Two men who kidnapped, beat and robbed a Seaside man, then set his condominium on fire to cover their tracks, might have gotten away with it, if one hadn't called his girlfriend.
After five days, the Clatsop County Circuit Court trial for Kevin Bradley Bibby, 40, of Gearhart, and Adrian Aero Mathis, 31, of Seaside, ended suddenly Wednesday when both men pleaded guilty to three felonies. Both pleaded guilty to first-degree arson, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree burglary for robbing Mark Matschiner June 30.
And because all three charges were Measure 11 crimes, Circuit Court Judge Paula Brownhill sentenced each of them to 7 1/2 years in prison without the possibility of parole or early release. Measure 11 set statutory sentencing guidelines for certain felonies. Both men will receive credit for seven months served in the Clatsop County Jail.
The change of heart came within a week of prosecution receiving transcripts of calls Bibby made to his girlfriend, Roxy Robinson, who was being held in jail in Clark County, Wash. He made the calls after the incident and before he was arrested July 8.
"I have a pretty good idea of what happened - somewhere between Mark Matschiner's version and the truth," Circuit Court Judge Paula Brownhill said.
How it began
The story began back in May, when Mathis rented a laptop computer at a rent-to-own retail store. He never made payments on it, and shortly after renting it, sold it to Mark Matschiner.
The night of the crimes, Mathis and Bibby went to Matschiner's apartment to retrieve the computer, but he'd sold it to somebody else. They beat him up, filled a sleeping bag with his belongings, and took him from his home. To cover their tracks, they loaded bedding on the stove and turned all the burners on high, carelessly endangering residents in nine other units of the building.
Then they took his pickup and drove him to the Necanicum Village area. He escaped and ran to a phone.
Emergency personnel took him to Providence Seaside Hospital. He was unable to say what happened to him. But while he was at the hospital the scanner went off, reporting a fire.
"I think the fire department is at my condo," he told personnel.
The Seaside Fire Department determined the fire to be arson.
Meanwhile, a Clatsop County deputy spotted Matschiner's truck in Seaside and began a chase. After a few sharp turns, the driver jumped out and escaped.
Bibby and Mathis traveled with a group of people to Hoodsport, Wash., to work on a house and spend the Fourth of July holiday. They got a ride back with Evan Sharpe, who took them to the home in Cannon Beach where Bibby was staying. Bibby showed Sharpe some stolen items and said there was more buried out on the beach.
Out on the beach, they dug up stolen materials, that included, jewelry, watches, a computer, a set of headphones and a small safe. They offer Sharpe some of the loot, but he declined.
Sharpe's boss convinced him to go to the police and tell them what he'd seen. Police realized two of the things on the list of items stolen from Matschiner were headphones and a small safe.
They arrested Bibby and Mathis July 8.
Court cases were being polished over the months, then as the trial approached, the prosecutors found out about Bibby's calls to his girlfriend Robinson.
The week after the crimes, Bibby called Robinson, who was being held in the Clark County jail in Vancouver, Wash. Prosecutors received the transcripts the week before the trial.
Gretchen Ladd, the Clatsop County senior deputy district attorney who prosecuted the men, said it is very likely that the production of this new evidence pushed the defendants to plead guilty to the charges.
In the transcripts from July 2, even though he mentions that he knows the conversations are recorded, Bibby talked about having to get new shoes because he had to get rid of his old shoes. He talked about being ready to go someplace and hide out.
Later, Robinson asked if he did something stupid.
"Yeah, I did. I am sorry," he replied.
He mentioned that he beat somebody up and hurt his knuckles, and thought he might have broken a thumb.
"I guess we are not in the paper, so I guess we did not try hard enough," he told her later that day.
'Close to prison'
"Every time I drink I get in trouble," Bibby said.
"Is that what happened the other night?" she replied.
He said he was, "two shots away from going to prison."
He talked about being on the beach late at night, digging a hole in the sand four blocks from his home Monday when his cat showed up.
In another conversation he said he'd called her mom. "She has got to say I spent the night there, Monday," Bibby told Robinson.
"Oh, wow," she replied.
(Robinson's mother did testify in court that he'd been at her house, at least until 1:30 a.m.)
And maybe the most disturbing part of their conversations:
"Bibby, why do you always do stupid things when I am not around?" Robinson asked him. "I always have to keep you two in line."
"Yeah, I know," Bibby responded. "But maybe he won't be around for very much longer."
"Where is he going? To jail?" she asked.
"Yeah, I'm just hoping I won't go with him," Bibby replied.
Immediate prison sentences
In addition to the charges they pleaded guilty to, both men had faced charges of first-degree burglary, third-degree assault and first-degree theft. Mathis also faced a charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle.
When they pleaded, they agreed to be sentenced immediately.
"Arson is only a Measure 11 crime if it endangers other people," said Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis.
There are 10 units in the condominium building and all of them are occupied. One resident was deaf, and there were small children in the building.
Brownhill sentenced the men to three years of post-prison supervision, ordered each of them to pay $47,700 to State Farm Insurance for damages to the victim's condominium, $1,000 to the Coast River Condominium Association and $1,800 in fines.
Brownhill said that looking at the men's criminal histories, there were no previous personal crimes, only property crimes.
Ladd said the defendants were lucky they were only facing charges of kidnapping, arson and robbery.
"The fire had the potential to be fatal," she said. "With the complexity of the case, we may forget there could have been fatalities in this case.
"Fire is really one of the most frightening things that can happen to people. To have people set a fire in this way and not warn people - not call the fire department - is appalling."