook, had been dumped onto the living room table. Carolyn's car and house keys were missing but a number of other valuable items remained in the apartment.

In the bathroom, officers noted that the toilet seat was raised, towels were on the floor, and a fire alarm was lying in the sink. A partial set of knives was found in the kitchen. One knife in the set was found in Carolyn's bedroom underneath the bed.

A couple of days later, officers located towels matching those that they found on Carolyn's bathroom floor and Carolyn's house and car keys in one of the apartment complex dumpsters.

During the late morning of May 28th, police interviewed Matthews and his roommate. Sometime thereafter, they recovered a pair of dark blue shorts and a white t-shirt that Matthews purportedly had been wearing the night of the crime.

A videotape from a nearby convenience store, however, showed that Matthews was wearing different clothes on the night of the offense from those that he had turned over to the police.

When confronted with this video, Matthews turned over the clothing that he was wearing in the surveillance video. Matthews also consented to the police collecting samples of his head hair, pubic hair, blood, and saliva.

Forensic testing revealed that fibers similar to the fibers of Matthews's clothing were found on the victim's clothing, her body, and under her fingernails.

Further, fibers from Carolyn's panties were found on Matthews's shirt. Although no semen was found on swabs taken from the victim, Matthews's DNA matched scrapings taken from Carolyn's fingernails on both hands.

A forensic pathologist with the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office conducted the autopsy on Carolyn's body. It was determined that Carolyn had been strangled but it could not be determined whether she had been sexually assaulted due to the extensive burns in the genital area. Swabs from the victim's vagina, rectum, and mouth tested negative for the presence of semen.

However, the pathologist opined that any evidence that existed in the vaginal area could have been destroyed by the fire. The doctor also noted that it is very common for people to defecate in their undergarments when they are very scared or at the time of death. Based on the crime scene and her autopsy, the pathologist believed that the victim was moved after her death.

Matthews' roommate testified that Carolyn was like a sister to him, and they often talked about personal matters. However, Carolyn had never mentioned an interest in Matthews. Nor did anyone else that the police interviewed recall any indication of a romantic relationship between Carolyn and Matthews.

On June 2nd, after Matthews had already denied any involvement in the crime, he agreed to meet with detectives.

During the interview, a detective confronted Matthews with the fact that his DNA was found at the scene. After speaking with his mother, Matthews told the detective that he and Carolyn had been "seeing each other on and off" for a couple of weeks to a month.

He said that, on the night of May 27th or in the early morning hours of May 28th, he went to Carolyn's apartment, and they had consensual sex. Before the sex act, he ripped her panties off while they were "messing around."

Matthews noted that after intercourse, he argued with Carolyn because she had been enticing his younger brother. He told police that Carolyn responded that she could "fuck'em if I want to," and Matthews called her a "bitch." Carolyn then took a swing at Matthews, and he threw her on the bed and choked her to death.

Matthews further stated that he returned to Carolyn's apartment after the murder and ignited a fire between her legs to cover up any evidence of intercourse. He stated that he used a towel to wipe down any fingerprints and cut the screen to the living room window to give the appearance of a burglary.

DNA evidence obtained after Matthews was arrested for Carolyn's murder connected him to the kidnapping, rape and murder of 21-year-old Jamie Hart, 14 months after her unclothed body was found on a rural road.

Carolyn Casey's mother, Anita, expressed her anger toward Matthews in court after he was sentenced. “I'm not angry at your family,” she said. “I'm angry at you. You stole my child from me. I don't understand why you took the life of my daughter and the Hart's daughter ... I want to know why.”

Matthews cried and looked away as Casey's mother said she finds solace in knowing that she will see her daughter again in heaven. “But, in the meantime, I want you to sit in that jail and think about what you have done,” she said.

Shortly after his first conviction, Matthews pleaded guilty to the 1999 kidnap, rape and murder of Jamie Hart. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for that conviction. He was also linked to at least five other sexual assaults and is considered as a possible serial killer.

