Paragraphs 22 and 23 read: “Natasha Matern said her
father was distraught over the separation. Last week, he checked
himself into LDS Hospital for depression and remained there a few
days, Natasha Matern said. When he left, the hospital prescribed
an anti-depressant, she said.”
“Both Natasha Matern and
Merkley said they had never known Justin Matern to be violent.
Natasha Matern said her father had a concealed carry permit because the family
used to live in what they thought was a dangerous neighborhood in Salt Lake
Money problems put stress on couples, and Justin and Melissa Matern were
one of those couples.
Melissa Matern was constantly trying to find rent
and grocery money, one of her former co-workers said Saturday. Justin Matern’s
daughter said he pawned pool cues and his wife asked him to sell more.
Even Justin Matern’s final text message to his surviving family
“My dad’s never been a horrible guy,” said Natasha
Matern. “He just snapped.”
Justin Matern on Thursday shot and killed his
wife, Melissa, then murdered their sons, 6-year-old Gabriel and 4-year-old
Raiden. Matern, 36, then killed himself.
The killings occurred at the
West Jordan apartment Melissa Matern and the boys moved to after leaving her
husband. Justin Matern left a note at work discussing his plans and sent text
messages after the killings.
Natasha Matern, a 16-year-old daughter from
one of Justin Matern’s previous relationships, said her father sent his sister a
text message saying he killed them and he was next. The text also said his
sister could expect a check to pay for the funerals, Natasha Matern said. It was
unclear whether Justin Matern was discussing an insurance policy or something
“Nobody knew what he was going to do,” said Natasha Matern.
“Everybody was shocked. A lot of people even talked to him that day or the day
before and he was laughing.”
Melissa Matern told Jennifer Geneile
Merkley, one of her former co-workers, there were problems in the marriage.
Merkley said Melissa complained her husband was not home often enough to help
with parenting and chores.
Instead, Justin Matern would hang out with
his friends and stay away from home, Merkley said. Meanwhile, Melissa, a
certified nurse’s assistant, worked two jobs and a total of 60 to 70 hours a
week, Merkley said.
Merkley, who worked with Melissa at Woodland Park
Care Center in Salt Lake City, said Melissa would leave the third shift there to
go to work at another nursing home.
“She was constantly trying to put
together rent money or grocery money,” Merkley said.
“wasn’t the greatest of men,” Merkley said. “He didn’t put his family ahead of
Court records show the state placed a tax lien against
Justin and Melissa Matern in 2004 and again in 2008. In 2006, a judge issued a
$700 judgement against the couple in a debt-collection case. Records show the
family had at least four addresses since 2003.
Natasha Matern said her
father also worked two jobs. He was a tattoo artist at a parlor in Salt Lake
City and also loaded freight for a shipping company. The shipping company
recently laid him off, she said.
Justin Marten was a good pool player
and collected cues, his daughter said. He pawned some of the cues to raise
money, and Natasha Matern wanted her husband to pawn his hunting bow, too, she
“Even though she knew my dad didn’t have that much money, she
still tried to get him to pawn his own things,” she said.
lived with her father and stepmother for many years and watched her brothers for
several hours a day, the teenager said. Natasha Matern said she grew tired of
baby-sitting so much.
“I tried to talk to them about it,” she said, “but
they would tell me if I wanted stuff I would have to baby-sit so they could earn
A few months ago, the teenager moved in with her mother in
Merkley said Melissa Matern threatened to leave her husband
several times, but stayed. Merkley does not know what finally persuaded Melissa
Matern to leave.
Natasha Matern said her father was distraught over the
separation. Last week, he checked himself into LDS Hospital for depression and
remained there a few days, Natasha Matern said. When he left, the hospital
prescribed an anti-depressant, she said.
Both Natasha Matern and Merkley
said they had never known Justin Matern to be violent. Natasha Matern said her
father had a concealed carry permit because the family used to live in what they
thought was a dangerous neighborhood in Salt Lake City.
she’s angry at Justin Matern and her one comfort is her belief that anyone who
commits suicide “burns in Hell.”
“How could you look at your own flesh
and blood and pull the trigger on a 4-year-old?” Merkley said.
Matern said she thinks her father decided to kill his wife and himself and
killed the boys because he did not want them to grow up in a foster home. She
does not believe the murders were justified, but understands what he was
“I’m mad but there’s also nothing I can do,” she said.
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