Pipefitter convicted in slayings of Parkville woman, 75, her daughter, 39

January 14, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

A Cockeysville pipefitter was convicted yesterday of two counts of first-degree murder for the fatal stabbings of a mother and daughter at their home in Parkville a year ago.

Michael S. Matusky, 44, of the 10500 block of Wil-Mar Place dropped his head as the verdicts were announced around 4 p.m. yesterday.

A Baltimore County jury of eight women and four men deliberated about six hours Wednesday night and six hours yesterday before convicting him.

Judge Thomas J. Bollinger agreed to sentence Matusky later, after defense attorney Phillip M. Sutley asked for time to file a motion for a new trial.

Matusky could receive two consecutive life sentences.

The bodies of Gertrude Poffel, 75, and her daughter Pamela Poffel, 39, were found Jan. 24, 1993, in the living room of their home in the 2800 block of Fifth Avenue in Parkville. Each had been stabbed more than 20 times.

Richard Dean White, 43, of Parkville, the long-estranged husband of Pamela Poffel, also has been charged with the murders. He is to be tried next week.

Mr. White's former girlfriend, Rebecca Marchewka, testified that Mr. White told her last Easter that he and Mr. Matusky planned the killings and that he drove to the Poffel home and waited outside while Mr. Matusky killed the women.

Ms. Marchewka testified that the two men blamed the Poffel women for the 1985 suicide of their friend, Ted Poffel, who was Gertrude's son and Pamela 's brother.

Mr. Matusky, a General Motors employee since 1985, testified Wednesday that he hadn't seen the Poffels since before Mr. Poffel's funeral.

He said that he dropped Mr. White off at a bar about 7 p.m. Jan. 24, 1993, and went home to watch television, where he learned of the killings on the news.

Of his supposed revenge motive, Mr. Matusky said, "There was nobody to blame for Ted's death: Cocaine killed him."

Mr. Matusky said that Mr. White was depressed the day of the murders, but didn't mention Pamela, although "he has in the past gone on about [her] and his mother-in-law [with] a lot of animosity toward both of them."

In closing arguments, Stephen Bailey, the prosecutor, focused on Ms. Marchewka's testimony, supported to some degree by a neighbor who gave a general description of a man he saw enter the home at about 7 p.m. that Sunday.

The bodies were found at 7:15 p.m. by a man who, a half-hour earlier, arranged by telephone to sell Pamela marijuana, according to testimony.

Police said they also found a bloody footprint on the carpet that matched in size, make and pattern a sneaker taken from Matusky's house.

In his closing argument, Mr. Sutley said that the state's evidence was insufficient for Matusky to be sent to prison for life.

"I'm flabbergasted that they would think this guy, 44 years of age, living a normal life, would suddenly, just like the Chainsaw Massacre, go over and kill these two people," he said.

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