Prosecution of Raleigh couple in teen's drunken driving death to proceed
Posted July 23, 2015
Updated July 30, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.