Adam Matos: Trial underway for Pasco County quadruple murder suspect

Posted at 6:28 AM, Oct 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-30 07:02:19-04

July selection will begin on Monday for 31-year-old Adam Matos, a Pasco County man accused of a brutally murdering his ex-girlfriend, her boyfriend and her parents in 2015. 

Matos is accused of killing Megan Brown, her parents, Gregory and Margaret Brown, and her new boyfriend, Nicholas Leonard in 2014. Brown was the mother of Matos' son who was 4-years-old at the time his mother was murdered.

If found guilty, Matos could face the death penalty.

According to a medical examiner's report, Megan Brown died of a gunshot wound to the head, her father died of a gunshot wound to the torso, her mother, whose hands were found bound behind her back and her head covered with a bag, died of blunt-force trauma to the head and asphyxiation and Brown's boyfriend died of blunt-force trauma to the head.

Eight days before the bodies were discovered, the sheriff's office received a call from Brown about an aggravated assault. Brown told deputies, at that point, that Matos held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.

Later that day, Brown allegedly told her friend, Tonya Carlson, "Adam was acting crazy and she's never seen him act like this and he's going to kill me," according to the arrest affidavit. The report also states that Brown told Carlson that she was scared to report to work because she believed Matos would take their son.

Brown had also told her boss that she was scared and thought that Matos was going to kill her, the report reads. The next day, she did not show up at work.

On September 4, 2014, Margaret Brown's stepmother called authorities, saying that she was unable to reach her stepdaughter. Matos and Tristan were missing, too.

Deputies went to the Brown's home and found what appeared to be a spent bullet lying on the driveway. They also reported a foul smell coming from the garage, consistent with the smell of decomposing bodies as well as what appeared to be a large amount of blood.

The bodies of the four victims were found on laying next to and on top of each other on the side of the roadway on Old Dixie Highway in Hudson. The bodies had already begun to decompose and were covered in maggots, according to the Pasco County arrest affidavit.

When the bodies were found, the state issued an Amber Alert to locate Ismael "Tristan" Santisteban, Matos and Brown's 4-year-old autistic son. 

Deputies spoke with a neighbor who said he saw Matos sometime between midnight and 1 a.m. on August 29. He stated that Matos appeared to be out of breath and sweating. The neighbor said that Matos told him that the family flew to West Virginia and that he was home alone.

The day before the bodies were found, a different neighbor reported seeing a man, matching Matos description, spraying water in the garage and sweeping it out a side door, the arrest report said.

Detectives found that Matos had sold Gregory and Margret's six dogs for $50 a piece through ads on Craigslist, according to his Pasco County arrest affidavit. They also say that Matos bought a long-handled shovel using one of the victim's debit cards on August 29. The shovel had a small sticker attached to it with the make and model information on it. The shovel was found in that victim's vehicle and the sticker from the shovel was found in a small, freshly dug hole next to the residence.

Additionally, detectives later discovered that Matos ordered pizza that he shared with his son, two nights in a row.

On September 5, Matos and Tristan took a taxi from Hudson to a downtown Tampa Greyhound bus terminal. At the bus station, Matos asked a security guard, "What time is the first bus out of here?"

The security guard told Matos that the next bus did not leave until 6 a.m. and directed Matos to a nearby hotel where he was found with his son. Deputies arrested him and charged him with four counts of Premeditated First-Degree Murder.

His son was not hurt and out-of-state relatives adopted him.

On October 16, 2014, The State Attorney’s office filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Matos. 

Lawyers said that it took so long for this case to go to trial because they had hundreds of witnesses to interview.

The jury selection is expected to take two days and the trial itself is expected to take three weeks. If Matos is found guilty, all 12 jurors will need to unanimous in their recommendation for the death penalty.  

Mary Stringini is a digital reporter for ABC Action News. Follow her on Twitter @MaryWFTS.