Bay City man charged with firearm offenses in connection with friend's … – Bay City Times

KwameMathews.jpgKwame Mathews 

BAY CITY, MI — A 37-year-old Bay City man is charged with four felonies in connection with the fatal shooting of a friend of his.

Bay County District Judge Mark E. Janer on Wednesday, May 28, arraigned Kwame A. Mathews on two counts of felony firearm and single counts of felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent. Felony firearm carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison, to be served prior to any other sentence.

The charges stem from an incident that culminated in the death of 38-year-old Alfred C. “Butta” Watts III, whom prosecutors say was shot five times in the 1300 block of Kosciuszko Avenue in the early morning of Saturday, May 24. Prosecutors have charged 24-year-old Cruz D. Hinds of Saginaw with open murder and five other counts in Watts’ death.

The morning of Tuesday, May 27, Mathews contacted police saying he wanted to give a statement regarding the shooting. With an attorney present, Mathews said that about a month before Watts’ death, he was at Tubby’s Pub, 1301 Kosciuszko Ave., when he saw a man he knows whisper something to Hinds. Mathews told police he has had issues in the past with that man and did not know Hinds at the time of that encounter.

AlfredWatts2.jpegAlfred Charles Watts III 

Mathews left Tubby’s and headed to Bishop’s Inn, 804 S. Farragut St., where he ran into Watts, a good friend of his. Hinds and the other man also showed up there, Mathews told police. Mathews went outside and Hinds did as well, displaying a gun on his leg, Mathews told police.

The night of Friday, May 23, Mathews was at Trix’s Pub, 2307 Broadway, with Watts when Hinds and others entered the bar. Mathews told Watts that Hinds was the one who had previously pulled a gun on him, he told police.

Mathews and Watts left Trix’s and arrived at Tubby’s later that night, he told police. They went inside and a short time later, Hinds and others showed up, entered the bar briefly and then walked outside, Mathews said.

Mathews and Watts then exited the bar and Hinds pulled a gun and started firing, Mathews told police, adding he then ran for his life.

Prosecutors allege Hinds chased and shot Watts in the head, chest and back, emptying his firearm in the process. Within hours, police arrested Hinds and recovered the pistol they believe he used.

CruzHinds.jpgCruz D. Hinds 

Video surveillance footage from nearby King Party Store, 1029 S. Madison Ave., shows Mathews running, tripping and falling with items falling out of his pockets, court records show. Police informed Mathews that Hinds had told them Mathews first pointed a gun on him. Police also told Mathews the items that fell from his pockets were bullets and a magazine, court records show.

Police ended up arresting Mathews after he gave them his statement.

At Hinds’ arraignment on Tuesday, May 27, Bay County Prosecutor Kurt C. Asbury said Watts was not Hinds’ intended target.

“My client believes he was the target,” said Kevin J. Rieman, who is now Hinds’ attorney but was not the one with him during his questioning by police. He added that police did not recover a firearm from Mathews.

“Everyone except for the shooter and his posse has said Kwame never had a gun,” Rieman said. “As soon as the other guy pulled a gun, Kwame and everyone else tried to run away.

“I am perplexed, shocked (and) disappointed that the Prosecutor’s Office would take an obvious victim of a crime and create a charge against him based on the words of the people who were tracking him down to murder him in cold blood, and who did in fact murder in cold blood his friend,” Rieman continued.

Janer set Mathews’ bond at $250,000 cash-surety. He is to appear for a preliminary examination at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 11.

Hinds’ preliminary examination is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Monday, June 9.

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