MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (CBS) – A Wednesday morning hearing will put Edward Mathews, the man at the center of a viral video involving him using racial slurs at his Mount Laurel neighbor, in front of a Burlington County judge. The possibility the 45-year-old could return to the community has some residents worried.
This will be the first time a judge hears the charges against Mathews, including harassment, bias crime, damaging the property of victims, and stalking.READ MORE: NJ Court Narrows Rules On Police Stops For Obscured Plates
The July 2 video led to hundreds of residents protesting days later outside Mathews’ home, calling on the Mount Laurel Police Department to take him into custody. Officers did just that.
Residents went to the township council Monday night to ask why it took so long to take the man into custody. They also brought more claims of harassment; one woman said her tires were slashed, with Mathews then kicking her door in.
Attorney Richard Fuschino spoke with Eyewitness News as an expert, saying the condo association cannot force Mathews to move or sell his home. He says the judge will determine if Mathews will – or can – return home.READ MORE: COVID-19 Transmission Rates Move Into Substantial Range Across Majority Of Tri-State Region
“Frankly, given the allegations, just the outcry, to what extent is the community a danger to him,” Fuschino says. “I would not be surprised if it’s in his best interest to go somewhere else. And get permission from the court to stay with family, stay in a hotel somewhere.”
Despite the warning the area might not be safe for Mathews, Fuschino tells CBS3 him going back to the community may not be safe for the residents.
“He should be treated with caution – he is not a pleasant neighbor to be around obviously,” he says, citing some statement made by Mathews himself. The attorney added, “The allegations that he was under the influence, I understand there’s an accusation. They found some hallucinogens in his home. He’s obviously best avoided.”
The 9 a.m. court hearing was postponed to Wednesday after requests from the defense.MORE NEWS: 'Had A Smile A Mile Wide': Family Remembers 8-Year-Old Girl Killed In Westville Crash That Left 3 Others Dead
CBS3’s Wakisha Bailey reports.