Texas Execution Information Center by David Carson


Ynobe Katron Matthews, 36, was executed by lethal injection on January 2004 in Huntsville, Texas for the rape and murder of a 21-year-old woman.

At 4:50 a.m. on 28 May 2000, the College Station fire department responded to a fire call at an apartment building. Upon arrival, they found smoke escaping from a partially opened window of one apartment.

The screen on the window had been cut, and the door lock, which was within reach of the hole in the screen, was unlocked. Upon entering the apartment, firefighters found the body of a young woman. She was positioned sitting on the floor, with her back propped against the side of her bed. She was wearing only a t-shirt and socks. A small fire was smoldering on her feet. The inside of her legs, all the way up to her vagina, had been burned.

Some paper and other items had been placed between her legs, apparently as combustibles for the fire. There were also feces between her legs.

The victim was identified as Carolyn Casey. She died of manual strangulation. She also had a broken bone in her neck. Police found a pair of blue panties on Casey's bed. The panties also contained feces, and the waistband had been torn off. A kitchen knife was found under the bed. The contents of Casey's purse had been dumped out, and her keys were missing. Police also observed that the fire alarm was in the sink. In an apartment dumpster, police found Casey's keys, as well as some towels which matched other towels that were in her bathroom.

Casey, 21, was last seen at a party in the apartment complex. Before she went home feeling ill, she had made a trip with another apartment resident, Ynobe Matthews, 24, to purchase some alcohol from a nearby convenience store. When Casey left, Matthews was not at the party. When Matthews returned to the party later, one of the hosts noticed a "real foul smell" coming from him. A neighbor reported hearing a series of loud thuds coming from Casey's apartment at around 1:30 or 2:00 a.m.

Police interviewed Matthews, who denied any involvement in the murder, and collected blood, hair, and saliva samples from him. They also collected the clothing he claimed he was wearing on the night of the party. The surveillance videotape from the convenience store, however, showed that he was wearing different clothing. When confronted with this, Matthews surrendered the clothing he was wearing in the videotape. Fibers from those clothes were found on Casey's clothing, her body, and under her fingernails. Fibers from Casey's panties were found on Matthews's shirt. Scrapings from under Casey's fingernails also contained Matthews's DNA.

Matthews then told police that he and Casey had been "seeing each other on and off" and that he was in her apartment on the morning of her murder. He said that in the course of consensual sex, he ripped her panties off while they were "messing around."

Matthews said that afterwards, he and Casey began arguing. She took a swing at him, and he threw her on the bed and choked her to death. He said that he started the fire between her legs to cover up any evidence of intercourse.

He said that he cut the window screen to give the appearance of a burglary. At Matthews's trial, police testified that no one they interviewed recalled any indication of a romantic relationship between Matthews and Casey. Also, the medical examiner testified that it is very common for people to defecate in their undergarments out of extreme fear or at the time of death.

Matthews had a previous conviction for assault causing bodily injury. The jury also heard testimony connecting him to the rape and murder of 21-year-old Jamie Hart in 1999, as well as in three other rapes and two attempted rapes. One of the rape victims testified that Matthews attempted to strangle her.

A jury convicted Matthews of capital murder in June 2001 and sentenced him to death. He later pleaded guilty to Hart's rape and murder and was given a life sentence. In September 2002, Matthews informed the court of his desire to waive his appeals. In the one appeal that is mandated by law and cannot be waived, The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence in July 2003.

"I spent the whole week getting drunk," Matthews told a reporter in an interview from death row. He added that he had also been on a drug binge before the murder, "but that's not an excuse." Matthews declined to make a final statement at his execution. He mouthed "I love you" several times to relatives who were watching him through a window. He was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m.

Rapist/Killer Becomes First Man Executed in 2004


January 7, 2003

HUNTSVILLE, Tex. - A rapist who killed women was executed at the state prison Tuesday night, becoming the first man put to death in Texas in 2004.

