STANTON — A convicted sex offender and alleged armed robber is headed to trial on methamphetamine charges.
Stephen Matthews II, 27, of Greenville, appeared in 64B District Court in Stanton for a preliminary examination Tuesday afternoon. After hearing testimony, Judge Donald Hemingsen bound Matthews over to 8th Judicial Circuit Court on a felony charge of operating/maintaing a meth lab. A trial will be scheduled at a later date.
Greenville Department of Public Safety Officer Martin Obetts testified to attempting to locate Matthews and his place of residence last summer in Greenville, but to no avail, after Matthews failed to register a change of address as a convicted sex offender.
Matthews was eventually located and arrested in October 2012 by Montcalm County Sheriff’s Deputy Clayton Thomas and Greenville Department of Public Safety Sgt. Josh McConkie at a residence on Congress Street in Greenville. Thomas and McConkie testified to finding numerous meth-making components at the Greenville residence, including a smoking pipe, a small piece of paper with a white substance, lithium, cold packs (which contain ammonium nitrate), a reaction vessel and Coleman fuel.
Thomas said he questioned Matthews after reading him his Miranda rights. Thomas said Matthews admitted to having a meth lab in the basement of the Greenville residence and to destroying and burying some of the meth components.
Thomas said the meth components were seized as evidence. Some of the items were later destroyed after being photographed, including the reaction vessel (which posed a danger of melting or leaking) and the lithium.
Matthews is facing life in prison if convicted due to his lengthy criminal history. He is currently wanted on open warrants for armed robbery in Kent County. He was arraigned on the meth charge in October 2012, but the preliminary examination didn’t take place until Tuesday due to a lengthy forensic examination.
Matthews allegedly stole a 2000 Kia Sportage after the vehicle was loaned to him for a short period of time from a Reynolds Township resident in September 2012. Montcalm County Sheriff’s deputies recovered the vehicle in Maple Valley Township later that month. The vehicle had minor damage and appeared to have run out of gas. Deputies found several components used for making methamphetamine inside the vehicle, along with prescription drugs and a stolen license plate. The Central Michigan Enforcement Team (CMET) responded to the scene to conduct a hazardous waste cleanup.
Matthews was convicted of attempted accosting children for immoral purposes in 2003 and registered as a sex offender, according to the Michigan State Police Sex Offender Registry.
In August 2011, Matthews was arrested as part of a breaking and entering investigation by Michigan State Police in the Trufant area. Matthews had an outstanding warrant and was arrested for violating the Sex Offender Registry Act, as well as a parole violation. He had recently moved from Mecosta County to Montcalm County and failed to report his address. He had also failed to register his vehicle.
Matthews previously failed to register as a sex offender in 2004 and was also convicted of assaulting or resisting and obstructing a police officer in 2009.
On Tuesday, Hemingsen dismissed another felony charge of failure to comply with sex offender reporting duties due to insufficient evidence against Matthews.