JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today (Thursday, July 22, 2010) that a jury has found a Joliet man guilty of gunning down a woman in front of her daughter in December 2008.
Anthony Matthews, 47, was found guilty of first-degree murder for the killing of LaDeana Hite in the early-morning hours of Dec. 14, 2008.
Matthews also was found guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm for shooting LaDeana Hite’s friend, Jeanette Morgan, in the stomach. Morgan survived and testified against Matthews during the 1-1/2 week trial.
The defendant also pointed the gun at Hite’s daughter and pulled the trigger while the girl was on her bed and shielding her body with a pillow, according to trial testimony. She survived because Matthews’ gun failed to fire.
Matthews faces 51 years to life in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Stephen White on Sept. 16.
“Anthony Matthews is a vicious thug who killed one woman in cold blood, callously shot another woman and then tried to gun down a girl as she cowered behind her pillow and begged for her life,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “The streets of Will County will be safer with him behind bars.”
Matthews was smoking crack cocaine with Hite and Morgan at Hite’s house in the 200 block of Champlain in Joliet Township when he became agitated and accused the two women of stealing his drugs. Hite’s daughter was sleeping in her bedroom at the time.
Hite told Matthews to leave, but he refused. She rushed into her daughter’s bedroom to hide from Matthews, who stepped into the kitchen and shot Morgan in the stomach. Matthews then kicked in the bedroom door and gunned down Hite while her daughter watched, according to testimony.
Morgan fled the house and sought help at a house on another block. Hite’s daughter also fled after Matthews left her bedroom because he couldn’t get his 9mm gun to fire, according to testimony.
An unfired cartridge retrieved from the scene had Matthews’ DNA on it. Matthews fled the scene after the shooting, but he was arrested in the vicinity a short time later by Will County Sheriff’s Police. The murder weapon was not recovered.
State’s Attorney Glasgow praised Assistant State’s Attorneys Chris Koch and Anna Rossi for working around-the-clock preparing for this trial.
“Their tireless preparation and expert trial work secured the conviction of this dangerous criminal,” the state’s attorney said.