Florida mom on rescue after being held captive: “I’d been pulled from hell”
▶ Watch Video: Sneak peek: Alisa Mathewson’s Night Terrors
Florida man Trevor Summers manipulated his children into believing he just wanted to get back together with his estranged wife, Alisa. He even encouraged one of his daughters to leave a window open in Alisa’s home so he could slip in claiming he wanted to talk to her about making the family whole again. That daughter had no way of knowing the fake reconciliation would turn into a horrific 55-hour ordeal that involving kidnapping, assault and attempted murder.
Sgt. Christopher Steele: This is … the bedroom window that Trevor Summers was allowed into the home through.
Sgt. Christopher Steele is with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Peter Van Sant: And who opened that window for him?
Sgt. Christopher Steele: His eldest daughter would have been with — in the home unlocking and making it ready for him to enter.
Arden Summers: My dad had sat me … down and discussed … reconciling with my mom and fixing the marriage and bringing our family back together.
Arden Summers was eager to help her father make her family whole again. Her parents, Alisa and Trevor Summers, had separated after 15 years or marriage and there was a restraining order keeping them apart. Arden and her four siblings had been living with their dad.
Arden Summers: He wanted me, my … younger siblings, to go over to my mom’s house and spend the night … And then I would let my dad in the window … after my siblings and my mom went to bed.
Arden thought her dad could then talk her mom into getting back together. But Trevor Summers supposed attempt at reconciliation was actually an act of manipulation — using his children as pawns — in a plot involving kidnapping, assault and attempted murder that would go on for 55 hours.
Alisa Mathewson: The clock, it was a digital clock and it said exactly 3 a.m. I was startled awake.
Alisa Mathewson, formerly Alisa Summers, will never forget the disorienting fear that began in the early morning hours of March 11, 2017. She was awakened in her pitch-black bedroom. Two of her children were lying beside her: 7-year-old Bryn and 5-year-old Grady.
Alisa Mathewson: And I felt my face was wet … And I started screaming, “who’s in my room? What are you doing here?” … I’m in a panic, an absolute panic.
Her estranged husband Trevor had entered her home in Valrico, Florida, dripping water on her head and was standing over her.
Alisa Mathewson: I’m still screaming, and he says, “Calm down, it’s just me.” … I just start in full panic throwing things from my end table at him. And he grabbed my ankles and pulled me off the end of the bed.
Peter Van Sant: This must be terrifying.
Alisa Mathewson: It’s terrifying. … Bryn and Grady are running out of my room screaming, “Daddy, daddy, don’t kill mommy!”
But how did it come to this? The couple first met in 1995 in high school in suburban Philadelphia and started dating three years later.
Alisa Mathewson: He was spontaneous and charming and just seemed that he always put me first.
The couple married in 2001, eager to begin their life together.
Alisa Mathewson: He wanted to start a family right away. … When I had Arden … It was everything I envisioned for my life. I envisioned myself being a stay-at-home mom.
Peter Van Sant: And then over the years, it was Arden times five. You had five kids, right?
Alisa Mathewson: (Laughs) Yes.
After Arden, came Landen, Bryn, Grady, and Cooper.
Alisa Mathewson: The more kids, it seemed that the more love, the more happiness. … I wanted to have this picture-perfect life.
Alisa says Trevor initially started a landscape and pool design company, and he dabbled in real estate. But he really fancied himself as an entrepreneur.
Alisa Mathewson: He would open up businesses … for a little while and then he would move on to a new business.
The family moved several times, says Alisa, as Trevor chased opportunities: from Pennsylvania to Florida, to Vegas, to California, and eventually back to the Sunshine State, where the children were home schooled.
Arden Summers: We would very often host people, have sleepovers, friends over birthday parties, all kinds of stuff.
Arden, now 20, remembers good times.
Arden Summers: We would go the beach. We had a beach fairly close to our house … play video games as a family and board games, stuff like that.
Arden says while she was close to her mother, she had a special bond with her father.
Arden Summers: I was definitely the definition of a daddy’s girl … We would go out on little dates together, go out for dinners, just him and I.
Meanwhile, Alisa says her relationship with Trevor was changing. With each move and birth of another child, she says her husband was slowly taking control of her life.
Alisa Mathewson: I had to wear what he … would select … I couldn’t have men on my Facebook page.
She couldn’t even sit next to a man in church — or anywhere.
Alisa Mathewson: I couldn’t ride in a car alone with a man. … I was to have no communication with any men other than Trevor.
Alisa was also overhearing snippets of Trevor’s business conversations.
Alisa Mathewson: There were some things that just … weren’t adding up.
Alisa says Trevor was frequently in financial trouble — not paying debts and bouncing checks. He was arrested several times. But she says he always blamed his problems on others and the crisis would seem to pass.
Alisa Mathewson: Every single time it would happen, it would be “it’s a misunderstanding.”
Peter Van Sant: He’s having these incidents with — with the law … What are you thinking?
