Crime

Kennewick man charged with planning ex-wife’s brutal stabbing

A Kennewick man won’t fight extradition to Oregon, where he faces charges in the 2016 murder of his former wife.

Matthew J.K. Hester, 38, appeared Thursday in Benton County Superior Court on the warrant to be transferred to Multnomah County.

He was arrested at 12:50 p.m. Wednesday at his Kennewick home — three years and nine days after Annastasia Hester was found stabbed more than 60 times inside her Gresham apartment, according to court documents.

The 34-year-old mother later died at an Oregon hospital.

Gresham police have been investigating the murder since June 10, 2016, but didn’t have enough evidence to make the arrest until now.

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Matthew Hester Gresham Police Department

Matthew Hester’s current wife, Angela McCraw-Hester, has been locked up since October 2017 on allegations she is the one who killed her husband’s ex.

The 37-year-old woman is still awaiting trial for aggravated murder.

On Thursday, Benton County Judge Joe Burrowes told Matthew Hester he is charged in Oregon with solicitation to commit murder, criminal conspiracy to commit murder and hindering prosecution.

The solicitation and conspiracy charges both have domestic violence allegations.

Bond is set at $505,000. Hester told Judge Burrowes he does not have a job right now.

Court-appointed attorney Dennis Hanson of Kennewick said Hester understood the allegations and agreed to waive his extradition.

Annastasia and Matthew Hester had been through a custody battle over their daughter in the months before the woman was killed.

Court documents show the couple had separated when the wife found out her husband was having an affair, according to a 2017 story by KATU News in Oregon. They initially had shared custody.

Then in May 2016 — one month before her death — Annastasia Hester was given full custody and Matthew Hester was ordered to pay more than $13,000 in back child support and $29,000 in legal bills.

Investigators said that Annastasia Hester, who had defensive wounds on her hands from the attack, was able to call 911 for help, KATU News quoted the court documents.

Surveillance video then surfaced from multiple sources showing McCraw-Hester leaving the home she shared with Matthew Hester at 11 p.m. June 9, 2016, and returning around 3 a.m., the documents state.

The alleged killer got into Annastasia Hester’s apartment by breaking a window. A bloody shoe print found at the scene matched a pair of boots that McCraw-Hester owned, documents said.

KATU News previously reported that Matthew Hester called an insurance company one week after his ex’s death to see if he or his daughter were listed as beneficiaries in her life insurance plan.

Gresham police were assisted in arresting Matthew Hester on Wednesday by the Multnomah County Major Crimes Team, Kennewick police and the Portland and Tri-Cities branches of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force.

The investigation is ongoing, and Gresham police encourage anyone with information about the case to contact Detective Aaron Turnage at 503-618-3136.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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