Jury Convicts Columbia Man of Rape, his 3rd Conviction of Violent Crime

Tomas M. Matthews

A Columbia man was recently convicted of raping and beating a woman in 2015.

A Lancaster County jury convicted Tomas M. Matthews on Friday of 11 counts, including felony rape and aggravated assault, after a week-long trial with Judge David Ashworth presiding.

Assistant District Attorney Karen Mansfield, who won the conviction, informed the judge after the verdict that she will seek a third-strike sentence because the recent conviction is Matthews’ third for a violent crime.

Judge Ashworth, at the verdict, raised Matthews’ bail to $1 million, which has not been posted.

Sentencing will be held in a few months. If applicable, Matthews, 37, faces mandatory minimum prison terms of 25 years on each count of rape and aggravated assault, per the third-strike guidelines.

The jury deliberated about five hours before returning guilty a verdict Friday afternoon to counts of: rape, aggravated assault, theft by unlawful taking, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint (two counts), intimidation of witness or victim, simple assault (two counts), sexual assault, and carrying a firearm without a license.

He was found not guilty of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

Mansfield presented testimony and evidence that Matthews raped and beat the woman, while threatening her with a knife, inside a Bethel Street home on June 7, 2015.

The woman sustained fractures to her nose and tail bone and was strangled to the point where she lost consciousness.

Matthews then stole the woman’s legally-possessed gun, which police recovered from him when he was arrested that same day at Markle Park in Columbia.

Also, prior to sentencing, an evaluation will be done for Judge Ashworth’s consideration of Matthews as a “sexually violent predator.”

The judge will make his determination on that at the time of sentencing.

Columbia police Officer Holly Oster filed charges.

 

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