Breaking News
More () »

No death penalty for California surf instructor who killed his two young children in Baja

Federal prosecutors say they will not pursue the death penalty against Matthew Coleman, the QANON conspiracy theorist who believed his children had lizard DNA.

SAN DIEGO — Federal prosecutors will not pursue the death penalty against Matthew Coleman, the Santa Barbara surf instructor who brutally killed his 2-year-old and 10-month-old children because he believed they had "serpent DNA" in them.

Coleman confessed to taking his two young children from their Santa Barbara home across the U.S.-Mexico border to Rosarito in August 2021 before shooting them with a spearfishing gun on the side of the road. 

Credit: KFMB
Coleman seen checking into Baja hotel on night of murders

On January 30, after more than six months of deliberations, San Diego U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman notified the court that the government will "not seek the death penalty for defendant Matthew Taylor Coleman."

Credit: KFMB
U.S. Attorney's Court Filing

According to search warrants obtained by CBS 8, the 41-year-old surf instructor from Santa Barbara was obsessed with a QANON conspiracy theory and believed that his wife was genetically infused with "serpent DNA" and passed that DNA along to the couple's children. 

Following his August 9, 2021 arrest at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Coleman told authorities that he had to kill his children to prevent them from becoming monster lizard people.

Coleman later told authorities, according to the search warrants, that he first learned of "Lizard People" from British conspiracy theorist David Icke's Twitter account. Icke posted theories that reptiles are interbreeding with Nordic people.

Since June of last year, federal prosecutors have pondered whether Coleman was insane at the time of the murders or whether Coleman was using a possible insanity diagnosis as a legal defense.

An excerpt from the June 3, 2022 search warrants reveal prosecutors' research into Coleman's state of mind.

"...[S]ome people who are arrested for violent crimes will feign mental illness whereas others may suffer from legitimate mental illness. One way to determine if a person has a legitimate mental illness or is malingering, or to determine the extent to which a person understood the nature of their actions, is to examine their conduct and communications with others during the time around and leading up to specific events," reads the search warrant for Coleman's computer. 

A status hearing in the case is set for February 9.

Before You Leave, Check This Out