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  1. #1
    Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010

    James Matlean Setenced to LWOP In 2008 Slaying Of Benjamin Oxley

    James Kenneth Matlean pleaded not guilty Monday to first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon, denying that he shot Benjamin Oxley to death as the 36-year-old man slept in his Johnson Lane home in February 2008.

    District Judge Michael Gibbons set a two-week trial to begin July 19. A status hearing is Jan. 24.

    Chief Deputy District Attorney Tom Gregory said he had not decided whether to seek the death penalty against the 23-year-old man who has been in Douglas County Jail for one year on a probation violation in an unrelated case.

    “We will make that decision within the time allotted by the Supreme Court,” Gregory told Gibbons.

    He has 30 days from Monday, the day the criminal information was filed, to make the decision.

    Matlean's attorney, Ken Stover of Reno, said his client waived his right to a trial within 60 days. He also said he would not be challenging any proceedings in East Fork Justice Court.

    Matlean was bound over to district court Nov. 30 at the conclusion of a preliminary hearing in justice court.

    “If not for the testimony of Devon Mitchell, I would have had my client stand silent today and would have filed a writ,” Stover said.

    Mitchell testified he heard his mother Dawn Oxley and Matlean drunkenly discussing killing the victim Feb. 20, 2008, the night before he was shot to death.

    Stover said Dawn Oxley's testimony was “absolutely incredulous.”

    She is the murder victim's former wife and Matlean's ex-girlfriend.

    Dawn Oxley, 38, was granted immunity from prosecution for any involvement in her ex-husband's death in exchange for her testimony against Matlean.

    She denied any involvement in Benjamin Oxley's death and said her son was mistaken about what he overheard.

    Stover also pointed out he didn't have an opportunity cross-examine witness Eric Thompson who shared a jail cell with Matlean and claimed the defendant admitted shooting Oxley because Dawn Oxley didn't like her ex-husband.

    Thompson died Nov. 17 in South Lake Tahoe. He was to be arraigned Tuesday in Douglas District Court on charges stemming from a vehicle break-in and burglary at Big 5 Sporting Goods in Minden on Sept. 14.

    The El Dorado County coroner said a cause of death had not been determined, pending autopsy results.

    Stover said Monday he would make a decision about a bail request for his client after the district attorney decides on the death penalty.

    “If on Jan. 24, the district attorney is not seeking the death penalty, you should expect to see a bail motion,” Stover said.

    Matlean answered “not guilty,” when Gibbons asked for his plea. He was silent during the rest of the brief proceeding.

    Matlean has been in custody since last December when he was arrested for a parole violation on an unrelated charge. He has been held without bail since he was charged in June with Benjamin Oxley's murder.

    Dawn Oxley also is in custody for probation violations.

    In the past two years, she has been convicted of two counts of driving under the influence, domestic battery and arrested for possession of a dangerous drug, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    She served six months in Douglas County Jail for the DUIs after she violated terms of her release by drinking.

    She went back to jail June 22 for a week for drinking in violation of her release on the first domestic battery charge.

    Her probation was revoked Sept. 7 after she admitted drinking vodka and a second domestic battery offense.

    She was sentenced to 160 days in jail with credit for time served. Her release date was set for Feb. 8, but because she earned trusty status and good-time credits, Dawn Oxley is to be released Dec. 20.

    She has not been charged in connection with her former husband's murder.

    Trusty status is given to inmates who work in the jail depending on the nature of their offenses and length of sentence.

    Trusties can earn up to 10 days a month off their sentences. In addition, all inmates are automatically awarded five days of good time per month by federal law as long as they obey the rules.

    Deputy Kai Weaver said Oxley was working in the jail laundry.

    “Trusties have to follow all the rules,” Weaver said. “She (Oxley) has done everything she has to do.”

  2. #2
    Heidi's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    No death penalty in Oxley murder

    The district attorney's office will not seek the death penalty against James Matlean, accused in the February 2008 murder of 36-year-old Benjamin Oxley as he slept in his Wildhorse home.

    Prosecutor Tom Gregory said he filed a notice with District Court on Wednesday.

    “The District Attorney's office has determined that the statutory requirements for the death penalty are not met by the facts in this case,” Gregory said. “This critical decision was reached after careful consideration was given to the constitutional and legal requirements that we are sworn to uphold.”

    Gregory said the statute requires the existence of “aggravators” that outweigh evidence in mitigation.

    “There are 15 statutory aggravators that include such things as torture, multiple deaths, a prior conviction for murder, a murder committed after the commission of sexual assault, and murders committed on police officers," he said.

    “While all murder cases are ‘aggravated' in the general sense of the word, not all murders have facts that meet the definition of the statutory aggravators. In addition to the statutory requirements, there are constitutional concerns that also have to be adhered to,” he said.

