‘I made a lot of stuff up out of bitterness’: Pankey testifies in Jonelle Matthews murder trial

Local News

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Steve Pankey, the man charged in the cold case murder of 12-year-old Jonelle Matthews, took the stand Thursday in his murder trial. 

Matthews disappeared from her home in Greeley on Dec. 20, 1984. Her remains were found in July 2019 at a construction several miles away from the home.

Pankey maintains his innocence, although he’s charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping with a weapon.

“In the little jail cubicle, before I came up here, I was praying and thanking God saying, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t testify at all, maybe I shouldn’t do that, because I’d be just telling more lies,” Pankey said on the stand.

While testifying, Pankey said that he is a liar, not a murderer.

“The truth is that I made a lot of stuff up out of bitterness for things that happened to me at Sunny View and for things that happened to me at 7UP and my revenge on them was to, and because I hated the police, it was all in one to say ‘I’ve got information that you want and you can’t have it,’” Pankey said on the stand. “It was a polite way of flipping the bird. It was pure hatred at that point.”

Pankey maintained he never met Matthews or heard of her before the news stories came out about her disappearance.

“I am a poor example of a Christian,” Pankey said. “I am an example that the bible is true when it says if you start the rolling lies thing it will come back on you.”

The official indictment from Weld County claims Pankey kidnapped Matthews at gunpoint while she was home alone.

Documents claim Pankey later shot Matthews in the head and used a rake to cover up foot tracks in the snow.

In opening statements, Pankey’s lawyer claimed Pankey’s Asperger’s syndrome made him obsessive about the case, feeling the need to insert himself into the investigation even though he wasn’t involved.

However, Pankey gave several statements to police over the years that ultimately made him their prime suspect. He even asked police for immunity in exchange for evidence in the case.

Pankey’s attorney asked him why he asked for immunity.

“Because at that point I wanted to privately say what I’ve publicly said today,” Pankey said. “That I really don’t know anything and that I was bitter and I was just making stuff up. I could do that with a deal.”

The trial resumed Friday at 9 a.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most Read

Top Stories