Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Matheson murder suspect’s charge upgraded to capital murder

Reginald Kimbro
Reginald Kimbro
Reginald Kimbro

by Kathryn Kelman/ne news editor

The man charged with killing NE student Molly Matheson has now been charged with capital murder, which means he could face the death penalty.

Reginald Kimbro, 23, was arrested April 27 on a felony murder charge, but prosecutors upgraded the charge to capital murder after new evidence showed Matheson was sexually assaulted.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, homicide detectives suspected Matheson had been sexually assaulted as well as strangled, but the sexual assault kit done April 11 had not been processed when Kimbro was arrested.

Kimbro is linked to two other cases of sexual assault that involved strangulation in 2012 and 2014.

After reviewing the two cases and allegations made against him, detectives noticed similarities and ordered the rape kit be expedited by the medical examiner.

Murder is elevated to a capital offense when a suspect is accused of a second felony, like sexual assault, in addition to the murder.

Kimbro told detectives he and Matheson dated while she was a student at the University of Arkansas. They eventually broke up but stayed in touch.

Kimbro told police prior to his arrest that Matheson invited him to her apartment, and he arrived about 10:30 p.m. April 9. He told police they kissed, but Matheson declined to have sex, and he left around 1:30 a.m. April 10.

Cellphone records show a text from Kimbro to Matheson indicating his arrival at 10:26 p.m. April 9 and a text from him to her again at 2:59 a.m. April 10 that said, “Hey. Thanks again for the advice. Its nice seeing how far you’ve come. Im proud of you brej. Hmu when you get up.”

The second text was never read by Matheson.

When Matheson didn’t show up for work April 10 or answer her phone, her mother went to her garage-apartment near the Texas Christian University campus. Matheson’s mother found the apartment unlocked and her daughter’s body curled up on the bathroom floor, dressed only in a T-shirt, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The medical examiner noted Matheson’s shirt was wet, her left eye was injured and swollen and she had been deceased for a long period of time.

Detectives suspect Matheson had been taken to the shower and placed under the running shower to remove physical evidence, according to the affidavit.

While searching Matheson’s apartment, officers found a pair of Matheson’s running shorts, underwear, a pillow case, a fitted sheet, wash cloths and a bath towel in the washing machine, along with a pair of men’s underwear, still wet.

In his interview, Kimbro said Matheson had been wearing a pair of running shorts the night of April 9. Police believe those shorts were the same ones found in the washing machine.

Detectives obtained records that showed a spike in power usage that would be consistent with the washing machine running around the same time a neighbor’s surveillance camera showed Kimbro’s car leaving the apartment, which police said was around 2 a.m.

According to the affidavit, police believe Kimbro could have loaded and started the washing machine as a means to destroy evidence.

The affidavit also details Kimbro’s two prior rape accusations. One was made by a woman in Plano in 2012, and another was made by a woman in South Padre Island in 2014.

In the affidavit, police said Kimbro knew both women and was accused of strangling them during the assaults.

In the 2012 case, a sexual assault kit conducted on the woman revealed Kimbro’s DNA as well, but he was not arrested. That case is still active and open, according to Plano police.

In the 2014 case, Kimbro’s semen was found in the woman, but he claimed the sex was consensual, and the charges were dismissed.

Kimbro remains in custody at the Mansfield jail, but his bail amount was raised from $500,000 to $1 million after his charge was upgraded.

Next, the case moves to a grand jury for review, Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office communications officer Sam Jordan said.


Restroom fire sparks investigation on SE Campus

by Kathryn Kelman/reporter

An arson investigation is ongoing following a fire in a women’s restroom on SE Campus May 3.

The restroom, in ESEC 1105-R, was reported to have a strong smoke odor at 2:12 p.m., according to a press release issued May 4 by communication and executive affairs vice chancellor Reginald Gates.

Burned paper towels were discovered in the trashcan and the paper towel dispenser showed signs of burned plastic upon investigation by campus officers, the release said.

