UNC Student Murder
Read this and you’ll get a flavor for they type of crime I think lead to the death of Eve Carson:
18-year-old cold case solved, Martin detectives say
By Joe Crankshaw Friday, February 15, 2008
STUART — Thanks to a letter from a South Carolina prisoner, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office finally arrested suspects 18 years after Allan Dale Matzek was shot and killed along Interstate 95.
On Wednesday, Martin County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrested two men and charged them with murder in what investigators claim was a carjacking/robbery effort to recover money after a drug deal gone bad. Sheriff’s officials also announced they are interested in three other men.
“They probably never expected they would be caught,” said Lt. John Silvas of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office cold crimes unit.
Matzek, who was 34 at the time, had no connection to the drug deal and, investigators say, was regarded as a good worker and model citizen in his hometown of Jacksonville.
The break for investigators came when one of the suspects ended up in a federal prison in Bennettsville, S.C., in 2006, where he recounted details of the crime to his cellmate, who then wrote a letter to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, offering the information in return for a deal.
Silvas said no deals where made, but investigators pursued the case, and that led to the arrest of Omar Cortez Johnson and Darryl Lamont Cheatham, whom Silvas described as “career criminals.”
The other men are in state or federal prisons and will be returned to Florida, possibly for a grand jury hearing March 11 in Fort Pierce.
Silvas said the chain of events that led to Matzek’s death Nov. 25, 1991, began when Johnson, 34, now an inmate of the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Ga., borrowed $5,000 from a Myrtle Beach, S.C., drug dealer to buy drugs in Miami.
Johnson took along Cheatham, 33, of Durham, N.C.; and South Carolina residents Ren Able Gause, 35, Kareem Lafayette Long, 34, William Craig Chestnut, 37; and a fifth man known only as “Corain,” to find the Miami drug dealers in Florida City, Silvas said.
The drug dealers beat up Johnson and robbed him. According to statements by two of the men in Sheriff’s Office reports, the five men went looking for the drug dealers to try to get the money back. They found them at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, where a gunfight ensued. The drug dealers escaped and Johnson’s group fled north on I-95.
Matzek, a truck driver who had been visiting a friend in West Palm Beach, was headed home to Jacksonville. He was suffering from the flu and stopped at the Martin County I-95 rest stop.
It was there the five men found him sleeping in his blue 1992 rental Cadillac, Silvas said.
According to Sheriff’s Office reports, Johnson said he wanted to steal the car and sell it to a Winter Garden chop shop for money to pay back the South Carolina drug dealer. They broke out the passenger-side window fired at least one shot into the vehicle’s door and forced Matzek into the passenger seat, demanding his wallet, which contained $15 and a credit card. Then, according to statements made by the men in the report, Johnson fired a single shot into Matzek’s head, instantly killing him.
The body was dumped on the side of I-95, and the men drove off in the Cadillac and a gray Chevrolet Spectrum in which they had been traveling, Silvas said. Realizing they could not sell the bloodied vehicle, they dumped it on the side of Jenkins Road in Fort Pierce and returned north.
Silvas characterized Long, Gause and Chestnut as witnesses, but said the state attorney might decide to file other charges against them because they helped dispose of the body.
Post Script: I would be circulating that ATM suspect photo all over Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, and especially Florida. I’d also be talking to anyone recently arrested for operating in any car theft rings.