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Couple: Warning about teens drinking at Raleigh home ignored

Posted August 5, 2015
Updated August 6, 2015

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— Parents who said their teenage son was drinking at a Raleigh home last year expressed frustration Wednesday that the homeowners didn't heed their warning about underage drinking.

"On May 28, we went to the Matthews home, and on June 28, the tragic death of JT," Annette King told WRAL News in an exclusive interview.

Jonathan “JT” Taylor, 18, died in a crash on Hunting Ridge Road last summer shortly after leading a wedding reception at the home of Dr. Charles and Kimberly Matthews.

Prosecutors accused the Matthewses of allowing teens to drink at the party, but a jury acquitted them last Friday of aiding and abetting the consumption of alcohol by minors.

Annette and William King said they raised red flags with the Matthewses about teens drinking in their home after finding out their son, Liam, had been drinking there with the Matthewses son, Thomas. The Kings said they learned about the drinking through text messages on their son's phone, and he admitted to it after they confronted him.

Although the Kings said they don't believe the Matthewses knew about the teens' drinking, they were disturbed by the response to their concerns.

"There were no worries there," Annette King said. "They didn't seem to think there was anything to be concerned about."

She said she was furious when she learned of the fatal crash a few weeks later.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "There hasn't been a day in the past year since JT died that I haven't thought about the whole situation."

Prosecutors wanted the Kings to testify during the trial about their encounter with the Matthewses, but Superior Court Judge Osmond Smith ruled that the testimony didn't pertain to the night of the crash and would be prejudicial.

The Kings said there is a culture where adults allow teens, including other people's children, to drink at home.

"We just weren't aware of it. It was shocking to us," William King said. "When my child is at someone else's home, they may very well have another set of rules."

"It made me very thankful that we were made aware of the situation and could do something about it before possibly we were faced with a tragedy," Annette King said. "If you're going to be that parent, in my opinion, that's irresponsible."

Hart Miles, the attorney for the Matthewses, said they had no comment on the Kings' allegations, as they are involved in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor's parents.

"The Matthews certainly do not condone underage drinking and never have. The Kings have sought to interject themselves into this case and also have expressed their dislike of the Matthews," Miles said in an email to WRAL News. "Obviously, they are disappointed with the jury's objective analysis and verdict."

The Kings responded by noting that police and prosecutors approached them during the investigation into Taylor's death, not the other way around.

William King said he he hopes people don't get the wrong message from the jury verdict in the trial.

"The community doesn't say this is accepted behavior," he said of allowing teens to drink in a home.

Annette King said she just hopes Taylor family can find peace.

"They're never going to get over the death of JT, but I just hope they can find a peaceful spot," she said.

53 Comments

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  • Don Dickerson Aug 12, 2015
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    I have drunk and high 14-year-olds driving up and don my street. I wasn't even sure drinking laws or licensing codes even existed anymore.

  • Byrd Ferguson Aug 6, 2015
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    I agree with Belle's point. Once you turn 18, you are responsible for your own behaviors and cannot blame others. The parents did not make him drink and get behind the wheel of a car.

  • Belle Boyd Aug 6, 2015
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    View quoted thread


    Yes he was.

  • Gabrielle Williams Aug 6, 2015
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    I have a question. Wasn't this ADULT drinking prior to getting to their house?

  • Belle Boyd Aug 6, 2015
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    View quoted thread


    Continuing this as my last point. You cannot blame someone else for the actions of an adult. That is why they are an adult. They make decisions and they have to face the consequences. As I have seen recently people want to blame others for their situation or their actions. No one is responsible for you. You are responsible for yourself. Mommy and daddy cannot hold your hand forever.

  • Belle Boyd Aug 6, 2015
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    All I am going to say is that everyone is going to have different opinions on this. I say the guy was an adult and he made a decision that ultimately ended his life. Now I have no sympathy for drunk drivers, as do many other people. Then there are going to be others that say that the parents (Matthews) are responsible, etc.. But as I asked another person on here for his opinion, I accepted it even though I don't agree with it, I'll ask others to ponder on this and I know not everyone will agree: How is this case any different than the UNC 20 yr. old (besides the fact that one killed himself and the other killed 3 people)? They did the same exact thing...underage drinking which led to a death. I also ask would we be having this same conversation if 18 yr. old Taylor had killed someone else, even a child? Most of us would probably say lock him up and throw away the key, not thinking about where the alcohol came from or anything, like the UNC 20 yr. old.

  • Gabrielle Williams Aug 6, 2015
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    so the parents knew their son basically had a "drinking problem". They should have heeded the warnings and got their son some help before this happened. they are grieving and I understand that. but blaming others for what a "adult" did is not right either. It is hard as a parent to see your young adult child as an "ADULT" but that is exactly what he was. I pray they find peace. but continually attacking the other parent is not right either.

  • Belle Boyd Aug 6, 2015
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    View quoted thread


    But they did the exact same thing. I forgot to put the other part of the question in (my bad)...would be having this same conversation if he had killed someone, even a child? No we would most likely say lock him up and throw away the key like the UNC 20 yr old. My entire point was they did the exact same thing...drinking underage and killed someone (Taylor since he is someone). One was blamed for his actions while the other one is passed of as "oh he was kid he didn't know what he was doing...it is there fault...they did it." Taylor is just as responsible for his actions as the UNC 20 yr. old is. You made the decision to drink (even before the party) and then drive and you ended up killing yourself or someone.

  • Dona Hill Aug 6, 2015
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    It is amazing to me how WRAL only includes certain parts of an interview or coverage and people jump on the bandwagon to make a judgment without knowing all the facts. I previously posted comments without knowing the facts. This post has taught me something and that is I will never post again. In closing I would like to say that The Kings never wanted any of this. The Matthew's own son told the investigators about how the King's son had been invited to his house and drank too much and became convulsively ill last year when he was seventeen. The Kings found out about the episode three months after it happened and acted upon the information immediately. The Matthew's son told the investigators how The Kings came to discuss what happened to their son with the Matthews. The King's son was severely punished to teach him a lesson and never went to the Matthew's house again even though the underage drinking continued at the Mathew's home. Good bye blog. I have learned my lesson.

  • Tracy Corwin Aug 6, 2015
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    Here's my two cents on this whole mess. Dr. and Mrs. Matthews were acquitted, good for them, HOWEVER, if they had ANY inclination that underage people (I won't call them children, but by legal standards they were too young to drink) were consuming alcohol, then they should have put a stop to it and ensured that not a one of the underage drinkers left the party on their own accord. The Dr. and his wife should have been responsible enough to call the parents of the underage drinkers. Would they have "looked" bad to the other parents, probably, but I will bet you any amount that the parents would have appreciated being notified and would have picked up their underage drinkers, thereby eliminating the tragedy that ultimately occurred. End of my two cents!!

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