Local News

Prosecution of Raleigh couple in teen's drunken driving death to proceed

Posted July 23, 2015
Updated July 30, 2015

Charles Joseph Matthews, Kimberly Hunt Matthews and Thomas Blake Matthews are each charged with providing alcohol to minors at a house party. An 18-year-old suspected to be under the influence of alcohol was killed in a vehicle accident after leaving the party.
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— A Superior Court judge refused Thursday to dismiss criminal charges against a Raleigh couple accused of providing alcohol to minors at a 2014 wedding, including an 18-year-old who died after crashing into a tree.

Dr. Charles Joseph Matthews, 59, and Kimberly Hunt Matthews, 52, are charged with four counts each of aiding and abetting the consumption of alcohol by minors. Their son, Thomas Blake Matthews, 18, is charged with purchasing the alcohol, along with three counts of providing alcohol to minors.

Investigators say Jonathon Gregory Taylor was speeding and under the influence when he crashed into a tree on Hunting Ridge Road in north Raleigh on June 29, 2014. Taylor, who was pronounced dead at the scene, had just left the wedding at the Matthews’ home.

The Matthewses recently filed a motion to dismiss their case, calling their prosecution "intentional or deliberate discrimination" by the Wake County District Attorney’s Office. They said prosecutors should have gone after the bartenders who served alcohol to teens without asking for identification or the Wake County ABC employee who sold their son alcohol, again without asking for ID.

No charges were filed against the bartenders at the wedding, and charges against the ABC store worker were dropped.

Assistant Wake County District Attorney Jason Waller told Judge Henry Hight that he has witnesses who say this wasn't the first time the Matthewses served alcohol to underage drinkers.

"A family had approached the Matthews family and expressed concerns about their son consuming alcohol in their house," Waller told Hight. "I've interviewed those folks this week, and intend to call them" to testify.

Hight denied the Matthewses motion, and their trial is set to begin next week. Defense attorneys say they will ask that the testimony of previous underage drinking at their home be kept out of the trial.

7 Comments

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  • Frank Rizzo Jul 24, 2015
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    wow.... race. again. completely ignorant and inane comment. wral censors go! in 3...2...1

  • Frank Rizzo Jul 24, 2015
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    waller is a stellar ADA. if he says it should be prosecuted, then that's all i need to hear. go get 'em waller!

  • Paul Stroud Jul 23, 2015
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    I wonder if you'd be singing the same tune if they were black.

  • Tim Dean Jul 23, 2015
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    For those who cant function without alcohol- "pass the bottle please" it's ok to get ripped and kill yourself or someone else. That seems to be the proper way!!!

  • Kristin Byrne Jul 23, 2015
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    It's different because the wedding was held at their house. That's why they're being held responsible. If it had been elsewhere, the owners of that establishment would've been held liable.

    If it's true that the underage drinking was brought to their attention, and they chose to ignore it, then they committed a crime.

  • Nicolle Leney Jul 23, 2015
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    So basically, every wedding should be alcohol free, otherwise the hosts have to run around to make sure no minors are drinking?

    Am I missing something here, or is that crazy?

    If these parents were serving alcohol at a party with mostly minors (like a graduation party, etc), I could see charges. But usually, most of the people at a wedding are over 21.

    The son is the ONLY person who should be charged in my opinion.

  • Jim Frei Jul 23, 2015
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    These people are being railroaded.