Manatee judge holds accused shooter after bond hearing

- Emotions ran high as the families of Rebecca Rawson and Eugene Matthews filled a Manatee County courtroom.

Matthews is accused of shooting and killing Rawson, but in court Wednesday, his attorney, Scott Rieth wanted to paint his client as a frail, old man.

"Your honor, Mr. Matthews is 83-years-old. He will be 84 in June," Rieth said. "He has a heart condition. He takes heart medicine."

Manatee Deputies arrested Matthews in January after they said he shot and killed Rebecca Rawson and tried shooting her daughter and brother-in-law. 

Investigators said the three arrived at Matthews' gated property one night to retrieve Rawson's late, estranged husband's dog. Rawson stayed in the car while her brother-in-law knocked on the door. Investigators said Matthews answered with a gun, firing several shots, one of which hit Rawson.

He faces charges of second degree murder in Rawson's death, and two counts of attempted murder. 

But Matthews' family claims self defense. They say Matthews was startled when the car Rawson was in rammed through his gate, which displayed five "no trespassing" signs. 
He faces charges of second degree murder in the death of Rawson, and two counts of attempted murder and has been held without bond ever since.

The state painted a picture of a man with multiple arrests and a history of erratic behavior.

"The defendant has talked to the Alfansos, who are the future in-laws of Kathryn Rawson, about killing people and how to bury them," said prosecutors.

Inside the courtroom, Judge Deno Economou told both the defense and state - all he was hearing was hearsay.

"I am going to need evidence as to what you are saying, and also what you are saying, because that's not evidence. I'm not hearing any evidence," said Judge Economou, pointing to both the prosecution and the defense.

Judge Economou ordered them to come back at a later date with evidence. In the meantime, Matthews remains locked up with no bond.

"I was a little bit disappointed. I would have liked to have had the judge make a ruling. I do understand the judge wants to be fair to both sides, so we will just have to come back," said Rieth.

A case management hearing has been rescheduled for March 30. 

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