NEW WAVERLY – In a bizarre case of history repeating itself, a Montgomery County man is in jail in Walker County with a serious case of deja vu.
Walker County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Mature’s family was gathered at his ranch on Hawthorne Rd. in New Waverly for the Thanksgiving holiday. The judge and his grandson Kenneth Mature were putting out hay for the horses when they heard a horn honking at the front of the judge’s property where Kenneth Mature has a mobile home.
Judge Mature joked with his grandson that he had better go check it out, because it was probably his fiancée Heather Willis calling for him. It was not Heather Willis honking, but she soon called his cell phone, saying people were using large bolt cutters to try and get past the logging chain securing a gate that would give them access to Kenneth Mature’s ATV’s. The family was already on alert because of recent thefts in the area.
Kenneth Mature quickly got into his vehicle to try and catch up with the suspects so he could help law enforcement find them. Trying to determine whether they were being followed, the suspects turned into a driveway and allowed Kenneth Mature to pass. He got their license plate number and kept going. They pulled out onto the road again and fled.
What the suspects did not realize, was other members of the Mature family were also trying to find them. Willis and Kenneth Mature’s sister, Carolyn Mature, hopped into a pickup – dog in back – and also went out looking for the would-be thieves.
The suspects happened to pull out in front of them, and at first were not suspicious of two women and a dog. Eventually, however, they either realized someone was following or simply decided they should get further from the scene of the crime and increased their speed significantly.
Meanwhile, Willis and Carolyn Mature notified law enforcement of the situation and their location. Detective Steven Cote, with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office and Trooper Gabino Monjaras with the Texas Department of Public Safety caught up with the vehicle and took four suspects into custody after the women chased them into an area of the National Forest where their way out was blocked. Judge Mature went to the scene as well.
One of them was 52-year-old Raymond Paul Griffis, who was arrested in Montgomery County on October 26 after he was caught in possession of a stolen ATV belonging to Jamie Metts, who happens to be the son of Montgomery County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts.
Like Judge Mature’s family, Judge Metts’ son had also seen the suspects during the commission of the crime and pursued them. So did some of his friends and even the judge. In the end, Jamie Metts found Griffis unloading his 4-wheeler at a mini-storage where he blocked the driveway and called law enforcement.
In the Montgomery County case, Jamie Metts had seen a second man helping to steal his property who was no longer with Griffis at the storage facility. Jamie Metts signed a complaint against the second suspect on Monday and charges are now pending against him.
The second suspect in the Metts case has been identified as 29-year-old William Orvil Gibbons, who was also arrested with Griffis in the Walker County incident.
Terry Lynn Gibbons, William’s 33-year-old wife was also arrested in Walker County with her husband and Griffis. A third suspect, a man who has not been connected to the Montgomery County incident as of yet, was also arrested. All four suspect were charged with unlawful use of a criminal instrument.
A member of Judge Mature’s family got online researching the suspects and found the article about the Metts incident. The family was in such disbelief that Walker County Pct. 4 Justice of Peace James Mature called Montgomery County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts to discuss the strange coincidence.
As of this writing, the suspects remain in the Walker County Jail.