Nearly eight months after Lynsette Jo Latusek was found dead inside her Lincolnton home, Matthew Broome pleaded guilty to murdering the 34-year-old woman.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Miller, who served as lead prosecutor in the case, told the Times-News Tuesday afternoon that Broome, 26, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier that day in Lincoln County Superior Court.
Lincolnton Police originally charged Broome with first-degree murder the night of Oct. 19, 2011. They apprehended him in Charlotte less than 24 hours after Lynsette’s father, Paul, found his daughter lying on her couch with bruises covering her body and blood on her head.
Paul told the Times-News Tuesday that he had gone to her residence on West Sycamore Street after she failed to call him.
“She would call me every morning and evening,” he said.
Paul noted that “knowing his daughter,” Lynsette more than likely struggled with Broome before her death.
“When she was little, she would knock me through the screen door and that was just playing around,” he said.
Paul also revealed that the house was a mess the morning he spotted the body.
“The whole place was a wreck,” he said. “Everything was spattered all over the place.”
A police report from an earlier Times-News article confirmed the scene’s unruly appearance, stating that silverware covered the floor and that the refrigerator and other drawers had been opened.
According to Lynsette’s fiancé, Joseph Barneycastle, with whom the victim has a four-year-old daughter named Meagan Marie, Broome killed a wonderful woman.
“I never found someone in nine years who didn’t like her,” he said.
The two had been engaged for nearly six years when she died.
He said that Lynsette, who was illiterate, had taken Broome into her home and off the streets in order to teach her to read and write.
“She had a kind heart,” he said. “I guess she felt sorry for the guy.”
Prior to the murder, Broome already had an extensive criminal record, according to public records on the North Carolina Department of Correction website.
He was released from custody the end of 2010 after serving 10 months for breaking and entering vehicles in the county.
Broome additionally has five other felonies to his name for forgery, uttering a forged instrument, breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering and safecracking / safe robbery, NC DOC listed.
Both Lynsette’s father and finance, who called Broome a “coward,” desperately seek more details in the case and more than anything, want to know what motivated the murder.
“I got a lot of questions I want to ask him,” Paul said of Broome.
A judge sentenced Broome to 310 to 381 months behind bars, Miller said.
“He didn’t just kill her,” Joseph added. “He killed a mother, a daughter and a sister.”
The victim’s body was sent to Wake Baptist Medical Center in Raleigh for an autopsy, but an exact cause of death has yet to be determined.
Latusek’s murder was the city’s first homicide investigation in four years. The State Bureau of Investigation assisted police with the case.