FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A Florence man was sentenced to live in prison without the possibility of parole after a jury found he intentionally ran over and killed at 74-year-old woman who confronted him as he was burglarizing her home in 2015.
Latson Matthews, 47, was sentenced Thursday in Florence County after the jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes, according to Todd Tucker, Florence County Assistant Solicitor. He says the Florence Police Department did an excellent job investigating this case.
Martha Day Grainger, 74, confronted Matthews, who was stealing a propane tank from her garage, with a weapon that he took from her before striking her with his green van, police confirmed at the time of the incident, in July of 2015.
People in the neighborhood said at the time they were upset to hear what had happened to the woman, who they said lived on Converse Drive for more than 40 years.
"She was very sweet and very independent," said Natisha Byron, who lives nearby. "I always admired her and how independent she was in terms of doing everything in the yard and she worked on a farm too. She just did everything she could for herself. That's just who she was."
Byron said the woman was involved in the neighborhood watch program and always reminded people about the meetings.
"She was just into things like that, taking care of the neighborhood," she said.