Burlington County Acting Prosecutor LaChia Bradshaw announced that a 26-year-old man pled guilty today in Superior Court to killing three people in Willingboro Township during two separate incidents in 2019, including his ex-girlfriend’s grandmother and brother and a man sitting inside a parked car on residential street.
Under an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, Terrance J. Matthews of Willingboro will be sentenced to 60 years in New Jersey state prison for each homicide. The terms for the murders will run concurrently, and Matthews must serve 85 percent of the time before becoming eligible for parole. The Hon. John J. Burke III, J.S.C., scheduled sentencing for July 22 in Mount Holly.
The killing spree began just before 1 a.m. on February 18, 2019, when Matthews approached two men sitting in a car parked on Millbrook Drive and fired inside, fatally wounding Davell Williamson, 21, of Willingboro. The passenger was struck in the arm and treated and released from Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
On the evening of June 19, 2019, Williams killed his ex-girlfriend’s grandmother and brother inside of their Eastbrook Lane home. Jennifer Vassell, 68, and her grandson, Ishon Mathlin Jr., 9, were stabbed multiple times, and Ishon was drowned in a bathtub.
The investigation into their deaths began the morning of June 20, 2019 when Westampton Township police officers were dispatched to the Wawa convenience store on Springside Road for a report of a woman in distress.
The investigation revealed that Matthews and his ex-girlfriend, Krissida Williams, had entered the store, and Williams told a Wawa employee that Matthews had killed her family.
Matthews then fled the store, and Willingboro Township police officers discovered the bodies after being dispatched to the house to conduct a wellness check.
The investigation further revealed that the murders occurred while Williams was at work. When she arrived home after finishing her shift, Matthews, who was still living at the residence, was waiting for Williams and held her against her will through the night.
The motive for the killings stemmed from an argument Williams and Matthews had during a telephone call earlier in the day.
Matthews was apprehended June 20, 2019, by the Camden County Police Department following a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed the Scion he was driving into a pole, then exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. He utilized his Facebook account to broadcast the chase live on social media.
Matthews is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutors Jamie Hutchinson and Bob Van Gilst, supervisor of the BCPO Major Crimes Unit – Violent Crimes Section.
The investigations were conducted by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Willingboro Township Police Department, with assistance from the Westampton Township Police Department and the Camden County Police Department.
The lead investigators were BCPO Detective Sergeant Erica Ridge and WTPD Detective Elijah Hart and Sergeant Sharif Hewlett. The lead crime scene investigator was BCPO Lt. Mike Wiltsey.