Woman pleads not guilty to murder charge in 9-year-old Mobile County missing person’s case
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Bridgette Mathews pleaded not guilty on Thursday, Oct. 5 to murder charge stemming from a 9-year-old cold case. Her status hearing is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2024, according to the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office.
On Sept. 25, law enforcement authorities arrested a woman on allegations that she ran over a man and then ditched his body nine years ago.
Charles Jackson Jr. went missing in 2014. Investigators have not found his body, but a grand jury issued a secret indictment against Bridgette Mathews charging her with murder.
“This is the first arrest after many years of investigation,” Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood said. “Many witnesses have been talked to. A lot of evidence has been uncovered. This is the first in what we believe will be multiple arrests.”
Mathews, 42, said nothing as authorities led her from Government Plaza to a Mobile County Sheriff’s Office vehicle to take her back to Mobile County Metro Jail. Mathews has been there since a judge removed her probation on a 2019 escape conviction.
Blackwood said investigators believe Mathews and accomplices hid Jackson’s body somewhere in west Mobile. He said the arrest is based on new information from witnesses and physical evidence that he declined to detail.
“Some of those witnesses a period of years ago, were not willing to cooperate,” he said. “We were able to secure their cooperation through our work with the Sheriff’s Office.”
Blackwood added that the indictment is “based on that and based on some other kinds of physical evidence, and evidence that we expect to get that will be forthcoming.”
Kisha Logan, the victim’s sister, told FOX10 News that he was living with her in west Mobile when he disappeared in the Semmes area. She said someone had threatened her brother, adding that she knew it was foul play as Jackson’s girlfriend reported not being able to find him.
“When the officer showed up to my home to take the report, I told him, ‘This is not a missing person’s case. It’s a murder investigation. I knew immediately,’” she said.
Mathews has been in and out of Metro Jail a number of times over the past 15 years, with home addresses in Conecuh County, Atmore, Eight Mile, Bay Minette and Mobile. She spent time in prison following a 2016 guilty plea to a charge of distribution of drugs.
The escape conviction resulted from allegations that she failed to comply with terms of a prison diversion program a judge originally ordered on drug charge. According to court records, a condition of that program was that Mathews not leave Alabama. The District Attorney’s Office alleged that on numerous occasions, she went to casinos in Mississippi.
Mobile County Circuit Judge Michael Windom sentenced her in 2019 to 15 years in prison on the escape charge, with all three years suspended, and five years’ probation. After serving that prison time, she began her probation period but failed to keep in contact with her probation officer, the judge determined.
Windom in April last year partially revoked the defendant’s probation after hearing testimony from the probation officer but sentenced her to the time she had spent locked up until that point and allowed her to resume probation.
Windom revoked the defendant’s probation again last month, this time transferring her to the Mobile County Community Corrections Center and ordering her to be monitored by an electronic ankle bracelet.
Blackwood acknowledged that not having a body always poses complications in a murder case, but he said he believes the evidence will overcome that.
“You know, there are some issues that arise when you don’t have a body,” he said. “Of course, that part in the investigation is not over. We do believe that the evidence we presented to the grand jury did give them enough evidence to indict and for us to try Bridgette Mathews in this case.”
Blackwood said he hopes more information comes to the intention of investigators.
“I know there’s somebody out there in the community that was either involved in this case or has knowledge of this case or have spoken to someone involved in this case or with knowledge of this case,” he said. “And I expect those people to come forward, and I’m confident that one way or another we will locate the body.”
Logan says she’s thrilled to finally see a break in the case.
“We’re very glad,” she said. “You know, we’ve never given up hope that something would happen.”
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