February 13, 2012
Department of Justice
United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee
Relatives of Accused Murderer Jesse Matthews Sentenced
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Kathleen Mathews, 58, of Jacksonville, Fla., Ray Mathews, 51, of Jacksonville, Fla., Rachel Mathews, 22, of Jacksonville, Fla, and James Poteete, 27, of Nashville, Tenn., were sentenced today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga, by the Honorable Harry S. Mattice, U.S. District Judge, for their participation in obstruction of the investigation of Jesse Mathews, who is under indictment by the State of Tennessee for the murder of Chattanooga Police Department Sergeant Tim Chapin. Kathleen Mathews was sentenced to serve 366 months in prison; Ray Mathews was sentenced to serve 250 months in prison; Rachel Mathews was sentenced to serve 135 months in prison; and James Poteete was sentenced to serve 81months in prison. The sentences were the result of guilty pleas by Rachel Mathews and James Poteete on August 10, 2011, and Kathleen Mathews and Ray Mathews on September 21, 2011, to a federal grand jury indictment charging them with criminal offenses related to obstruction of justice in the investigation of Jesse Mathews. Kathleen, Ray, and Rachel Mathews, and James Poteete were indicted for conspiracy to obstruct justice by corruptly concealing firearms stolen and possessed by Jesse Mathews; accessory after the fact to Hobbs Act Robbery; accessory after the fact to using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; misprision of a felony; accessory after the fact to being a felon in possession of a firearm; and evidence tampering. Kathleen and Ray Matthews were charged separately with transferring a firearm to a known felon. Jesse Mathews and Kathleen Mathews was charged individually with three counts of being a felon in possession of firearms.
As part of their plea agreements, Kathleen Mathews, Ray Mathews, Rachel Mathews, and James Poteete, stipulated to the facts on the Attachment 1 to this press release. Copies of the plea agreements are also available through the U.S. District Court in Chattanooga.
The indictment and subsequent conviction of Kathleen, Ray, and Rachel Mathews, and James Poteete, was the result of an intensive and highly collaborative investigation conducted by the Chattanooga Police Department, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorneys Steve Neff and Chris Poole represented the United States.
Jesse R. Mathews is facing trial in January of 2013. The State of Tennessee is seeking the death penalty.
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian again praised the "exceptional cooperation and hard work of the investigating agencies and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chris Poole and Steve Neff, that covered an extensive conspiracy to obstruct justice, provide firearms to a convicted felon to become accessories to a Hobbs Act armed robbery. The investigation spanned thousands of miles and included multiple serious crimes. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Chattanooga Police Department, and Hamilton County Sheriff Department exhibited the finest qualities of law enforcement in solving and achieving the convictions in these cases. The federal criminal system is intended to provide serious punishment to defendants like these for criminal acts of this nature. The sentences will not only punish the defendants, but deter others from considering similar criminal behavior."