Adam Matos took the stand on Wednesday in the trial where he is charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend Megan Brown, her new boyfriend Nicholas Leonard, and her parents Margaret and Gregory Brown in 2014. Matos stoically answered questions about what happened on August 28 of that year, admitting to killing all four people, but saying it was in self-defense.
Matos claimed Nicholas Leonard tried to kill him, so he fought back, killing him after a struggle. He told the jury that Nicholas threatened him by saying, “I’m going to rip your face off,” while pulling at his cheek. Matos said he grabbed a knife and stabbed Leonard in the arm about three times.
Matos also claimed he got into a shootout with Gregory Brown, who he said threatened him with a rifle pointed at his chest. He said he asked Greg not to shoot him, but Greg pulled the trigger, firing at Matos twice but missing both times. He said he finally shot Greg Brown when Brown tried to shoot again.
Matos did not say that Megan did anything in an attempt to kill him, but he still claimed, “I felt that she was gonna kill me as well.” He said she was yelling for her father to shoot him during the commotion, saying, “Dad, shoot him; shoot him Dad.”
After killing Megan, Matos said he was angry and upset that he had killed the mother of his child. He said he took his anger out on Nicholas Leonard, who was still alive, but unconscious. He explained that he blamed Leonard for turning his family against him and causing the whole situation.
“I grabbed a hammer that was on the floor and I just kept hitting him until I couldn’t anymore,” Matos said.
Matos said that after it was all over, “I felt just lost. My whole world was turned upside down. I was out of my mind.”
He said at that point he was afraid that police would kill him, and he feared for the safety of his son Tristan.
Margaret Brown came home later in the day. Matos said he feared that she wanted him dead too, and had been in on it with the rest of the family. That’s why he picked up the hammer he used to kill Leonard and used it to kill her too.
“I realize now that she probably wasn’t trying to kill me,” Matos told the court, saying he was paranoid at the time. “I feel horrible,” he said, saying, “it haunts me every day.”
It was unclear what the defense’s strategy was going to be before court began on Wednesday. Matos’ defense opted to hold off on their opening statement until after the prosecution rested. In their opening, first thing Wednesday morning, they finally outlined their version of what happened.
“This case is about self-defense,” Matos’ attorney told the court, insisting that these killings were not premeditated murders. “He had no great plan.”
One curious element of the case is that Matos remained in the house for days after killing the four people. Witnesses testified that they could smell an odor of decomposed bodies coming from the house. The defense used this as evidence that Matos was not guilty of a crime. “Adam Matos never tried to get away,” they said. His attorney explained that the reason why he left the house a mess was because of “paralysis of the soul.”
In his testimony, Matos said he tried to bury the bodies, but the ground was too rocky so he ended up dumping them at a location down the road from the house.
Matos is also accused of selling off items from the home, including dogs, which he sold for just $50, well below a typical asking price. Matos’ attorney justified this, saying he sold the animals “for almost nothing,” so that other people could properly care for them.
Of course, there was also the issue of Matos lying to officers about the deaths. His attorney admitted that “he lied and pretended he had nothing to do with the deaths,” explaining that Matos “wanted to believe he had nothing to do with it,” and didn’t understand how legal defenses work.
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