Mother Outraged Her Daughter's Killer Is Getting Out of Prison Years Early

"How can a murderer come home on good time?"

A man who kidnapped and killed a 14-year-old girl is about to walk free.

Nia Owens was found dead in a wooded area in Hyattsville, Maryland, more than 20 years ago. Police said she was sexually assaulted and strangled near Northwestern High School in 1996.

Matthew Bethea was convicted years later after DNA linked him to the crime.

"My child had her college degree money set aside and this monster just came and took her life from me," Owens' mother, Angela Wood, said.

Bethea pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as part of a plea deal and was sentenced to serve 15 years. A rape charge was dropped as part of the deal.   

"A rapist, a predator, a murderer is coming home tomorrow out of prison after less than nine years," Wood said.

Bethea was able to reduce his sentence through diminution credits, which allow inmates time off their sentences for showing good behavior in prison. He is set to be released from prison Tuesday.


Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information

DC Boxing Community Mourns Long-time Coach

Virginia Search-and-Rescue Team, Red Cross Heading to Florida

"How can a murderer come home on good time? My daughter will never have good time. She's dead forever," Wood said angrily.

Now, Wood is turning her fight to Annapolis and trying to change Maryland law so that convicted killers serve their entire sentence.

"There is an inherent injustice in that and I will work with our legislature to try to correct that injustice," Prince George's County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy said.

Another person's DNA was found on Owens at the time of her death. That DNA was placed in a national database, but has not been identified.

Contact Us