Alisa Mathewson: Yeah, at the same time, I was walking on eggshells … Don’t question him, OK, and smile and nod.
Peter Van Sant: Did he have a temper?
Alisa Mathewson: As long as we stayed in his good graces … then it was fine.
In 2016, Alisa finally had enough, and asked for a divorce. Trevor begged her to stay, wanting to keep the family together. Alisa agreed, but, she says, Trevor’s possessive behavior worsened.
Alisa Mathewson: He took my cellphone. He took my car. … I was being held in my own home … as like a prisoner. … It became very apparent that this is domestic violence, this is domestic abuse. I need to start working on my plan.
She wanted to escape. But Trevor Summers had his own plans for Alisa.
CONTROL AND FEAR
Alisa Mathewson: I had been just stuck staying in the house with him watching me.
By October 2016, Alisa says she felt like an inmate in her own home, with her husband Trevor monitoring her every move.
Alisa Mathewson: He was always with me for several weeks.
Until one day Trevor finally left to go to work. That’s when Alisa called a domestic violence organization.
Alisa Summers: And I said, you know,” these are the things that have been going on: my husband hadn’t gone to work in weeks, this is the first time I’ve been alone.” … And the more and more I asked them, and I talked to them about this, they said, “your situation is very serious.”
But before Alisa could get out of the house that day, Trevor burst through the door.
Alisa Mathewson: He came in and he attacked me … And he — every time I would try to get away from him, he’d block me from leaving.
Alisa says that after some time, Trevor reluctantly agreed to let her leave with the children. She sought refuge in the home of a friend.
Alisa Mathewson: He was going crazy over this, and he — he found out where I was, and he would be showing up there.
After a week there, she felt safer moving with her children to a shelter for abused women, leaving everything behind.
Alisa Mathewson: We had nothing. We had the clothes on our backs.
Over the course of several months, Alisa started rebuilding her life.
Alisa Mathewson: When I got out of the shelter … I got myself a home and a car and a job as well.
She filed for divorce, and even tried online dating. But Trevor was not out of her life, as they shared custody of the children.
Alisa Mathewson: I was forced to see him twice a week to exchange children with him.
By January 2017, Alisa says Trevor seemed resigned to the fact their marriage was over. And about a month later, Alisa she says she agreed to go by Trevor’s home to sign the divorce papers.
Peter Van Sant: So, you’re in the house. What happens?
Alisa Mathewson: (Sighs) He said that he just needed to talk to me. … He was like “I have to — I have to get everything off of my chest so we can get divorced. I have to tell you I’ve had multiple affairs. … I really messed up.”
Trevor was also in serious legal trouble – facing real prison time. According to court records, he was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to wire fraud charges for one of his failed business ventures. His perfectly controlled life was quickly imploding.
Alisa Mathewson: As I was leaving … he said “you’re not going anywhere” … with one hand holding me down, he used the other hand and pulled a knife … and held it right up at my chest by my throat.
Peter Van Sant: How long was the blade?
Alisa Mathewson: It was a machete.
Peter Van Sant: And he’s got this machete right under —
Alisa Mathewson: Right at my neck. … And he says, “I won’t tie you up if you just stay still and listen to me” … and then he held me there for a few hours.
Eventually, Alisa says Trevor agreed to let her go, after she calmed him down and promised not to call the police. A promise she did not keep.
Alisa Mathewson: I immediately called 911 when I left his home.
But when investigators interviewed Trevor, he denied threatening Alisa’s life.
Alisa Mathewson: The police didn’t believe me. … I wasn’t left with any marks. There was no evidence of what I was saying.
Sgt. Christopher Steele: The Sheriff’s Office treated it as a concern from the beginning
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Sergeant Christopher Steele was not involved in responding to the 911 call, but says investigators were looking into the case.
Sgt. Christopher Steele: It’s not like we could have simply arrested him that day based on the statements of just the two that were involved. We needed more.
Both Alisa and Trevor filed for restraining orders against each other, and Alisa says Trevor used the incident to turn their children against her.
Alisa Mathewson: He told the children I lied to the police … “She is trying to get me thrown in — in prison.”
He told them their mother was responsible for the marriage falling apart.
Arden Summers: He would constantly talk about how she was supposedly cheating on him. … he, you know, acted so heartbroken.
Peter Van Sant: What did you think of your mother?
Arden Summers: I felt like she was awful.
Then, just two days later, Alisa arrived home to find the place vandalized.
Alisa Mathewson: There was graffiti all over the walls … There was Kool-Aid poured on my bed.
Arden Summers: The Kool-Aid was his idea. The chalk and writing on the walls was my idea.
Peter Van Sant: What had you written on the walls?
Arden Mathewson: I had written things like “traitor” … I wrote “thanks for being an ass****.” Right above the bed.
Alisa was incredulous when she learned Trevor had convinced Arden to take part.
Alisa Mathewson: It was devastating. … my kids had a key to my home, and they used … their key … and did this.
