A Shawnee youth pastor and teacher charged with trying to kill his wife and children over the weekend made his first court appearance on Monday.
Matthew Richards, 41, appeared in front of a Johnson County District Court magistrate judge via video link from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office detention facility in Olathe.
Richards is facing six charges in all for Saturday morning’s attack on his wife and their children at the family’s Shawnee home.
He sat with his head down as the magistrate read the five counts of attempted first-degree murder with premeditation and one count of aggravated arson with the risk of bodily harm.
David Matthews was named as his court-appointed attorney after Richards stated that he did not have the financial resources to hire an attorney.
His bond was set at $5 million. His next court appearance was scheduled for Friday, September 29, at 11 a.m.
Police, fire crews called to home Saturday morning
On Saturday, Shawnee Police said they were called to the house at 6602 Goode Drive for a reported disturbance and house fire just after 3:45 a.m.
Firefighters extinguished a small fire in the home’s basement, and paramedics transported seven people, including Richards, to the hospital with what police described as “laceration injuries of varying degrees.”
On Saturday morning, Shawnee Police said Richards’ wife and two of his children remained hospitalized. A 19-year-old male and two other children were treated and released, according to the police statement.
Church that Richards worked at released new statement
Crossroads Christian Church in Shawnee, where Richards had been the children’s pastor since 2016, released a statement late Monday morning saying they will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation.
“The Crossroads Christian Church family is shocked, sickened, and saddened by Saturday morning’s events involving our former children’s pastor,” the statement said. “This is a tragedy beyond what any of us could have imagined.”
The church’s statement also suggested Richards was no longer employed at Crossroads, referring to him as the “former children’s pastor.”
The church says they are offering support and resources to the members of the Richards family who were victimized.
“The road to recovery will be long – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,” the church statement said. “Please join us as we continue to pray for and stand with them.”
Private school removes Richards’ bio from website
Christ Preparatory Academy in Lenexa, where Richards was previously listed as an English teacher, had removed his photo and profile from their website as of Monday morning.
His staff bio previously had said he started teaching English at the school in 2020 and that three of his sons are currently enrolled there and one of his sons graduated recently.
The school has not released any additional statement.
Mike Frizzell is a freelance crime and fire reporter who runs Operation 100 News.