22 Aug 2014
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Should Slain Deputy's Wife Collect "Service-Connected" Benefits?

The widow of off-duty Marin County Sheriff's deputy killed in Petaluma last year says she deserves full benefits because her husband responded in his capacity as an officer. Others say he was off-duty and went there on his own accord.

Should Slain Deputy's Wife Collect "Service-Connected" Benefits?

Marin County Sheriff’s deputy Jim Mathiesen was killed last July when he went to the Petaluma home of a friend who was having trouble with an ex-boyfriend.

Mathiesen wasn’t on the clock, had alcohol in his system and didn’t follow protocol by calling for backup.

But his widow says she deserves “service-connected” survivor benefits, which total $50,000 a year tax-free, instead of the $16,000 taxable survivor’s pension she now receives, according to an article in Monday’s Marin Independent Journal.

Last month, a Marin County pension panel voted 5-2 to approve the service-connected pension. But because two members were absent, the panel will again gather and vote this Wednesday in an attempt to determine a fair payment for the widow.

Mathiesen was killed July 19, 2011 when he responded to the Liberty Road home of a friend who was being threatened by an ex-boyfriend.

The suspect, 28-year-old Novato resident Thomas Halloran, appeared at the home and killed the deputy, but was then shot to death by the woman's brother.

But according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, Mathiesen was not only off-duty at the time of his accident, but on paid leave due to an injury, and had been informed that he could not perform the duties of a deputy sheriff until he obtained medical clearance.

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