Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

A man recently released from prison has reportedly killed the woman he persecuted more than 20 years ago, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Neighbors of 71-year-old Sylvia Matthews called 911 around 7:30 a.m. Friday after hearing a loud noise in her home in Washington, DC. Someone smashed the windows of her SUV and tried to break into the basement, reported WRC-TV, a local news station.

Later that day around 11:30 a.m., police responded again to the home after receiving another report, according to WBNS-TV. When they arrived, a neighbor told them they thought Matthews was being held hostage in the home.

Officers found Matthews unconscious suffering from a serious head injury, the station reported. She died of her injuries Saturday.

Police arrested 66-year-old Michael Garrett, who was at the home when they arrived, in connection with the death, according to the news station.

Garrett reportedly told police he had just arrived five minutes earlier and that Matthews was calling him to come over due to a burglary, according to the news station.

Police also received a call around 8:45 a.m., according to the WBNS. During the second call, officers found that he was talking on the phone with the victim. They tried to ask him to leave Matthews alone, but he allegedly refused.

Garrett was charged with persecuting and breaking into her home in January 1999. He spent more than 20 years behind bars after the arrest, according to the WBNS.

Her family believe they met while Matthews was working on a pharmacist at the Old Lorton Reformatory pharmacy, and Garrett was an inmate, WRC-TV reported. They said they did not know him but had heard of him.

The day leading up to the earlier arrest, Matthews reportedly heard glass shattering as she sat in her home. As she went to check on the disturbance, she reportedly found Garrett climbing through her bathroom window. He should then have chased her out of the home before he was arrested, according to the news station.

Man arrested and killed woman persecuted
Police arrested a man for allegedly killing a woman he spent 20 years in prison for persecuting. Here are police tapes in 2006 in Croydon, England.
Bruno Vincent / Getty Images

A judge allowed him to be released in January 2021 after his lawyer claimed he was rehabilitated and was no longer a threat to society, the station reported.

Since his release, police have responded to Matthews’ home several times. Surveillance video from October allegedly showed him knocking on the door of the home and asking her to open it. Matthews told police he threatened to kill her, according to the news station. He was arrested for threatening to kidnap or injure a person, but prosecution was denied.

The two also got into an argument several days later. Matthews accused Garrett of putting her in a head lock and hitting her in the face, as well as threatening to kill her. A lawsuit against him was eventually suspended.

A relative of Matthews told WRC-TV that her family is “ruined”. They said, “It’s like the system failed us.

“He should not have been on the street,” they told the news station.

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