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Fiance indicted in Hooks woman's 2013 murder

Fiance indicted in Hooks woman's 2013 murder

May 25th, 2018 by Gazette Staff in Texarkana News

A suspect has been indicted on a murder charge and arrested in connection with the 2013 death of a Hooks, Texas, woman.

Toddrick Eugene Matthews was indicted in the murder of Sonjha Banks on Thursday, said Capt. Jeff Neal, chief deputy of Bowie County Sheriff's Office. Texas Rangers conducted surveillance on Matthews' Dallas-Fort Worth area residence and arrested him Friday. He is being held in the Dallas County jail and is awaiting transport to the Bowie County jail, Neal said.

At 2 a.m. Sept. 9, 2013, BCSO was notified of a fire on Hobbs Lane in Hooks. Once on scene,  deputies found Sonjha Banks in the front yard. Her fiancé, Matthews, claimed that he just returned home to find his residence on fire with his fiancé dead in the bathtub, according to authorities.

Banks apparently had been beaten, with obvious trauma to her face and head, authorities said. Investigators suspected foul play and believed that the home was intentionally burned in an attempt to conceal the murder, Neal said.

The fire extinguished itself and did minimal damage to the home. Matthews spoke with Bowie County Investigator Will Buttram and Texas Ranger Jay Womack during the initial investigation. His alibi seemed self-serving, and he claimed that someone had robbed his home of a small safe containing $9,000 in cash, Neal said. 

A search of the home resulted in a substantial amount of evidence being sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory.

Womack and Buttram have since left their departments, and Texas Ranger Todd Martin and Bowie County Capt. Robby McCarver took over the investigation.

In cooperation with the Bowie County District Attorney's Office, the case was presented to a Bowie County Grand Jury, and Matthews was indicted.

"The Bowie County Sheriff's Office sincerely appreciates District Attorney Jerry Rochelle and his willingness to seek justice for the family of Sonjha Banks. The Texas Rangers provided invaluable resources and time in this investigation. We are truly blessed to have such a good working relationship with their Agency as well as our local Ranger Todd Martin. While we can do nothing to ease the pain of the Banks family, we are certainly proud to provide them some closure," Neal said in a statement.

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