TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- It’s a crime that has gripped the city of Topeka over the holidays- the brutal robbery and murder 41-year-old Matthew Hill while he was on duty at the Hudson Liquor Store in southeast Topeka on Christmas Eve.
Hill, the father of three teenage girls, was compliant with the crowbar-carrying robber but was killed anyway, launching a full scale investigation that led police to 44-year-old Matthew Myers. Myers was arrested Thursday at his home on SE Pennsylvania Avenue where he lives alone. It's located less then a mile from the murder scene.
Investigators won’t say exactly what had them sight their sights on Myers, telling 13 news information from the community and law enforcement and evidence led to his capture.
After his arrest, police searched Myers’ home and say they found even more evidence inside linking him to the crime.
Captain Jerry Stanley, head of TPD's Criminal Investigations Division, says reports that Myers barricaded himself inside his house and that a negotiator was brought in are untrue. He says Myers was arrested without incident. Rumors that the crow bar was found inside Myers' home are also false, according to Stanley. He says the crow bar was left at the crime scene.
When asked what Myers' does for a living, Stanley would only says that he is employed full-time but would not say where.
Neighbors say the streets were lined with people watching Myers' capture play out.
”They were taking him away in the police car and as they did, all the neighbors were cheering and hugging one another because they were so glad that he'd finally been caught," said Linda Keeling, who lives several doors down from Myers.
"For the past month or two, I'd seen him pass by and I never thought anything about it. Then when they showed his picture on TV, I thought, 'Oh dear God in Heaven, that's the one that I've been seeing.' He was real quiet. He always had these light brown coveralls on. But he stared. He stared at me and everybody else. I never really thought anything about it. He just acted weird because around here, everybody speaks to one another. There is so much crime going on around here. We want peace and be able to get out in our yards and enjoy each other but with this kind of stuff going on, it makes it real hard. People are afraid,"Keeling added.
At Hudson Crossing, where Matthew Hill worked, news of an arrest in the case brought relief.
”Everybody here is ecstatic. Nothing is going to take the place of what happened to Mr. Hill but at least the culprit has been caught. Everyone is so happy. It’s like a weight lifted off people’s shoulders. Matt will never be forgotten. No one is going to be able to take his place. His smile and his wit- everybody loved him," said Anthony Talbert who manages the Mo's Express convenience store connected to the Hudson Liquor Store that Hill managed.
Talbert says Hudson Crossing has brought in experts and police to take a look at their security cameras and adjust the angles of their surveillance cameras.
"It's tragic that it took something like this to happen to bring this out. We want to have the best camera angles, we want to have the best security, we want everyone to feel safe. Everything is going to be taken into consideration. We've been in contact with a few other liquor stores and everybody is tightening up and it's well needed. Everybody is tightening up and supporting us and we support them. We hope this enlightens them to look at their security, their safety. We don't want this to happen to anybody ever again," he told 13 News.
Hill's girlfriend, Amy Sanford, spoke to WIBW Friday, saying she and his family are extremely grateful for the work done by the Topeka Police Department on the case. "They dedicated everything they had to find this guy," she said.
She says Hill's family is "at peace knowing he's [Myers] is caught."
"Now, Matt can be put to rest knowing that his killer is behind bars and not out there hurting someone else," she added.
Matthew Hill's visitation is being held Friday night from 6-8 PM at the Davidson Funeral Home on North Kansas Avenue in Topeka. His memorial service will be held Saturday at 2 PM at the same location.
Matthew Myers, the suspect, is being held in the Shawnee County Jail on $1 million bond. He is charged with First Degree Murder and Aggravated Robbery.