Matthew Chalkley spent 38 months behind bars on a rape charge before a jury found him ‘not guilty’ on Tuesday. The day after the conclusion of the two-day trial before Superior Court Judge Lovett Bennett and a jury of twelve, Statesboro Attorney Robert Busbee released a statement on behalf of his client.
The following statement was published on the Busbee Law Group Facebook page:
On June 29th, 2021, a jury of twelve Bulloch County citizens returned a verdict of ‘Not Guilty’ in the case of The State of Georgia v. Mathew James Chalkley. This marked the end of a nearly four-year nightmare for Mathew and the Chalkley family.
On November 11th, 2017, Mathew met two young ladies in the “Plaza” near the campus of Georgia Southern University. Both women were intoxicated, as was Mathew.
Mathew asked the women, who were standing in the parking lot, if they were waiting on an Uber or a Lyft and offered them a ride. Contrary to the statements released to news outlets, he
did not claim to be an Uber driver.
The girls agreed and got into the car with Mathew. Mathew dropped of one of the women at a residence in Statesboro, and the other voluntarily went home with him where they had a consensual, sexual encounter.
This woman never alleged force or threats by Mathew. The evidence was undisputed that the woman was not only conscious, but she initiated sexual contact. The woman’s friend stated the next day and in court that, in spite of her intoxication, she appeared “normal” that night.
When they awoke the next morning, she and Mathew made brief small talk, and Mathew let her make a call on his cell phone because she could not find hers (she had given it to someone at the bar the night before). Then, she and Mathew got back into bed together and slept for several more hours until approximately 12:57 in the afternoon.
When they got out of bed the second time, Mathew gave her his phone to make a call again, and then he took her home. He gave her his contact information and asked her out to dinner. Little did he know she would be accusing him of a rape a few hours later.
From the beginning, Mathew, who was serving in the United States Marine Corp, cooperated with law enforcement. He never denied the sexual contact, and he voluntarily submitted to an hour-long interview the following day.
Mathew is grateful to Judge Lovett Bennett, Jr. and the Bulloch County Superior Court staff for providing him a fair and open trial that allowed justice to be carried out.
Most of all, Mathew is grateful for the 12 citizens of Bulloch County that took two days out of their lives to hear the evidence in this case and at along last grant him a just and true verdict of ‘Not Guilty.’
Tuesday afternoon, after 1,150 days in jail, Mathew walked out of the Bulloch County Jail a free and innocent man. He will never forget this experience or the support he received from his family and friends.
*The statement does not and could not include all of the details from a case that lasted three and a half years and culminated in a two-day trial. The Busbee Law Group published the statement in hopes that it “gives some clarity tot he community about what transpired that November night in 2017.”
In the State of Georgia, there is no remedy for individuals who languish in jail as they await a trial and are then subsequently acquitted.
Disclosure: The Busbee Law Group LLC has an advertising agreement with TheGeorgiaVirtue. The firm was not contacted about this story and no individual from or on behalf of the firm contacted TheGeorgiaVirtue.