Tomas M. Matthews’ latest crime of violence could cost him the rest of his life in prison.
A Lancaster County Judge recently ordered Matthews, 38, serve up to 70 years in prison for the sexual assault and beating of a local woman in 2015.
“Let this be the final hurt he ever causes,” the victim’s mother said in court.
County Judge David Ashworth, calling Matthews a “danger to the community,” ordered a 33-to-70-year prison term.
Matthews was convicted at separate trials earlier this year of aggravated assault, sexual assault, illegal possession of a firearm and other counts.
The latest conviction was at least his third for crimes of violence, Assistant District Attorney Karen Mansfield said in court. Matthews has previous out-of-state convictions for kidnapping, robbery and aggravated assault on a police officer.
“He needs to be warehoused so he can’t hurt any more unsuspecting people,” Mansfield told the judge, as the victim and her family watched from the gallery.
The victim spoke of the permanent pain she suffers from the June 7, 2015, attack at her Columbia home.
“Is he sorry now because he knows he’s going to be going away for a lifetime?” the victim said in response to Matthews quoting a Bible verse.
The victim’s mother added: “God will not forgive him because he has too black of a heart.”
Judge Ashworth considered Mansfield’s motion that Matthews faces a mandatory life sentence due to the prior convictions. However, Judge Ashworth said, the (out-of-state) prior crimes are not equivalent to Pennsylvania’s as required to invoke the life term.
Judge Ashworth said Matthews is a “very dangerous, violent individual” with “serious anger issues.”
Columbia police Officer Holly Oster filed charges.
Matthews also has a pending aggravated assault case regarding an April 3 beating of a Lancaster County Prison inmate.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright