Murder suspect fled into downtown Fort Worth after bond revoked

11/27/2013 11:29 AM

11/28/2013 9:31 PM

A McKinney man charged with murder in the shooting death of his father-in-law ran from probation officers in downtown Fort Worth on Tuesday morning after his bond was revoked, a sheriff’s official said.

David Matthew Merrill, 36, had tested positive for methamphetamine, according to Tarrant County criminal court records. That meant he would be going to jail, but he ran from a probation office in the 200 block of West Belknap Street shortly after 9:30 a.m., said Terry Grisham, a spokesman for the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department.

“We’re using all resources available to try and bring him into custody so he can spend Thanksgiving in jail,” Grisham said.

Merrill had not been arrested by early Wednesday evening.

Tarrant County College’s two nearby downtown campuses were locked down for more than an hour during the hunt for Merrill, a spokeswoman said. The lockdown was lifted about 11 a.m.

Authorities were searching cities such as McKinney, where Merrill had been living, and Arlington, where he lived in 2012 when his father-in-law, Rudy Mata, was killed.

Deputies said Merrill was last seen wearing a maroon long-sleeve henley-style T-shirt with three buttons near the collar, a black leather jacket and bluejeans. He has a large tribal tattoo on his chest.

Merrill is considered armed and dangerous, authorities said.

Merrill is accused of killing Mata, 56, of Kennedale in September 2012. Mata had performed with The Cavaliers Studio Group and most recently with The Hi Roller Band. He was named Grapevine Opera’s Entertainer of the Year in 1997.

Mata was shot in the 2500 block of Lynwood Drive.

Mata joined The Cavaliers in 2006. The band began in 1956 in San Angelo. One of the founding members, Sid Holmes of Fort Worth, said Mata was a natural for the group, which had a strong rockabilly base and later mixed in country rock.

“I can’t believe someone could get that upset with Rudy,” bandmate Neil Scheckels of East Mountain in East Texas said in a phone interview in September 2012. “I never heard him say a bad word about anyone.”

Staff writers Diane Smith and Deanna Boyd contributed to this report, which includes information from Star-Telegram archives.

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