Matthew M. Dowdy

Matthew Marshall "Slim" Dowdy (b. November 21, 1964) is a convicted rapist and murderer.

Dowdy accumulated a long criminal record for burglary, larceny and assault throughout the 1980s and 90s.[1] On June 12, 1985, 20-year-old Dowdy and two other prisoners escaped from the Winchester Jail after overpowering the guards on duty.[2]

Dowdy inserted himself into the Beltway Sniper investigation by claiming to be a witness in the shooting of 47-year-old Linda Franklin in the parking lot of the Home Depot in Falls Church On October 14, 2002.[3] He was arrested when his statement was determined to be false, and eventually sentenced to six months in jail.[4]

On September 23, 2005, Dowdy raped, beat, and fatally stabbed 31-year-old Judy J. Coate in Falls Church. Coate's body was found four days later, on September 27.[5] Dowdy, who had been staying at the Stratford Motor Lodge in the City of Falls Church, was arrested a few days later.[6]

On January 17, 2007, Dowdy was convicted of the rape and murder of Coate.[7] Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Stanley P. Klein sentenced Dowdy to life in prison plus 30 years on May 18, 2007.[8]


  1. "Bogus "Beltway Sniper" Witness Busted." The Smoking Gun. TSG Industries, 18 Oct. 2002. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.
  2. "3 Overpower Guards, Flee from Winchester Jail." The Washington Post (1974-Current file): 1. Jun 13 1985. ProQuest. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.
  3. "Man Charged for False Information." CNN. Cable News Network, 18 Oct. 2002. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.
  4. Glod, Maria. "False Sniper Witness is Sentenced to Jail; Man Gets Six Months for Misleading Police After Slaying Outside Fairfax Store." The Washington PostJan 08 2003. ProQuest. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.
  5. Fehr, Steve. "Falls Church Area Murder Victim Identified as Jamie Coate." Washington Post: Focus on Fairfax. The Washington Post, 28 Sept. 2005. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.
  6. Jackman, Tom. "Sniper 'Witness' Charged in Death; Man Accused of Stabbing Va. Woman." The Washington PostOct 06 2005. ProQuest. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.
  7. Jackman, Tom. "2002 Sniper 'Witness' Convicted of Rape, Murder." The Washington PostJan 18 2007. ProQuest. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.
  8. Jackman, Tom. "VIRGINIA BRIEFING:Fairfax Crime." The Washington PostMay 19 2007. ProQuest. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.