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Springfield Woman Accused of Beating Disabled Step-Father to Death

A grand jury indicting 47-year-old Christina Mathews on first-degree murder charges Wednesday. (WICS)

A Springfield woman is accused of beating her 66-year-old disabled step father to death with her bare hands.

A grand jury indicting 47-year-old Christina Mathews on first-degree murder charges Wednesday.

Initial reports told police 66-year-old Danny Fernandez fell from his wheel chair causing life-threatening head injuries.

Family members later told police they thought Mathews was responsible for beating her step-father over money issues.

"Officers responding to the scene, and meeting with the family," Sgt. Joshua Stuenkel said. "Discussing what had occurred determined that those injuries were not likely caused by what was described."

State's attorney John Milhiser said the injuries were caused by Fernandez's own step-daughter.

"These severe injuries, and the evidence points to only one person committing these injuries," Milhiser said. "And that would be Christina Mathews. And the evidence points to that she did it with her fists. She beat him to death."

But there was a delay in getting to murder charges. That's because Fernandez survived several days after the reported accident.

Before he died, police arrested Mathews on charges of aggravated battery.

"Mr. Fernandez survived the surgery," Stuenkel said. "He was in ICU for a time. So that explains the delay in why homicide charges were brought."

The jury decided Wednesday that enough evidence pointed to Mathews actions being intentional to go forward with a murder trial. Police are still talking to witnesses and looking at evidence.

Mathews faces anywhere from 20 to 60 years if convicted of the murder, and she would be forced to serve 100 percent of her sentence.

Her next court date is January 17.

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