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Fort Wayne man sentenced to life without parole in dismemberment death

Mathew Cramer was convicted of murder, abuse of a corpse and resisting law enforcement in the slaying of 55-year-old Shane Van Nguyen on April 23, 2021.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A Fort Wayne man was sentenced to life without parole Monday afternoon for his part in the death and dismemberment of another man with whom he had sex.

Superior Court Judge David Zent accepted the jury's recommended sentence after convicting 22-year-old Mathew Cramer of murder, abuse of a corpse and resisting law enforcement in the slaying of 55-year-old Shane Van Nguyen on April 23, 2021.

During the sentencing, Cramer apologized to Nguyen's family for his actions, according to NBC affiliate WPTA.

The defense claimed Cramer was homeless and living in a storage unit. It said Nguyen saw Cramer walking along a street, asked Cramer if he needed a ride, drove Cramer to the storage unit and the two had sex. The defense said Cramer was the victim of a sexual predator and acted in a panic.

Credit: Indiana State Police
Shane Nguyen

Nguyen was last seen around 3 p.m. that day. His family reported him missing, and a Silver Alert was declared just after midnight Sunday morning, nearly two days later.

According to court documents, officers spotted Nguyen's van April 25 and tried to stop it, but it took off. Officers chased it until the driver got out and ran, and the passenger jumped behind the wheel and sped away. Officers stopped the chase because of the high speeds. They later found the van after it crashed through a fence of a home.

Inside the van, officers found Nguyen's dismembered body in garbage bags. There was also a receipt for a Lowes store in Goshen. It had items including tarps, a hacksaw, hacksaw blades, a plastic tub and two shovels. Officers also found a large knife that was purchased at the Walmart in Goshen.

Investigators said Cramer slammed Nguyen's head to the ground, killing him. They say Cramer and an accomplice, 21-year-old Jacob Carreon-Hamilton, dismembered Nguyen's body at a storage unit before placing the body in the victim's van.

Credit: Ft. Wayne Police Department
Police in Ft. Wayne are searching for 21-year-old Matthew J. Cramer and 20-year-old Jacob D. Carreon-Hamilton for the homicide of a man over the weekend.

Nguyen's death was ruled a homicide by blunt force trauma to the head. Fort Wayne Police Sgt. Jeremy Webb called the killing "barbaric." 

“It was brutal and extreme. It's not every day we come across cases of this butchery," Webb told WPTA.

Carreon-Hamilton, 22, of Elkhart, pleaded guilty in July 2021 to assisting a criminal, abuse of a corpse and resisting law enforcement. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Under a plea deal, Carreon-Hamilton testified at Cramer's trial. 

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