TCC police Cpt. William Ivie wouldn’t say whether the fire was an accident or arson, but an active investigation into the fire is ongoing, he said.

Ivie confirmed that two suspects have been identified, but no arrests have been made at this time. The identities of the suspects have not been released to protect the integrity of the investigation, Ivie said.

Despite the damage and continuing investigation, the bathroom is open for use, he said.

If anyone has information that could be helpful to the investigation, contact the TCC police department at 817-515-8911.

Today’s minorities face similar issues as WWII Japanese American

by Andrew Forbes/reporter

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a Richland College sociology professor, spoke to TR Campus students and faculty May 2 about Japanese internment camps that came and their relevance today.

“I am the son of a Japanese internment camp survivor,” Mike Itashiki said.

Itashiki’s father and grandparents were taken to internment camps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. These camps were made to supposedly “protect” Japanese-Americans from any harm that may had been afflicted on them from other citizens.

He said his grandparents and his father struggled every day for three years until they were finally released, and his grandmother died from illness inside the camp.

These camps were simply called internment camps to make it sound better than they actually were, Itashiki said.

“They were called internment camps rather than concentration camps because the word internment made it sound like it was going to be a vacation for the Japanese,” he said.

Victims of these camps experienced flight ban, sanctioned hate, loss of health and even loss of life. Itashiki said many Japanese in the camps pretended to be different from who they actually were to protect themselves.

“A lot of Japanese culture was lost so the Japanese could appear as American and not look suspect,” he said.

Itashiki also focused on life after the camps. He said many of these survivors had lost loved ones and many of the possessions they had before being taken to the camp such as a home and job.

America did apologize and offer incentive to camp members who survived, but it happened many years later, Itashiki said.

“America paid $20,000 to survivors of the internment camps, but many people had already died by then,” he said. “It wasn’t a meaningful apology because it was different people who paid and apologized than the people who were responsible for bringing the internment camps in America in the first place.”

This is relevant today because of what is going on with Muslims right now in America, Itashiki said. Many of the problems Muslims are experiencing now are similar to ones the Japanese faced during the time of internment camps, he said.

“I had family in internment camps, and now I have family that’s currently going through problems because my wife is Muslim,” he said.

Discrimination and prejudices are still as relevant in America today as they were during World War II even if it is different cultures experiencing them, Itashiki said.

Arrest made in Matheson murder

Reginald Kimbro

By Kathryn Kelman/ ne news editor

Reginald Kimbro

Fort Worth police arrested 23-year-old Reginald Kimbro April 27 in the murder of NE student Molly Matheson. 

Students prepare to flip the tassel

NE student Cameron Sloan will be among those who graduate May 16. The ceremonies will be at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Peter Matthews/The Collegian

By Hannah Lathen/ managing editor

NE student Cameron Sloan will be among those who graduate May 16. The ceremonies will be at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Peter Matthews/The Collegian

Hundreds of caps will be flung into the air of the Fort Worth Convention Center May 16 as TCC graduates take their last step in receiving their diplomas.  

Richland VP named new president of campus

Zariana Blankenbaker

By Katelyn Needham/ editor-in-chief

Zarina Blankenbaker

A Richland College vice president was named NW Campus president April 25.

Fire Academy receives truck from Grapevine

Grapevine’s fire department donated a 1999 E-1 Quint fire truck to TCC’s Fire Academy. The Quint has a 75-foot ladder that provides students with better live fire practice. Peter Matthews/The Collegian

By Bethany Narvaez/ nw news editor

Grapevine’s fire department donated a 1999 E-1 Quint fire truck to TCC’s Fire Academy. The Quint has a 75-foot ladder that provides students with better live fire practice.
Peter Matthews/The Collegian

NW Campus’ Fire Academy students have been given the opportunity to broaden their learning experience through a donated fire truck.

Editorial- TCC should offer more than Subway

Paula Lara/The Collegian

TCC students who eat their meals on campus know the feeling: They walk to the cafeteria with every intention to eat a healthy meal, but only one billboard stares into their eyes.

Paula Lara/The Collegian