‘Life or death situation:’ Brother, sister charged in fatal 2016 shooting in Kenosha convicted, set for sentencing

Derrick Matthews

KENOSHA COUNTY — A brother and sister charged in connection with the death of Michael Gayan, whose body was found in Kenosha on July 26, 2016 have been convicted.

Derrick Matthews, 57, on Monday, July 16 pleaded guilty to one count of second degree intentional homicide, as party to a crime.

His sister, Donna Matthews, 52, was found guilty by a jury on July 10, convicted of first degree intentional homicide, as party to a crime, use of a dangerous weapon.

Donna Matthews will be sentenced on Aug. 31. Derrick Matthes will be sentenced on Sept. 14.

Donna Matthews was arrested in Seattle, Washington on Aug. 3, 2016 and extradited to Wisconsin. Derrick Matthews was arrested on Aug. 1, 2016.

Donna Matthews

Michael Gayan was found dead in a home on 59th Place near 3rd Avenue (near Eichelman Park) on July 26, ,2016. His body was discovered in an advanced stage of decomposition.

An autopsy was performed the next day, and Gayan’s death was ruled a homicide. The autopsy revealed Gayan had suffered multiple gunshot wounds — two to the chest and one to the right forearm.

A criminal complaint filed in this case states that Gayan was shot and killed on the Fourth of July, 2016.

The complaint states that when Gayan’s body was found, a detective noted what appeared to be bullet wounds to his chest area. One bullet was recovered from the floor near Gayan’s body.

According to the complaint, investigators noted that an iPad and Gayan’s wallet were not taken from the home in this case — but a iPhone 6 was noted to be missing.

Investigators spoke with a downstairs neighbor of Derrick Matthews, who indicated he also knows Donna Matthews. This man told investigators he was aware of a history between Donna Matthews and Michael Gayan.

According to the complaint, this man told investigators there had been multiple phone and text message conversations regarding Donna Matthews wanting to kill Gayan “for the way she had been treated,” and for “alleged threats Gayan had made to her and her family prior to July 4.”

Michael Gayan found dead in Kenosha

Michael Gayan found dead in Kenosha

Derrick Matthews’ downstairs neighbor said he saw Derrick leave on July 4 and then come home for a short period before leaving again. This man told investigators Derrick Matthews owned a gun — a small caliber snub nose revolver, and he recalled Matthews telling him that July 4 would be a good time to test the gun “because no one would know the difference.” The man noted that after July 4, Derrick Matthews’ demeanor was “depleted,” and he feared Derrick Matthews was suicidal.

The complaint states that a search warrant was executed on Derrick Matthews’ home, and a box of ammunition was found — with five rounds missing. The complaint states that Derrick Matthews told investigators he owned a .38 revolver, but he had taken it to Michigan and “lost it.”

Derrick Matthews was interviewed on July 31, and, according to the complaint, he told investigators that in the week to months prior to July 4, his sister, Donna Matthews had reached out to him, asking for help in dealing with Gayan — her ex-boyfriend. Derrick Matthews stated that his sister “feared for her life.” Derrick Matthews said Donna asked him if she could buy his gun from him, and he quoted her a price of $500, and “told her it would need to be thrown out after she used it.” Derrick Matthews told investigators he was aware that Donna Matthews had a plan to kill Michael Gayan.

Michael Gayan found dead in Kenosha

Michael Gayan found dead in Kenosha

According to the complaint, Donna Matthews told her brother that Gayan had purchased a plane ticket for her for a flight on July 5, but she instead flew into Chicago from Hawaii on July 4 and took a bus to the Brat Stop in Kenosha.

Derrick Matthews told investigators on July 4, he met his sister at the Brat Stop and took her to a hotel, where he bought her a room. Donna Matthews then paid Derrick $500 for the gun, according to the complaint. Derrick Matthews told investigators he was aware Donna was going to kill Gayan — telling investigators he believed Gayan would harm his sister, and that this was “a life or death situation for her.”

According to the complaint, on the evening of July 4, Derrick Matthews drove Donna Matthews to the area near Gayan’s home, and Donna took Derrick’s gun. The brother and sister met up again later on July 4.

When they met up, the complaint indicates Derrick Matthews noted that Donna’s hands were trembling and she was wearing a different shirt and hat. According to the complaint, Donna told Derrick she made her way into Gayan’s house and hid. Eventually, Donna said, she came out of hiding and shot Gayan five times.

The complaint indicates Donna Matthews said something and made a noise, so she hit him in the head with the gun.

Donna Matthews told her brother that “there was a lot of blood,” and she spotted Gayan’s phone on the counter, so she took it, according to the complaint. She told her brother she planned to hold onto the phone because “there were messages there that would save her if this all came to light.”

According to the complaint, Donna Matthews later gave the gun back to her brother, and he noted there was blood on the handle. Derrick Matthews told investigators he later gave the gun to his ex-wife. That gun was recovered at a home in Zion, Illinois on July 30.

The complaint states Derrick Matthews told investigators he and his sister took the casings, and threw them into the lake after the shooting on July 4.

“If you know someone is going to commit a murder and you both provide them a ride to and from, and you provide them the murder weapon, then you are responsible for the homicide just as the person who pulls the trigger,” Mike Graveley, Kenosha County deputy district attorney said.

After a court hearing, a third Matthews sibling told FOX6 News that Donna Matthews had a been a long-time victim of Gayan’s abuse.

Damond Matthews

Damond Matthews

“I read texts where he threatened her. I know she had a restraining order placed against him — rightfully so,” Damond Matthews said.

In that restraining order, filed in July 2015, Donna Matthews wrote that after she broke up with Gayan, he stole her belongings and stalked her. In November, she asked the court to dismiss the restraining order.