Ynobe Matthews, 27, went to his death after deciding to end his appeals. He was executed by lethal injection for the May 2000 murder of Carolyn Casey, 21, who was strangled.

In addition, Matthews had also pleaded guilty to the 1999 rape and murder of a young woman. Her name was Jamie Hart. Her body was found in Brazos County. Matthews was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., eight minutes after the lethal dose of drugs began. He gave no last statement.

Michelle Lyons, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said Matthews requested three pieces of fried chicken, one pork chop, two pieces of fried fish, strawberry ice cream, a six-pack of Coke and a pack of Newport cigarettes as part of his last meal request. "We couldn't give him the cigarettes because of our no tobacco policy," Lyons said. Two more executions are scheduled in Texas in January.

Fire Near Body

Authorities discovered Casey's body in her College Station apartment. A fire had been set nearby in an attempt to burn evidence. In an interview with the Associated Press before his execution, Matthews blamed his crimes on being "rowdy" and lacking maturity. "As a boy, I was always rowdy," Matthews told the AP. "Even at 24, I was still boyish. I had kids at 17 years old. I guess I never truly grew up." Casey and Matthews had been attending a party the night of the murder. She left, claiming to be ill. No one saw Matthews leave the party with Casey. But a witness said that at one point, Matthews was not present at the party after Casey left. The fire at Casey's apartment was reported just before 5 a.m. A firefighter stated that Casey's body was found in the bedroom and a blaze had been started between her legs. Authorities also noticed that a screen had been cut to open a window to gain entrance to Casey's apartment.

Lies

DNA evidence linked Matthews to the murder, although he first denied any knowledge of the crime. Matthews later claimed that following consensual sex, he and Casey argued and he choked her to death and tried to hide evidence.

Fibers, similar to the fibers of Matthews' cloths, were found on the victim's clothing, body and under her fingernails. Fibers from Casey's underwear were found on a shirt belonging to Matthews. Matthews' DNA also matched scrapings taken form Casey's fingernails, court documents stated.

Due to extensive burns to the body of Casey, medical examiners did not find semen in her body. When confronted with the DNA evidence, Matthews admitted he choked Casey. He said after consensual sex, the two were arguing over Casey allegedly "enticing" Matthews' younger brother to have sex with her.

Wipes Away Evidence

Matthews said he choked Casey and, after leaving the apartment, returned to set the fire and also use a towel to wipe away fingerprints. He also admitted to cutting the screen to make it appear that someone had burglarized the apartment. However, a jury and prosecutors did not buy the story of how an argument escalated into murder. They believed Matthews broke into the apartment and raped the victim before killing her. Fecal materials found in the victim's underwear indicated that Casey was frightened at the time of her death, prosecutors said. Matthews destruction of evidence was also a further clue, prosecutors and the jury believed, that Matthews had raped the victim. In addition, a close friend of Casey said he had never heard the victim say that she had a relationship with Matthews.

Dallas man Texas' first execution of 2004

- Jan. 06, 2004

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - A Dallas man described by authorities as a serial rapist was executed Tuesday night for raping and strangling a woman at her College Station apartment 3 1/2 years ago. Ynobe Matthews declined to make a final statement before he was put to death, but mouthed "I love you" several times to a sister and cousin who were watching him through a window. As the drugs began taking effect, he gasped a couple of times, sputtered and let out a long wheeze before becoming unconscious. Eight minutes later, at 6:18 p.m., he was pronounced dead. A half-dozen members of his victims' families watched through another window, but Matthews ignored them.

Matthews, 27, was condemned for the death of Carolyn Casey, 21, one of two women he was convicted of killing. Testimony at his trial also linked him to at least three other rapes and two other attempted rapes. Matthews waived appeals and asked that his execution, the first of the year in Texas, be carried out. "Plenty of guys say 'You can beat this,'" he said in a recent death row interview. "I respect their fight. We all have to choose. ... We all have whole different paths to take."

