Lucasville riot, Matt Mason, Mathew E. Mason, Mathew Mason, fingerprint evidence, corruption police

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EARLY YEARS IN PRISON AND THE LUCASVILLE RIOT

Following sentencing, Matt was sent to the new Mansfield Prison, close to where his wife Nancy was living, and people he knew. He was able to have phone calls for $1, and get visits weekly, or more frequently. 


In October of 1992, he was sent to Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. There were no phones at Lucasville. Prisoners got one five minutes call at Christmas, if they got through. It was way too far to visit, six or seven hours each way, in comparison to the 20 minute journey to Mansfield. This effectively removed Matt from participation into any post-trial investigation, and severed his ability to communicate with Nancy. Notably, former Police Detective Robert Lemon had two brothers who were prison guards at Mansfield at the time Matt was transferred. He had not received a conduct report and there were no grounds to send him from Mansfield to Maximum Security. Yet he was sent to Lucasville on October 19, 1992; two years to the day after his arrest.    


Six months later, on April 11, 1993 an uprising took place at Lucasville. The prisoners, led by three primary prison gangs, took over an entire wing of the prison, which included 8 cell blocks and the gymnasium for that wing. The riot would end up lasting eleven days and claim eleven lives. 


At that time, Matt was working in the prison library, and was assisting a couple of other prisoners with their legal work. At the time the riot began, one of the people he was helping happened to be a prison gang member, and helped Matt escape to the yard from the riot-torn L-Block. Notably, the gangs had the doors to the yard chained shut and were not letting anyone leave. 


Out of 407 men who were present in L-Block for those 11 days, over 200 of them were trapped and wanted no part of the riot. While out on the yard, with several hundred other prisoners who had made it out, or who had already been on the yard, Matt was approached by a prison gang leader who told him that "…we know you know first aid, there are some people in here who are messed up and the guards' injuries need to be looked at. This will be over in a few hours, will you come back in and help?" Matt went back inside the Lucasville riot, after being safely removed and on the yard. Those men remaining on the yard were transferred to much better prisons overnight. Matt set up a makeshift infirmary in the gym, and treated the wounded and sick as best he could. In addition, he triaged the injured guards, advocating successfully for the release of three of them, Conrad Nagle, John Schroeder and John Kemper, because their injuries were too severe for him to treat. Matt’s life was threatened by various gang members for this.


During the 11 days in the dark, in the Lucasville Riot, Matt saved several prisoners lives, as well as helping the hostage guards as best he could. Eventually, after the riot was over, he was kept at Lucasville, while the active rioters were sent to other, better prisons. Matt sat in solitary confinement for over 16 months before being "cleared" despite the fact that the inmate riot "negotiators" had informed the authorities that he had volunteered to go back inside and help with the injured, and was not involved in any rioting, on their first contact. 


Matt was eventually sent back to Mansfield, where 18 months later, Robert Lemon's prison guard brother passed a rumor to the gang members at Mansfield, that Matt was to testify in the Lucasville Riot trials. He was locked up for six months in solitary confinement and sent to another prison in Southern Ohio.


By this time, Nancy had been run out of Mansfield by the Mansfield Police, following her around during her investigations. Mansfield Police killed the person whose home she was staying in, her daughter's boyfriend, John Miller, in a "botched armed robbery", yet the boy never owned a gun and had never been involved in anything like that. Matt has not seen Nancy since 1992, before he was sent to Lucasville. 


In 1998, understandably overwhelmed with events, Nancy stopped writing Matt and he has never heard from her since.


Matt needs Nancy to know, that he thanks her for everything she did for him those years ago, and for standing by him as long as she did. Thank you Nancy! 

Learn More

A summary of post-trial proceedings