Curtis Bay man, 24, charged with killing father

A Curtis Bay man told police he feared his son. Now police have charged the son with killing him.

While Stephen Vaise was on the phone with a 911 operator asking for help in December, his 24-year-old son grabbed his cellphone and snapped it in half, he told police. He said Matthew Vaise knocked the glasses from his face and ripped an alarm system out of the wall.

A month later, Stephen Vaise was fatally shot, and his son has now been charged in the killing.

Matthew Vaise was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 60-year-old father at his home in the 4400 block of Prudence St. on Jan. 29. He is being held without bail.

Court records from the December incident show that Stephen Vaise feared his son. He had been sleeping on the night of Dec. 8 when, he said, Matthew forced open his bedroom door and started shaking him, demanding that he wake up, according to charging documents. Stephen reached for his phone and called police.

When his phone snapped, ending the call, the police came. Stephen Vaise told the responding officer multiple times that he was afraid of Matthew. The officer even noted in his report that Matthew "continually yelled" at his father even with the officer present.

"The defendant Matthew Vaise has made it impossible for the victim Stephen Vaise to call for help if [needed]" due to the destruction to his cell phone, the alarm system, and a land line telephone, the officer wrote. He advised Stephen Vaise to obtain a protective order from his son.

Matthew was charged that day with second-degree assault and malicious destruction of property, and was released on $4,000 bail. A month later, prosecutors placed the case on the "inactive" docket, essentially dropping the matter unless they decided later to revive it.

Rochelle Ritchie, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office, said Stephen Vaise told prosecutors he did not want to move forward with the case. Records also show that he did not pursue a protective order.

On Jan. 30, Stephen Vaise's brother called police to report that Matthew had broken into his home in Anne Arundel County. He told officers that he had not heard from Stephen since Jan. 26, when Stephen and Matthew had gotten into a fight, court records show.

Police then went to Stephen's home, and found him dead in the kitchen area. He had been shot "several" times, according to court records.

Police questioned Matthew, who said he and his father had gotten into an argument Jan. 26. He said he returned to the home the next day, but was unable to enter because he lost his keys, police said. He said his father's car was still there and the curtains were drawn shut.

Matthew told police that he attempted to contact relatives and Anne Arundel County police to discern his father's whereabouts, but his statements were inconsistent and he admitted he was lying, police wrote in court papers.

He also said that he owned a 9 mm rifle — which he said went missing just before his father's death.

Homicide Detective Ray Hunter noted fresh scratches on Matthew's forearms and knuckles. The shirt he was wearing appeared to have blood on it, police said.

On Feb. 11, police executed a search-and-seizure warrant on the home. A crime lab technician realized he left his camera equipment and returned to the house. Police said Matthew Vaise was inside and refused to open the door, and could be seen flipping an upstairs bedroom light on and off. Police charged him that day with theft of the equipment, and he was released on his own recognizance, records from that case show.

Another search of the home conducted a week later revealed the 9 mm rifle in Matthew Vaise's room, police said. The weapon was test-fired by a firearms examiner, and was determined to match the cartridge casings found at the crime scene. Police filed the murder charges the next day.

Attempts to reach Vaise's family were not immediately successful. According to an online obituary, Stephen Vaise was preceded in death by his wife, Kristine.

Court records show Matthew Vaise has been arrested several times since 2008. Some of those records list him as homeless. His probation stemming from three convictions in Anne Arundel County was marked "closed unsatisfactorily" in 2014.

An attorney listed for Matthew Vaise in several previous cases could not be reached for comment.

jfenton@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
77°