Man accused of 2013 murder set for trial in March

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A man accused of killing his girlfriend in a Hooks, Texas, residence in 2013 was scheduled for a March jury trial at a pretrial hearing Friday.

Toddrick Eugene Matthews, 40, is accused in the Sept. 9, 2013, death of Sonjah Banks. Banks was found under water in a bathtub in a home on Hobbs Lane in Hooks and it appeared someone had attempted to set the house on fire, according to court records.

Matthews appeared Friday with Longview, Texas, attorney Bryan Owens before 5th District Judge Bill Miller. Miller scheduled the case for jury selection March 5. A hearing was scheduled for Feb. 5 to address a defense motion to suppress evidence obtained during a search of the house where Banks was found on the day of her death.

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Banks allegedly had a wound to her head, swollen eyes and swelling to her forehead. Officers who entered the house to determine if anyone else was inside after receiving a 911 call found it filled with smoke and noticed a strong chemical smell. A can of “Safe-Heat Chafing Fuel” was allegedly found in the front yard.

Matthews allegedly called police in the early morning hours of Sept. 9, 2013, and reported that he came home to find his house on fire and his girlfriend submerged in a bathtub full of water.

Matthews was indicted by a Bowie County grand jury in May. If convicted of murder, he faces five to 99 years or life in prison. He is currently being held in the Bowie County jail.

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