Family in witness protection program forced to leave motel

August 12, 2000|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A family in Baltimore's witness protection program was turned out yesterday morning from the suburban motel where they had been living for three months.

James and Toyquan Matthews, along with their six children, had moved out of their West Baltimore home after the family was twice threatened by friends of a man facing an attempted murder trial.

The case, for which Toyquan Matthews had been called as a witness. was shelved June 27 because of insufficient evidence, but the family's troubles have continued.

Toyquan Matthews said the family had known that the witness protection program, run by the state's attorney's office, was going to stop paying the motel yesterday. The arrangement was supposed to come to an end July 31, but prosecutors extended it.

Toyquan Matthews said witness protection officials knew the family had a Baltimore City Section 8 home lined up and was ready to move in as soon as negotiations with a landlord were completed.

She said witness protection officials cut off payments despite knowing that no temporary shelter had been found.

City housing spokesman Zack Germroth said the family had been approved for Section 8 housing in the city. Officials in the state's attorney's office were unavailable yesterday, but repeatedly refused to comment earlier this week.

The family was staying with friends last night. "We're trying to get into a shelter or motel right now because we can't stay here," Toyquan Matthews said.

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