Roanoke Times
                 Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: SATURDAY, June 16, 1990                   TAG: 9006160414
SOURCE: Associated Press
DATELINE: ARLINGTON                                LENGTH: Medium


Chander Matta suffocated two young prostitutes after having sex with them, then left their bodies on the bathroom floor while he went to work, prosecutors said.

A grisly portrait of how Matta, 21, allegedly killed those women and a third prostitute in a two-day spree over the Memorial Day weekend emerged in court statements and a police affidavit released Thursday.

At a bond hearing Thursday, Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Arthur Karp said Matta is believed to have killed his first two victims in the basement of his parents' home while the rest of the family was away for the weekend.

District Court Judge Francis E. Thomas refused to allow the Arlington man to go free on bond.

Matta has been charged only with the death of Sherry K. Larman, 26. Arlington police said they believe Matta also killed Jodie Marie Phillips, 16, and Sandra Rene Johnson 20.

From prosecutor Karp's statements and the police affidavit, this story emerged:

Larman was allegedly killed on the afternoon of Friday, May 25 after Matta picked her up in his father's car in an area of downtown Washington known for prostitution.

Matta allegedly drove Larman to the family's modest Arlington home, where he had sex with her. While she dressed, Matta allegedly attacked her from behind.

Matta allegedly left Larman's body on the bathroom floor while he went to his evening job. When he returned home later Friday, he bundled her body into the car and drove to a parking garage a few blocks from his home.

Larman's body was found face down Saturday morning with a gray plastic bag tied around her head. She was naked except for a pair of black underwear. An autopsy showed she was asphyxiated.

After dumping Larman's body, Karp said Matta returned to the same area where he picked her up.

"Having come to the conclusion that it was quite pleasurable to do, he went back downtown and picked up Jodie Phillips," Karp said.

Matta allegedly killed Phillips in much the same way he killed Larman. He allegedly left Phillips's body on the floor while he went to work Saturday.

Her body was discovered on the lawn of an Alexandria office complex. Both Larman and Phillips were found with their hands bound in front of them. A dish rag was shoved in Phillips's mouth, and a plastic bag was tied over her head, the police affidavit said. An autopsy showed she also died of asphyxiation.

A credit card receipt bearing the name Jagit Matta, Chander Matta's father, was found inside the bag over Phillips's head. The receipt led police to Chander Matta.

Later Saturday, Matta allegedly picked up Sandra Rene Johnson. Matta allegedly killed Johnson in her Arlington apartment. A plastic bag lay next to her bruised body when it was found several hours later, the police affidavit said. She had been asphyxiated and hit on the head. A bloody footprint on Johnson's kitchen floor matched a shoe found at Matta's home, the police document said.

During Thursday's hearing, Karp successfully argued Matta is a danger to the community. "As far as we can tell, the only thing that stopped these murders was the return of his parents," Karp said. "We have no reason to believe that if he were out on the street, he wouldn't say, `That was fun, I'll do it again.' "

Matta's attorney, Arthur M. Reynolds, said Matta's statements to police were coerced.

 by CNB