Free Matthew Rushin! Unjustly Incarcerated
From the Change.org Petition:
via Concerned Mother.
Matthew Rushin vs The Commonwealth of Virginia
Meet my son Matthew Rushin and is now 21 years old. This story will shock you and disgust you. I am sharing his story to bring awareness and accountability to what goes on with abuse of power in our society. We need to make changes to stop the abuse of power in all facets of our communities. He was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger’s at a young age then later anxiety disorder. He turned his disabilities into abilities and was a very productive member of our community. Matthew graduated Landstown High School in 2016 and continued onto Old Dominion University as a Mechanical Engineering Student.
During a blizzard on Jan 6th, 2017, Matthew was involved in a single car accident after taking a friend to Urgent Care. He sustained multiple injuries to include Traumatic Brain Injury, two collapsed lungs, severe brain hemorrhaging and was unconscious for several days. The recovery from this accident was a struggle but Matthew did not let that hold him back. Matthew continued to exemplify what it meant to be a productive member of our community. Due to this accident, Matthew stopped taking his medication due to severe weight loss but was recently seeing a psychologist to get back on an appropriate medication.
On Jan 4th 2019, Matthew left our home to go to Panera on Hilltop in Virginia Beach where he worked to get some pastries. As Matthew was entering the Hilltop Shopping Ctr, he made a right turn into the shopping, he clipped a car coming out of the shopping ctr. Matthew Rushin freaked out, left the scene of the accident, drove down First Colonial doing his breathing exercises to claim down. He figured he had to get back to that accident. He made a u-turn which then Matthew lost control of his vehicle. Within 400 feet of the uturn (approximately 8 car length), Matthew trying to regain control of his vehicle before hitting a Ford Explorer (clipped) the driver side and both vehicles spun out of control. Another traveling on the same roadcar hit Matthew’s vehicle from behind.
No drugs/no alcohol involved. When Matthew finally emerged from the rear of his vehicle which was his only exit option due to air bags being deployed, he was attacked by a man yelling at Matthew in a confrontational manner. The man was in Matthew’s face yelling at Matthew almost pinning him to the vehicle, a bystander came over to intervene. Daniel Ramos testified on the behalf of the Commonwealth City Attorney and stated that Matthew’s speech was slurred, he was disoriented, and he was not responsive to the Officers when the Officers were speaking to him. Daniel Ramos also testified stating that Mr. Thor Wentz the driver that hit Matthew from behind was aggressively yelling at Matthew almost wanting to cause a confrontation with Matthew. Autistic individuals do not know how to react in situations like this so yelling at Matthew coupled with his Autism Asperger, ADHD, Traumatic Brain Injury and Anxiety caused him to say things like I wish I was dead.... I wish I was dead. The man was yelling “Are you F…. trying to kill yourself?” repeatedly. So what did Matthew do… he agreed with the man. Autist people do not think the same way as normal people. They are very pacifying people. Matthew agreed with the man so he could leave Matthew alone. Those words taken and twisted against Matthew. Matthew saw the severity of the accident then wishing he was dead not that he was trying to commit suicide. None of the Officers Body CAM caught Matthew saying he wanted to commit suicide but yet Officer Cordingly testified that Matthew told him he wanted to commit suicide. Where was Officer’s Cordingly’s Body Cam? Or was he offered promotions to lie? Officer Nash and Smith testified to the same statement that Matthew told them he wanted to commit suicide. Where were their Body Cams? Matthew was on Body Cam from the beginning to the very end…. Why wasn’t he caught stating he wanted to commit suicide. Over 12 hours of Body Cam video and never once was Matthew caught stating he wanted to commit suicide. Officer Dolida was the responding Officer at the January 2017 accident and was on scene at this accident. He found Matthew in the ditch unconscious. Why wasn’t Matthew’s mental health taken into consideration.
At approx. 9:30pm, we were notified that Matthew was in a car accident. The Officer asked if the truck Matthew was driving belonged to us. I said yes. He then asked if the truck was stolen, I said no, it belongs to us. My husband immediately went down to the scene of the accident. He was not able to speak with Matthew or see him. The Officer asked my husband if the truck belonged to us, my husband said yes. So basically, the Officers were trying to say we stole the vehicle.
