Prosecutors make move to expedite extradition of accused Florida killer

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 6:55 PM EDT
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Prosecutors in North Carolina are delaying all charges against Matthew Flores in the Tar Heel State. It’s a move designed to speed up prosecution on more serious charges in Florida.

The move essentially has the effect of dropping the charges he faces in North Carolina, allowing Florida authorities to swoop in and bring him to the Sunshine State.

Flores is the man police said they caught in a high-speed chase last month driving the car owned by Gary Levin, a Palm Beach Gardens Lyft driver.

Flores was then charged with driving a stolen car, eluding arrest, and felony speeding after police stopped him during a high-speed chase in western North Carolina.

Rutherford County Prosecutor Ted Bell said his legal filing last week means Flores is more likely to be tried in the death of a 41-year-old man in Central Florida.

"Ultimately, we decided it was best to let Florida go first with their murder charges," Bell said. "There are victims involved. There are family members involved. It's a pretty significant case."

Flores also remains a person of interest in the disappearance and death of Levin, but no charges have been filed in connection with that case.

Levin's body was found Feb. 5 in a wooded area of Okeechobee County.

The Medical Examiner's report, which would include his cause of death, has not been completed.

Bell said if he didn't make the legal maneuver that could allow extradition soon, Flores might be in North Carolina for a while.

"It was very apparent that we weren't going to be able to do anything about this case until August or so," Bell said.

The Rutherford County Chief Public Defender Laura Powell told Contact 5 that Flores was moved from the county jail to a state prison.

"He had a parole violation, and the sheriff in Rutherford County didn't want him staying in the jail any longer there," Powell said. "And so, they went ahead and took him to one of the prisons here in North Carolina."

Levin's Kia Stinger remains in the custody of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office. Last month, the sheriff told WPTV that he is waiting on prosecutors in Okeechobee County to see if the vehicle is needed as evidence in that case.

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