BRADENTON, Fla. - It was a day back in court for Eugene Matthews. The 83-year-old has been in jail without bond since his arrest in January for the shooting death of 65-year-old Rebecca Rawson. After hearing testimony at the Manatee County Courthouse from a variety of folks including investigators, the Circuit Judge decided against bail for the ex-military veteran.
"I'm a little disappointed, I really felt Mr. Matthews was entitled to a bond given the circumstances," said Scott Rieth, the attorney for Eugene Matthews. "I think a no bond situation for a person who has lived in Manatee County for 80 years was a little extreme."
Matthews has been charged in the second degree murder of Rawson. She and other family members went to retrieve a dog that belonged to her late estranged husband at the Parrish home of Matthews. He allegedly came out firing with one of the bullets striking and killing Rawson. This case especially hits close to home for one of Matthews' neighbors Daniel Alfonso, who took the stand at Wednesday's bond hearing.
"My connection to this case overall is my son's fiance is a victim of this and she lost her mother who we dearly love," said Alfonso.
Matthews' girlfriend Juanita says the shooting happened when Rawson's brother-in-law tried to barge into the house to get the dog.
"He kicked the door before and when I went to unlock it, to open up the door, he shoved me and the door back," said Juanita.
Matthews is claiming Rawson and her group crashed through the front gate and invaded his property without his permission.
"There's a strong stand your ground issue, defense of property," said Rieth. "I'm confident that once all the evidence comes out Mr. Matthews will be exonorated."
The trial for Eugene Matthews is expected to get underway sometime in the middle of May.