Shawnee man accused of stabbing family, setting fire to house, tells police he did it to save them from trauma of eviction

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT
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SHAWNEE, Kan. (KCTV) - Charging documents released following the first court appearance of a Shawnee man accused of stabbing his wife and kids contain a confession about why he allegedly did it.

Matthew Richards has been charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated arson.

The garage door of his home in the 6600 block of Goode Drive is boarded up. Court documents say police heard an explosion in the garage when they arrived and the doors were bowed out.

Richards was eventually read his rights and interviewed. Police said he told them he did it because he didn’t want his family to know they were being evicted.

Police and fire fighters came to the house at 3:47 a.m. on September 16. The following information comes from an affidavit written by a police sergeant and filed in court.

There were several 911 calls about “a house fire and someone chasing them with a knife.” One of the callers referred to the man chasing them as their dad. Evidence indicated the victims were stabbed in multiple areas of the home.

READ MORE: Former Shawnee youth pastor arraigned on attempted murder, arson

After being read his rights, Richards told police, “I stabbed my family.” He told police he’d been hiding his financial situation and the family was going to be evicted that day.

“The defendant admitted to having the thought that it would be better if they all died rather than for his kids to have to deal with the trauma of them finding out the truth and for his wife to find out the truth,” the affidavit reads.

Richards lived in the home with his wife and five children. One of the children is 19. The rest are under the age of 18. Their ages were redacted from the court document. It indicated the mother and two of the children went to the hospital in critical condition. Two other children and the 19-year-old were sent to the hospital and later released. One had a wound to the neck. Another had been stabbed in the arm. The 19-year-old had “minor injuries.” Richards was treated for smoke inhalation. He told police he started the fire, then got a knife. One of the children told police they were all asleep in bed when he came after them.

READ MORE: Injured family members of Shawnee youth pastor called 911 for help, court docs say

Over the last few days there have been several inquiries around ways to donate funds to the Richards Family for expenses...

Posted by Crossroads Christian Church on Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Crossroads Christian Church, where Richards had been a pastor prior to the crime, wrote on Facebook that many people have contacted them wanting to help with expenses for medical treatment, food, clothing, and so on. The church has set up a fund for them. If you want to help you can write a check to Crossroads Christian Church and put “Richards Family Fund” in the memo line. The church is located at 5855 Renner Road in Shawnee.