In Loving Memory
Matthew Richard Newcomer
Born in York, Pennsylvania on
July 12, 1976 at 1:11 PM
entered into eternal peace on
December 16, 1995 at 2:02 AM
His spirit will warm our hearts forever.
Son of Debra Lee Newcomer
and the late Richard Dean Wagoner
Brother to Tiffany Newcomer and Jessica Wagoner
Father to Kani Michael Sanchez
To our Extended Family,
Beloved Friends (old & new)
and Passers By:
"Thank you for visiting ~ we wish you peace."
Matthew would want to send a special "thanks" to everyone
who offered their love and support following his death.
As a tribute to Matthew
To honor his life,
We share these pages in his Memory.
~ Please Light A Candle ~
~ Do Not Weep ~
When you remember, do not weep;
My spirit is free, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
And the diamond glints of the winter’s snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
And the gentle sound of the autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush;
Of quiet birds, In circled flight,
And the soft star, that shines each night.
So remember me, But do not cry;
My spirit is with you, I will never die.
Original Author Unknown
Rewritten by Deb Newcomer 12/96
To My First Born ~ My Only Son
After 10 years and more than 10 million tears,
I stumble to find the words to tell your story.
Sitting here with my heart and mind so full of you,
simple words do not seem worthy.
I call on my memories ~ to guide my hand,
and the love you entrusted to me
~ to express who you are.
"When did the world
turn upside down ?"
York Daily Record News Article
Assorted thoughts on two disturbing issues:
Killing not 'cool' ! Right or wrong, people are interested in being trendy. That's why skirt lengths rise and fall, teen-age boys turn their caps backwards and publications print lists of what's "in"and "what's out" for everything from politicians to entertainers to food. It seems as if everybody wants "to be cool."
When, oh when, did it become "cool" to "ice" someone?
That's the shocking reason Travis Scott Lefever gave in court last week for killing Matthew Richard Newcomer, 19, last December.The 19-year-old confessed murderer recalled that, when pressed by Detective Dennis K. Williams for the reason why he shot Mr. Newcomer, he'd replied, "I don't know, I guess just to be cool." Please, don't take his word for what's "cool," Mr. Lefever also said that - even though he turned in Mr. Newcomer's direction and fired one shot - the killing was an "accident." Yeah, sure!
Take it from us the National Rifle Association and the courts, if you aim a loaded gun at someone and pull the trigger -
their death is NOT an accident; it's murder!
It's a natural consequence - just like the jail time
the three teen-aged killers will serve.
In lieu of a present, in his memory:
We offer the following advice on what's "in" and what's "out".
Had he lived, Matt Newcomer would have turned 20 a few days before the trial. Killing someone - Not cool. Saving a life - Way cool. It's an unchanging "trend" as old as humankind.
Special thanks to Scott and the NRA for the article
May you never experience the devastation
of losing a loved-one to murder.
For those of you who consider using your hands
or any weapon in anger,
Never solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution.
Memories of Matt won't fit in a shoebox
Emily Guzzardi ~ York
York Daily Record News Article
I am writing in response to the untimely death of my friend, 19-year-old Matthew Newcomer. Matt did not just die, though, he was murdered. I cannot think about anything else but him. Occasionally my mind wanders and I forget for a second - it is at those times that I am able to laugh and be my old self again. My life has already changed. I was with Matt the day before he was shot, and I would never imagined that I would not see him again. When I was last with him, I watched him shovel snow from the driveway of an older woman. He looked forward to Christmas and joked that he was sure my driving would kill him. Instead a bullet killed him, just a day later .Matt seemed so carefree and vibrant. He had a hearty, genuine laugh that could make anyone feel better. I cannot comprehend that he is gone. It is not fair how someone's life can be so callously cut short. I have never really seen death. I am only 17 years old; I should not have to deal with this. But then again, no one should. The things that used to matter to me do not seem important anymore. How could I worry about trivial things such as buying Christmas presents and getting an "A" in French when someone I knew was just killed? The incident has, to put it mildly, humbled me. Things like this are not supposed to happen to a 19-year-old, at least not to the one I knew. I made a box to remember Matt. In it, I put his obituary, a glove of his, some police tape that I took from the scene and a letter I wrote to say goodbye. But I do not want to remember Matt by those things.
The things I will remember Matt Newcomer by,
are things I cannot put in a shoebox.
Special thanks to Emily for the beautiful article.
Written For Matthew’s 21 Birthday
Printed - York Daily Record / York Dispatch 7/12/97
Today would have been one of your favorite days.
Your passion for life was amazing,
Your intensity exhausting.
Your gentleness could have ended wars,
Your rage destroyed the universe.
Losing you has consumed us with endless sorrow.
Rest peacefully my fallen Angel.
The strength of your memory will sustain us.
Loving You Always,
Your Mother and Sister Tiffany
© Debra Lee Newcomer ‘97
-told in his Mother's words
Matthew was the first male born into our immediate family in 47 years. I chose to name him “Matthew”, because the name means “God’s Gift”. He grew up on the west end city limits in York, Pa. The city population is around 40,000, and the York County population about 400,000. For a small town, the street crime continues to escalated. Most reported crimes are drug and/or domestic violence related. Children can purchase weapons and drugs on almost any street corner around town. A few years ago, the state crime statistics listed “The Block” (which is 3 blocks down the street from our home) as ninth in the state. Nightly gunfire is as common as hearing the church bells chime. Matthew took his last healthy breath behind a church parking lot, on the east side of center city. The law enforcement here is as small town as the city itself. Most crimes are solved with plea agreements. Matthew’s murder led directly to the solving of another murder that had been closed as a suicide.
