Jim Mathes arrested after run-in with brother
Bad blood between two long-feuding Corydon brothers erupted into near violence late Thursday afternoon, and one spent the night in jail but he was released on bond the next day.
Carl (Buck) Mathes, 57, a county councilman who owns a farm on Shiloh Road with his brother, James, 61, said yesterday that Jim apparently cut a ‘road’ through a soybean field he had just planted and then pushed up piles of dirt about four feet high in front and back of his tractor, effectively blocking it.
Jim said yesterday that he had put lime down for a road to his farm. ‘It’s not Buck’s property… I didn’t want him to plant that field.’ Jim said they both own the field but no one should be farming it until it’s decided who owns it. ‘Both our names are on the deed,’ he said yesterday.
Buck said when he came back later that evening to remove the dirt piles with his loader and resume planting, Jim returned with a large rubber tire loader from the Mathes Stone Quarry on Old S.R. 135, which Jim owns. Buck said Jim tried to push him on his tractor (which they both own) and planter from behind. Buck estimated Jim pushed him about 200 feet trying to get him out of the field. ‘I was tryin’ to get the hell out of his way,’ Buck said, afraid his tractor would turn over.
At one point during the confrontation, Buck ‘showed’ Jim his ‘groundhog gun’ but the rifle had little deterrent effect. Buck said Jim put the bucket of his loader on top of Buck’s tractor cab ‘with me in it’ but did no serious damage. Jim said he didn’t like looking down the barrel of a gun.
Jim said it was the first time in their many confrontations that go back for years that Buck had pulled a gun on him.
Buck said his son, Houston, 20, and an employee, Scott Motley, videotaped the latter part of the incident. Sheriff Mike Deatrick now has the tape.
Buck agreed that he and his brother have had several run-ins in the past. ‘We’re both off the same stump,’ Jim said, laughing. ‘We do fight like cats and dogs. We’ve been fightin’ ever since we were 10 or 11 years old.’
They do not get along but jointly own hundreds of acres of farmland, given to them and their sister, Carol Windell, by their mother, Dorothy Mathes, who died in 2001. The brothers once worked together at the quarry.
During the confrontation, Jim’s wife, Sheila, had been listening to Jim on the CB radio at the quarry. When Jim said, ‘Call the sheriff because Bucky’s pointing a gun at me,’ she did. Officers arrived and, after looking at Houston’s videotape, arrested Jim. He was taken to Harrison County Justice Center on a reckless felony charge. He bonded out the next day.
Harrison County Prosecutor Dennis Byrd, who worked as a young man for both Matheses, has excused himself from the case. A special prosecutor will be appointed and additional charges, if any, will be up to him or her.
Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger Davis, who also knows both families well, will step down from the case, and a special judge will be named later.