Suspect in slaying of WWJ anchor Jim Matthews and attack on his family charged with first degree murder, unlawful imprisonment, assault

Bond for Arthur "Van" Williamson was denied at a video arraignment Monday afternoon
Photo of Arthur "Van" Williamson, the suspect in WWJ's Jim Matthew's murder.
Photo credit Michigan Department of Corrections

CHESTERFIELD TWP (WWJ) -- Murder and other charges have been filed against the man accused in the slaying of WWJ Newsradio 950 overnight anchor Jim Matthews and the attack on his family in their Macomb County home.

The alleged killer has been identified as Arthur "Van" Williamson, a convicted felon who turned 55 years old on Monday.

He is charged with a total of seven felonies in this case, including one count of first degree murder.

Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido said Williamson was known to the family, though investigators are still working to determine the exact relationship.

"He wasn't unwelcome, he was a welcome individual, so that means he had the access by way of being intentionally allowed into the home, and not somebody who broke into the home," Lucido said.

Bond was denied when Williamson appeared for a video arraignment Monday afternoon. Magistrate Joseph Pawlecki declined to hear arguments from attorneys regarding bond, noting the seriousness of the charges against Williamson and stating that he is "a danger to the community."

The charges are as follows:

- 1 count of first degree, premediated murder
- 1 count of felony murder
- 3 counts unlawful imprisonment
- 2 counts of assault with intent to commit murder

A not guilty plea was entered on the defendant's behalf and Williamson's next hearing was set for Oct. 5.

Lucido noted more charges may be forthcoming, as the investigation is still ongoing and evidence is being processed.

Friday at around 12 p.m., Chesterfield police became aware of a violent attack at Matthews' condo. A 35-year-old woman — Matthews' girlfriend — had escaped the home with their 5-year-old daughter. Police said the woman had been stabbed multiple times.

The couple's son, age 10, was found by police tied up in a closet with severe head trauma.

Matthews, 57, had been killed. Chesterfield Director of Public Safety Brian Bassett said in an update Monday the cause of death was blunt force trauma, but he could not go into further detail.

In the basement of the home, police discovered the suspect suffering from self-inflicted wounds. He was also in the process of overdosing when police arrived, was treated for the overdose and taken into custody.

Michigan Department of Corrections records reveal that Williamson has an extensive criminal history, including a history of violence.

According to those records, Williamson was convicted and served time for drug charges, assault and battery, and breaking and entering. He was on parole for the breaking and entering conviction until January of this year.

Still unclear is the exact relationship that Williamson had with Matthews' family, as well as the motive behind the violent attack.

The timeline of events is still under investigation as well. Bassett said it appears the suspect was let into the home sometime in the middle of the night and Matthews arrived sometime around 6 a.m. The only other "firm timeline" authorities have is they were called around noon on Friday.

"As a father this has been a difficult time for all of us. Our prayers are with the victims and their families during this tragic time," Bassett added. "Our officers, detectives and partners have worked tirelessly around the clock and will continue to do so to ensure justice for our victims."

A GoFundMe has been set up by Ashley Quigley -- the children's aunt -- to help with their recovery. She is also using the page to share updates about the children's medical status.

Quigley and her husband are currently taking care of their 5-year-old niece, who was also injured in the attack, and advocating for their 10-year-old nephew who remains hospitalized. The young boy has undergone several surgeries, but is showing signs of improvement.

Bassett said Monday that the boy remains in "critical but stable condition," and that the children's mother is in stable condition, but remains in the hospital for observation. The little girl, meanwhile, has been released for the hospital and is said to be doing well.

Williamson faces mandatory life in prison without parole if he is convicted on the first degree murder charge, while the felony murder and assault with intent to murder charges carry a sentence of up to life. Unlawful imprisonment is punishable by up to 15 years in prison for each count.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Michigan Department of Corrections