Cop killer-turned youth coach at center of controversy

Dean Chavez

CBS Chicago

CHICAGO - A convicted cop killer who was allowed to become a youth baseball coach in Chicago has also become the focus of an intense debate, reports CBS Chicago.

Chicago police officer John Mathews was beaten to death with a baseball bat by a group of men 26 years ago. The station say that among the men who killed him was Dean Chavez, who served 11 years in prison for the crime.

After he got out, Chavez served as a coach with the Hegewisch Babe Ruth League for six years -- until he was forced out by the league's national president this June.

On Wednesday night, the Mathews family and hundreds of Chicago police officers attended the youth league's board meeting and requested that the board step down. Following a meeting which lasted two hours, the entire board did resign, CBS Chicago reports.

In the future, the Mathews family wants tougher guidelines in place for league volunteers.

"They knew what he [Chavez] did. They didn't need a background check," said Laura Mathews, wife of the slain police officer. "They just supported him, and said he deserved a second chance...he served his time."

In a phone interview with CBS Chicago, Chavez said he'll be paying for his crime for the rest of his life.

"In my six years, I saved the league and was an excellent coach. My accomplishments will never be taken away from me," he said.