Lafayette’s killer hesitates to testify against co-accused at trial

LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Confessed murderer Thomas Loveless was reluctant to testify on Tuesday against co-accused Matthew Mace, who is on trial for murder on November 26, 2019, murdering Charles Sandefur.

“I felt coerced and scared, and lied,” Loveless said after jurors were excused from the courtroom.

After consulting a lawyer, Loveless became a reluctant witness, taking the stand again and admitting that he was concerned about what might happen to him in prison if he learned that he had testified against Mace.

Matthieu Macé

Loveless then testified much as he did in previous affidavits, implicating Mace in the murder of Sandefur, who died from 54 stab wounds, according to earlier news reports.

Loveless, through Mace’s coaching, used Facebook Messenger to gain Sandefur’s trust in late November 25 and early November 26, inviting himself into Sandefur’s second floor apartment at 619 Alabama St. with the incitement that Sandefur, a gay man, could have sex with his visitors, according to messages filed in evidence.

Once inside the apartment, the three spoke – mainly Sandefur and Mace – for one to three hours until Mace suddenly launched an attack on Sandefur, according to Loveless’s testimony.

“Matthew got up, hit him on the head with a lamp and a trinket, and slit his throat with a cutter,” Loveless said.

Then Mace used Sandefur’s own kitchen knives to stab him to death over the next 30 to 60 minutes before Sandefur finally died, Loveless said.

“I was just going back and forth between the door and the living room,” Loveless said when asked what he was doing while Mace allegedly stabbed Sandefur.

After Sandefur died, Mace and Loveless cleaned the apartment and searched the deceased’s apartment, taking away video game systems.

Thomas Eugene Loveless is escorted out of the Superior Court of Tippecanoe 1 after being sentenced to 54 years for his connection to the murder of Charles Sandefur in 2019, on Monday May 10, 2021 in Lafayette.  Loveless was sentenced to 52 years in prison and two years of probation.

They threw the bloody items – including the knives – from the cleaning up into the trash can in the library in front of Sandefur’s apartment and then walked to their apartment, Loveless said.

Mace suggested that Loveless delete the Facebook Messenger conversation with Sandefur, Loveless said. These conversations, however, were found in Sandefur’s Facebook account.

Loveless also deleted the Facebook account he was using and created a new one with his real name.

The use of Sandefur’s stolen debit card on December 9 – 13 days after the murder and four days before Sandefur’s body was found – ultimately led police to Mace and Loveless, prosecutors said.

“We went home later – maybe two days later,” Loveless said, noting that he had stayed outside with the dog they were walking and that Mace went inside.

Loveless assumed it was when Mace stole Sandefur’s debit card, Loveless said, noting that he knew Mace left the apartment with Sandefur’s TV.

Testimony resumed Tuesday afternoon at Tippecanoe Superior 1 in Mace’s trial.

Meanwhile, Loveless will return to prison to serve his 52-year sentence handed down in May after pleading guilty to murder by committing a felony.

In return for his guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed the charges of murder, robbery, theft with grievous bodily harm, theft and fraud.

Mace faces the same six counts as Loveless.

Contact Ron Wilkins at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @ RonWilkins2.

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