A Michigan judge has entered a not guilty plea on behalf of a Pontiac man charged in connection with the death of a Detroit radio news anchor and a concomitant attack on the victim’s girlfriend and children.
Arthur Levan Williamson is charged with one count of first-degree homicide, one count of felony murder, two counts of intent to murder, and three counts of unlawful imprisonment, according to statements at a Monday press conference by Chesterfield Public Safety Director Brian Bassett.
WWJ-AM radio anchor Jim Matthews, 57, was killed by blunt force trauma, Bassett said.
Citing Williamson’s seven felony charges and “danger to the community,” a judge denied bond for Williamson during a Monday arraignment. The judge shot down several requests by Williamson’s attorney to approach the bench.
“This matter is closed,” the judge said several times, according to coverage of the brief arraignment by Detroit FOX affiliate WJBK-TV.
Williamson was 54 when the alleged crimes occurred but has since turned 55, according to jail records in Macomb County, Michigan. Those records say Williamson was booked into the facility on Fri., Sept. 23, 2022. The defendant is also known under the alias Van Williamson, the jail records note.
According to Michigan Department of Corrections records, Williamson was on probation until June 5, 2023. He had been placed on supervision four years earlier on June 5, 2019. One of the many conditions of supervision was that Williamson would not violate any criminal law.
According to state prison records, Williamson had been sentenced for breaking an entering and assaulting a police officer in connection with a March 3, 2013 offense in Clinton County, Michigan. Prior to that, he was convicted of assault with the intent to commit murder, kidnapping, and several weapons offenses involving an April 14, 2002 offense in St. Clair County, Michigan. Before that, he was sentenced on several drug offenses involving a May 19, 1993 case in Macomb County.
Bassett said he would not release additional details about the cause of death, but the Detroit Free Press and the Macomb Daily both reported based on earlier law enforcement pronouncements that Matthews had been beaten to death with a hammer.
A statement from WWJ on the tragic loss of our overnight anchor, Jim Matthews. pic.twitter.com/qlsRv5Ukp9
— WWJ 950 (@WWJ950) September 23, 2022
Bassett said Nichole Guertin, 35, was in stable condition but was being held for observation at a local hospital. A ten-year-old victim was in critical but stable condition; a five-year-old had been treated and released, Bassett added.
Guertin was reportedly Matthews’ girlfriend. The children were reportedly Matthews’ son and daughter.
A previously reported by Law&Crime, officers with the Chesterfield Police Department responded on Friday to a 911 call about a violent attack at a home located in the 33000 block of Bayview. The caller — later identified as Matthews’ girlfriend — told the emergency dispatcher that she and a 5-year-old child had “escaped” from the home where they were attacked.
Matthews’ brother, Joe Nicolai, told a local television station that Guertin had been restrained before making the escape.
“Nicole, my brother’s girlfriend, was laying out in the parking lot and was duct-taped and bleeding so my wife went out to hold her hand,” Nicolai reportedly said in an interview with Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV. “It’s not even something you’d see in a horror movie.”
The 10-year-old boy was reportedly beaten, bound, and locked in a closet, according to previous reports. A GoFundMe fundraiser by Ashley Quigley, who identified herself as Guertin’s sister, said the 5-year-old was doing relatively well; however, she said that the 10-year-old required “brain surgery and ear surgery” and that a “long road to recovery” was ahead.
“Domestic violence has victimized too many in our community,” Bassett added while offering prayers for the family.
Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Peter J. Lucido said the situation was both “unfortunate” and “sad.” He implored listeners to educate themselves on how to handle domestic violence incidents. He said such matters “stress the entire community” but generally opined that his was a “safe” community.
Bassett said Williamson “was welcomed in as a guest in the home.” Lucido said there was no evidence of breaking and entering.
Lucido said additional charges could be forthcoming when the investigation is complete. He bemoaned the case was one of “limited clarity” at the present time.
The authorities collectively said they were struggling to piece together some of the facts of the matter because two of the four victims remained in the hospital.
However, the police believe Williamson arrived at the home at some point in the “middle of the night”; Matthews arrived home around 6 a.m.
The police were called at noon, Bassett said. He said the entire picture of what happened between 6 a.m. and noon was not fully clear.
Bassett said Williamson had been to the home in the past but that investigators were still attempting to ascertain the extent of the relationships of the individuals involved.
Bassett also confirmed that Williamson appeared to have been suffering from an overdose when officers arrived at the scene. The Macomb Daily also said he suffered other self-inflicted wounds when the police found him in the basement of the condo where the Matthews died. Some reports have characterized Williamson as suicidal.
The case was initially assigned the number 22-1037-FY in Michigan’s 42-2 District Court in New Baltimore. Williamson is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 5; a probable cause conference is scheduled for Oct. 12 at 9 a.m.
The defendant’s Michigan Department of Corrections rap sheet is below:
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