A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to serve upwards of 55 years in state prison after pleading guilty to the 2020 murder of his girlfriend.
Matthew J. Moser, 32, of Honey Brook, Pa., also pleaded guilty to providing a man with drugs that allegedly led to the latter’s overdose in a separate incident roughly a month before the brutal killing.
Lancaster County President Judge David Ashworth sentenced the defendant to a term of 20-40 years for murder in the third degree last week. (Pennsylvania is one of only three U.S. jurisdictions that has a third-degree murder statute still on the books.) Moser was additionally given a sentence of six to 15 years for the crime of drug delivery resulting in death. He will serve a minimum sentence of 26 years, according to LancasterOnline.
In late January 2020, a 24-year-old man was discovered dead from an apparent drug overdose by Pennsylvania State Police. Authorities say a combination of Facebook Messenger chats, telephone records and internet searches led them to believe Moser supplied the drugs. The 24-year-old’s name was not released.
In early March 2020, Pennsylvania State Police officers were asked to conduct a welfare check at the Caernarvon Township home of 47-year-old Kristin Graham. After authorities broke through a locked door, the victim’s corpse was found in an upstairs bedroom. She had been strangled to death.
The welfare check had been requested by Graham’s estranged husband, Scott Pauster, who made the request after their 14-year-old daughter had been unable to reach her mother for three days.
Pauster said he spoke with Moser about Graham. The killer originally said he saw his victim get into a white van with a man who looked shady. That comment struck Pauster as odd and the timbre of the defendant’s voice allegedly betrayed some sort of anxiety.
Moser also attempted to cover his tracks by texting one of Graham’s children to say that he hadn’t been able to contact the victim and thought she was cheating on him. That exchange led the daughter to text her mother and eventually contact her father.
“Mom Plz call me as soon as you see this,” the daughter wrote. “It’s been three days and you’re not answering.”
Graham’s was found strangled and covered by a towel, a bathmat and a beanbag chair. She was also bleeding from her nose and mouth and had a large, two-inch abrasion above her right eye.
“I can’t get into details pops but it’s just like the movie,” Moser texted his father after the murder, according to court documents obtained by LancasterOnline. “When he says, ‘I did a bad thing, George.'”
“Two major things happened, and two people lost their lives due to my actions,” Moser said in another text. “One of them was a really bad person. A demon. The other was a good guy just a stupid guy. It’s really his own fault but the law blames me. It’s so stupid but it’s a big deal.”
Earlier that day, Moser told his father he had “choked [his girlfriend] out” and called her a witch. Peter Moser then went to Graham’s home to look for his son but was unable to locate him, the outlet reports.
According to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, “information from multiple individuals” led to the victim’s boyfriend–who occasionally lived with Graham at the house where she was killed–being considered a suspect. A standoff with police ensued.
“I know I’m not going to surrender,” Moser had previously texted his father. “I can’t. I will not.”
But then he did.
“Pennsylvania State Police led a collaborative effort between multiple agencies which resulted in Moser’s arrest Tuesday evening at the Quality Inn hotel in West Goshen,” District Attorney Heather Adams noted in a press release three days after the mother of three was killed. “Other occupants of the hotel were evacuated as police made contact with Moser and eventually took him into custody.”
“This situation presented an extreme risk of additional violence, and it was the fine work and collaboration between multiple agencies that prevented that from happening,” the DA added.
Graham’s obituary reads, in part:
Born in West Chester, PA, she was the daughter of Mary Lou and Jim Graham. Kristin was a graduate of Bishop Shanahan High School and West Chester University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She began her career as a mental health professional helping children, adolescents, and their families. Kristin subsequently homeschooled her children and became the manager of Hartz Natural Foods in Morgantown, where she lived her passion for sharing foods and goods which furthered the health of people and of our planet. As a cancer survivor, she was also active in supporting other survivors and persons living with cancer through the Walk for Life Charity.
Kristin was a devoted mother who adored her children and instilled in them the importance of family, friends, and community. She surrounded herself with light, love, laughs, and color and generously shared it with others.
[image via Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office/Crimewatch]
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