Judge set to rule on mental disability defense in Richard Matthews trial

Richard Matthews
Richard Matthews

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The man accused of walking into his former place of employment with a gun and killing two women working there is scheduled to make another court appearance Tuesday.

District Court Judge Tony Marabella is expected to decide whether or not a mental disability defense will be allowed in the trial of Richard Matthews, 55, of Slaughter. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the 2009 shooting at Grady Crawford Construction Company that left two women dead. A third woman was also shot, but survived.

Matthews has confessed to the shooting, saying he intended to kill his then boss. In October, Marabella ruled those tapes will be used as evidence in his trial. In one video clip, Matthews said he did not intend to kill the two women, but instead was trying to kill Trey Crawford, the owner of the company.

"They wouldn't pay my child support," Matthews said. "No, you said unemployment," Jim Shannon stated. "Unemployment, they wouldn't pay my unemployment," Matthews replied.

"Is that why you killed those two girls?" Shannon asked. "No, I went in there to kill Trey Crawford. That's who I went in there to kill," Matthews answered.

"But, you killed those two girls," Shannon said. "I went in the back and they went to hollering, man. I panicked. I panicked. They run me crazy, man. They run me crazy," Matthews expained.

District Attorney Hillar Moore, III said it's a critical piece of evidence. He added his office was able to convince Marabella that Matthews spoke on his own.

Matthews was fired from Grady Crawford Construction several months before clerical workers Dianna Tullier, 44, of Walker, and Cheryl D. Boykin, 55, of Denham Springs, were shot to death Dec. 23, 2009, at the Greenwell Springs Road business.

In January, Marabella ordered three psychiatrists to evaluate Matthews. The prosecution requested the evaluation. Defense attorneys objected but to no avail. Matthews has stated to the media several times that he actually meant to kill his former boss.

"I went in there to kill Trey Crawford, that's who I went in there to kill," Matthews has said. "I was going to the back and they went to hollering. I panicked."

He has also expressed remorse in the deadly shooting.

"I feel sorry for the family, I didn't want to do that," Matthews said as he left the courtroom in July 2010. "If I would have gotten my unemployment, wouldn't none of this have happened. I'm willing to give up my life for what I did. I know I did wrong. I just wanted my unemployment. I couldn't pay my rent. I lost my job."

He pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in April. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if Matthews is convicted of first-degree murder. Louisiana law does not allow him to plead guilty to first-degree murder with the death penalty on the table.

"It wasn't worth it. I took them people's lives. I'm going to give my life up for it. I'm going to die for it. I don't mind dying for it," he added.

The day he was arrested he did not try to deny the charges, even giving an explanation why the shooting happened.

"I got fired with two more guys. Three of us got fired, two of them got their unemployment. I didn't get my unemployment. I don't understand that. We all got fired the same day. That's all I wanted was my unemployment," he said.

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