Tahoe parents struggle with delays in trials of murdered son
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. — The parents of Arizona murder victim Matthew McMaster, 24, continue to deal with delays in the cases of two defendants accused of participating in his murder and disposing of his body.
“I had no idea what an emotional rollercoaster each delay would bring on,” Matthew McMaster’s mother Nancy McMaster stated in an email. “I swear this time we had hotel reservations and everything in hopes the trial was definite. I feel like a balloon that has just been popped.”
The trial for Vrouyr Manoukian, who is accused of second-degree murder and attempting to dispose of Matthew McMaster’s body, saw yet another delay just days before it was scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Nancy McMaster said, given the continuing delays, hopes were not high that the trial would begin as scheduled, but the news of delays were more emotionally taxing than she thought.
The latest delay, according to a Maricopa County Court document, was due to scheduling conflicts.
“The court finds that delay is indispensable to the interests of justice,” the document read.
The document also stated that prosecuting attorney Kristin Sherman was in trial for another case.
Before the latest continuance, a delay earlier this month was attributed to issues with the completion of pretrial interviews.
Manoukian has been in custody since May 2013 and his case has seen numerous delays since. The court scheduled a final trial management conference for April 14.
In Randall Lee Young’s case, who is accused of helping Manoukian try the get rid of McMaster’s remains, the defense is attempting modify his release terms prior to trial. According to a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office memo, the motion is similar to one denied by the court in September.
In a response to the court, the McMaster family wrote Young could not be trusted to return to court after being released, and cited his nearly two years of avoiding arrest in connection with their son’s death.
“It wasn’t ‘til the DNA evidence at the scene was processed that sealed Mr. Young’s fate. This is showing how manipulative and deceitful Mr. Young is and is not worthy of any conciliation. He never stepped forward to say what had happened to our son,” the statement read.
The family also wrote about their son’s case and how the facts established by investigators paint a picture of Young.
“It wasn’t as if our son just died being beaten to death, but he was then taken out to the desert, set on fire with the trash and the sofa he died on. Our son was not trash and he will never be able to come home again.”
According to prosecutors, Matthew McMaster was killed during an altercation with the two defendants in July 2012 at the residence McMaster shared with Manoukian. An autopsy report revealed that he was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Manoukian is accused of delivering the deadly blow. McMaster was allegedly later burned on an abandoned couch with other items.
In the letter to the court, the McMaster family also wrote about their son and the time he spent in Arizona leading up to his death.
“He had finally found his niche in life at [Motorcycle Mechanic’s Institute.] All he ever wanted since he was a teenager was to work on motorcycles. Matthew had been diagnosed as being bi-polar when he was 12 years old. After turbulent teenage years, he had finally succeeded at MMI. He was getting straight ‘A’s and he, as his whole family, was so proud of his great achievement. Unfortunately all of this was taken away from Matthew by this defendant.”