Two men accused of killing a Lancaster County teacher will go to trial; one may face death penalty
Horrible new details in the the case of a murdered Lancaster County teacher last month. Lancaster County District Attorney Craig W. Stedman filed new charges against Thomas Moore and Marcus Rutter, the pair accused of beating Nicole Mathewson to death in her home on the 700 block of North Franklin Street in December.
The charges filed today include: felony counts of access device fraud, theft, receiving stolen property, and the most serious charge, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.
Stedman says Moore and Rutter sexually assaulted Nicole Mathewson prior to her death.
“Words cannot capture just how shocking and dreadful these facts are and we take no pleasure in having to disclose them. There is no doubt that Ms. Mathewson endured an absolutely brutal and horrifying death and these charges only add to the level of depravity of the criminal conduct she was forced to endure,” said Stedman.
Mathewson’s family was notified of this awful news before it was released to the media, according to Stedman.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to see that justice is done in this case,” said Stedman. “People have a right to be in their homes without fear of invasion and, as in this case, sexual assault and murder. Our homes are our castles, regardless of how big or how small, and no community can flourish if people do not feel safe in their homes.
“Grim facts such as these serve to highlight just how dangerous home burglaries can become as well as further support my long standing passion to see Pennsylvania take stranger house burglary cases much more seriously. We simply must do more to protect an individual’s right to safe and secure in their home and will do all that I can to achieve positive reform,” says Stedman.
The two men will go to trial, facing murder charges. A date has not been set. Stedman says Moore is eligible for the death penalty if he’s found guilty. He hasn’t made clear if he plans to pursue that sentence. However, since Rutter is 16-years-old, under state law, he can not be sentenced to death. The most serious sentence he could receive would be life in prison without parole if convicted of the crime.
Mathewson’s friends want a fair trial and justice for their friend, who didn’t deserve what happened to her.
“There has to be some thread of redemption in this. As painful as it is right now, something good will come of this,” says friend, Kelly Gehman.
Gehman met Mathewson 5 years ago in church. She says they shared such a close bond, that Mathewson was in her wedding. She now wears an orange bracelet in remembrance of her friend that reads: “The Common Denominator”.
“Nicole was about living, loving, and laughing. She was a gatherer of people and of friends and we all had that in common with her. So this is just an extension of us showing our support,” says Gehman.