Guthrie calls Matthew and they chat for two minutes. %
Matthew texts Guthrie, “on the way.”
Matthew to Guthrie, “stand by on that.”
Matthew to Guthrie, “back en route.”
Still peering down at his phone, Matthew sends a text to his mistress.
12:54 a.m. %
A text messages is sent to his phone from Jessica’s phone.
“I can't do this anymore. Take care of Tollin and Tyler Please tell them I love them everyday. I have been suffering for a while now and no one has noticed. Here lately I have not been able to recognize the person I see in the mirror. This is not the first time I have had suicide thoughts. I love you and the boys.”
His phone is pretty active tonight. In fact, 68 text messages are exchanged between him and his mistress.
“Haha I'm sorry I didn't think about that lol,” he sends to her after receiving a text from her after his text from Jessica.
The glowing yellow and black, blocked letter sign illuminates his truck driving past. Just one minute later, Matthew calls 911, reaching Spalding County dispatch.
He requests EMS.
"I left the location, I'm back en route, I'm on Carver Road right now. I'll be back there in about two minutes. She's having suicidal thoughts," he says calmly to the dispatcher.
“My kids are at home with her, so I'm trying to hurry up and get back there.”
“I'm driving. She just said that she's been experiencing suicidal thoughts right now, she told me to take care of the boys. So I'm trying to hurry and get back home just to make sure that nothing's going to happen to them.”
“Any weapons inside the house?” the dispatcher inquires.
“Uh, just my service weapon,” he responds, ending the call just a minute later.
He reads another text from mistress, while driving home at nearly 90 mph.
Trammel is dispatched to the scene.
Officer Robert Brian Jones is also dispatched to the Ashford Way apartment building.
Lt. Curtis Keys is dispatched to the scene.
Matthew sends another text to his mistress, a Spalding County dispatcher, “Give me a few. To text back long story I'll tell you later.”
Matthew makes it home and races to the breezeway of his apartment and enters, checks the master bedroom and bangs on the locked closet door. He calls out for Jessica, but no answer. He grabs his police radio, stationed on top of the white microwave in the kitchen charging, and puts his phone on the counter.
Making his way outside, he calls for assistance over his radio. His tone changes.
“I believe I just heard a shot fired coming from my residence. I just came up the stairs, two rounds… be advised I smell gun smoke, and I can’t get an answer at the door,” he says out of breath and panicked.
He later tells investigators that he heard Tyler crying, and then, “POP-POP!”
Jones advises Matthew over the radio, “Stay outside. I'll be there in about two. Stay outside.”
“10-4,” Matthew says, audibly crying.
Keys reports to the scene.
Running across the parking lot and up the stairs, responding officers, Keys, Jones and Gresham head toward the apartment.
A message to Matthew’s phone is received and marked as read, from his mistress.
Armed with bodycams attached to their uniforms, the officers burst through the door, quickly passing Matthew’s phone, a black and grey Verizon LG smartphone, on the kitchen counter.
While Trammel’s body cam is out of juice tonight, Jones’s bodycam spots Trammel as the other officers enter the apartment.
"Police department!" Jones shouts as he travels deeper inside—his weapon drawn.
With his gun raised, holding it out and in front of him with both hands, Jones passes by a framed portrait hung on the wall. His flashlight’s beam reveals a smiling family of four.
He hears a baby crying as he carefully steps into the bedroom where a dark brown crib is situated.
“Stay out, Matt,” one the officers advises his fellow officer.
Jones checks on a locked closet door between the master bedroom and hallway, across from the bathroom. He assigns another officer to standby at the door until the rest of the apartment is cleared.
The baby’s muffled cry echoes, getting louder as the officers sweep their guns back and forth, searching for the shooter. Jones eyes a small child sleeping on a bottom bunk bed in the back bedroom.
The air is thick with mystery, as the officers approach the locked closet.
