Murder Suspects Learned Of Victim Through Internet

Wednesday, September 5th 2007, 10:36 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Two people accused of killing an Oklahoma City man went to his home in a robbery plot after getting his personal information in an Internet chat room, according to court papers.

Deborah Jean Hopson, 24, and Robert Edwin Tyson III, 27, were arrested in Phoenix and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Matthew Powell, 19, who was killed Aug. 26, police said.

Powell's death came after he apparently directed a woman he met online to his Oklahoma City home, according to court documents.

Hopson and Tyson were arrested after police in Arizona responded to a call about a possible abduction, Oklahoma City police Sgt. John George wrote in an affidavit. During a brief standoff, Hopson told officers the pair had been involved in a killing in Oklahoma City, Phoenix police say.

``We found evidence directly linking them to the victim and the crime,'' Phoenix police Sgt. Joel Tranter said, but he declined to detail that discovery.

Hopson told Phoenix police they tried to knock out Powell with a rag soaked in some kind of automotive cleaner, but it did not work, George wrote.

Tyson struggled with Powell until he told Hopson to get something he could use to tie up the other man, according to the affidavit. They used telephone cords to bind Powell's hands and feet.

Hopson said Tyson demanded money from Powell and became angry when the younger man said he didn't have any, George wrote. He kicked Powell in the head and tried to drown him in a plastic bag filled with water.

Tyson ended up holding Powell's head underwater in a plastic tub until he drowned, the affidavit alleges.

Tyson admitted to planning the robbery and fighting with Powell before tying him up, but he said Hopson was the one who drowned him, according to the affidavit.

Powell's grandfather, Daniel Troyer, found his body when he returned home from church that night, relatives said.

``We couldn't come up with a reason why Matt should be dead,'' great-aunt Sharon Coursey said Tuesday. ``Nothing added up.''

She said there was no reason to think it could have been a botched robbery because Powell had nothing of value.

A video game system, some games, two phones and Powell's high school class ring were missing after his body was discovered, according to court papers.

Tyson had been wanted for violating his parole on a 1999 conviction for sexual conduct with a minor.

Court records list an address in Arpelar in Pittsburg County for Tyson, while Hopson is from Glenpool.