Two take plea deals in police officer's murder - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Two take plea deals in police officer's murder

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James Poteete James Poteete
Rachel Mathews Rachel Mathews
Sergeant Tim Chapin Sergeant Tim Chapin

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Two defendants tied to accused cop-killer Jesse Matthews entered guilty pleas this morning in federal court.

Rachel Mathews, the sister of the accused shooter, and her boyfriend James Poteete, plead guilty to the first three charges of a 14 count indictment as part of plea deal.

The charges stem from the help Mathews and Poteete gave to Mathews's brother, Jesse, after he allegedly robbed a pawn shop in Colorado Springs.

Jesse Mathews is accused of attempting to rob a pawn shop in Chattanooga, shooting and killing Sergeant Tim Chapin and wounding Officer Lorin Johnson.

Mathews and Poteete plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to conceal a weapon for Jesse Mathews from February 2011 until April 6, 2011. They also plead guilty to one count of accessory after the fact for  aiding and abetting Jesse Mathews following the Colorado Springs robbery. The final count was aiding and abetting a fugitive, knowing that Mathews had used a firearm during the Colorado Springs robbery.

The maximum sentence each could face is a total of 45 years in prison and $250,000 fine for each count.

In exchange for changing their pleas, prosecutors have agreed to drop the additional, more serious charges against the two. Rachel Mathews will also have the right to appeal any sentence over 20 years as part of the agreement.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't remember Tim," says Assistant Police Chief Tim Carroll, Chapin's brother-in-law. "I and the family thought the plea agreements were fair."

Mathews and Poteet will appear before Judge Mattice in federal court on November 14.

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