Among those who wrote letters in support of the woman who killed Michael Gayan was his own son.
Donna Matthews, 52, was sentenced Friday to spend the rest of her life in prison. She was convicted of first-degree homicide for the July 4, 2016, shooting death of Gayan, her former boyfriend, who was fatally shot in his home about a block from Kenosha’s lakefront. Matthews admitted to planning his death, arguing she killed him in self-defense after he stalked her and threatened to kill her and members of her family.
Prior to the sentencing, the court received letters from many of Matthews’ friends and family members asking for leniency. There were also letters from two Gayan family members and a friend of Gayan’s lamenting his loss and describing him as caring and intelligent.
Gayan’s son, who now lives on the West Coast, wrote to the court recalling the abuse he and his mother, another of Gayan’s former girlfriends, suffered and expressing relief that Gayan was gone.
In the letter, the college-aged son describes a lifetime of physical and psychological abuse, saying that before Gayan’s death he stayed inside with a knife under his pillow, afraid his father would show up.
“Since Ms. Matthews made the difficult decision to end a life, I can truly understand the belief of safety that she wanted for her children and siblings. As a cascading effect, it has opened my life up to joy, love and everything else a person’s life is constructed by. Since Michael died I have gone through a (metamorphosis) in my attitude, health and overall being, but for this serenity I will never look down on Donna for ridding this planet of a true monster.”