Yuba County Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor at a preliminary hearing ruled that there was sufficient evidence for a Yuba County man to be tried for the murder of an Olivehurst man in 2019.
Matthew S. Mire, 33, is charged with the murder of Jose Lule, 33, whose body was found by a passerby in the 1900 block of Feather River Blvd. on Jan. 9, 2019. Mire and Lule were reported as being together the night before Lule was found dead and left an Olivehurst home in Mire’s car around 11 p.m., according to Appeal-Democrat archives.
Sam Wideman, 47, was the first witness called during the hearing on Tuesday morning. Wideman testified to being friends with Lule and recalled Mire and Lule at his house the night before Lule was found dead and said the two left together and he stayed at the home. When O’Connor asked Wideman to answer clearly yes or no to questions Wideman apologized and said, “I’m just a little pissed off right now.”
When questioned by law enforcement, Mire accused Wideman of killing Lule.
“I just don’t like being accused of something I didn’t do,” Wideman said.
Yuba County Deputy District Attorney Mike Byrne asked Wideman point blank if he killed Lule. Wideman said he did not. During cross-examination by Mire’s defense attorney David Vasquez, Wideman was open about his previous felony convictions saying he’d been arrested for assault and attempted murder.
James Mims, a friend of Lule and Mire testified that Mire told him to buy gasoline and bring it to him in the Shad Pad area. Mire allegedly burnt his car after killing Lule. Mims said Mire told him that he’d been in a fight with Lule when he brought the gasoline and gave Mire a ride after Mire’s car was burned.
Sgt. Adam Machuca of the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office was the lead investigator in the case and said in court that he interviewed Mims back in 2019 and Mims told him that Mire admitted to killing Lule. Mims said he did not recall saying that and after Byrne presented the report that included Mims’s interview still said he did not remember saying it.
Machuca described how when he interviewed Mire he initially refused to answer questions without his attorney present but then returned and said he was at the scene of Lule’s murder but that Wideman was the one who killed Lule.
Yuba County Sheriff’s deputy Lt. Joe Million was shown autopsy photos of Lule’s body that depicted a wound to his upper body and said they were consistent with wounds caused by a broad head arrow. Million said he is an experienced hunter. Mire told Machuca when he was interviewed that Wideman had stabbed Lule with the same type of arrow.
Byrne told the court that he believed there was enough evidence to hold Mire to answer for murder, pointing to Mire’s admission to Mims and the fact that he provided details about the murder that matched with how investigators determined the killing took place.
“He has information only the killer would have,” Byrne said.
Vasquez cited Wideman’s demeanor on the stand and his extensive criminal history as part of his reasoning for why there was not enough evidence to hold Mire for murder.
“There’s more evidence against Mr. Wideman than against Mr. Mire,” Vasqeuz said.
In addition, Vasquez said, the fact that Mire and Lule were friends should carry some weight in the court’s decision.
“People don’t go around killing their friends,” Vasquez said.
O’Connor sided with the prosecution and said there was enough evidence to hold Mire to answer for murder, but not pre-meditated murder.
Mire will be arraigned on the information from Tuesday’s hearing on March 23 at 1:30 p.m. in Yuba County Superior Court.