“[I’m] gonna have to kick that door in…” Jones relays to the other officers standing on the other side of the closet, barreling through it in just two swift and deliberate kicks.
Inside, they find Jessica.
Her body is on the floor, just behind the door. Her shoulder-length, blonde hair is saturated in red. Her head wound has soaked into the green and white pillow her head is resting on—her blood is contained to that one stain and a few nearby drops.
“Everybody clear out,” says Jones, who has Keys call for an EMT.
“She’s still breathing…”
“Get him downstairs. Get him downstairs,” one of the officers whispers to another.
The conversation bounces from officer to officer.
“Hang on, sweetie, OK?”
“She’s trying to get up.”
“Can we get her out to the bedroom?”
“We got to get her out.”
“GSW, possible to the head. She’s still breathing. She’s moaning.”
They investigate further and find a gun underneath Jessica’s limp body. It’s one of their own—a police-issued .40-caliber Glock. And it’s assigned to Matthew, her husband, the cop.
After Jones pushes the gun away from underneath Jessica’s body—placing it inside the bedroom, he and Officer Josh Howell move Jessica from the closet to the bedroom floor next to the foot of her bed so that EMS can begin working on her. They turn her over from her stomach to her back.
“Do you know what she used?” asks one of the emergency responders in the room.
The ceiling fan’s light shines down on Jessica’s eyes. They’re re slit open while her head flops from side to side on the beige carpet, as one female EMS works on her. While she places a blood pressure sleeve around her arm, an officer stands over her, shining a flashlight on Jessica’s face, revealing that it’s covered in blood.
She’s breathing, but unresponsive. The paramedic begins accessing her head wound, but they’re having a hard time finding it through her hair and thick blood.
The ceiling fan circles on high speed. The quiet is broken when the baby begins to mumble from the other room. Above Jessica, pinned to the wall, is a large black letter “B” for Boynton.
With dark, latex gloves on, an officer kneels down and touches her neck with his fingers. She grabs his arm with her left hand, while her other arm falls to the ground.
Jones removes the gun, which has a tactical flashlight attached to the bottom of its barrel, and places it on the kitchen counter and heads outside.
Still inside, some of the officers look closer and find two bullet holes inside the closet. Collectively, they examine the bullets’ trajectory from the closet, into the bedroom wall and ceiling.
“So just one?" an officer questions the others.
The first bullet went upward at 54-degree angle. And the second bullet went up at 25-degree upward angle 1’10” off the floor.
But outside, things aren’t so composed.
Jones approaches Matthew to find out what happened.
The crying officer tells Jones that he left the apartment and was meeting Guthrie at Waffle House, when he received a text from Jessica that indicated she was going to kill herself. He drove back to the apartment, he tells Jones, but it was too late.
EMTs start carrying Jessica down the stairs on a backboard and click her into a gurney and swing open the ambulance doors. They hoist her inside.
“God damn it, man! This couldn’t happen man. I f***ing love her. She loved me. She told me she loved me right before she did it," Matthew says, sobbing, as the paramedics roll her gurney into the ambulance and slam the doors shut.
“What are my kids going to do?” he pleaded, his voice cracking with emotion. “If I could have been there 10 minutes earlier I could have jumped in front of the gun and try to get it from her man.”
“Where did she shoot herself at? She would never have done this. I don't know why. If I could have been here sooner, maybe I could have stopped her…” Matthew says, spiraling. “If I just would have left my f**king duty belt in the car.”
An officer tries to console his grieving coworker.
“Man, look, she's still breathing. She's got good pulse. Blood pressure.”
“F**k man!” Matthew says.
“She's even fighting with EMS, dude,” the fellow officer tells Matthew.
The ambulance pulls away with Jessica in critical condition, to the fire station located on Carver Road, where the medical helicopter picks her up and takes her to an Atlanta hospital.
