Sabine County murderer was found on porch in northeastern part of county
HEMPHILL, Texas (KTRE) - A convicted murderer who had been on the run for 11 months was arrested after he was found on the back porch of a home in the northeastern part of the county.
Matthew Edgar was taken into custody at approximately 8:30 p.m. Wednesday by the U.S. Marshals Service. Edgar was immediately taken to the Sabine County Jail to await formal sentencing by the court, the sheriff’s office said. He has been on the run since January of this year.
Sheriff Thomas Maddox said in a press conference Friday that Edgar was arrested without incident.
Edgar was charged with the murder of Livye Lewis. Edgar disappeared during the trial, while he was out on bond.
District Attorney Paul Robbins said an investigation is continuing and those who assisted Edgar will be prosecuted. Robbins also said additional charges will be filed against Edgar.
According to a press release from the U.S. Marshal’s, Special Deputy USMS Coulter, as lead investigator on this case, began pursuing leads and tips and devoted countless man-hours to tracking down Edgar. SDUSMS Coulter believed that Edgar remained in East Texas or continued his close ties to the community and that his family and acquaintances were helping him “stay off the grid” despite Edgar’s family insisting that he had simply walked out the back door of their home that day and disappeared.
Over the course of SDUSMS Coulter’s investigation he developed information that Edgar may be staying at a residence located at 667 Richards Drive in Hemphill. SDUSMS Coulter began liasoning with the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office, the Lufkin Police Department Swat Team, and Texas Game Wardens Williams and Fountain in regard to Edgar’s possible location.
The press release said on December 29, a plan was set into motion to perform surveillance on the residence at 667 Richards Drive and take Edgar into custody when/if sighted at said residence. That afternoon Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force (JETFTF) personnel and Texas Game Wardens worked their way through the woods, and inclement weather, to assume surveillance positions in the wood line behind the aforementioned residence. After several hours of waiting in the torrential rain, the Game Wardens were able to utilize night vision equipment to confirm that Edgar and another male subject had stepped outside of the residence and were sitting on the back porch. SDUSMS Coulter corresponded with nearby JETFTF personnel (DUSM David Sunderland and TFO Darrin Mooney), Sabine County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), and the Lufkin Police Department SWAT Team (who had mobilized in case a barricade situation should ensue), to coordinate an attempt to arrest Edgar.
The press release said at approximately 8:30 p.m., with JETFTF and SCSO personnel en route to the front of the residence, SDUSMS Coulter, DUSM Yarbrough, and the Game Wardens, utilizing multiple small buildings on the property as concealment, began moving towards Edgar and the other male subject. As law enforcement arrived at the front of the residence, JETFTF and the Game Wardens quickly moved in on Edgar and the other male and announced law enforcement presence. Edgar and the other subject were ordered down on the ground and taken into custody (the other male subject was later released).
Maddox said two people were at the home where Edgar was. They were detained and later released, pending a further investigation.
“We can’t say how long he was in or out of the county,” said Investigator J.P. MacDonough.
MacDonough said investigators had reason to believe Edgar was at the residence and officers with the U.S. Marshals and Texas Parks and Wildlife had been in the woods, watching the home when Edgar emerged.
Robbins said Edgar will be in court on Tuesday at 1 p.m. for a formal sentencing.
Kevin Dutton, the former District Attorney for the 1st Judicial District of Texas tried Edgar’s case and said he is happy to see justice for the family.
“I was really excited to learn that he had been apprehended, I thought all along that he was very close, pretty ecstatic, I think now justice for the family and for Ms. Lewis the victim in the case, that’s what we’ve wanted all along, so he’s going to go away for 99 years,” Dutton said.
Edgar was on the run for 11 months and two days before being captured Thursday.
“My gut feeling was he didn’t go far, he had to have help to stay away that long,” Dutton said.
Dutton went over the appellate process and said Edgar now has no options to appeal since he was a fugitive.
“The appellate process in a criminal case is just like any other criminal case, he had 30 days from the date of judgement to file an appeal, but because he was considered indigent, the county court appointed him an appellate lawyer and an appeal was filed, pursuant to the Texas rules of appellate procedures though, a fugitive basically waives his rights to appeal and one of the last things I did in office is file a motion to dismiss that appeal in the court of appeals dismissed it so he has no appellate options at this point in time, there may be some writs and things like that they may can file but as far as the appellate process from the trial, he doesn’t have that anymore,” Dutton said.
Robbins said it is possible there may be some means of appeal still available for Edgar, but most rudimentary means of appeal had been exhausted.
Copyright 2022 KTRE. All rights reserved.