"Suspect arrested in rapes that rattled Nantucket; Carpenter could face more charges" by Evan Allen, Peter Schworm and John R. Ellement Globe Staff October 21, 2015
NANTUCKET — Many islanders were on edge. But the cases went unsolved.
In at least two of the attacks, the man was said to have a Jamaican accent, information that circulated on social media and put the island’s Jamaican community on the defensive. When authorities asked Jamaican men to voluntarily offer DNA samples, nearly 100 did.
Then on Columbus Day weekend, police got the break they had been waiting for. A woman fought off an assailant who had broken into her home, and evidence left behind linked him to other attacks.
On Tuesday, police approached a job site to arrest David Matterson, a 35-year-old carpenter from Jamaica. When he saw them, he broke down as his co-workers watched in disbelief.
“He was someone who always had a smile on his face,” said Frank Daily, the owner of Daily Construction, where Matterson worked as a subcontractor. “No one you would think had another side.”
As he left the courthouse Wednesday, escorted by a pair of police officers, a woman shouted at him: “Hope you die in jail, scumbag.”
Nantucket residents said they were relieved by the arrest, and some said the island was not as safe as many believe.
“I have the heebie-jeebies walking around by myself with the dogs, and I get laughed at on occasion, but this is why,” said Shelli Howard, a year-round resident. “You want to think Nantucket is quiet, quaint, protected, no evil, but it’s just like New York City or Boston or any suburb. I think a lot of us need to wake up.”
Police Chief William Pittman said that between 2008 and 2014, at least three other women were victimized in attacks similar to the ones with which Matterson was charged.
Pittman praised the Jamaican men who, in an unusual step, provided DNA samples. He said it was regrettable they had been viewed with suspicion in recent months.
“That was unfair,” he said.
Patrick Irving, a Jamaican native who worked with Matterson, said co-workers used to tease him for being so quiet and never going out after work.
They joked that he should have a lot of money since he didn’t have a girlfriend and generally stayed in. Matterson would only laugh in reply.
Daily said the charges against Matterson had left him badly shaken. But even in retrospect, he could recall nothing suspicious about his behavior.
“This pains me to say, but our foreman and I always said we wanted more workers like him because he was so diligent and productive,” he said....
Also see: Nantucket man charged with two additional rapes
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