Couple linked to officer shooting plans plea deals

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- The mother and father of a man who is facing a death penalty trial in the fatal shooting of a Chattanooga police officer are themselves planning to make plea deals on federal charges that include helping him hide guns.

Both Kathleen Mathews and Ray Vance Mathews are charged with helping their then-fugitive son, 25-year-old Jesse Mathews, avoid arrest before Chattanooga police Sgt. Tim Chapin was killed April 2 during an attempted pawn shop robbery.

State prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against their son, who had escaped from a Colorado Springs, Colo., halfway house when Chapin was shot.

The couple's change of plea hearing is Sept. 21. Their attorneys did not return messages seeking comment.

The original charges carry maximum possible penalties of more than 50 years in prison.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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