Home invader admits guilt in ’12 jail escape try

Xzavier Matthews, 22, left, and his attorney Peter Wagner.
Xzavier Matthews, 22, left, and his attorney Peter Wagner.

BOWLING GREEN — A day after he was found guilty in a violent home invasion in Toledo, Xzavier Matthews was in Wood County Common Pleas Court, where he pleaded guilty Tuesday to escape for trying to break out of the Wood County jail in 2012.

Matthews, 22, of 711 Pearl St. is to be sentenced to at least two years in prison, which, by law, must be served consecutive to any prior prison sentence, said Thomas Matuszak, an assistant Wood County prosecutor.

He told the court Matthews and another inmate removed a bar from a metal bed at the jail in September, 2012, climbed above the ceiling to the attic area, and used the bar to try to pry open metal sheeting on the roof.

“The two individuals who were attempting to escape were doing it on a regular basis, typically each day,” Mr. Matuszak said.

He was being held on charges that included aggravated burglary and aggravated arson for a 2011 break-in at the Northwood home of former Northwood District Fire Chief Stephen Romstadt.

Mr. Romstadt said Tuesday his 19-year-old son, Dylan, came home and found a rental van parked in the driveway with six of his guns loaded inside. The intruder had locked the family’s dogs in the garage and a bathroom and tried to cover his tracks by pouring liquor onto the furniture and igniting it.

Matthews, who pointed a gun at Dylan before fleeing, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, carrying a concealed weapon, having a weapon under disability, and tampering with evidence and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for that case.

The incident occurred just two days after Matthews broke into the East Toledo home of Frank and Jackie Gascal and shot Gascal in the face after he tackled Matthews. Following a three-day bench trial before Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart earlier this month, Matthews was found guilty Monday of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and felonious assault for that incident and guilty of burglary for an unrelated break-in the same month at a 115th Street home.

Matthews is to be sentenced on the escape charge May 6, while his sentencing on the Lucas County charges is scheduled for May 28.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.