News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 7, 2013

April trial set for man accused of Shirley Moyer homicide

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — An April 21 trial has been set for a Terre Haute man accused in the homicide of his girlfriend’s grandmother.

Matthew W. Cook, 31, appeared via video in Vigo Superior Court 1 on Wednesday where a public defender was assigned to his case.

Cook faces five felony charges — two counts of felony murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, armed robbery and robbery — in connection with the Oct. 26 death of Shirley Moyer at her home in Gaslight Estates.

The Vigo County Sheriff’s Department investigated the death of Moyer, who was found Oct. 27 in her home.

Judge John Roach read the criminal charges to Cook, which alleged that he intentionally killed the 65-year-old Moyer, that he killed her while committing robbery, that he took money and prescription medication from Moyer while using force resulting in serious bodily injury, that he took money and prescription medication from Moyer while armed with a knife, and that he robbed Moyer.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday, police learned that Cook was the boyfriend of Moyer’s granddaughter, and that he lived with the granddaughter and Moyer’s sister three units west of Moyer’s residence.

Detective Jason Fischer reported that Cook had gone with Moyer’s sister on Oct. 26 to a pharmacy to pick up prescription medication for Moyer. Cook took those prescriptions to the door of Moyer’s home, and Cook then returned to his home while Moyer’s sister went to meet friends for dinner at about 3:50 p.m. Moyer’s sister reported that the woman was alive at the time Cook delivered the medication to her door.

When Moyer’s sister returned to her residence after 8:30 p.m., Fischer reported, she noticed Cook doing laundry, which was unusual for him. The sister told Fischer that she took Cook to see his mother to get money for cigarettes, but he got only some coins from his mother. The next day, however, Cook had at least $10 to purchase cigarettes.

Police examining the crime scene said they also noticed that the trash bag liner was missing from the trash can in Moyer’s kitchen. Police also said they located a trash bag in a nearby Dumpster, and that the bag contained a piece of mail with Moyer’s name on it. Also in the bag, police said they found a stainless steel knife that appeared to have red stains on the blade. They also said they located jewelry near the Dumpster, and they had noted that a jewelry box had been dumped on the bed inside Moyer’s home.

When police went to question Cook at his residence, they said they found him locked inside the dwelling. They forced entry to the residence and found Cook on the floor unconscious and unresponsive. He was transported to a hospital for treatment of a possible drug overdose.

Police said they found two knives inside the residence that were similar to the knife found in the Dumpster containing the trash bag from Moyer’s residence. Police said Moyer’s sister identified those knives as a set of three that she owned, but which had not been used.

A nearby resident also told police that he witnessed Cook on Oct. 26 carrying a trash bag to the Dumpster where Moyer’s trash bag was found.

Because arrest warrants were already outstanding for Cook related to pending criminal cases, he was booked into the Vigo County Jail with no bond set on Oct. 31 upon his release from the hospital.

With Cook in police custody, the homicide investigation continued, culminating with the new criminal charges filed Monday.