    Penalties for murder in the first degree also include life without the possibility of parole; life with the possibility of parole beginning in 20 years; or a definite term of 50 years with the possibility of parole after 20 years have been served, Gregory said.

    Matlean pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon on Dec. 6 and is set for a two-week trial to begin July 19.

    His attorney, Ken Stover of Reno, said Matlean was pleased by the decision.

    “I talked to James and his mother and they're relieved,” Stover said Wednesday. “It's a difficult decision to file that notice, but Tom (Gregory) has always been a stand-up guy. I am very happy.

    “The next step is how we deal with the case and defend it. Nothing about the decision today mutes our anger against Dawn (Oxley),” Stover said.

    Dawn Oxley, 38, is the victim's ex-wife and the suspect's former girlfriend. She was given immunity from prosecution in the murder in exchange for her truthful testimony against Matlean.

    During a two-day preliminary hearing, she denied any involvement in Benjamin Oxley's death despite testimony by her son that he heard his mother and Matlean drunkenly discuss killing the victim Feb. 20, 2008, the night before he was shot to death.

    Matlean, in Douglas County Jail for more than a year, is to appear in Douglas District Court on Jan. 24 for a status hearing.

    Dawn Oxley was released from custody on Dec. 20 after a series of probation violations on domestic battery and drunk driving convictions.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    JLR's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Almost four years after 36-year-old Ben Oxley was shot to death in his Wildhorse home, his ex-wife's boyfriend admitted to the murder, and said Dawn Oxley conspired with him to commit the crime.

    James Matlean, 24, pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder and conspiracy with another person to murder Melissa Oxley, the victim's wife.

    Matlean told District Judge Michael Gibbons he shot Ben Oxley, but got scared and ran out the front door instead of shooting Melissa Oxley.

    He was set to go on trial at the end of January.

    In a plea agreement with the district attorney's office, Matlean faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years on the murder charge and 10 years on the conspiracy charge, to be served consecutively.

    In a statement read to the court, Matlean said he was at Dawn Oxley's house on Feb. 20, 2008, taking hallucinogenic mushrooms and drinking Southern Comfort.

    “Dawn came home from work early. She was very angry. As she kept drinking, she kept saying she wanted Ben dead. I told her I would do it,” Matlean said.

    Later that night he said Dawn Oxley asked him to kill Ben and Melissa Oxley. She drew a diagram of the house showing the location of the master bedroom.

    Under questioning from Gibbons, Matlean said Dawn Oxley accompanied him to Walmart where he purchased shotgun shells for the 12-gauge shotgun which he owned.

    He said when they arrived at Oxley's residence early Feb. 21, 2008, they tried to go in the front door, which was locked. They entered through a sliding-glass door and Dawn Oxley showed him where the bedroom was.

    The occupants of the house — who included Oxleys' 6-year-old daughter and Melissa Oxley's 15-year-old brother — were asleep.

    “I shot the gun at the back of Ben's head. Dawn went to (her 6-year-old daughter's) bedroom and wanted to take her. I told her ‘no.' I told her to wait in the truck. She came back in the house, and we both ran out of the house, got in the truck and left.”

    Matlean said he was too scared to shoot Melissa Oxley.

    Matlean said he hid the shotgun for two days before destroying the weapon.

    “Did you understand what you were doing, that you were taking another person's life?” Gibbons asked.

    “Yes,” said Matlean.

    Dawn Oxley had maintained her innocence during the murder investigation. She had a plea agreement with the district attorney's office that she would not be prosecuted for her ex-husband's murder as long as she testified truthfully against Matlean.

    Prosecutor Tom Gregory said Tuesday her agreement was still in place, but under review. He declined to say whether she would be prosecuted on the conspiracy charge.

    She is serving 90 months in Nevada State Prison for using her 15-year-old daughter in multiple drug transactions. She must serve 36 months before she is eligible for parole.

    Gibbons said he has the final decision on what the sentence will be and set the date for March 16 or March 30.

    Sentences for first-degree murder include life without parole, life with the possibility of parole after 20 years and a set sentence of 50 years with possibility of parole after 20 years.

    Matlean is being held in Douglas County Jail without bail.

    About two dozen people attended the hearing including Melissa Oxley, family friends and Douglas County sheriff's personnel.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2011
    MINDEN -- A 25-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2008 shooting death of his girlfriend's ex-husband in Minden.

    Gardnerville's Record-Courier reported District Judge Michael Gibbons handed down the sentence Friday to James Matlean, who earlier pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

    Ben Oxley was shot as he slept next to his wife in February 2008 at their Minden home.

    Matlean earlier testified that his girlfriend, Dawn Oxley, accompanied him to the home and asked him to kill 36-year-old Ben Oxley, with whom she had a bitter custody fight.

    Dawn Oxley has denied any involvement in the murder and has not been charged in her ex-husband's death. She's now serving 90 months in prison for using her 15-year-old daughter in multiple drug transactions.

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