GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – An Orange Park, Fla., man charged last month with fatally shooting his wife pleaded not guilty to the charge Thursday.

Cecil Bradley Mathews, 36, was ordered to reappear for a pre-trial Jan. 19 at 9 a.m., said State’s Attorney Daniel Skinner. Mathews is being held without bond for shooting Natalie (Pate) Mathews in the bedroom of their home during a domestic dispute.

Natalie attended schools in Tahlequah, and she and her mother and siblings lived in Tahlequah for several years. Her younger sister, Natasha Hendricks, is still a local resident.

The couple were involved in a verbal confrontation Dec. 5. During the argument, Natalie called 911, told dispatchers she was dying, and gave them her address before the phone cut off. After a three-minute delay, Cecil called 911 and reported the incident.

Mathews told investigators he had threatened to take custody of the children. He claimed he walked into the bedroom during the argument and saw Natalie sitting on the bed, holding a .22-caliber revolver in her right hand. Natalie, however, was left-handed.

Cecil also told authorities Natalie shot at him, but he was not hit by the bullet. He said he then tackled her on the bed, they wrestled for the gun, and Natalie was shot in the chest. He claimed he left the room after seeing Natalie was shot, and said he heard a third shot after walking from the room.

An autopsy shows Natalie had a wound to the right side of her neck. It was not a contact wound and did not appear to be self-inflicted. The other contact wound was to the chest.

Skinner also filed a discovery exhibit and a demand for reciprocal discovery. Discovery is a part of the process that allows attorneys for each side to exchange information.

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