Matthew Farrell, 1990s Charlottesville art scene figure, murdered
It saddens me to share here that Matthew Farrell, a unique figure of the vibrant 1990s art scene in Charlottesville, was the one shot and killed at his home on Stoney Point Road on Tuesday. His girlfriend and housemate, Shawna Marie Natalie Murphy, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. I sold him the hard-topped sedan in this story by Hawes Spencer.
Matthew was an eccentric who was not a flake. When I sold him a Volkswagen Rabbit I owned back in the 90s he was courteous, thoughtful, and organized (always a hint of his military service mixed with a desire to buck convention) as we negotiated the price and completed the documentation. And when I handed him the keys he casually mentioned that he planned to hacksaw the roof off and turn it into a convertible. I suggested that might be problematic as Rabbits had a unibody frame, meaning the body was the structural framework of the car -- and it did end up being problematic -- but Matthew was determined, cutting the roof off with a hand-held hacksaw (and cutting his hand in the process), and later accepting of the fact that his new convertible was probably now quite dangerous, which I think he enjoyed. I really enjoyed the times I saw him driving by in it dressed in a suit and bow tie with his sunglasses on and smoking a cigarette. We ran into each other a lot after that over the years, as he became more of a recluse instead of a local public figure, and every time Matthew acted like he was glad to see me and genuinely concerned about how I was doing. Feel free to add your own memories about Matthew to this.