Murder/Suicide: End-of-Life Plan For Jackson Couple

By: Hannah Saunders Email
By: Hannah Saunders Email

"This happened out of love. Nothing else but love," said Jerri Bartlett-Boone.

Paul and Mary Matteson were like parents to her, living in the house beside her since she was a child: "They did all kinds of things together. They were always together, and now they're still together ... this wasn't a bad thing."

The couple were approaching their 90's. They never had any kids of their own, so instead, they took care of their neighbors; babysitting, fixing their bikes, and being there for anything they needed.

"I don't want anybody to think bad about them because he lover her and she loved him," continued Bartlett-Boone.

She says Mary had been suffering from Dementia, and had just underwent hip replacement surgery. It was getting tough for the couple to take their evening walks they'd taken every night for decades, and even tougher for Paul to see Mary in pain.

Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand says he has no reason to believe this was done out of anger, or even confusion, but instead, something that seemed to be thoroughly planned out over the span of at least a few days.

"This was a very isolated incident; there was never anybody else in danger. He went into the room initially, then went back out and retrieved a bag which we believe the gun was in, and then came back in," said Rand.

Now, Jerri can only try to take care of what's left behind of the Mattesons: "I'm not letting that lawn die. That was (Paul's) pride and joy, so we went out and started watering."

Making sure their grass still stays the greenest in the neighborhood.

Neighbors say the Mattesons got married when Paul returned home from serving overseas during World War II. They also believe the two had never been apart overnight until Mary's surgery.


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  • by Sue on Jul 14, 2012 at 08:39 AM
    My sympathies go out to the neighbors especially Jeri. Sounds like the Mattesons were wonderful neighbors and when a couple has been together that long it is so emtionally distressful for them to be apart. Jeri you sound like a very caring individual and the memory of this couple will live on through you.
  • by jan Location: grand ledge on Jul 13, 2012 at 01:17 PM
    If you have ever married and lived with a spouse for over 56 years as I have, then maybe you are qualified to state your opinion. If you've never been deeply in love,watched a spouse slowly die from cancer or any other illness, then be kind in your statement.These people for whatever reason apparently decided that neither wanted to go on alone without the other.I know from my catholic faith that what he did was a sin but I still think God knows more about it than we do. RIP Mattesons
  • by Wow on Jul 13, 2012 at 11:50 AM
    Amazing how the "Christian" goes right out of any compassion. Do not judge lest you be judged.
  • by anonymous Location: Howell on Jul 13, 2012 at 08:09 AM
    I connot blame people for doing this. Especially if they are in pain. Dr.s dont give pain meds to those who really need them and people are suffering. We are more humane to our animals than we are to humans. As for resourses for seniors, Kelly, Have you looked into them. We have, for my mother in law who has cancer. They either cost a fortune or arent available because you make too much money. Medicare doesnt pay for alot. She has stated she will kill herself if she cant handle the pain. I cannot blame her even though I dont agree with it it is her decision. my thoughs and prayers are with this family
  • by gw Location: jacksonn on Jul 12, 2012 at 03:57 PM
    suicides don't make it to heaven or are they blessed. I hope it does not apply to the mentally ill who do not know any better.
  • by Amy Location: jonesville on Jul 12, 2012 at 09:19 AM
    Paul an Mary will be loved an missed by many.
  • by Kelly Location: Lansing on Jul 12, 2012 at 07:02 AM
    This is sad and my condolences to all who knew this couple. However, I am concerned that this story makes it seem like this is a valid "end of life" decision. Obviously I can't judge this man's particular culpability for this action because I don't know his state of mind. But it needs to be stated that murder and suicide are always objectively wrong actions. Sometimes killing another is not murder (involuntary manslaughter, self-defense, insanity) but this apparently wasn't the case here. He killed his wife neither by accident, nor in defense, nor did he seem unaware of the consequences of his actions. In any case, taking human life is always an act of violence. Never an act of love. Again, I don't know if this man understood this, so I am not saying he is wrong or bad - if people say he was a good husband and loved his wife, I believe them. But good people do bad things - and it is not necessary to defend what he did as understandable or valid in order to claim he was a good person. I will pray for him, his wife, and all involved. But I was alarmed because this article gives the impression that its not wrong to kill or be killed if you are suffering. I hope WILX does a follow-up to this story that focuses on the agencies and resources in the community for people (especially the elderly/sick and their caregivers) to turn to if they find themselves suicidal or homicidal because they are depressed, suffering, or feeling unable to cope.
    • reply
      by Sue on Jul 16, 2012 at 04:58 AM in reply to Kelly
      I don't know what article you read but I didn't get the same impression you did. I got the impression this man was extremely distraught; the couple was beginning to have medical problems and they had never been apart. Emotionally for people that are this close it is devastaing when they are separted. I think the article I read gave a very clear depiction of the bond these two had. Sorry that you read something that gave you such a bad impression.
  • by James Location: Lansing on Jul 12, 2012 at 06:03 AM
    I disagree with the sherriff. Firing a gun in a occupied building does pose dangers to others. Bullets can easily passed through walls, doors and windows. Although this was supposedly an act of love to end suffering, it was done in a irresponsible manner and could have injured or killed innocent people in my opinion. Also, did the wife know that she was going to be shot and killed? Is there any proof that this is what SHE wanted? There wasn't any in depth planning and discussion between the couple about ending their lives. Why did he kill himself if he wanted to end his wife's suffering?
    • reply
      by Sara on Jul 13, 2012 at 07:22 AM in reply to James
      James - obviously he killed himself because he couldn't bear to be without her. And to Harry - he IS a murderer, albeit a compassionate and loving one.
    • reply
      by Sue on Jul 14, 2012 at 08:37 AM in reply to James
      James; I believe what he meant was no one else was in danger of being shot directly by this individual, he was no posing a threat to anyone else in the building; he was a man who couldn't bear to be without his wife and he was not going after any other individual. Yes you are correct; stray bullets can hit someone else like the young lady who recently hugged an off duty officer from behind and his gun discharged killing her.
  • by Harry Location: Mason on Jul 12, 2012 at 05:56 AM
    I don't think murder/suicide is an appropriate title to this article. In my eyes this man is not a murderer.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 12, 2012 at 05:35 AM
    Well this is a sad thing and I am sorry to hear it happened, but I feel this was a poor decision and should never have happened.
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