This case haunts me almost every day also. A horrific crime occurred on December 14, 1995. Two 13-year-old neighborhood girls were shot and killed as they sat in a van with an 18-year-old boyfriend of one girl and two others. William Bigeck, 18; Nicholas Morfin, 17; Edward Morfin, 19; Nicholas Liberto, 16; and Eric Anderson 15 were charged with the murders. According to police, Bigeck and Anderson burglarized a police officer’s home stole two guns and alcohol. The 18 year old in the van with the girls was a rival gang member. Police said that Bigeck and others attacked the van and shot into the van. Bigeck and Ed Morfin gave handwritten confessions to the investigating detectives and an assistant state’s attorney. Bigeck and Ed Morfin implicated their friends and alleged fellow gang members but never mentioned Matt Sopron. Nine months after being charged with 1st Degree Murder of two 8th grade girls, William “Billy” Bigeck reached out to the State to save himself from a possible death penalty. Bigeck now claimed the murders were “ordered” by Matt Sopron and Wayne Antusas. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charge for murdering one of the 13-year-old girls and recommend a 30-year prison term. Ed Morfin agreed to the same deal to save his life too. Bigeck, Nicholas Morfin, Edward Morfin and Eric Anderson were convicted of murder. Nicholas Liberto was acquitted. Matt Sopron and Wayne Antusas were tried together. Bigeck, John Gizowski and Bryan O’Shea were witnesses for the prosecution against Matt Sopron. Ed Morfin did not get called to testify by the prosecutors. The police never interviewed John Gizowski or Bryan O’Shea on the night of the murders. Bigeck, John Gizowski and Bryan O’Shea each gave three contradictory versions of the words Matt Sopron allegedly said. One claimed Matt Sopron said, “Pull a roll”; another claimed he said, “take care of the neighborhood” the last said “light up the van”. John Gizowski’s two brothers, Gene and Mike testified at trial that they were with Matt Sopron and it never happened. Gene and Mike testified that their brother John Gizowski was not there. It was also uncovered at trial that Bigeck was caught using marijuana in the prosecution witness quarters and was given fast food that was not offered to other prisoners. Matt Sopron testified in his own defense. He did not hide behind his 5th amendment rights. He answered every question from the prosecutors and proclaimed his innocence. Despite the inconsistencies from state witnesses and Matt Sopron’s testimony in the high profile case, Judge Joseph G. Kazmierski, in front of a courtroom packed with police officers (even filling the jury box), found “Matt Antusas” and “Wayne Sopron” guilty of 1st Degree Murder. They were both sentenced to natural life in prison. In post-conviction proceedings, Bryan O’Shea and John Gizowski testified under oath under threat of perjury charges that they lied at Matt Sopron’s trial. They said Matt Sopron never gave any orders to hurt anyone or shoot at a van. They both testified under oath explaining they were threatened with murder charges and perjury. Judge Kazmierski has denied all post-trial proceedings. Judge Kazmierski’s rulings were affirmed by the reviewing courts. John Gizowski later died from an overdose although his mother believed it was suicide.
You can get more information at www.freemattsopron.com. Hopefully, Mr. O’Shea’s recorded statement, John Gizowski’s affidavit and other documents will be published by the website for everyone to see.
Transcripts from John Gizowski and Bryan O’Shea’s post-trial recantation testimony can be found at http://www.freemattsopron.com/…/important-documents-report…/
Billy Bigeck’s projected parole date is December 14, 2020