Matthew Pape Faces Murder Charge for Allegedly -- and Accidentally -- Killing His Close Friend

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Peoria PD

The Peoria PD arrested Matthew Pape two days ago after he allegedly -- and from what witnesses say and what's indicated in the police report, accidentally -- killed his friend while play-fighting at a bar, police say. 

About 10 p.m. Friday, Pape, 39, and his friend, David Witmer, 45, were at a bar near 6700 West Peoria Avenue having some fun, which turned into pretending to fight over a cell phone, says Peoria PD spokeswoman Amanda Jacinto. 

See also:

Steve Gibson of Peoria Killed by Teenage Hitman Hired by Wife and Son

Alysa Gibson Become Third Family Member Arrested in Murder of Peoria Man Steve Gibson

Hikers Find Peoria Woman's Remains; Husband Killed Himself Before Being Charged

Pape allegedly put Witmer into a choke hold and Witmer fell down and hit his head against a bar stool. 

Patrons at the bar called 911 and Witmer later died at the hospital from the head injury. Peoria PD has charged Pape with second-degree murder. 

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I am Matt's cousin, and I will say that despite previous transgressions in his youth, he has changed his life around and has matured into a caring, loving, compassionate, and upstanding individual. I know that this accident will haunt him for the rest of his life and for anyone to have something negative to say: Walk a mile in his shoes. Matt's younger brother tragically died recently and his father (a respected and well-loved firefighter) unexpectedly died a few months ago of a heart attack. I can only imagine what Matt is going through as well as Dave's family. This incident does not warrant 2nd degree charges. Save room in the prison system for real criminals who actually kill with malice and either show support for Matt or save toxic comments to yourself. Neither Matt nor Dave's family deserve to see negative commentary. I believe in free speech, but I also believe in compassion and knowledge.  To whose who honestly believe they have the agency to play Matlock or have watched enough CSI to pass down judgment (i.e., "it doesn't sound accidental"), go speak with the families.  All family members from Dave and Matt know that this was an accident and even the bartender confirmed it.  


unless you are C.E.Cooney's son,that killed a camera man from his dad's channel 12 tv station,one drunken night on his 1/4 million dollar boat,at lake pleasant. this after breaking up lin sue's marriage to another camera man(seems to have a thing for camera men).

you can get away with murder.......if you can afford it!(or your dad can!!!)

my memory is too graphic for my own good! 


@sliperymike What does that have to do with...  never mind.  Not even worth trying to deconstruct your analytical framework.


@JoeArpaioFan Please read my comment above and I would like to know if you are a witness to the event (which, you'll probably claim to be, since the veil of anonymity on comments is an easy way to claim or allege authority to anything).  If you have a moral compass, own up to the fact that you were not there, since every other witness has reported it was clearly an accident.


@stacyspacey @robert_graham You don't crush a grown man's windpipe accidentally- it takes too much force, especially with a man Dave's size.I was dave's friend for YEARS (as opposed to Matt's "friendship" over months) and have never known Dave to even playfully fight. Also, funny no one mentions that Dave was dating Matt's ex, who Matt was still sending dirty texts to, while pretending to be Dave's "friend" (Dave told me about it the day he died, just hours before). 

Fact of the matter is, Matt crushed an unarmed man's windpipe, the same man who was dating his ex/current lover, and took away someone's LIFE, and someone's FATHER. I hope he burns in hell. See you at the sentencing, Stacy!

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