Local News

Son pleads guilty, parents await trial on charges of providing alcohol to minors

Posted July 27, 2015 10:28 a.m. EDT
Updated July 27, 2015 7:28 p.m. EDT

— A 19-year-old who is accused along with his parents of providing alcohol to minors at a party pleaded guilty Monday, and he will be sentenced after the trial of his parents.

Thomas Blake Matthews pleaded guilty in Wake County Superior Court to one count of underage purchase of alcohol.

Matthews and his parents, Dr. Charles Joseph Matthews, 59, and Kimberley Hunt Matthews, 52, were charged in connection with a June 2014 wedding at their home. Jonathon Gregory Taylor, an 18-year-old guest, left the party and was killed when he crashed his vehicle into a tree. Investigators said he had been drinking.

A jury was seated Monday and opening statements will begin Tuesday in the trial of Charles and Kimberly Matthews, who are charged with four counts each of aiding and abetting the consumption of alcohol by minors. The couple sought to dismiss their charges, saying they were being discriminated against by the Wake County District Attorney's Office. But a Superior Court judge last week refused to dismiss the case.

In their motion to dismiss, the Matthewses called their prosecution "intentional or deliberate discrimination" because prosecutors did not go 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 said in court that Thomas Matthews and three friends - all 18 at the time - purchased Jack Daniels at an ABC store, and the four consumed the bottle. They also drank wine at the wedding, he said.

The underage drinkers became so ill that EMS was called and one girl's parents had to pick her up, he said.