Homestead hotel robbery case goes to U.S. District Court jury
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It is now up to a jury to decide whether Jay Gregory Mathis, 45, robbed the Courtyard by Marriott in Homestead and then fired on the police officer who pursued him. A trial in U.S. District Court that started last week ended today with closing arguments.
Mathis, of Homestead, was found guilty in March of a separate bank robbery in which he fired on police, and faces sentencing on those counts next month. He now awaits a verdict for the $221 hotel robbery on June 19, 2009, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and using that gun in a crime by firing it at Homestead Officer Brian Meals, shattering his windshield during a chase through traffic.
His attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender W. Penn Hackney, said that no one unequivocally identified Mathis as the perpetrator. He said there was no thorough investigation of the man eventually caught with the gun that was used in the robbery, nor the man who owned the Chevy truck in which the perpetrator got away.
"They didn't find Jay Mathis' prints or DNA, and that is a fact," he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Swartz said that Mr. Mathis was pulled over in the Chevy truck just three weeks before, and was picked out from a photo array by two hotel employees.
"You would have to believe that Jay Mathis is the subject of the most unfortunate set of coincidences to find that he is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," she said.
U.S. District Chief Judge Gary Lancaster conducted the trial.
First Published June 25, 2012 1:21 pm