Polk County man accused in Clay County murder case has first court appearance

CLAY COUNTY — Anthony A. Mattison, 35, of Osceola, who is accused of killing a Columbus woman and dumping her remains in Clay County, had his first court appearance in the Clay County Courtroom, before Judge Michael Burns, Tuesday morning, May 14.

Mattison has been charged with first degree murder, use of a firearm to commit a felony, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and improper disposal of human skeletal remains, in the case involving the death of 25-year-old Jasmine Garnett

George Welch, a special prosecutor with the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, has been assigned to the case.

During Tuesday’s court hearing, Mattison was advised of the charges against him.

Mattison asked for court-appointed counsel, which was granted after he was determined to be indigent based on the personal financial information he submitted to the court.

The matter was continued until May 28 at 11 a.m., so Mattison has time to meet with his appointed attorney.

Garnett’s remains were found in October of 2022 in a Clay County field. The Nebraska State Patrol said she had been murdered.

Investigators say Mattison was the last person to see her alive.

According to the affidavit for arrest, filed with the Clay County Court, an investigator with the Nebraska State Patrol was assigned to the case on Oct. 5, 2022, when a body was located on Road 3195 between Roads L and M in Clay County. “The body was that of a female with a gunshot wound to the head. On Oct. 7, forensic dentist Dr. John Filippi confirmed the recovered body was that of Jasmine Garnett.”

A timeline of events is outlined in court documents, filed with the Clay County Court.

The affidavit of probable cause for Mattison’s arrest says investigators reviewed video from a Grand Island business positively identifying Mattison as the individual who stole a 2000 Pontiac Firebird.

NSP investigators reviewed reports from Oct. 6, 2022, where they interviewed two people who said on Sept. 17, 2022, the Firebird Mattison allegedly stole appeared at an apartment in Columbus where Garnett was “hanging out.” The two people questioned “positively identified Mattison as the person Garnett was last seen leaving the apartment complex with, in the Firebird.”

Investigators say further “on Sept. 17, 2022, at approximately 5:13 a.m., a white vehicle was seen driving westbound by the school (in Columbus).”

The NSP investigator says further, in the affidavit, they reviewed “a report of a person seeing a dog that matched the description of Garnett’s dog around Road 321 in rural Clay County, on Sept. 17. The person identified a brownish Pitbull which was wearing a harness vest and dragging a leash and he was unable to catch it. On or about Sept. 23, 2022, Garnett’s dog, Zeus, was found at a residence in Harvard which was approximately a mile away from where Garnett’s body was later found. The investigator talked with the victim’s family which said Zeus was Garnett’s therapy dog and would never leave her side.”

The NSP investigator says further in the affidavit they had a report from the Clay County Sheriff’s Department how there was a report a Pontiac Firebird was abandoned in a parking stall by a woman’s house, at 5:15 a.m., on Sept. 17. That residence is approximately one mile west of where Garnett’s body was located and approximately a quarter mile south of the Harvard Public Schools. It was determined the vehicle was the same which had been stolen from the business in Grand Island, according to court documents.

The affidavit says further there was a report from two individuals who said they picked up Mattison in Harvard, and he “had a backpack with him believed (by one of the individuals) to belong to Garnett.”

The affidavit says the NSP investigator interviewed those individuals with one allegedly stating she was Mattison’s girlfriend. She allegedly told investigators, during that interview, according to court documents, she was told by Mattison he was “on his way home from Columbus and was in accident in the white Pontiac Firebird and needed a ride to Harvard. That woman questioned Mattison as to why he was in Columbus and knew he was with Garnett. Mattison told (the woman) he had seen Garnett and robbed her.”

The woman, during the NSP interview, also disclosed she knew Mattison had a teal/silver/black handgun and it was the same one “involved with the shooting incident with the officers in Hastings.”

The Hastings case is separate, but is still referenced in court documents.

The affidavit includes how the second woman “confirms she drove (the girlfriend) to Harvard from Grand Island where they picked up Mattison on Sept. 17, 2022, and she heard conversations between the (other two) in reference to Mattison robbing Garnett.”

It’s included in court documents how the Hastings Police Department, on Sept. 27, 2022, said, “Mattison was involved with a shooting incident with the Hastings Police Department, as he shot a handgun at an officer and was arrested. During the investigation, shell casings were located at the scene. The firearm Mattison used was a teal handgun. The shell casing and the handgun were placed into evidence.”

It was also referenced how a family member of Garnett had reported her missing on Sept. 30.

On Oct. 3, 2022, “Jasmine Garnett’s (phone) was pinged by the NSP dispatch center and the last known location was around the Sutton/Harvard area in Clay County,” according to the affidavit.

Then, on Oct. 5, 2022, “a body was located, disposed of in the ditch on Road 3195 between Roads L and M in Clay County” by a road maintenance worker. “The body was a female with a gunshot wound to the head. The body was later identified to be Jasmine Garnett. During the investigation of the scene, three brass GFL head-stamped 9 mm shell casings were recovered around where the body was found.”

Court documents indicate a forensic entomologist says Garnett’s time of death was between Sept. 16 and 20, 2022.

Investigators alleged Mattison said “he was in a prior relationship with Garnett but had not seen her for around a month.”

The affidavit filed with the court says on Nov. 2, 2022, results from the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab provided results regarding “a comparison was made between the shell casings found at the location where Garnett’s body was found and the shell casing shot by the gun that was used in an officer-involved shooting in Hastings by Mattison. The results (similarities) of class characteristics and individual distinguishing characteristics showing the gun that was involved in Mattison’s possession on Sept. 27, 2022, for the officer-involved shooting in Hastings matches the gun that fired the founds where Garnett’s body was found.”

The affidavit, filed with the court, says further, “NSP investigators processed the 2000 Pontiac Firebird and recovered various items of evidence. Among those items were swabs of apparent human blood from the inside of the driver’s door.” Those were sent to the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab for analysis. Investigators from the crime lab “concluded the blood found on the inside driver’s door originated from Garnett,” according to court documents.

Mattison is currently being held on a $2 million bond with a condition to have no possession of weapons, should he make bond. The bond remains at that amount, with those conditions, as of the Tuesday morning hearing. The court document indicates the high level of bond is necessary in order to “ensure the safety of alleged victims, witnesses and other persons in the community.”

Court document searches show Mattison had earlier (in 2012 and 2013) been charged with the following in the past, in Polk County: three counts of delivery of a controlled substance, burglary and theft. Some of the charges had been amended or dismissed per plea agreements with others resulting in sentences. According to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, he was sentenced in 2013, in Polk County, to serve 1-2 years for theft by unlawful taking and 3-5 years for delivery of methamphetamine.

 

 

 

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