Justice for Louis Taylor


Urbana Police Division officers and special prosecutors for the state were recognized during Tuesday’s Urbana City Council meeting for their work securing a conviction in a high-profile homicide case.

Urbana resident Louis Taylor, age 87, was found in his Dorothy Moore Drive home on Oct. 25, 2011 after a brutal attack by an intruder. Taylor died 24 days later of his injuries.

Although it took until Jan. 4 of this year to bring Taylor’s killer, Josiah Mathews, to justice, Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell said he never considered the Taylor case a “cold case” despite the length of time that transpired between the crime and an arrest.

“On the morning following this horrendous crime, I had been your police chief for all of six weeks,” Lingrell said in his address to council Tuesday evening. “But I knew then on that morning what I know tonight: we had the right people in the right places to handle a homicide investigation and to handle it well.”

Lingrell detailed the agonizing amount of time that went by as investigators “inched our way along” to solve the case. It was excruciating for the police chief and his officers as the community and members of the Taylor family waited for justice.

“I know personally of the angst this case left with folks when they retired from the Urbana Police Division,” Lingrell said. “I know that Seth King, my lieutenant and lead investigator on this case until he retired in 2016, felt a personal burden on his heart about this case and, when he retired, during a private conversation he had with me, he told me that he was sorry that we hadn’t yet finalized our criminal case for it to be presented in court. He truly felt personally responsible.”

Lingrell recounted how relieved he and his officers felt after meeting with special prosecutors in 2020 from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Anthony Pierson and Joel King. Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi had arranged the meeting.

Accompanying Lingrell to that meeting was Lt. Josh Jacobs, who is still a member of the UPD. Lingrell credits Jacobs for the orderly cross-referencing he performed on the large volume of investigative work that filled two legal boxes the UPD was able to present to a criminal intelligence analyst in Columbus weeks prior to the meeting with the special prosecutors Pierson and King.

“During that meeting Anthony and Joel asked us many questions about our investigation … It was clear to me they were already putting together a strategy on getting this case in front of a grand jury, sooner rather than later,” Lingrell recalled. “It was one of the first times in a long time I felt a real sense of hope.”

Lingrell said he and Jacobs walked to the car in complete silence after the meeting with prosecutors.

“Once we were inside the car it remained silent between us for a short bit as I drove away. Finally, I turned to Josh and said, ‘I think we’ve finally found the prosecutors who see what we’ve been seeing these past many years and who are willing and energetic to dive in with us and do our very best to find justice for Lou.’ Josh just turned to me and said, ‘Chief, I think you’re absolutely right!’”

In addition to the individuals mentioned above, others recognized Tuesday evening were Sgt. John Purinton, who retired in 2015; Sgt. Ed Burkhammer, who retired in 2016; Ofc. Brian Cordial, who retired in 2016; Ofc. Steve Molton, who retired in 2018 and Sgt. Shawn Schmidt, who has been with the UPD since 2000; and special prosecutor Chris Kinsler.

To end the recognition ceremony on Tuesday evening, Lingrell and the honorees presented a toast, with bottled water, in memory of Louis Taylor.


Josiah Mathews of Springfield was convicted in October of 2022 and sentenced on Jan. 4 of 2024 in Champaign County Common Pleas Court to 25 years to life, including 15 years to life for murder and 10 years for aggravated robbery in the Taylor case. He will serve the sentences consecutively and won’t be eligible for parole for 25 years.

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