On Thursday, the hearing opened with defense and prosecution opening statements and witness testimony in the case of Matthew Wesley Tate, 31, who pleaded guilty in 2016 to first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Tate entered his guilty plea with no plea agreement from prosecutors.
According to authorities, Tate arranged to meet his ex-girlfriend, 21-year old Kristina Marie Padilla, of Appalachia, at Lake Street Storage — a fenced-in storage unit complex in Wise — at around 11 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2014.
Prosecutors say Tate shot Padilla several times with a 9mm handgun, then fled the scene. He was taken into custody at his mother’s home in Wise later that night.
The case is being prosecuted by Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Newberry. Tate faces a maximum penalty of life plus three years in prison.