Matthew Williams who killed gay couple in 1999 could have lashed out due to fear over his own sexuality
Matthew and Tyler Williams had grown up in a strictly religious background and the idea that homosexuality was a sin had been drilled into the boys.
July 1, 1999, saw the small community of Redding, CA absolutely shaken up and horrified at the murder of Gary Matson and his partner Winfield Mowder.
The couple was happy, popular, and well respected by the community despite living as an openly gay couple in a small and conservative town. Their bodies were found in their bed and shell casings from a .22 caliber gun were found all across the floor of their bedroom.
Oxygen's documentary 'Killer Siblings' looks into the murder of the couple and the story of the Williams brothers — Matthew and Tyler — who were responsible for taking their lives. While Matthew was the dominant one with the plan, Tyler was much more submissive and absolutely worshipped the ground Matthew walked on.
The documentary also features interviews with a reporter as well as a lead investigator, both of whom shared that Matthew going after Matson and Mowder was in a way him dealing with his "own turmoil of his sexuality".
The older of the Williams brother, Matthew, was believed to be gay by many people who met him and it was perhaps his goal to make sure people do not associate him with homosexuality. As his former friend Daniel Martin had said, "If Matthew had told me that he was gay, I would not have been surprised".
Matthew and Tyler had grown up in a strictly religious background and the idea that homosexuality was a sin had been drilled into the boys. They were not allowed any extracurricular activities and were homeschooled until they hit high school. When the boys grew up, Matthew went on to serve in the navy while his younger brother Tyler went to college. Matthew then began to look for religious institutions that believed in his ideals.
Around 1993, Matthew was at the University of Idaho when he joined the church, Living Faith Fellowship, and started to become obsessed with white supremacy and antisemitic literature. While attending the University of Idaho and church, Matthew made a friend, Daniel Martin.
Reporter Sam Stanton shared, "One of the more interesting relationships that Matthew has is with a guy named Dan Martin". The two got along very well and Martin revealed that Mattew came across as "different, incredibly inquisitive and also a bit compulsive". The two were friends for around four years but eventually drifted apart.
Matthew had got it into his head that the church he went to with Martin was a cult and he chose to leave while Martin stayed in the church. Matthew deeply believed that 'the laws of God override the laws of man'. He had even been kicked out of a few churches for having an extremely aggressive view which was skewed from theirs. He then recruited his brother upon finding no one else and hoped to start his own group.
When Martin was friends with Matthew, Martin was a closeted gay person. "I knew inside I was gay but I hadn't come to terms with what that was going to be for me. We never talked about sexuality. Our personalities are very similar and that might have been part of the attraction too. Maybe there was something there that was unspoken," Martin shared.
Stanton added that the relationship that Matthew had with Martin had really been hurting him. "He is dealing with this religious upbringing that tells him that homosexuals are evil and are violating the laws of God and he was having trouble dealing with the fact that he may be the thing he hates so much," Stanton pointed out.
By the time, Martin came out as a gay man, Matthew had already left for Northern California. In the weeks before Matson and Mowder were murdered, Matthew attempted to reach out to Martin. He wanted to recruit Martin to be a part of "this great thing that he thought he was doing". Matthew called a mutual friend, Mark, to reach Martin who told him that Martin was gay.
"Matthew broke down in tears over the phone. Finding out that I was a gay man devastated him. I was fairly certain that his finding out was what made him snap. It was what finally put him over the top. I think the victims were me in Matthew's eyes. I think that's why he killed them because he could not get to me. I have felt great remorse for that," Martin revealed.
Matthew and Tyler were also responsible for three firebombings which took place at synagogues, making it a hate crime. They also burned down an abortion clinic. When the authorities secured search warrants for their homes, they found hate material and lots of reading material on the old testament.
After collecting evidence and building up a very strong case, the Williams brothers were placed in jail. In 2002, Matthew Williams took his own life as a means to avoid the death sentence. Tyler Williams pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 29 years to life for murder and an additional 21 years for arson.
Killer Siblings airs on Sundays at 7 pm ET/PT on Oxygen.