Jamie Hart, the Texas A&M student found dead in a ditch 17 years ago, will be the focus of Dateline NBC Friday’s episode.
Tonight’s show, entitled “The Face Of Evil,” will retrace investigators’ steps as they try to solve a rash of rapes and murders occurring near College Station. With expert commentary from law enforcement investigators and family members, viewers will get an inside look at a case that shook the college town to the core. The man responsible for the rapes and murders was a man named Ynobe Matthews, also known as Ynobe Katron Matthews. Kristin Lancaster, a Texas A&M grad who survived Matthews’ vicious attack, will also be featured on the show. The program will also touch on the death of Carolyn Casey, another victim who was murdered by Ynobe Matthews.
Dateline NBC will take viewers back to that fateful day in May 1999, when a Saturday morning jogger happened upon the body of a dead woman who had been left in a ditch off of Old Reliance Road. The woman was identified as Jamie Hart, a 21-year-old woman, originally from Baytown, who was attending Texas A&M. An autopsy report revealed that the young student had been beaten about the face and head, which left her with a black eye and severe bruising. Her car was later located a distance away. It appeared that the woman had been thrown out of moving vehicle while still alive. Coroners also found evidence that the woman had been strangled before she was tossed out, but the strangulation did not cause her death, Dateline NBC’s coverage will reveal.
Jamie Hart’s brutal death made College Station parents fearful that a killer was on the loose. Their fears worsened when it happened again with the death of 24-year-old Carolyn Casey, a woman who was found burned in her College Station apartment in 2000. The initial 911 call alerted dispatchers that there was a fire in one of the apartments. Court records show that when investigators arrived they found a smoke-filled apartment and a dead woman in her bedroom, wearing only a shirt and socks. She was not wearing underwear at the time. Medical examiners would later deduce that the woman’s vaginal area had been set on fire. The cause of death was determined to be strangulation.
Dateline NBC will also inform viewers that during the investigation, they learned Casey had attended a party and was seen leaving the party with Ynobe Matthews to make a store run for alcohol. After she returned, Casey became ill and left. Ynobe was seen returning to the party. Another party-goer observed that Matthews had a strange, foul odor upon his return.
When questioned by police, Ynobe Matthews initially stated that he had consensual sex with Carolyn Casey but later confessed to killing her. DNA evidence, along with fingerprints were connected back to the killer. Ynobe Matthews was put to death by lethal injection in 2004. He made no last statement to the family of his victims but did spend his time smiling at his relatives and telling them that he loved them. According to CNN, his last meal was three pieces of fried chicken, a pork chop, ice cream, and two pieces of fried fish.
In a jailhouse interview, Ynobe Matthews said that he committed the crimes while he was under the influence of alcohol, a binge that lasted an entire week. He also said he knew it was no excuse for what he did. Eventually, he decided not to fight the system over the death penalty verdict, according to ProDeathPenalty.
“Now it’s between me and God–me and my creator. Whatever he sees fit for my punishment, it’s something I can’t refuse. That’s the finality of the situation, and I can accept it.”
Anita Casey, the mother of Carolyn Casey, stated that Ynobe Matthews wrecked their lives, and that she believed that the death penalty was what he deserved.
“He has wrecked two families’ lives and he’s taken two innocent young ladies violently for whatever reason and he’s wrecked our lives. We have to deal with this for the rest of our lives. He’s taken my daughter from me and he’s broken the law more than once before… I believe he’s getting what he deserves.”
The case of Jamie Hart, Carolyn Casey, and other females who were raped and violated by Ynobe Katron Matthews, increases the need to make young female and male students aware of the dangers that may lurk around them on college campuses. It’s important to remind students to watch their surrounding at all times, especially when walking alone, attending college parties, or frequenting the homes of neighbors or casual friends.
Dateline NBC airs tonight at 10/9 p.m. central, according to their website.
In related news, have you heard of the case of Denita Smith, the Durham, North Carolina student who was murdered by her fiancee’s lover?