Chapman’s murder charge reduced to second degree

Megan Schiffres

by Megan Schiffres

LANCASTER—Charges in the murder case of Matthew S. Chapman of White Stone were reduced from first to second degree murder during a preliminary hearing Wednesday, June 24.

Judge John S. Martin, who presided over the case in the Lancaster County General District Court, said he reduced the charges against Chapman because the prosecutors failed to demonstrate probable cause proving that the murder was premeditated.

Chapman faces two felony charges in the March 18 shooting death of John Carter Gordon of Kilmarnock. Gordon died where he was shot, outside the home of Chapman’s soon-to-be ex-wife at 232 Beach Road in White Stone. Chapman originally faced three felony charges for first degree murder, malicious wounding, and the use of a firearm to commit a felony. The prosecution entered a nolle prosequi for the malicious wounding charge against Chapman last month.

Defense attorneys Jeffrey Matthews and James Breeden made a motion to unshackle Chapman at the beginning of the preliminary hearing, but the motion was denied by the judge on the basis that the Supreme Court has only ruled on the constitutionality of unshackling prisoners during the trial phase of a court case.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer called seven witnesses to testify during the preliminary…[to-view-more]