Reverend Victor Mateo, 65, a Bronx pastor, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for running over his wife, Noelia, 58, then hacking her with a machete.
The murder took place at about 7 am on October 3, 2019, outside her home, according to the Bronx District Attorney’s office, when Rev. Mateo dispatched his wife in front of her two grandchildren, 11 and 9-years-old, whom she was about to drive to school.
On the fateful day, Rev. Mateo lay in wait for her about a block from her home. Seeing he come out, he drove his car into her car as she was climbing in. He tried to drag her out of her car, then jumped into her car and drove backward over her.
She tried to escape but Rev. Mateo ran over her again with her car. She tried to roll onto the sidewalk to save herself. Rev. Mateo got a machete from his car and slashed and stabbed her multiple times as her grandchildren watched.
Rev. Mateo stole her car and drove off leaving her crying and praying in Spanish as she bled profusely. She was pronounced dead at Jacobi Medical Center.
Rev. Mateo preached the gospel at the Christian Congregation The Redeemer Church in the Bronx. The church is described on Facebook as a “close-knit, Spirit-filled, bilingual congregation of worshipers of Jesus Christ located in The Bronx, NY. We welcome everyone to our church.”
A video of the Rev. preaching is available here.
Following a joint investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police, the NYPD, and the U.S. Marshals Service, authorities apprehended Rev, Mateo a week later in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
He was charged with second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon, and endangering the welfare of a child in addition to first-degree manslaughter. He took a plea deal for manslaughter.
The 23 year sentence is longer than the time he was married to his wife of 18 years.
At the time of the murder, they had an 18-year-old daughter together and both had children from prior marriages. They seemed happily married until Noelia, who was from Costa Rica, moved out of their home about a month earlier.
Under the terms of the plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Rev. Mateo will be sentenced to 23 years in prison and five years of post-release probation. He is currently scheduled to appear in January 2022 before Judge Margaret Clancy in Bronx Supreme Court, where he will be formally sentenced.
While reviewing numerous stories about the murder, I found one thing missing: Why did Rev Mateo kill his wife? What was his motive?
Another matter I would have been willing to read about is how he spent his last week of freedom. He fled in her car. He wound up in Pennsylvania. What was it like for the hunted man? Did he think he would escape? Was he conscious of his guilt? Had he descended into madness? Was he mad before? When just before and just after police found him what was he thinking?
During that last week, did he pray for forgiveness – of the kind he gave not to his wife? Did he think he would be forgiven?
The Rev. is 65 years old. He has two years in already as part of pretrial custody. With time off for good behavior, the reverend might be out of prison in his late 70s. It is conceivable the reverend will get a second chance. Contrast this with the sentence of Keith Alan Raniere, who got 120 years and if he serves it fully will be 160 years old.