Anita Casey, whose daughter was killed in the 2000 attack, met later with reporters after watching Matthews die and read a poem she said was written by a friend of her daughter's. In the poem, Carolyn Casey, a day-care center teacher, was described as someone who "embodies love and trust." "We take solace knowing that Carolyn is watching over all that knew and loved her," she said. "I ask why? Why was she so violated?" she added. "This was a death she did not deserve." "We lost somebody that was really special to this world," said Amanda Casey, the victim's sister.

Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner was surprised that Matthews, a man he worked to send to death row, was following through on his desire to be executed. "He took that position from the time he got the death penalty," Turner said. "I believed that would be short-lived."

Evidence showed that he set fire to Casey's body after strangling her to try to cover up the crime. Firefighters responding to a call from Casey's apartment complex found a small blaze smoldering around her body. She had been propped up in a seated position against a bed. Paper, pens and makeup brushes had been set on fire near her.

Matthews, who grew up in Dallas and dropped out of Lake Highlands High School in the 11th grade, has four children ranging in age from 3 to 10. At the time of the slaying, he was working as a night stocker at a College Station supermarket and living with a friend at the same complex where Casey lived. He and Casey had attended a party at the complex the previous evening.

Matthews' DNA was found in scrapings taken from under Casey's fingernails and other forensics evidence tied him to the murder scene. He acknowledged being at her apartment but contended the sex was consensual. He later told detectives there had been a fight, that he strangled Casey and set fire to her to eliminate evidence and cut a window screen to give the appearance of a burglary. "I spent the whole week getting drunk," he said from death row, adding that he also had been on a drug binge leading up to the woman's death. "But that's not an excuse."

DNA evidence and fingerprints connected Matthews to the 1999 rape and slaying of Jamie Hart, 21. Her death went unsolved for 14 months after her nude body was discovered on a rural Brazos County road, nine miles from where her abandoned car was left running with the lights on.

Matthews, whose first name is "Ebony" spelled backward, confessed to forcing his way into her car and raping her. A month after he was condemned for Casey's slaying, he pleaded guilty to Hart's death. A rape victim at his murder trial testified how he "would strangle her until almost unconscious and then let up. It would happen again and again," Turner recalled. Authorities found marks of repeated choking on his other victims.

His execution was the first of four scheduled this month in Texas, where 24 executions were carried out last year. The total was the highest in the nation but average for the state over the last decade.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Ynobe Matthews, TX - Jan. 6, 6:00 PM CST

The state of Texas is scheduled to execute 27 year-old Ynobe Matthews, a black man, Jan. 6 for the 2000 murder of Carolyn Casey in Brazos County. The execution is scheduled for 6:00 PM CST. Mr. Matthews has dropped all appeals and his execution is considered voluntary.

Mr. Matthews does not want to put his and his victim’s families through years of appeals. About 100 men and women have been executed in the USA since 1977 after giving up their appeals at some stage in the process. Although such executions are sometimes characterized as a form of state-assisted suicide, "prisoner-assisted homicide" might be a more accurate label. For if a death row inmate seeks to commit actual suicide, as more than 50 condemned prisoners have successfully done since 1977, the state will make every effort to prevent it.

Texas has executed 313 men and women since 1977, accounting for 35 percent of all executions. Texas has executed three and a half times as many men and women than Virginia, the state with the second highest rate of execution. The state’s crime labs have been engulfed in controversy, and Texas is at the center of a national outcry over the quality of defense given to the indigent.

