Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Breaking News

Woman Allegedly Held Captive By Ex-Husband For Days In 2017 Endures Cross Examination By Him

Trevor Summers faces nearly a dozen charges related to his alleged 2017 plot to kidnap his ex, Alisa Mathewson, kill her and then himself. She testified against him on Tuesday, and he fired his lawyer to personally cross-examine her on Wednesday.

By Dorian Geiger
A police handout of Trevor Summers

A Florida man who allegedly tied his wife to a bed with Christmas lights as part of an ultimately unsuccessful murder-suicide plot more than five years ago is finally standing trial this week.

Trevor Summers, 45, is facing nearly a dozen charges in the failed plot to kill himself and his ex-wife, Alisa Mathewson, whom he allegedly held captive for several days in 2017.

Authorities suspect Summers planned to kill his wife and then himself because Mathewson had attempted to divorce him. She’d previously sought two protective orders against Summers. They’d been living separately at the time of the incident.

On Tuesday, Mathewson began testiying about the horrifying moment Summers ambushed in her bedroom in the Tampa area around 3:00 a.m. in March 2017.

“And when I was trying to get my bearings, I realized there was a dark figure in my bedroom,” Mathewson told the court. 

“I started to scream, ‘Who’s in my room? Who’s in my house?'” Mathewson said.

She then heard a voice telling her to “calm down,” at which point she realized her assailant was her husband. Mathewson was in the bed with two of her children at the time; all five were at home.

Their daughter had previously testified that Summers had convinced her to leave a window open at Mathewson’s home so he could sneak in and try to reconcile with his ex. The girl was 14 years-old at the time.

Summers allegedly told their eldest daughter to take the younger kids to his home, while he restrained their mother on the sofa, she testified. He told Mathewson that his parents were picking the children up, she testified.

He then proceeded with his alleged plan, she said.

After a physical struggle, Summers allegedly bound Mathewson by the wrists and feet, put a sock in her mouth, covered her head with a scarf, cocooned her with rope and ultimately tied her to a bed with Christmas lights. At some point, she said, he raped her. Eventually, she testified, he smothered her face with a pillow until she passed out, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Summers then took his wife on a drive around Hillsborough County in search of a marina where he could charter a boat for them. 

Mathewson, whose hands were tied through most of the ordeal, got out of Summers’ vehicle when he stopped at a Walgreens in south Hillsborough County and tried fleeing while he was in the store. Witnesses saw Summers’ forcefully place his wife in the back of the SUV, and they called police, who began searching for the couple.

She testified that he took her to a secluded area in Manatee County to hide from law enforcement, where he slashed her wrist as punishment for her escape attempt. But after they ran out of food and water, they emerged from hiding and Summers attempted to convince her to get on a boat and participate in a suicide pact. When she said she would prefer to stay with the children, he began writing his own suicide notes and allegedly attempted to strangle her with a rope.

They were spotted by an undercover police officer, and Summers tried slashing his neck as authorities closed in on the couple.

“And he began slitting his throat and saying, ‘This is what love is. I’m laying my life down for you. You don’t deserve this,'” she testified on Wednesday. She said police pulled her out of the car as Summers reached to slash her wrists again.

Investigators later found one of the suspected suicide notes in Summers’ vehicle, addressed to the couple’s children. 

“So we have ended it for your sake,” the letter read, according to court records, per the Tampa Bay Times. “We wish you the best in everything you do and will be watching you from heaven.”

Summers was ultimately charged with attempted murder, armed false imprisonment, kidnapping, grand theft auto, violation of a domestic violence injunction, two counts of sexual battery and four counts of child neglect.

Anthony Marchese, Summers’ defense lawyer, argued during his opening statements on Tuesday that the state’s case against his client had numerous “inconsistencies.”

“The story that Ms. Johnson gave you is a story,” Marchese said. “It is the state’s theory of what happened. A lot of it is true. A lot of it is also verified by Mr. Summers when he makes a statement. But we also have to follow the law. Look at the charges against him and see if the facts that you hear from that witness stand match up with the law.”

In the years since the alleged botched murder-suicide plot, trial proceedings have been delayed multiple times. Summers — who has fired four different attorneys — had opted to represent himself prior to the trial’s opening, WTVT reported. On Monday after a lecture from the judge, however, Summers informed the trial judge he’d permit Marchese to represent him. 

Marchese’s request to further postpone proceedings, however, was denied.

“I’ve never been so unprepared as I am right now to start picking a jury,” Marchese told the court on Monday.

Marchese declined to comment on the open case when contacted by Oxygen.com on Wednesday morning.

"I have no additional comments other than what I have said in my pleadings or on the record in open court," Marchese said.

On Wednesday morning, after Mathewson finished with direct examination, Summers fired Marchese in order to personally cross-examine his ex-wife, according to Law & Crime. As part of his cross examination — during which she pointedly refused to look at him — he denied raping her during her kidnapping, claiming that he had removed many of her restraints by that time, and suggesting he'd previously restrained her with scarves during consensual sexual activity, which she denied.

He also asked what "they" talked about during the five hours he held her hostage at the house, and she testified that he did most of the talking, referring to it as "incoherent nonsense."

Summers is being held at a Hillsborough County detention center pending trial, according to online jail records. 

Summers was also previously convicted for his involvement in a federal investment fraud scheme in Philadelphia. He’s awaiting sentencing in that case, per the Tampa Bay Times.