CHICAGO (CBS) — There is a big debate in the far South Side Hegewisch neighborhood over a convicted cop killer who was allowed to coach kids’ baseball.
Chicago Police officer John Mathews was murdered 26 years ago, leaving behind his wife Laura and three young children. Mathew’s son had asked the current board of the little league team to step down, which they did at a meeting Wednesday night, reports CBS 2 Suzanne Le Mignot.
For officer Mathews’ family, his murder feels like yesterday.
“He took everything,” Laura said as she sat with her two sons and her daughter. “He took so many moments away from these guys, and I don’t want that to happen to any other family.”
Mathews was beaten to death with a baseball bat by a group of men, on the shore of Wolf Lake in Hegewisch. Among the men who killed him was Dean Chavez, who served eleven years in prison for Mathews murder. He had been a coach of the Hegewisch Babe Ruth League for the past six years, until he was forced out by the league’s national president.
Wednesday night, the Mathews family and hundreds of Chicago police officers supporting them showed up at the Hegewisch Babe Ruth League Board meeting. After meeting with the family for two hours, the entire board stepped down.
In the future, the family wants tougher guidelines in place for league volunteers, like Chavez.
“They knew what he did. They didn’t need a background check,” Laura said. “They just supported him, and said he deserved a second chance, he served his time.”
Chavez resigned from his coaching position on June 23.
In a phone interview, Chavez said he’ll be paying for the crime for the rest of his life saying, “In my six years, I saved the league and was an excellent coach. My accomplishments will never be taken away from me.”