When Sonya Booker first met Greg Matters, she found a man who had a “huge heart” and “really cared about people,” and it was only a matter of time before they were in a romantic relationship. They had met in New Brunswick where he was stationed at a Canadian military base. She was still in high school but upon graduating and attending university, they started dating in 1998 and continued a relationship that lasted for four years. Testifying at a coroner's inquest into Matters' death during a Sept. 10, 2012 standoff with RCMP in Pineview, a tearful Booker had plenty more good things to say about him.
“He was fiercely loyal, always wanted to treat everybody with fairness and respect,” said Booker, who flew in from Toronto to tell her story. “He was a very caring individual with such great kindness.” Booker said he came back with a severe back injury that affected his ability to work and be active. Matters also began to withdraw from her and their friends but did not know he had post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I began hearing stories about Greg's drinking and that was my concern,” Booker said. “I felt our issues were around that, the fact he was drinking... I didn't have the insight at that time or the experience in relationships to understand that there was a bigger issue going on.” She said Matters remained kind and treated others well but “it was a different level of engagement and ability to express.”
By 2002, they had broken up. Matters returned to Prince George in 2009, collecting a small disability pension from the military for the chronic back pain he suffered and was living with his mother on the family's Pineview farm. Booker said she decided to testify because she knew that if something similar ever happened to her, Matters would have done the same thing. Matters' sister, Tracey, gave a similar account of her brother when the inquest began on Monday.
Mother Lorraine will continue testimony she began Friday when the inquest resumes on Tuesday at the Prince George courthouse starting at 9 a.m. Lawyer Cameron Miller, who is representing Matters' mother and brother, said their stories help the jury put a “human face on the deceased” and give an idea of how the personalities of those involved played a role in the outcome.