A father whose lawyer said he was desperate to see his ill son pleaded guilty to assault on Tuesday, never admitting that he fired two bullets into a York man’s neck and stomach while three underage children were in the same house last year.
Anthony Lord, 48, will spend the next 15 years behind bars, a Circuit Court judge ruled. He pleaded guilty to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and second-degree burglary, down from his original attempted murder charges. He was scheduled to go to trial this week before he decided to take a plea.
At about 10:40 p.m. March 17, 2013, police were sent to 102 Autumn Place in York’s Valley neighborhood after receiving a call about a man who had been shot. When they arrived, they found Demark Matthews, 32, bleeding uncontrollably from gunshot wounds in his neck and abdomen. He was taken to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where he remained hospitalized for several days. He was able to identify his shooter as Lord, who fled the house.
No other injuries were reported, but police noted that Matthews’ 13-year-old son was in the house, along with another boy, 16, and an 18-month-old child, later discovered to be Lord’s infant son, said Jenny Desch, the assistant York County solicitor who prosecuted Lord.
A family member who had been visiting Matthews in Charlotte spotted Lord walking along South Tryon Street and called police, Desch said. Charlotte-Mecklenburg authorities found Lord, who gave them a false name and birth date. After confirming his photo with York Police and performing a fingerprint scan, they were able to confirm his identity and took him into custody.
The dispute between the two men started when Lord called Matthews’ home asking to see his infant son. Matthews told him he could not call the house so late in the night and refused to allow him to go to the house. Desch said Lord went to the house anyway and “came in uninvited.”
“He opened the door and walked through it but he wasn't given permission to come inside,” Desch said, adding that Matthews’ girlfriend and another woman had gone to the store and left the door unlocked. “Lord came in unexpected and uninvited and hit Demark twice.”
Mindy Lipinski, Lord’s York County public defender, said her client never admitted to firing any shots. He does admit that there had been an exchange on the phone with Matthews because he wanted to see his son, who had been ill with fever for several days and was scheduled to undergo testing on Monday.
“He called over there to check on him, and Mr. Matthews said, ‘You don’t need to be calling here, it’s too late,’ ” Lipinski said, adding that Matthews also refused to allow Lord to speak with the child’s mother – Matthews’ girlfriend. “That obviously didn’t sit well with him. He was worried about his son.”
Lord, originally from New York, held a job at Walmart and had no criminal history aside from a driving under the suspension charge, Lipinski said. He is father to two adult-aged sons, both of whom have attended college, though Lord himself never graduated high school.
“This was something completely out of character for him,” she said.
Matthews, who Desch said cooperated with her while preparing for trial, did not appear in court on Tuesday, preferring “not to see Anthony Lord if he didn't have to do.”