The suspect cashed one of the dead man’s checks and used his credit card, an affidavit says.
MERCER, Pa. — A 52-year-old Greenville man is charged with first degree murder in the death of a 60-year-old Hempfield Township man.
Michael V. Matter, whose last known address is 40 Maple Road, Greenville, was charged Thursday, said Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems.
Matter was already in the Mercer County jail on another charge — a parole violation, Kochems said. He remains in jail, now without bond. A preliminary hearing is set for 9:45 a.m. May 8 in the office of District Justice William Fagely in Greenville.
Kochems said his office does not plan to seek the death penalty at this time. If convicted, Matter faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Howard Urquhart was reported missing by his daughter, Jennifer, on Jan. 17, says an affidavit of probable cause on file with the district justice’s office.
He was last seen leaving his job at Cattron Inc. at Sharpsville shortly after 5 p.m. Jan. 15.
On Feb. 20, search teams acting on a tip found Urquhart’s frozen body in a wooded area off Bandy Road in Greene Township.
An autopsy shows Urquhart was shot in the back of his neck, Kochems said Thursday.
The affidavit says Urquhart was shot from three to five feet away and that Urquhart was seen leaving Cattron with another man.
Matter told a witness who gave him a ride earlier that day that he intended to apply for a job at Cattron, the affidavit says.
Around 9 p.m. that day, Matter was seen driving Urquhart’s truck, the affidavit says.
A credit card belonging to Urquhart was used at a Sunoco station in Hermitage at 5:13 a.m. Jan 16, the affidavit says. The store’s video surveillance cameras show Matter using the card and the truck, it says.
At 11 a.m. that day, Matter cashed a $2,800 check, made payable to himself, from Urquhart’s First National Bank account in Hermitage. He forged Urquhart’s signature on the check, the affidavit says.
Matter made cash purchases soon afterward at Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney Co. in Hermitage, and those receipts were found in Urquhart’s truck, the affidavit says.
A review of Urquhart’s financial records revealed the following transactions:
UUrquhart’s Bank of America credit card was used Jan. 16 at a Sunoco station in Pittsburgh.
UMatter checked into a Bridgeport, Ohio, hotel Jan. 17 and stayed two nights. Urquhart’s truck was on the hotel’s register.
UMatter checked out of the hotel Jan. 19, and Urquhart’s credit card was used to buy gas in Washington, Pa.
UHis credit card was used at a store in Wytheville, Va.
UOn Jan. 20, Matter was found with Urquhart’s truck at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and the truck was impounded. Kochems did not elaborate on why Matter was at the military base.
Matter was taken into custody Jan. 21 on a parole detainer from Mercer County.
In an interview with the North Carolina Bureau of Investigations Jan. 23, Matter said he had borrowed Urquhart’s truck and had permission to use his credit card for gas. He said Urquhart’s wallet had been left in the truck for him to use.
On Feb. 27, Matter told a “confidential witness” that Urquhart’s death was an accident and that he’d been shot in the neck. The cause and manner of death weren’t public at that time, the affidavit says. When asked how he knew, Matter told the witness that it will all come out at the autopsy, the affidavit says.