2 arrested in Boutte woman’s murder

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / April 3, 1999

HAHNVILLE – An out-of-control weekend turned into tragedy when a Boutte woman was stabbed more than 50 times in her residence.

Her body was later discovered by her father and brother.

It was St. Charles Parish’s first homicide in eight months and the first of1999.

On Thursday, Sheriff Greg Champagne reported the arrests of Vincent E.

Teal, 21, and Amin E. Amin Jr., 18, both of Metairie. Both are charged withthe second-degree murder of Debra A. Morales Matthews, 32, of 431 AcornSt.

“It was probably one of the most vicious things I’ve ever seen,” Champagne commented.

Following the stabbing of Matthews, her car was stolen and apparently broke down on U.S. Highway 90 near the Jefferson Parish line. The wreckerservice called out was that of her father and brother, who recognized the car, went to her home and discovered her body Tuesday morning.

Champagne said events began with Matthews, separated from her estranged husband for a few weeks, going out drinking with a female cousin on March 26.

In a Metairie bar, the two women reportedly met Teal and Amin, who claimed to be brothers and ex-military. The foursome partied together allweekend and drove around together for several days.

At one point, the quartet attempted to break into the trailer residence of one of the men’s uncles, only to be chased away, according to reports.

Nevertheless, Picayune, Miss., police retained a report of that incident.The four made their way back to Matthews’ residence Monday and, according to Champagne, the cousin left the residence that night at 10:30, while an argument was going on between Teal and her cousin over his wanting to use her car.

At 3:45 p.m., a St. Charles Parish sheriff’s deputy spotted a smoldering caron the shoulder of U.S. 90, near Pier 2 lounge. Fire flared from the interiorwhen the car door was opened.

Louis Morales Wrecker Service was called out and Louis Sr. arrived to takethe car and return it to the wrecker yard, located a few blocks away from Matthews’ residence. Morales Jr. recognized the car as one they earliersold to her and, together, they went to her residence Tuesday at 5:29 a.m.Inside the house, Matthews’ body was found beneath a mattress in her bedroom, with more than 50 stab wounds and numerous defensive wounds, Champagne related.

The wounds had apparently been made with a single-edge knife, Champagne added.

Meanwhile, as Teal and Amin told police later, they were given a ride to Metairie and dropped off at midnight at the Huey Long Bridge, from where they went to a friend’s Metairie apartment. Instead, Champagne claimed,investigators learned they were picked up at the bridge between 5:30 and 6 a.m.Inside the Matthews car, Champagne added, were a television and stereo equipment. He said the car was in poor mechanical condition and likelycaught on fire on its own.

Champagne said that, with the assistance of Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and Kenner Police Department, the pair were tracked and apprehended Thursday at 1 a.m. They were initially booked in JeffersonParish as fugitives and returned later to St. Charles Parish.Teal, Champagne said, had an open, fresh knife wound between his thumb and index finger and also had other scratches and small cuts on his hand.

“We still have a lot to do at the crime scene,” Champagne said Thursday afternoon. “I had people working 30 hours straight on this thing.”Champagne added the pair were both reputedly involved in Jefferson Parish gang activity, but this incident was not apparently gang-related. Hesaid Amin had a small criminal history, highlighted by a 1998 arrest for illegal use of a weapon.

Teal is another story, Champagne noted. With 17 arrests in his adult life,the 21-year-old’s “rap sheet” includes bookings for DWI, possession of marijuana, simple robbery, felony theft, battery of a police officer, simple battery, disturbing the peace by being intoxicated and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

In 1999 alone, Champagne said, Teal was booked with DWI, theft of items valued between $100 and $500 and bail-jumping.

The weapon itself has not yet been recovered. An autopsy was conductedWednesday, and the woman’s funeral was held Friday.

There was no bond set for Teal and Amin by 29th Judicial District Judge Emile St. Pierre.”We feel we have a good case now,” Champagne said, “but we’re also nailing down scientific evidence.” He added detailed evidence on blood-spatter patterns, hair, fingerprints and DNA testing is already begun.

Nonetheless, Champagne urged anyone with further information is urged to phone Lt. Chris Canaski at 443-0334.

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