At the time of the murder, Matt was 19 years old and living in a room rented from Marlene Schulte, a long-time friend, on Park Avenue East, in Mansfield, Ohio.
Matt was 6ft tall and weighed 160 pounds, had dark brown hair and a mustache with no beard. He is left-handed.
On the night of December 30, 1985 Matt was with his then best friend, Joe Griffith, and a friend of Joe's, Rick DeVore. They were driving around in Matt’s blue 1972 Oldsmobile Delta 88, trying to decide what to do. At approximately 9pm, they pulled into a Super America gas station on Ashland Road in Mansfield, near to Matt's and Griffith's residences, and got gas. While they were at the gas station, Matt got into a confrontation with Rick Harris, a man he did not even know. They argued and Harris, while waving his finger in Matt’s face, poked him in the eye. The others broke it up, and everyone went on their way. After dropping off Griffith and DeVore, Matt went to see his girlfriend, Cheryl Workman, who lived with her mother. She noticed his black eye and asked him about it. He told her about the confrontation with Harris, a man it turned out she knew. At no time, was Matt anywhere near downtown Mansfield or Mifflin on December 30, 1985.
THE PICK-UP TRUCK
First off and most importantly, the 1967 Chevrolet pick-up truck owned by Matt was NOT the vehicle that was involved in this crime.
In February 1985 Matt purchased a 1967 Chevrolet pick-up truck from the neighbor across the pond from the Laver Road residence, in the Madison area of Mansfield, where he resided at the time. The truck was burnt orange and had no bed on it. Matt laid two logs across the frame, nailed a sheet of plywood to the logs, and put up a little two-by-four railing to make it appear street legal. The truck was a three-speed manual with a column shifter. The "bed" did not obstruct the view out of the rear window and the truck did not have a floor shifter. The neighbor's name was Tom Leppo, who testified at trial after giving a police statement that confirmed the truck had a column shifter, not a floor shifter, and that the "bed" was simply two logs with a sheet of plywood nailed to it.
He drove the truck around until late July 1985, when he bought the blue Oldsmobile. Matt's landlady had a brother named Ronald "Butch" Perkins, who had a similar truck that was blue and had an intact bed. He was interested in the motor and some other parts and agreed to buy it for $50. Matt sold him the truck on August 1, 1985 and they signed the title over to Perkins at the Courthouse. As Perkins was using the truck for parts, he did not bother getting a new title issued, thus the truck was effectively still titled to Matt. Perkins took the motor out of the truck and, in the spring of 1986, cut up the remainder of the truck for parts and scrap with his nephew, Andy Schulte, helping him.
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