Matthew Deacon gets 4 years for killing his ex-girlfriend

2013-05-25T02:30:00Z Matthew Deacon gets 4 years for killing his ex-girlfriendBy DYLAN WOOLF HARRIS — Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO — In a five-page letter, the mother of shooting victim Casey Jo Tervort said her daughter’s death altered her view of the criminal justice system and questioned her faith in humanity.

Defendant Matthew Michael Deacon, 23, was sentenced Friday to serve a maximum four years in prison for shooting Tervort June 15.

Before the sentencing, mother of the victim Melinda Dodd told District Judge Al Kacin she thought anything less than the maximum sentence for Deacon would be “adding insult to injury.”

Deacon shot Tervort with a shotgun from the doorway of his trailer. He was arrested for murder and in late March stood trial. A jury found him guilty of the lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter, however.

Defense attorney David Lockie argued at trial that his client looked out from his home with a gun because the victim was banging on the door at night. Deacon was in the process of setting down the 12-gauge shotgun, Lockie said, when he accidentally squeezed the trigger.

Tervort and Deacon had been dating but weren’t around the time of her death.

Dodd believed the jury’s verdict in the case was wrong, she said.

Lockie acknowledged Dodd’s pain and said the court should too when meting out a punishment. He disagreed, however, that the judge should consider her opinion that the verdict was erroneous. Had the jury decided Deacon was guilty of first-degree murder, the judge likely wouldn’t allow the defendant’s opinion that the verdict was wrong impact his decision.

“As a matter of fundamental fairness, it needs to work the other way as well,” Lockie said.

The defense sided with a recommendation made by parole and probation to sentence Deacon to three years in prison with parole eligibility after 12 months.

“Matthew Deacon respects that recommendation. He is not here before this court asking the court to place him on probation because he will admit ... to the court that he knows what happened was not right,” Lockie said.

District Attorney Mark Torvinen asked Kacin to sentence Deacon to serve four years in prison. He said Deacon’s decision to point a loaded gun at a human being aggravated the crime.

In the letter, Dodd said she grieved daily for her daughter, as did all those close to Tervort.

“You always think, ‘I couldn’t go on living if I lost one of my children,’ and then it happens and you have no choice,” she read. “You have to get up every morning. You have to go to work. You have to take care of your responsibilities and you have to get through each day regardless of how much pain it causes just to breathe.”

“I am angry and I am full of hate,” she read. “I’m bleeding from the inside out. I am dead without dying. I sleep all the time or I don’t sleep at all. I have to force myself to get out of bed to go to work, to go to the store, to pay bills. I have to force myself to participate in my own life. Try living this life with some kind of dignity when all you want to do is scream.”

Kacin agreed that Dodd’s comments were wrenchingly sad and heartfelt. He added he could “feel her pain oozing out in the courtroom.”

“Casey was a young woman and she didn’t lose her life — her life was taken from her by Mr. Deacon,” Kacin said.

Deacon told the court he was sorry for killing Tervort, he wished he could bring her back, and that he hoped she was “up in heaven in the good Lord’s hands.”

Deacon was also ordered to pay $3,406.50 restitution for funeral costs. His sentence allows for parole eligibility after 19 months. He was given credit for 343 days served.

Copyright 2015 Elko Daily Free Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. Lweyle
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    Lweyle - May 26, 2013 6:01 am
    Judge Memeo handed a woman a 10 year prison term for some fairly modest sexual activity with a child. The sentence was the minimum mandatory term. The lesson here is that our legislature believes that sexual conduct is two and a half times worse than killing somebody. So if you are debating whether you should have sex with or kill someone, you can factor that into your thinking!!!
  2. Pearl Turner
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    Pearl Turner - May 25, 2013 3:01 pm
    Notice the orange color of his shirt? He has been in jail. Which means that he gets credit against his four year sentence for every day spent in jail. Parole eligible in 12 months??? Well, he shot her on June 15, 2012. If he has been in jail all this time, he should be eligible for parole in just three weeks!!! Not the judge's fault - he gave Deacon the max. Jury seems a little soft in the head. Wouldn't want to be this guys next girlfriend.
  3. 1stAmendmnt
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    1stAmendmnt - May 25, 2013 10:42 am
    Can blame the prosecution for not presenting a strong case with ballistics proving that the position of the shotgun versus the fatal shot would have indicated whether he was honestly "setting down the shotgun when the trigger accidently went off". Obviously the jury wasn't convinced of innocence or they would have acquitted him. Deacon now gets to face inmate justice.
  4. boo quess who
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    boo quess who - May 25, 2013 6:47 am
    really now!! Murder and only gets 4 years. What is wrong with our criminal justice?. A man kills a monkey because he attacked him when he tried to steal him and gets 1 to 7 years. A semi driver killed a man in a automobile accident and gets 10 years. Deacon kills in cold blooded murder and gets four. Not right just not right!!!!
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