Man heading to prison for 2019 mugging in Salem

·3 min read

Sep. 15—SALEM — A 29-year-old Amesbury man was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years in state prison Tuesday, after pleading guilty to mugging a 67-year-old man who was walking home in downtown Salem two years ago.

Alexander Matton, who was living at 11 Glen Devin St. prior to his arrest, was identified as a suspect through surveillance videos from cameras outside the Essex District Attorney's office on Federal Street, which were compared to surveillance images from a New Hampshire 7-Eleven where he had tried unsuccessfully to use the victim's debit card to buy cigarettes.

The victim had first encountered Matton after leaving O'Neill's, a pub on Washington Street, around 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 23, 2019. Matton, the victim told officers, had asked him for money for train fare, and he gave Matton $1.

A few minutes later, as the man was walking along Federal Street, near the intersection with St. Peter Street, he spotted Matton again.

"Give me your wallet and your phone and there will not be any trouble," Matton told the man, before reaching around and into the older man's pockets, prosecutor Mary Elizabeth Spano told a Salem Superior Court judge.

Matton got the man's wallet, which contained $140 and a debit card, and his cell phone, which was later found dumped in some bushes nearby.

The victim ran to Bitbar, just down the street, and asked for help, Spano told Judge Kathleen McCarthy-Neyman.

Salem police detectives Thomas Pelletier and Eric Connolly were able to track where Matton used the card before it was shut off — $13 worth of food from the Taco Bell in Danvers, then a stop at a Shell station in Dover, New Hampshire, and finally, the 7-Eleven, where it was rejected.

The detectives also obtained descriptions from workers at O'Neill's, surveillance videos from that business and a number of other businesses on the route taken by Matton and the victim through downtown, and then the images from the district attorney's security cameras outside its office on Federal Street. The victim was then able to identify him in a photo array.

Matton was charged with and pleaded guilty to unarmed robbery of a person 60 or older.

Matton has an extensive prior record and was on probation at the time.

While in custody at Middleton Jail, where he's spent 683 days since his arrest, Matton has been taking part in medication-assisted treatment, receiving methadone daily, he told the judge.

His attorney, Scott Gleason, urged McCarthy-Neyman to sentence Matton to "time served," and release him on probation so that he could move to a sober house in Chelsea where a bed is available.

Spano, the prosecutor, requested a four- to six-year prison term, given Matton's prior record and the seriousness of the crime.

McCarthy-Neyman said she was taking into account the fact that this will be Matton's first trip to state prison when she settled on the 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year prison term. He received credit toward that sentence for the 683 days he's been held.

Because he was facing just one charge, he will not be on probation after his release, though if he is released prior to serving 3 1/2 years, he will be supervised by a parole officer.

McCarthy-Neyman said she is hopeful that Matton continues to take part in treatment after his release even without being supervised.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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