Matthew was being held at the back of a patrol car. That night, after interrogations by numerous Police Officers, Virginia Beach Police charged Matthew with 2nd Degree Attempted murder. What determined that charge? Evidently, Matthew told three Police Officers he wanted to commit suicide. None of these Officers had on Body Cams. Matthew was captured on Body Cam from the first Officer arrived on scene to the first patrol car to the other patrol car then to the ambulance to the last patrol car. Matthew was always on Body Cam so when did Matthew tell the three Officers he wanted to commit suicide? Matthew was never taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Pursuant to the Virginia Beach Police Department General Order and protocol, Matthew was suppose to be taken to the hospital especially with three Police Officer hearing that Matthew wanted to commit suicide. During the entire time after Matthew was detained, he repeated the exact same thing, he had lost control of the vehicle. In Matthew’s state of mind, Matthew thought he might have had his foot on the break but might have had it on the accelerator. It was raining so badly that night that the roadways were flooded. Matthew explained he might have hydroplaned and couldn’t feel his breaks. The Police Officers kept trying to convince Matthew that he had his foot on the accelerator, which Matthew denied. Again, you have a young man who has lost control of his vehicle and was unstable to begin with. There was no intent nor there no malice. During the interrogation, the Police Officers lied to Matthew stating that they had videos that showed Matthew did not lose control of the vehicle. The Commonwealth could not figure out what to charge Matthew with. During the interrogation, the Officers were trying to get Matthew to confess to a crime but Matthew stuck to his story.
Matthew requested a bond hearing, the Commonwealth City Attorney stated Matthew was a danger to himself. The Commonwealth stated they had all these videos of Matthew driving directly into the other car. The Freedom of Information Act allowed us to retain a copy of the videos. None of the videos were clear. Blurry images from the nearby stores. This is the evidence that was presented to the Magistrate to charge Matthew with 2nd Degree Attempted Murder. The Commonwealth knew they did not have any evidence to uphold the 2nd Degree Attempted. Right before the Pre-trial, the Commonwealth added additional charges. Two counts of Aggravated Malicious wounding charge and a Hit & Run Charge. Each Aggravated Malicious wounding charge if found guilty would be 20 years to life. The Commonwealth demanded a Jury Trial which Matthew would not have had a fair trial. This is a tactic that the Commonwealth City’s Attorneys use to make individuals agree to a plea. Matthew not in the right frame of mind, agreed to the plea against my wishes. Matthew has been diagnosed with ADHD, Asbergers, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and Anxiety agreed to a plea in which he did not understand the severity of the plea and its outcome. The plea reduced the two Aggravated Malicious Wounding charges to malicious wounding. Basically, the Commonwealth miscalculated the time Matthew would serve so the Commonwealth came back with a vengeance. The Commonwealth had no physical evidence! Against my wishesMatthew took the plea. We trusted his lawyer but she gave him false hope when he signed the plea deal. Matthew thought he was coming home. Matthew is autistic, he did not understand the severity of signing that plea agreement. He still does not understand what it meant to sign that plea. Matthew keeps telling me “mom, I signed that plea agreement to come home”.
Since his arrest on January 4th, 2019, Matthew has not received the medical attention he needs. He has a cyst on his pituitary gland and is suffering from constant headaches. Matthew was never received a proper head CT evaluation.
On November 6th, 2019 with almost 40 of people in court to support Matthew, Matthew was sentenced to 50 years with 40 years suspended. The Commonwealth asked for the maximum of each charge even with a plea agreement. Even with myself and a well-known psychologist testimony, Matthew’s mental health was not taken into consideration. The Cusick Family was brained washed to give a compelling victim impactstatement/testimony even though at the beginning I had received texts and calls from their family expressing their forgiveness towards Matthew. At the Pre-Trial on March 8th, 2019, Mrs. Cusick gave me a hug and told me she knew it was an accident and that she was praying for Matthew.
I will not give up! My heart goes out the Cusick Family but accidents happen everyday and no one died. My son is NOT a killer. Matthew is very remorseful and wishes he could take the place of those are in pain. Through this, Matthew has learned to value life even more. Matthew has been my rock through my battle with cancer and understands what life is all about.Matthew exemplifies what it means to be a productive member our community, he is a loving, caring, compassionate about life and everything that surrounds it, student at ODU, worked at Panera and volunteered throughout our community. Matthew has worked at various places (NAVY EXCHANGE, and Simon Family Jewish Community Center)since he was 16 years old. We are a loving family; we always give back to the community through our volunteer work and constant involvement with charity events. Matthew has never been in trouble. In the words of John Paul Jones “I have not yet begun to fight”!
Since his sentencing, I have filed a Complaint with the Virginia Beach Police Department Internal Affairs. The Police Officers Dolida, Hosang and Daley violated the Police Department General Order Section 5, 7,8, and 9. Matthew’s 8th AmendmentRights were violated. It states Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Charging Matthew with 2nd Degree Attempted Murder because they wanted a conviction was clearly against the 8thAmendment.
We are demanding JUSTICE FOR MATTHEW RUSHIN! We are asking the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam to review this case. We are asking that the two malicious Wounding Charges to be removed. We are asking for Matthew’s mental Health to be in consideration. This accident was beyond Matthew’s control. We are asking that the Hit and Run sentence to be reduced to probation and time served. This will give Matthew to time to prove himself to the community that this was just merely a car accident! We are asking for IMMEDIATE release of Matthew Rushin.
What Can You Do?
Sign the petition demanding justice for Matthew Rushin!
Donate to cover legal and attorney fees in the fight for his freedom.
Access Our Toolkit for letter templates and contact info for key decision makers!