Man slain on East Ave stabbed and shot in past; acquitted of triple murder

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The man murdered on East Avenue on the weekend was one of the suspects acquitted in the triple murder outside the Boys and Girls Club almost a decade ago. Michael Mathis was 25-years-old.

Rochester Police won’t say if revenge for the Boys and Girls Club murders was the motive.
They say it’s possible. But, they also say it’s possible it was a simple argument settled with a gun.

It’s not the first time someone has tried to kill Mathis.

Since he was found not guilty in the triple murder, Mathis has been stabbed, shot at and now killed.

Mathis was shot and killed in the parking lot at East Avenue and Union Street. Police don’t think Mathis or the shooter had come from any of the East End bars.

One of the people Mathis was accused of killing outside the Boys and Girls club in 2015 was Johnny Johnson. I spoke with his mother on zoom on Monday.

Lentory Johnson, mother of Johnny Johnson: “And that fact that it’s Michael Mathis will never negate the fact that there will be another and another, just like there was with my son Johnny Ray Johnson because there’s a failure on the part of this country. This current White House is working but it is not important enough to do to stop the gun violence that is running rampant in our country.”

Brean: “I’m wondering if you felt any sense of justice at all, though?”

Johnson: “Justice would have been in that courtroom and except for one of the individuals, that was denied.”

“We back! We back! My brother back home! We back!” the family of Mathis cheered in 2016 after he was found not guilty of triple murder.

Three years later, Mathis survived a stabbing in a bar in Henrietta. In 2020 there was an attempt on Mathis’ life on Dewey Avenue and Magee Street. The bullets from the drive-by shooting missed Mathis but hit an innocent bystander killing him.

That victim was Dakota Podlaski. The shooter convicted of that murder was Jeremiah Barley, the brother of Jonah Barley, one of the three victims of the Boys and Girls Club murders.

Since then, we haven’t heard about other acts of violence against Mathis until Saturday night.

“This thing will touch, and it will continuously touch anyone and everyone,” Johnson said. “Because this is how sickening it’s getting.”

Since her son’s murder, Johnson created the “Mother’s Quilt” dedicated to victims of violence and she started an essay writing competition for young people about gun violence and peace.

“Because guess what? Adults aren’t talking practically about ending something,” she said. “And so I say to myself, maybe, just maybe, if you can hear the voices of some of these living children who are still with us who are deeply affected.”

Brean: “Well, Ms. Johnson I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today and I hope our viewers appreciate what you have to say too.”

Johnson: “I absolutely hope they do.”

One of Mathis’ co-defendants, Jalen Everett, was found not guilty in the Boys and Girls Club case. Everett was shot and killed in 2019.

The third person arrested in the triple murder was convicted. Johnny Blackshell is serving in life in prison without parole.