EFFINGHAM – “Justice was done today,” said the father of Kimberly Mattingly after one of the two men charged in her death was found guilty Wednesday of concealing it.
Brad Holbrook said his wife, Gena, never gave up trying to find their daughter after Gena reported her missing on April 8.
“My wife and all her investigative skills, I don't know if it would have happened like it did as quickly,” he said of the arrests that resulted. “She was after it day after day, would not stop to bring her daughter home.”
The couple said there is no moving forward for them – just a new normal. Their slain 29-year-old daughter has three children ages 1, 5 and 8.
“We want to thank the jury first and foremost,” Gena said after the verdict.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour after Aaron M. Kaiser, 37, of Beecher City, took the stand in Effingham County Circuit Court to testify what happened that day, claiming he felt threatened by Christopher E. Glass, 36, of Mason, to hide Mattingly's body. Glass is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of concealing a homicidal death.
Kaiser painted Glass as "pushy" and "intimidating."
“Pretty much everyone he talks to, he talks like he owns them,” said Kaiser.
When asked by his attorney, Lucas Mette, why people listen to him, he said, “Pretty much the same reason I do, he gives them drugs.” He admitted the two would get high together.
Kaiser claimed Glass threatened his life and the lives of three of his children. He said it was out of fear for his children, not himself, that he did not report Mattingly's murder.
When asked by Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler if anything has happened to his children since his admission to the police, he said he didn't know because he hasn't had contact with anyone.
Kaiser recounted the events on April 6. He said a woman Glass frequently hangs out with and Mattingly arrived at his parents' property in Beecher City. Glass proceeded to leave with the two women when a fight ensued between the woman and Mattingly at the top of the driveway and the vehicle stopped.
Kaiser took his girlfriend to a cabin on the property and told her not to come out for anyone, including himself. He also took her phone so she wouldn't call police. He testified it was out of fear Glass would do something to her if she witnessed Glass being violent, which he thought was going to happen, and call the police.
He said the vehicle left and Glass, who had a revolver, told Kaiser to follow him to the bottoms of the property, where Mattingly was sitting and crying. He said Glass then shot her twice and she laid down and appeared to stop breathing. Kaiser said he was walking away when Glass threatened him, the gun pointed at him, if he told anyone.
Kaiser said Glass demanded Kaiser get a tarp and shovel, so they walked back up to the shed. When they came back to where they left Mattingly, Kaiser said she was gone. Kaiser said Glass followed a blood trail and found her 25 feet away. He said Glass then shot her two more times. Kaiser said she still continued to walk away from Glass as he shot her again. He said she finally collapsed.
Kaiser said they put the tarp over Mattingly's body and left it as Kaiser's mother arrived home. Kaiser said Glass asked for a place to put the gun and Kaiser gave him keys to a Mustang on the property to hide it in. Kaiser found the gun missing couple days later and it still has not been recovered.
Kaiser testified that later that night the two went back down to where Mattingly's body was, discovering that she had moved again. Glass found her again and began choking her and putting handfuls of dirt in her mouth, finally killing her, Kaiser testified.
Kibler asked if the gun was still in the car when they went down a third time, to which Kaiser replied yes. He also asked how long the time span was between the second and third times the two went back down the hill, to which Kaiser replied five hours. Kibler also asked Kaiser where his phone was when Kaiser took his girlfriend's phone, to which Kaiser replied it was in his pocket.
“But you didn't call the police yourself,” asked Kibler.
“No, I was scared,” replied Kaiser.
Kibler argued that none of Kaiser's excuses “suffice or are believable.”
Kibler said Kaiser admitted witnessing Glass shoot Mattingly, he furnished the tarp and shovel and denied knowing her to police even though he admitted meeting her three days prior to her death when Glass brought her to his property.
Kibler questioned Kaiser's assertion that Mattingly continued to move after the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy said the fatal shot was the one through the neck. However, Kaiser said she continued to move about 600 feet afterward.
Kibler said to the jury for someone to be found guilty of concealing a homicidal death, they must prove the defendant didn't act out of compulsion or necessity.
Kibler argued Kaiser acted out of friendship not compulsion or necessity – a friend who got him access to dope.
Kibler referred to the videotaped interview with Illinois State Police during which Kaiser said Glass wasn't capable of murder and kept denying he knew Mattingly.
“Police confront him and all of a sudden the jig is up,” he said. “Police found a dead body on his property and now he's got to explain.”
Kibler asserts Kaiser turns Glass into a maniac and goes through a story that's "highly unbelievable."
Kibler said Kaiser's claim that Glass forced him doesn't add up.
“Why does Glass leave the gun in the car Kaiser owns?” he questioned.
He also questioned why he let Glass leave for several hours and still come back and why when Glass was dragging the tarp at night instead of running, Kaiser helps him when Kaiser knows the property like the back of his hand.
“He helped his friend conceal the death of Kim Mattingly. End of story,” he said.
Mette argued Kaiser's motive was he was compelled and was necessary and he acted against his own wishes.
While Kaiser admitted a level of involvement, Mette said he was not acting voluntarily.
“You heard Aaron knew about Chris' problems in the past with violent behavior. Unfortunately, with drug use, people tolerate behavior... they normally wouldn't,” he told the jury.
Kaiser's sentencing is set for 1 p.m. Oct. 30. Glass is scheduled for a jury trial Sept. 28, with a pretrial set for Sept. 17 at 1 p.m.