A Kansas youth pastor, who allegedly tried to stab his wife and five children to death before attempting to set his home on fire, was apparently afraid of being evicted, according to a recently unsealed affidavit.
Matthew Richards, 41, is charged with five counts of attempted premeditated first-degree murder and one count of aggravated arson with risk of bodily harm in connection with the Sept. 16 incident.
"I stabbed my kids, detective. I stabbed my wife," Richards apparently told Shawnee police before calling himself a "monster," according to an affidavit.
Richards told police his family was going to be evicted the same day he allegedly tried to murder his family members, and he had not been honest with his wife about their financial standing.
He further told police "it would be better if they all died" rather than his family "find out the truth" about their financial situation, according to an affidavit filed in Johnson County.
Richards' children, including a 19-year-old and four juveniles, and his wife all sustained "laceration injuries of varying degrees," according to a press release from the Shawnee Police Department.
Two of the children had injuries to their internal organs, and his wife was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition, the affidavit states.
Shawnee officers and firefighters responded to reports of a disturbance and fire at the pastor's home at 3:47 a.m. on Sept. 16.
One of Richards' children called 911 after witnessing the pastor stab his wife. Richards then chased down the child while holding a knife, according to the affidavit. Another female caller stated that she had been stabbed.
"Officer spoke to a [redacted]-year-old child, [redacted], with a wound to the neck who stated they were all in bed when their dad came around stabbing everyone and they all ran outside," the affidavit states.
"My dad just decided to pull out a knife," the child told police, according to the affidavit.
Firefighters located a blaze in the basement of the house on Goode Drive in Shawnee and "quickly extinguished" it. Authorities transported all five victims and Richards to the hospital for treatment.
Evidence shows Richards' wife and children were stabbed through multiple areas inside the house.
Richards' biography on the Crossroads Christian Church website states that he is "a big kids [sic] who loves teaching little kids about Jesus."
"He has been married to Stephanie since 2003 and they have 4 boys and 1 girl. He and his family have three rules: 1. Love God, 2. Love People, 3. Love Sports (especially the Jayhawks and Sporting KC)," the biography states. "Matt and his family have been at Crossroads since August 2016 and look forward to many more years helping teach and reach those in the Shawnee area."
"Our church family is shocked, we're sickened, we're saddened by the events of early Saturday morning involving our former children’s pastor," Crossroads Church Pastor Kurt Witten told FOX 4 Kansas City.
The church said in a Sept. 19 Facebook post that it is collecting donations for Richards' wife and children.
Richards is being held on $5 million bond. He did not enter a plea when he appeared in court