Matthew and Jessica’s two sons are still inside. Once the scene is secure, investigator Misty Gresham checks on Tollin, who’s sleeping, and Tyler, who is awake and still crying in his crib—both unharmed.
Dispatch notifies Spalding County Sheriff Wendell Beam, who is also Matthew’s grandfather and police notify Jessica’s family that she has died.
A request is made to notify the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The GBI steps in to investigate.
Chris DeMarco, GBI’s assistant special agent in charge, arrives on the scene and meets with Griffin Police Chief Michael Yates for a briefing. Griffin Police Capt. Donald Britt, Lt. Darrell Dix, Lt. Keys and Beam are also present.
Trammel records the 10:53 p.m., incident report from April 14.
GBI conducts canvas and begins interviewing neighbors.
Agent DeMarco approaches Meagan Browning, who’s joined by Eric Kshywonis, at 61 Ashford Way—the apartment just downstairs from Jessica and Matthew.
“She’s like a sister to me,” Browning says, her voice quivering.
“Her husband is cheating on her with another woman,” reveals Browning, who said, they called dispatch a few nights earlier because he took the kids. The dispatch operator notified Matthew on Facebook, Browning says. %
“This is who he’s sleeping with,” points to the Facebook post that she says she was holding for Jessica for her divorce. “If he's willing to cheat on his wife, he's willing to cheat the law.”
“She wanted to file for divorce,” says Kshywonis. “She had an appointment Monday.”
At about 10:45 p.m., he continues, he thought he heard a gunshot while they were lying in bed.
“We heard something and said 'what was that',” recalls Browning.
“It sounded like a gunshot. I'm prior military so to me it sounded like a gunshot,” he tells DeMarco.
Matthew interviews with the GBI early that morning.
“I'm sure as you've heard, I'm getting a divorce. I was,” he says to the GBI agent. “Here recently she did confirm that the second baby's not mine. Which I knew that.”
Jessica, on a few occasions, hit and slapped him, he tells the GBI. Everything, he says, led to him wanting out of the marriage.
Matthew says that he told Jessica, “…I'm not happy anymore and I can't. I can't keep doing this.”
The agent then probes Matthew, asking if he has a girlfriend.
“I had a friend who was a girl, or is a girl,” he answers, further admitting that the relationship had become sexual.
Reliving his steps inside the apartment after he heard gunshots fired, he says, “My whole upper body went numb. I was scared to death, because I couldn’t find [Tyler]—that she would shoot me, I mean shoot him, shoot me, and then kill herself.”
“After you got on the radio and you were outside communicating on the radio, you never went back in to actually check, check on the kids,” the agent questions Matthew about once he’s out of the apartment.
“I didn’t know if I was dealing with a possible active... active scenario where she still had the gun and she had shot Tyler,” he replies. “And I could have been the next target.”
The agent continues to interview Matthew, who’s wearing a red hoodie, asking him if the clothes he was wearing were the ones he was wearing the entire night.
“Yes, I didn’t have time, you know with everything going on, I didn’t think anything about getting any other clothes, so I didn’t know if y’all would want these or not. I didn’t bring any other ones with me. I didn’t wash may hands, nothing like that either, that way for GSR.”
“There’s a possibility that we might collect your clothes…”
“OK. That’s fine. Absolutely,” Matthew assures the agent. “I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t try to brush off anything. I didn’t try to wash my hands, anything, because I knew GSR and all that would be involved.”
“Yeah, if we’ve got to get the clothes, obviously we’ll bring you back up to the apartment for you to get some clothes obviously,” says the agent.
“On something like this, does it usually take a while?”
“Right now it depends on what happens with Jessica, too. Her condition.”
Matthew met Jessica during her sophomore year of high school at open house in 2012. They had Tollin soon after, and were married on Oct. 24, 2015.
Jessica was a blushing bride, excited to spend the rest of her life with the man she loved.
PHOTOS | Trigger: Inside the Boynton shooting
Six months later, everything would change—for everyone.