At this time, Texas should be acting with caution and studying the racial and class biases inherent in the system of capital punishment. Please contact Gov. Perry and urge him to declare a moratorium and commute the death sentence of Ynobe Matthews

Deathrow.at

Hello,
My name is Ynobe Matthews, DOB 4/14/76, age 26, African American male out of Dallas, TX. I like music of all sorts for ex. Rap: Joy-z, R&B: L. Hill, Rock: AeroSmith and Country, just to name a few. I also enjoy reading books by John Grisham, Leon Koontz and Mark Twain and I have a great love for animals. I'm looking for a pen-pal, that would like to write as well to a young man, while I wait out my Death Sentence on appeal.

Sincerely, Ynobe Matthews

Ynobe Matthews # 999387
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, Texas 77351 USA

IN THE COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS

NO. 74,136

YNOBE MATTHEWS, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee.

On Direct Appeal from Brazos County

OPINION

In June 2001, a jury convicted Ynobe Matthews of capital murder. (1) As a result of the jury's answers to the special issues set forth in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 37.071, sections 2(b) and 2(e), the trial judge sentenced Matthews to death. (2) Direct appeal to this Court is automatic. (3) Matthews raises a single point of error challenging the legal sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury's finding of guilt. Specifically, Matthews asserts that no rational juror could have found that, at the time he murdered the victim, Matthews was sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault her. We reject this contention and affirm the conviction and sentence of death.

In reviewing the legal sufficiency of the evidence, we look at all the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict to determine whether any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. (4) This standard holds the trier of fact responsible for fairly resolving conflicts in the testimony, weighing the evidence, and drawing reasonable inferences from basic facts to ultimate facts. (5)

On May 27, 2000, 21-year-old Carolyn Casey attended a party in her apartment complex. Matthews, who was living with a friend in the same complex, also attended the party. After drinking alcohol during the evening, Casey claimed illness and left the party to return to her apartment. Casey vomited before she made her way back to her residence.

One of the hosts of the party, Chris Hyles, testified that he did not see anyone leave with Casey, and when she left, Matthews was not in the apartment. But when Matthews returned to the party later, Hyles noticed "a real foul smell" coming from him that he could not describe - only that it was not consistent with body odor. Around 1:30 or 2:00 a.m., Casey's neighbor, Yasha Hartberg, heard loud noises coming from Casey's apartment. He testified that they sounded like "multiple thuds, kind of rapid succession, over almost as soon as they began."

Around 4:50 the morning of May 28th, the fire department responded to a structure fire call at Casey's apartment building. Firefighter Rowert Mumford quickly determined that the smoke originated from Casey's apartment. As he climbed the stairs to Casey's apartment, Mumford observed smoke coming from a partially opened window near the door. He also noticed that the screen on the window had been cut and folded outward.

After Lieutenant Bobby Rogers and another firefighter joined him, Mumford opened the door to the apartment and encountered thick smoke. Using a flashlight, Lieutenant Rogers entered the bedroom and found Casey's body. He also observed a small fire still smoldering in the flesh of her feet. Believing that he had discovered a crime scene, Rogers notified his supervisor while Mumford notified the police. Rogers then re-entered the apartment to extinguish what remained of the fire.

Shortly thereafter, the police arrived at the apartment to investigate. Casey was wearing only a t-shirt and socks, and she was positioned with the top half of her body propped against the side of her bed and the bottom half of her body lying along the floor. The inner part of her legs and vaginal area had been burned. Paper and a container of pens and makeup brushes were placed between her legs apparently as combustibles to start the fire.

Officer Anthony Kunkel observed that the burned area between the victim's legs also contained fecal matter. Upon further investigation, he found a pair of torn blue panties on the bed. Both seams were completely torn away and the waistband was missing. A large amount of fecal material was discovered inside the panties. The waistband was later discovered underneath the bedding.

Noting the cuts in the window screen closest to the door, officers determined that someone could reach in through the slit screen and the open window and unlock the front door. The police also discovered the contents of the victim's purse, including her wallet and checkbook, had been dumped onto the living room table. Casey's car and house keys were missing but a number of other valuable items remained in the apartment.

