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Family upset after man present at woman's drug-related overdose death given probation

1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago Tuesday, February 27 2024 Feb 27, 2024 February 27, 2024 5:46 PM February 27, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

Almost exactly one year ago, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office found the partially clothed body of Macy Peebles outside of an apartment on GSRI Avenue.

"Her death was due to acute amphetamine fentanyl and methamphetamine toxicity and we ruled it an accident based on the information we had," said Shane Evans with the EBR Coroner's Office. 

Investigators determined she had not died there and was dumped, they would quickly discover, by Damion Matthews.

According to Matthews, and corroborated by surveillance video, the two met the night before at a casino. At some point they did drugs together and Peebles fatally overdosed. Matthews did not try to get help.

"It's very common for people who are with someone who overdosed to run from that situation to avoid apprehension or identification by authorities. We see it a lot," Evans said.

Matthews has been out on bond since his arrest and last week at his sentencing, Judge Louise Hines gave him three years' probation.

A post on X, formerly known as twitter, by Peebles' cousin received more than 8 million views. The post said Matthews had drugged Peebles and dumped her half-naked body like trash. Many people inferred in the comments that Matthews directly caused her death, but prosecutors said there was no evidence of that.

"The Sheriff's Office really worked hard on this case like they do in all the others and they treated the overdose like a homicide case, like they do every other case, and there was just no evidence to support that," District Attorney Hillar Moore III said. 

While there is a law that holds drug dealers responsible for providing the drugs that caused a fatal overdose, prosecutors also couldn't prove that was the case with Peebles' death.

"That's completely unknown. We have one person who is alive, one who is not and the defendant in this case did not make any statements whatsoever."

With so much evidence lacking, Moore says they were forced to drop an obstruction of justice charge and agreed to a deal in which Matthews would plead guilty to unlawful disposal of a body.

Though Matthews has a lengthy criminal record that includes three felonies, he was eligible for probation because the previously crimes were committed more than 10 years ago.

Peebles' family is upset with the lack of jail time, and sent a statement to WBRZ: "We, the family of Macy Jane Peebles, are not happy nor satisfied with the outcome of the case against Dameon Matthews. We feel the deal offered by the DA's office does nothing to give us closure or any justice in Macy's death.

"We did not agree with dropping the obstruction of justice charge nor the offer of probation for the remaining unlawful disposal charge. In 3 years, he can have this charge removed from his record like nothing ever happened. We will still be missing our Macy. ...

"We still don't know where she died, when she died, why she was only found half-dressed, or what happened to all of her personal belongings. ... We feel let down by the system. Our daughter, sister, aunt, cousin is still gone and now the only person that knows what happened is walking the streets of Baton Rouge basically a free man."

Matthews' name is spelled variously as Damion and Dameon in court records.

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