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‘Commit suicide before you do any of this’: Judge tells man who killed news anchor in front of victim’s family he should’ve just killed himself

Arthur Levan Williamson (WJBK screenshot) and Jim Matthews (WDIV screenshot)

Arthur Levan Williamson (WJBK screenshot) and Jim Matthews (WDIV screenshot)

A 55-year-old Michigan man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for brutally killing Michigan radio news anchor Jim Matthews last year, bludgeoning him with a hammer and slitting his throat in front of his family. Macomb County Circuit Court Judge James Biernat on Thursday ordered Arthur Levan Williamson to serve a sentence of life in prison without the possibility for parole for slaying Matthews, authorities confirmed to Law&Crime.

In addition to the graphic murder, Williamson also critically injured Matthews’ 10-year-old son, whom he also bludgeoned with a hammer, and attempted to rape his 5-year-old daughter before trying to take his own life by overdosing on heroin.

Williamson, in April, pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, and three counts of unlawful imprisonment.

The sentencing hearing

“You’re a pedophile, you’re a murderer and you’re the embodiment of evil,” Judge Biernat said during Thursday’s hearing, The Detroit News reported. “The only thing that’s amazing is you didn’t kill all of them.”

Judge Biernat continued to castigate the convicted murderer, specifically taking aim at Williamson’s failed attempt to end his own life following the horrific spate of crimes.

“Try to commit suicide before you do any of this,” Judge Biernat reportedly said. “Take yourself out so you don’t kill people and try to rape 5-year-olds.”

Matthews’ 10-year-old son — hospitalized with a severe head injury that required brain surgery after the attack — penned a victim impact statement that prosecutors read during the hearing.

“I hate you for what you did to me and my family. You ruined all of our lives,” the statement reportedly read. “You put me and my mom and my sister through hours of hell. You are evil. You left me with trauma. We didn’t deserve what you did.”

‘When Jim gets home, I’m going to kill him’

Williamson killed Matthews, the overnight anchor at Detroit radio station WWJ-AM for nearly seven years, in a brutal attack inside the veteran newsman’s home on Sept. 23, 2022. The attack was recounted by Nicole Guertin, Matthews’ longtime girlfriend and mother of his two young children, during a preliminary hearing in February.

Guertin was friends with Williamson, whom she called “Smokey,” and told police that she let him into their home at 4 a.m. while Matthews was at work.

Guertin said that Williamson came to the home with crack cocaine and heroin. After the two smoked crack in the bedroom, Williamson reportedly went to the garage to get a hammer, saying he needed to fix his hubcap.

When he returned, he allegedly pulled out a knife and told Guertin he wanted to “role play.” When she refused, he allegedly slashed her throat with the knife and bound her wrists and ankles with zip ties.

“He said, ‘when Jim gets home, I’m going to kill him,'” Guertin testified, according to courtroom footage by Detroit Fox affiliate WJBK. “He said if I tried to warn [Jim] in any way, he’d kill the kids.”

Matthews and Guertin’s 10-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter were asleep in the house when Guertin was allegedly tied up. She then testified that she heard Matthews come home and shut the door behind him.

“I heard [Matthews] say, ‘Howdy’ and then heard him screaming, ‘What the f—?’ and screaming my name,” she told the court. “I yelled, ‘I can’t do anything. I’m tied up!'”

She said she could only watch as Matthews tried to run for the bedroom while Williamson kept “hitting him and stabbing him” with the knife and hammer.

“[Matthews] ended up in the bathroom and fell to the floor. He grabbed him by his head and slit his throat,” she said of Williamson. “Before he slit his throat, Jim said, ‘Oh God.'”

After duct-taping her to the bedpost, Guertin reportedly said that Williamson left the bedroom and returned carrying her son, whose eyes, wrists, and mouth had also been duct-taped.

When the child continued “whimpering” after Williamson told him to be quiet, he allegedly beat the child with the same hammer used to bludgeon Matthews.

“Smokey hit him in the head with a hammer,” she said, adding that she was begging him to stop. “He hit me in the head with the hammer and told me to be quiet.”

Guertin said that her daughter woke up and found Matthews’ body.

“I heard her say, ‘is that my dad? Did you kill my dad?'” Guertin testified.

Guertin testified that she had been blindfolded but heard Williamson opening bottles of lube and sexually assaulting her daughter before attempting to kill himself by overdosing on heroin, according to a report from the Macomb Daily.

Guertin said she freed herself and escaped with her daughter. The 10-year-old boy was found tied up in a closet with blunt-force trauma injuries requiring brain and ear surgery.

Police say they found Williamson shirtless in the home’s basement suffering from an apparent drug overdose. Medics administered Narcan and transported him to the hospital, where he was arrested.

Williamson was convicted of breaking and entering and assaulting a police officer in 2013. He also was convicted of assault with the intent to commit murder, kidnapping, and several weapons offenses in 2002. He also has several drug offenses dating to 1993.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.