Man accused in 2009 Grady Crawford killings is mentally retarded, his attorneys claim

Richard Matthews, the 57-year-old Slaughter man accused of fatally shooting two employees and wounding a third at a Baton Rouge construction firm in 2009, is mentally retarded and can’t be executed, his attorneys alleged Friday.

“Mr. Matthews has a life-long history of significant impairments in intellectual and adaptive functioning,” his lawyers said in a court filing. “Recent testing indicates that Mr. Matthews has deficits ... that meet the criteria for a diagnosis of intellectual disability (previously known as mental retardation).”

The filing will allow Matthews’ attorneys to use mental retardation as part of his penalty phase defense if he is convicted of first-degree murder. Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty if he is found guilty.

Kyla Romanach, one of Matthews’ attorneys, informed state District Judge Tony Marabella during a hearing Friday in the capital murder case that the filing had been made.

East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Darwin Miller told the judge the state will ask that Matthews be independently examined by a doctor of the state’s choosing.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 banned the execution of mentally retarded persons.

Matthews is accused of killing clerical workers Dianna Tullier, 44, of Walker, and Cheryl Boykin, 55, of Denham Springs, and wounding a third woman employee at Grady Crawford Construction Co. on Dec. 23, 2009.

Matthews had been laid off from the firm several months before the shootings.

He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted first-degree murder. A trial date has not been set.

One of the attempted murder counts accuses Matthews of trying to kill Trey Crawford, who was not at the business when Matthews arrived that afternoon. Trey Crawford is the son of the company’s owner. Matthews was fired by Trey Crawford because of poor work performance, an affidavit states.

In statements to police and reporters, Matthews said he went to the firm that day to kill Trey Crawford because he could not get unemployment benefits.