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Two men accused of killing a Lancaster County teacher will go to trial; one may face death penalty

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Thomas G. Moore (Left) and Marcus Rutter (Right)

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.


  • Heather Kelly Hohenwarter

    EDITORS: you are perpetuating tragedy with reports that include details not necessary to journalism. Reconsider your gross violation of the SPJ Code of Ethics, which includes this standard you are held to: “Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles, victims of sex crimes, and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment.”

    • Disgusted

      You ma’am are an idiot. The public has a right to know. And will someone, ANYONE, please tell us how these scumballs gained entry into her home. On that, we have a NEED to know.

      • OneMan'sOpinion

        Incorrect. There is no Right to Know in an active investigation. Emotions and sensationalistic appetite to “know” and speculate in our society is driving poor reporting.
        You may be confusing a Right to Know with the Right to “No” in sexual situations.

        • Disgusted

          I am not “confusing” anything. I am an award winning journalist with 30 years of experience . You and the previous poster are employing typical “shoot the messenger” attitudes. There is no “ethical” violation on the part of this station. Ethical violations come into play when the only newspaper in a city deliberately withholds info because it doesnt want tourists to stay away from (and quit spending money in) a town it has a vested financial interest in, and simply regurgitates propaganda distributed by police, the d.a.’s office, the mayor and the powers that be ecause it puts the needs of its advertisers far ahead of the needs of the constituency it is supposed to serve. But thanks for your sophomoric play on words. It provides much needed humor in a too sad situation and is about what I would expect from the uneducated and sadly uninformed residents of Lancaster County, where $$ is the driving force behind everything. I would stick to plowing fields if I were you. Hopefully, you are good at THAT.

          • OneMan'sOpinion

            You sound disgruntled and unprofessional. My comment was directed completely at your referral to the public having some sort of Right To Know, which does not exist. I was not knocking this station or this story in my post. You also refer to me being from or in Lancaster County and insinuating that I am a farmer. Incorrect on all accounts and not ever in my past have I resided in Lancaster County or worked on a farm.
            This would lead me to believe that you, “DISGUSTED”, are not an award-winning reporter with whom I would enjoy getting my news from.

          • Matt

            Diisgusted iam from Lancaster county an this crime is bad enough with out you insulting the locals so take the stick out of your ass Mister high an mighty journalist cause we’re not all farmers so whose the uneducated.uninformed one again

    • xds45

      You make it sound like they gave detail info. on what happened. BTW the 16 yr old is not a juvenile in this case.

        • SadandDisgusted

          “inmature?” Really? Inmature is t.p.ing your neighbor’s car. Inmature is drinking with your friends after football practice. What this is evil, inhumane, disgusting, senseless. Are you connected to the victim in any way? I’m guessing not seeing as how flippant you can be about the loss of life of a person who was truly beautiful both inside and out.

    • OneMan'sOpinion

      I agree that written news stories have been unprofessional in recent history. I’m not satisfied this is the case here, yet. Part of the problem is a lack of proofreading by anyone, including the author of a story. It’s rammed out like a text and includes hearsay, bias, syntax and spelling errors.

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