Before sentencing him to 21 years in prison for a violent home invasion, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart told Xzavier Matthews on Wednesday that he didn’t understand how the young man wound up in the position he was in.
Matthews, 22, comes from a good family and has parents who are involved in his life and care about him, the judge said.
Judge Duhart said Matthews was fortunate to have caring parents who have been good role models.
“You have that. You had it. You have it. You still have it. ... Mr. Matthews, I don’t know — and I suspect your parents feel the same — I don’t know how you got here,” he said.
Matthews was on community control from a 2010 conviction for attempted burglary when on Aug. 8, 2011, he broke into the 115th Street home of Douglas Ducat. On Aug. 28, 2011, he climbed through a window of the Colorado Street home of Frank and Jackie Gascal and shot Frank Gascal in the face when Mr. Gascal confronted the intruder.
For those crimes, he was convicted in April following a bench trial before Judge Duhart of burglary, aggravated burglary, felonious assault, aggravated robbery, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and three firearms specifications.
Matthews took the stand during his trial, admitting he was at Mr. Ducat’s home but denying he was ever at the Gascals’ home. He reiterated his innocence before he was sentenced.
“No disrespect to you, but I feel like I’m being robbed of my life,” he told the court. “I don’t understand how an innocent man can get convicted for such serious things that I had nothing to do with.”
His attorney, Peter Wagner, pointed out that there had been discrepancies in witness statements, that police initially were told the intruder wore a mask the entire time.
Matthews was convicted in Wood County for a 2011 break-in and arson at the Northwood home of former Northwood District Fire Chief Stephen Romstadt that occurred just two days after the incident at the Gascals’ home. He currently is serving 11 years in prison for that incident, and Judge Duhart ordered that he serve the 21-year sentence after he completes the Wood County sentence.
“You must understand, and your family as well, that I have a job to do, and that is to protect the community,” the judge said. “And when this court feels that you are a threat to the community, to yourself, to your family — everybody that’s involved in your life — I’m duty-bound to protect the community, and I’m going to do that.”
The victims, who did not make a statement in court, “did not deserve what they got,” the judge said, noting that Mr. Gascal could have been killed.
“Of all the things that happen in this world, the one thing that each one of us should be able to hold dear is to feel safe and protected in your own home,” he said.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.