VALRICO, Fla. (WFLA) – Today, we are hearing more from friends who describe Mathew Korattiyil as generous and kind-hearted.
He owned a Marathon gas station in Valrico and worked there for years.
Today, newly obtained police reports explain 68-year-old Mathew Korattiyil put up a fight and tried to run away from confessed carjacker James Hanson Jr.
Sadly, the long-time convenience store owner wasn’t able to get away from him. Hanson admitted to detectives he killed Korattiyil after he attempted to fight back.
The news of his death cast a dark cloud over the Marathon station on North Valrico Road.
“He was always the kind of guy who would talk to you, spend time with you,” says Charles Turner. He knew Korattiyil for 25 years.
Turner explains Korattiyil became family to those in the community.
In fact, he says the generosity Korattiyil had knew no boundaries.
“He would do things for me that no other store would do,” says Turner.
Like the time she didn’t have enough cash to pay for his items.
“He says oh go ahead, just bring it back next time. Who else would do that? You know what I mean?”
James Hanson told detectives he tried to rob CenterState Bank to help his sister and girlfriend with finances. He claims he panicked when the robbery failed, and that’s when he says he carjacked Korattiyil’s Lexus SUV which ultimately led to Korattiyil’s death.
8 On Your Side has also learned Hanson was previously serving a life sentence for another crime and was released from state prison early.
That was even more shocking for Charles Turner.
“You gotta be kidding me. So he actually should have still been in jail? That makes it worse when I hear that.”