The sister of a man killed in Silver Spring four years ago pleaded guilty on Friday to being an accessory after the fact in the murder of her brother, the State’s Attorney’s Office said.
Lemae Matthews, 23, was accused of being an accessory in the death of her brother, 17-year-old Christian Matthews, who was killed in March 2017.
Montgomery County police have said they were called to the 1000 block of Mondrian Terrace around 2:25 a.m. on March 21, 2017, to check on a “suspicious situation.” They found Christian Matthews unresponsive. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
Christian and Lemae’s sister, Leaundra Matthews, was dating Tysean Lipford, now 24, at the time, police have said.
Lipford told police that he killed Christian Matthews while Christian was sleeping in his bedroom and that Leaundra — who had a daughter with Lipford — conspired in the killing.
Lipford also told police that Christian threatened to harm Leaundra and their daughter.
Leaundra Matthews allegedly left disposable gloves for Lipford and Daniel Howard, now 25, before the murder, police have said. Lipford has told police he was wearing gloves when he killed Christian.
Lipford was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury in 2019, and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In June 2021, Lemae Matthews was charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Then in September, Howard and Leaundra Matthews, 23, were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Lemae Matthews said in a statement that was read in court on Friday that Christian and Leaundra were having arguments, and that Christian was angry that Lipford was the father of Leaundra’s baby. Leaundra said she wanted Christian “gone,” according to Lemae.
Leaundra asked Lemae to watch her baby the night of the murder and said she was going to pick up Lipford and Howard to bring them to the family’s house.
“She told me that they were coming over to ‘handle’ Christian. I knew that they wanted to kill Christian but I hoped that they would just beat Christian up instead,” Lemae said in the statement.
Later, Leaundra asked Lemae to make sure Christian was in his room in the basement, she said in the statement. After she did so, Howard and Lipford arrived, she said.
“I noticed that they were both putting on rubber gloves. I watched them go downstairs to the basement where Christian was sleeping,” she said.
Lemae said in the statement that she then heard what sounded like furniture being slammed around, and thought she heard Christian yell “stop, stop.” After Lemae took the baby out to Leaundra’s car, Lipford and Howard ran out of the house and got in the vehicle, she said.
Howard told everyone in the vehicle to stay silent about what happened, Lemae said. After arguing with Leaundra, the sisters agreed that Lemae would call 911.
“Leandra told me exactly what to say on 911 and to the police when they interviewed me. I lied to 911 and the police because I was scared of what [Howard] would do if I told the truth,” she said.
Lemae Matthews pleaded guilty on Friday to being an accessory after the fact and was released by Montgomery County Circuit Judge Jeannie Eun Kyung Cho on $10,000 unsecured personal bond, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. Lemae must remain on home detention and is under a 24-hour curfew.
Kevin Collins, an attorney who represents Lemae Matthews, could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Lemae Matthews will be sentenced March 4, 2022, and could face up to 10 years in prison, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Howard and Leaundra Matthews are scheduled to go on trial in February.
Dan Schere can be reached at [email protected]