Matthew was a very pleasant child, always smiling and showing his pearly whites. He battled with chronic ear infections, colic, and asthma from the time he was an infant. Although we spent many nights in the emergency room, he learned at a very early age to “grin and bare it".
"Born with a beautiful song in his heart,
A gentle whisper on his lips,
and a true passion for life;
God definitely blessed our family with a special gift.
He taught us how to love."
He enjoyed just about everything, except (of course) homework and washing dishes. Music was a part of everyday life, and he listened to all kinds. Tapping his foot and strumin’ his little plastic guitar singing “Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be Cowboys, was only the beginning. He tried playing the Sax and Drums for awhile, which nearly drove me nuts. Thank goodness they were a passing fancy. The last few years he settled for rappin’ along to the popular music. Matthew was a thrill seeker and had to try everything at least once. Bungee Jumping, Skiing, Snowboarding, anything that made me hold me breath. He liked all the regular stuff, swimming, fishing, hunting,(thanks Uncle Geary and Jack for your patience, love and guidence). And then of course, there were girls.......Lots of them. Matt’s greatest passion was art. He began drawing around the age of three. He had a overactive imagination, that gave his images and words a life of their own. We have a monthly publication in our local newspaper called the Junior Dispatch. Elementary school students submit entries and if selected for print they would receive a dollar for their work. Matt was 8 years old when this was printed:
By Matthew Newcomer
I was in the bus going to school and
the seat in front of me had a little hole in it.
I saw a little green man.
When we got to school I followed him
to a beautiful rainbow and a pot of gold.
He said, “You have three wishes,”
But then my mom yelled my name and said,
"you are going to be late for school."
It was just a dream, but a good one.
Don’t you think so?
I asked Matt what those three wishes would be.
He replied, "A Lamborghini, A Million Dollars, and
Always to have a Third Wish."
Matthew’s first big life struggle came the week of his tenth birthday. His father Rick, who had pancreatic cancer, passed away at the young age of 29. Rick was a Master Jump Sergeant in the army and of course was Matt’s hero. He enlisted in the army when Matt was 2 years old, and only came home a few times a year. Rick was never around to correct or discipline, he was just a comforting voice on the telephone. After Rick’s death, Matthew’s tears quickly turned to rage. He seemed to jump from one interest to another, not knowing exactly where he fit-in. Thing is ~ He fit-in everywhere, that is, until he found it boring. Still, he took on every new endeavor with a fierce passion. He joined the little league basketball team, started taking Karate lessons, and fell totally in love with skateboarding. Matthew had the ability to charm everyone. It made me so very proud that he never felt any prejudice to anyone …… color, religion, age, ghetto or country club ~ He saw everyone the same. It takes most people a very long time to see everyone as their equal, and some people never master that quality.
He attended Smith Middle School, where he was a member of student council. His artwork won second place in a statewide contest and it was used for the cover of the school handbook. He joined the Jr. Varsity track team for William Penn Senior High, and won the gold metal for setting the state record in the 800 meter event. Matthew’s last living Grandfather, passed away 3 weeks after that track event. After school ended that year, trouble became Matt’s best friend. He didn’t go looking for trouble, it found him.
His pain surfaced in defiant ways that had him answering to probation officers & judges. When he re-entered school in the fall of 1991, his attendance and grades fell to the point where he could no longer participate in track. Eventually he was court ordered to attend a day treatment center. Matt was now a statistic….a number…..just another city kid that fell through the cracks. Ironically, the judge released him from probation. He felt that Matt was not benefiting from the programs offered. Matt wrote me a letter, his way of saying thank you. He wrote,“Thanks Mom, for being the best mom I would allow you to be.” It broke my heart, but it also affirmed to me, that my lost little boy was becoming a man.
On Feb. 7, 1995 Kani Michael Sanchez was born. We had no idea that Kani was on the way until we received a message on the answering machine in March of 1995, with a baby crying in the background. The cry was a familiar sound to me, one I’d heard before. Finally, after 18 years, another baby boy in the family. That year for Mothers Day, Matt gave me a homemade gift. My last Mother’s Day gift from him. It is still displayed in our home with his picture. He took an empty “Crazy Horse” bottle and filled it with feathers and roses. Around the neck of the bottle he tied a rawhide and bead decoration with a owl in the center. It was made with my favorite things, but it gave me an eerie feeling. I grew up believing that the owl was the messenger of death. I’m not sure if Matthew knew that, but he always had this look about him……. There was something in his eyes,……. like he knew something that God, told only to him. Thanksgiving was the last holiday that we had with Matt.
Two weeks before Matt was murdered, we were talking about cremation. Funny, I guess the subject was supposed to come up. Matt was cremated, and I spread his ashes over the water on Twin Arches Road, which is about 5 miles from where we live. We had 36” of snow the winter Matt died. I had a friend with a 4 wheel drive take me to get his ashes. The friend who was with me the day he was born, took me to spread his ashes (Thank You Jeannie). The cremation box was the same size and weight as a new born baby.
His life had come full circle,
I held him in my arms ~ one last time.
We followed a bird that was flying outside the funeral home. It led us to Indian Rock Dam, which was one of the places where Matt went swimming in the summer. I spotted this beautiful ice covered tree, that bowed out over the water. The sun on the branches sparkled like diamonds. Matt always loved decorating our Xmas tree, it was one of his favorite things. We have the same old christmas tree since 1978, and although the ornaments are tattered and worn, they have family history. Matt told me the older the tree got, the better it looked. I thought Matthew would like it, if we now decorate a tree for him.
Some of Matt’s artwork, he displayed proudly on his body.
One of his last tattoo’s (which he did himself) and put
on his kneecap was a
Never ending circle of life.
Every end is a new beginning…….. Infinity.