I was shocked to read about the recent murder of a elderly Gringo on
Roatan. Haven't seen comments about the BayIslandsVoice article
here in the group.
Is the story factual, and is Roatan getting more violent or safer?
I've copied it from the Bay Islands Voice website.
November, 2004 Vol.2 No. 13
Brutal Murder of an American
American builder shot at his home, an American retiree charged with
Tom Matulas, 62, a builder/developer who spent over 20 years on
Roatan, was shot at his Milton Bight home. After hours of surgery,
he died at Jackie Wood Medical Clinic.
On the rainy, dark and thunderous morning of Monday, October 4,
Matulas was shot while watching TV. Around 5:30am, an assailant
fired a single pistol shot through the screen window. The bullet
entered the base of Matulas' skull and exited through the nose/mouth
causing major internal damage.
Matulas turned off the television set, took his umbrella, daily
planner, locked the front door and walked out. He then walked 150
yards to the house of his neighbor, Bob Kable.
"We heard a shot and twenty minutes later Tom came in," said Kable.
Bleeding heavily and unable to speak, Matulas handwrote a note which
read: 'I was sitting in my chair. I got struck by lightning in the
back of my head.' Kable drove Matulas to Jackie Wood Medical Clinic.
On October 8, Don Davis, 73, an American retiree and Roatan resident
for five years, was taken into custody. "Heads up, 17 guys with
machine guns in my yard and my dogs were going crazy," said Davis.
Two local women waiting at a bus stop placed Davis in the vicinity
at the time of the crime. For the past five years, Matulas and Davis
were involved in a dispute over a 38-acre property in Milton Bight.
A bullet and shell casing found on the crime scene are presumed to
be 9mm (prior to forensic examination) and don't match any of the
three firearms Davis claims to own: a .38 revolver, .25 automatic
and .32 automatic. "I don't know what happened. I wasn't there. I'm
a night person and I never get up before 8am," said Davis, "He
[Matulas] was a good neighbor. We weren't social friends. We had
For two weeks, Davis has been confined to the premises of the Roatan
police station, but he has not been placed in the any of the jail's
On October 22, Davis was arraigned in front of a Roatan judge and
will remain under house arrest until the trial. An American Embassy
consul was present during the proceedings.
Matulas' home was burglarized several times prior to his murder. In
August, two armed men broke into his home, blindfolded, tied-up and
robbed him of several thousand dollars. Matulas took no apparent
precautions after these incidents. He had no watchman, no guard dog.
He didn't own a fire arm.
"Tom was a guy that ranted and raved, but never had a gun," said
Douglas Thorkelson, a friend of the victim. "Tom had a very small
world that he lived in. He was quiet. You either liked him or you
Matulas has been involved in purchasing and selling land and the
construction of several homes on Roatan. "He didn't listen to
anybody. It went from petty theft to robbery, assault, armed robbery
and this," said Kable.
Matulas' body has been flown to the US and a family member arrived
on Roatan to take care of personal matters.
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