On September 26, 1999, Matthew’s wife, Natalie Mirabal, was killed in Boulder County, Colorado. One month later, Matthew was arrested as the only suspect in the killing. Less than one year later he was found guilty of first-degree murder of his wife. In the state of Colorado a first-degree murder conviction comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Throughout the investigation police only had their eyes on Matthew as a suspect. Due to a lack of hard evidence linking Matthew to the crime, police and the prosecution had to dig deep and search hard to find flaws in his character or indications of violent tendencies that could explain a person committing such a crime. They questioned Matthew’s friends and family, determined that there must be some hidden temper or uncontrolled rage lurking under the surface. That was not there and it is still not there. Matthew is not a violent person. When police and prosecutors were unable to find violent indicators they scrounged for whatever they could find to deface his character and, along with the circumstantial evidence they had, they pieced together a story to tell the jury. It was the only story the jury ever heard.
For years after his conviction Matthew fought the decision in the courts and was continuously denied further action. The UC-Irvine chapter of the Innocence Project worked with Matt’s case from 2008-2012 until Matthew’s request for DNA evidence to be re-examined was denied.
In the fall of 2014, another inmate in the Colorado Correctional System wrote letters to multiple recipients confessing to a murder that he committed in Boulder County in the fall of 1999. Richard Barbee’s confession was received by Kirk Mitchell of The Denver Post who looked into the crime and found that the only murder of the sort that Barbee was confessing to, at the time and place that Barbee was describing, was Natalie Mirabal’s. In November of 2014, an article by Kirk Mitchell appeared in The Denver Post that addressed these two men and their overlapping stories. That article can be found here.
Since Barbee’s confession, Matthew has filed a motion for a retrial, based on the new evidence of the confession. The motion was filed in the spring of this year, 2015. Included with his motion for a retrial was a motion to retest DNA evidence that was found associated with the crime. In June of this year (2015) all of Matthew’s motions were denied. All of his attempts to have DNA re-examined have thus far been denied due to claims that the system was upgraded in 2001 and no longer contains the DNA evidence from Matthew’s case. Matthew is currently (as of this publishing in October of 2015) in the process of appealing the decision and requesting an evidentiary hearing in response to the denial of his motions for retrial.
On this website you will find Matthew’s story – both a typed transcription of his story in his own words, and uploaded files of his hand-written account. We will also be providing available and relevant documents associated with his story and the process he has been through to obtain justice. We have posted photos and we will continue to post updates about Matthew’s appeals process. Matthew is also writing blog posts about his experience with various facets of life in prison.
Throughout the entire process of Matthew’s conviction, from the moment he was arrested to the present day, when new evidence is surfacing, the Colorado authorities have fabricated a story, found evidence to support their story, and refused to allow space for any other potential explanation of events. This website has been created in order to create that space, for Matthew’s explanation of events, because until all sides have been considered equally a fair process has not occurred. We have faith that the truth will ultimately prevail.
Matthew is currently representing himself in the appeals process, until he is granted a retrial and will be assigned a defense attorney. If you or anyone you know has information or skills to offer in support of Matthew’s defense we appreciate any and all support and guidance that you feel compelled to offer.