- Edward Mathews, 47, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Friday to four counts of bias intimidation and a drug charge
- Mathews, who is white, went viral after he was caught on camera in July 2021 racially abusing his black neighbor
- It later emerged that he terrorized black neighbors: called them ‘monkeys,’ put feces on their property, sent threatening emails, and shot BB pellets at their cars
A white New Jersey man sobbed in court on Friday after he was sentenced to eight years in prison for racially abusing his black neighbors.
Edward Mathews, 47, went viral in July 2021 when he was seen hurling racial abuse at a black neighbor and spitting on him.
It later emerged that Mathews had for years terrorized black people living in the Essex Palace condominium in Mount Laurel, 17 miles east of Philadelphia.
Victims told how Mathews had fired BB pellets at their cars, called them ‘monkeys’, put feces on their properties, and sent them threatening emails and letters.
On Friday, a shackled and handcuffed Mathews, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, apologized for ‘my insensitive and disrespectful words in the past,’ the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Edward Mathews, now 47, was seen in July 2021 squaring up to a black neighbor – spitting on him, calling him the n-word and a ‘monkey’, and saying he was ‘from Africa’, during a confrontation outside his Mount Laurel, New Jersey home
Mathews had been a source of concern in the community for several years
He expressed remorse that his actions destroyed his marriage and hurt his family, saying his wife filed for divorce and sold their townhome.
Mathews’ ex-wife, Shannon Schwartzhoff, told DailyMail.com in 2021 that he was not a racist, saying: ‘A lot of his best friends are black.’
Schwartzhoff blamed his racist outburst on his alcohol consumption.
‘He was drunk,’ she said. ‘And he has been having a lot of problems in the neighborhood with the Home Owners’ Association. There’s been some money gone missing and he is trying to stop that.’
Mathews was seen spitting on his black Air Force serviceman neighbor, telling him he was from Africa and using the N word.
Mathews, a construction foreman, has spent the last two and a half years in jail and lost all of his possessions, he said on Friday.
‘Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future,’ he told the judge. ‘I want to commit to rebuild the community.’
Edward Mathews, now 47, was arrested shortly after the July 2021 incident and has been in jail ever since
Mathews was arrested and charged with bias intimidation and harassment
Shannon Schwartzhoff, 51, who still co-owns a two-bedroom townhouse with her ex, admitted she was angry at Mathews over the incident but claimed he’s not ‘as bad as everyone thinks he is’
The assistant county prosecutor, Jamie Hutchinson, read victim impact statements from four current or former residents of the Mount Laurel condominium association – the four, mainly in their 60s and 70s, were too concerned of reprisals to speak in court.
LeRon Brown, the former homeowners’ association president, who is black, and his wife, Denise, who is white, moved out in 2021 after numerous altercations with Mathews.
The couple had lived there since the development opened in 2001.
‘The actions of what he did will forever stay a nightmare of the fear and anxiety he bestowed upon me,’ Denise Brown wrote in a statement.
‘I’m constantly looking over my shoulder and trusting no one.’
Another black member of the homeowners’ association also moved away following Mathews’ abuse.
Hutchinson also cited Mathews’ extensive criminal record.
He has had 11 felony convictions since 1995, including for drugs, which barred him from having weapons – and yet a slingshot and 30 rounds of ball-bearing ammunition were found in his home, plus hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Judge Gerard Breland ordered Mathews to pay $4,408 in restitution and undergo racial sensitivity training in prison, The Inquirer reported.
Mathews has been in custody since his arrest, and will get credit for the 886 days spent in jail.
He will be eligible for parole in about 16 months.