In the bathroom, officers noted that the toilet seat was raised, towels were on the floor, and a fire alarm was lying in the sink. A partial set of knives was found in the kitchen. One knife in the set was found in Casey's bedroom underneath the bed. A couple of days later, officers located towels matching those that they found on Casey's bathroom floor and Casey's house and car keys in one of the apartment complex dumpsters.

During the late morning of May 28th, Officer Paul Price interviewed Matthews and his roommate Mike Groll. Sometime thereafter, Price recovered a pair of dark blue shorts and a white t-shirt that Matthews purportedly had been wearing the night of the crime. A videotape from a nearby convenience store, however, showed that Matthews was wearing different clothes on the night of the offense from those that he had turned over to the police. When confronted with this video, Matthews turned over the clothing that he was wearing in the surveillance video.

Matthews also consented to the police collecting samples of his head hair, pubic hair, blood, and saliva. Forensic testing revealed that fibers similar to the fibers of Matthews's clothing were found on the victim's clothing, her body, and under her fingernails. Further, fibers from Casey's panties were found on Matthews's shirt. Although no semen was found on swabs taken from the victim, Matthews's DNA matched scrapings taken from Casey's fingernails on both hands.

Dr. Jan Garavaglia, a forensic pathologist with the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office, conducted the autopsy on Casey's body. She determined that Casey had been strangled but could not determine whether she had been sexually assaulted due to the extensive burns in the genital area. Swabs from the victim's vagina, rectum, and mouth tested negative for the presence of semen.

However, Dr. Garavaglia opined that any evidence that existed in the vaginal area could have been destroyed by the fire. Dr. Garavaglia also noted that it is very common for people to defecate in their undergarments when they are very scared or at the time of death. Based on the crime scene and her autopsy, Dr. Garavaglia opined that the victim was moved after her death.

Mike Groll testified that Casey was like a sister to him, and they often talked about personal matters. However, Casey had never mentioned an interest in Matthews. Nor did anyone else that the police interviewed recall any indication of a romantic relationship between Casey and Matthews.

On June 2nd, after Matthews had already denied any involvement in the crime, he agreed to meet with Detective Jeff Capps. During the interview, Capps confronted Matthews with the fact that his DNA was found at the scene. After speaking with his mother, Matthews told Capps that he and Casey had been "seeing each other on and off" for a couple of weeks to a month. He told Capps that, on the night of May 27th or in the early morning hours of May 28th, he went to Casey's apartment, and they had consensual sex. Before the sex act, he ripped her panties off while they were "messing around."

Matthews noted that after intercourse, he argued with Casey because she had been enticing his younger brother. He told Capps that Casey responded that she could "fuck'em if I want to," and Matthews called her a "bitch." Casey then took a swing at Matthews, and he threw her on the bed and choked her to death. Matthews further stated that he returned to Casey's apartment after the murder and ignited a fire between her legs to cover up any evidence of intercourse. He stated that he used a towel to wipe down any fingerprints and cut the screen to the living room window to give the appearance of a burglary.

Although no direct evidence of sexual assault exists, the jury could have reasonably inferred that Matthews was sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault Casey at the time that he killed her. Most notably, Matthews stated that he ripped off Casey's panties before engaging in consensual sex. However, the panties were ripped in such a manner that they could not be re-worn.

The fact that the panties contained a large amount of fecal material, together with the pathologist's testimony that it is common for people to defecate in their undergarments when they are very scared or at the time of death, rationally supports a finding that Casey's panties were ripped off during a terrifying event before she died. Additionally, the undisputed evidence showed that Casey left the party feeling very ill and wanting to go home.

These facts, Matthews's admitted efforts to destroy evidence of sexual intercourse, and inconsistencies between Matthews's claims and the evidence presented at the scene, support the reasonable inference that Matthews murdered Casey while in the course of sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault her. Matthews's point of error is overruled.

We affirm the judgment of the trial court. DATE DELIVERED: July 2, 2003.
 
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