Ex-con gets 25 years for strangling Spartanburg woman, burning h - FOX Carolina 21

Ex-con gets 25 years for strangling Spartanburg woman, burning her home

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Alexander Matthews (Source: Spartanburg Co. Detention) Alexander Matthews (Source: Spartanburg Co. Detention)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A Spartanburg man was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday for strangling an Upstate woman in 2014.

In June 2014, a neighbor reported seeing flames from a home on Overbrook Circle. Inside the burning residence, fire marshals found the body of 63-year-old Willie Mae Gray.

After an extensive investigation, it was determined that Gray was killed by strangulation and blunt force trauma.

Alexander Matthews, 48, was arrested in connection with the case after investigators learned he lived near the crime scene and reportedly smelled of smoke after the fire.

Matthews burned Gray's home before fleeing the scene in 2014.

He was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and third-degree arson after a three-day bench trial. He will have to serve 85 percent of his 25-year sentence before being eligible for release.

He had prior criminal convictions for voluntary manslaughter, second-degree burglary and probation violation.

A background check indicates after an arrest by the Charleston Police Department, a court found Matthews guilty but mentally ill for voluntary manslaughter in 1994.

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