2 were slain for revenge, prosecutor tells jury

January 11, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

A Baltimore County prosecutor told jurors yesterday that two men now charged with murder had been bent on revenge for the suicide of a friend when one of them brutally stabbed 75-year-old mother Gertrude Poffel, and her daughter, Pamela, 39, at their Parkville home last January.

Michael S. Matusky, 44, of the 10500 block of Wil-Mar Place in Cockeysville, went on trial yesterday on two counts of first-degree murder. Co-defendant Richard Dean White, 43, of Parkville, the long-estranged husband of Pamela Poffel, will be tried separately.

Prosecutor Michael T. Pate said that Mr. Matusky stabbed each woman more than 20 times on Jan. 24, 1993, because he and Mr. White blamed the two women for the death of their friend, Ted Poffel, who committed suicide in 1985. The dead man was Gertrude Poffel's son and Pamela Poffel's brother.

Defense attorney Philip Sutley called the accusation and purported motive "totally preposterous" and said, "My client had nothing to do with this murder."

He said that Mr. Matusky, a pipefitter at General Motors, had lost touch with Ted Poffel because Mr. Poffel was addicted to cocaine.

"He [Mr. Matusky] did not blame Mrs. Poffel or Pamela Poffel for the death of Ted Poffel. Cocaine killed Mr. Poffel," the attorney said.

He said that Mr. Matusky's last contact with the victims was eight years ago.

Rebecca Marchewka, Mr. White's former girlfriend, said in a motions hearing before the trial began that Mr. White became distraught last Easter, talked about suicide, and told her that he had driven the car while Mr. Matusky killed the Poffel women "because of what they did to Ted."

Wayne Walton, 43, a bricklayer from the 3500 block of Dudley Ave., told the jury that he discovered the bodies when he went to the Poffel home in the 2800 block of Fifth Ave. to sell one-half pound of marijuana to Pamela Poffel, an old friend with whom he had become reacquainted in a methadone program.

Mr. Walton said he spoke with Pamela on the telephone about 6:45 p.m. Jan. 24, but got no answer when he arrived at the home at about 7:15 p.m.

The blinds were cracked, he said. "Then to my left I seen a foot on the floor." When he knocked harder, he said, "the door opened, and her and her mother were laying there, both." He found a police officer nearby.

A neighbor who was outside at 7 o'clock that night said he saw a man go into the home, where he was greeted by laughter in the background. He said he could not identify the man he had seen.

Elizabeth M. "Betsy" Poffel, Ted Poffel's daughter, said that she lived for several years with the victims and that her grandmother was always careful about locking her doors.

Mr. Matusky, she said, was "very friendly" with her late father.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.