A few weeks later, Alisa got an unexpectedly cheery phone call from Arden.
Alisa Mathewson: And Arden says, “Mom, we really miss you. I — I’ve just. I’m sorry. I’ve been thinking of you. I want to come over and just you and I talk things through, hang out like old times.”
Within days, Arden, Bryn and Grady were back visiting Alisa, while Cooper and Landen were at Trevor’s house.
Alisa Mathewson: I especially was feeling like Arden was starting to come around.
Alisa says she and Arden had no idea they both were being manipulated by Trevor.
Arden Summers: He had mentioned before that he was really hoping to reconcile with her and to put the family back together and be almost like the savior of the family.
Peter Van Sant: The goal was something noble in a way —
Arden Summers: Yes.
Peter Van Sant: — that you were participating in? That maybe they can get them back together … and we can be a family again.
Arden Summers: Yes.
So, on the evening of March 10, 2017, as Alisa was in bed with Bryn and Grady, Arden was in another room, secretly texting her father —
Arden Summers (reading text): “just checked … she’s fast asleep…”
— letting him know the coast was clear for him to enter Alisa’s home.
55 HOURS OF TERROR
Just after midnight on March 11, 2017, Trevor Summers left his 3-year-old son Cooper home alone, asleep in bed, and drove with 12-year-old Landen to his estranged-wife’s house where Arden was already waiting.
Arden Summers: He told me that he was going to talk to my mom.
Following his instructions, Arden had left a window open for Trevor. They passed each other as she went out to wait in the car with Landen. That’s when Alisa says she remembers waking up to water dripping on her face.
Alisa Summers: At that point, it’s full-on terror.
Alisa says Trevor dragged her to the living room. Grady and Bryn, the two young children who were in bed with her, woke up and screamed.
Alisa Mathewson: He looks right at them, and he says, “get back in your mother’s room. Don’t come out.”
Alisa says they struggled as she tried to escape.
Alisa Mathewson: And I’d get my hand onto the door, and he’d grab me and throw me backwards.
Peter Van Sant: Are you wondering “where is Arden?”
Alisa Mathewson: Yes. I’m thinking – Arden’s going to hear this, Arden’s going to call 911. Like, where is she?
Arden was sitting in the car, hopeful that her parents would come out after talking, and they would all return to Trevor’s house together. But around 5 a.m., Trevor sent a text that the plan had changed.
Alisa Mathewson: She walks in and doesn’t even look at me. And that’s when I realized she’s not going to call 911. … She wants him to be there.
Arden says her dad told her to drive Landen, Bryn and Grady back to his house and wait. Then 14 years old, Arden’s only driving experience had been in a parking lot.
Arden Summers: It was very terrifying. … I was doing exactly the speed limit, and I just followed all the traffic laws to not get pulled over.
Alisa Mathewson: Once the children were out of the house, that’s when it even escalated further … He … threw me onto my bed and took these scarves and wrapped me — my hands, my wrists together. … he is tying me to the bed frame with the Christmas lights and crisscrossing them across my body to hold me down.
That’s when Trevor told her why he was there.
Alisa Mathewson: “I came to say goodbye. I am leaving. I’ve chartered a boat. I’m going out into international water. … And I’m going to disappear.”
Alisa says he claimed he had millions of dollars in offshore bank accounts. Alisa didn’t believe any of it. She says she had a plan: stay quiet, and perhaps he would let her go.
Alisa Mathewson: I don’t want to infuriate this man. … just sitting back, listening, and letting him do the talking.
She says over the course of several hours, Trevor raped her — twice.
Peter Van Sant: Did he have any kind of a weapon on him?
Alisa Mathewson: He did. … A razor blade.
Alisa says she felt drowsy because Trevor made her take cold medicine.
Alisa Mathewson: He had been using NyQuil throughout the day to keep me sedated.
Alisa says Trevor tied her ankles and wrists behind her with the scarves, and a nylon rope.
Alisa Mathewson: I was in excruciating pain.
He used her thumb to unlock her cellphone and recorded those videos.
TREVOR SUMMER CELLPHONE VIDEO: I am here with Alisa at her house. … she’s virtually unharmed. She’s got a couple of bruises today but — from the — tying her up.
Alisa says Trevor told her he was making the videos so she could prove to authorities he was there before taking the boat trip. But Trevor didn’t immediately leave. It was around 5:40 p.m. when he came back into the room.
Alisa Mathewson: He put a pillow over my face, and he pushed down with all of his upper body … And I thought about my kids. … and I — and I lost consciousness.
Moments later, Alisa says she remembers the pillow being removed.
Alisa Mathewson: He looked at me. And I said … “Please, I’ll do anything. Please don’t kill me.” He says, “You agree to go with me?” I said, “Yes, I’ll go with you.” …
Peter Van Sant: To the boat? To the islands?
Alisa Mathewson: Yes.
Alisa says she still thought the boat story was a lie but agreed to go with him to buy time. With her hands tied, Alisa says Trevor loaded her into her SUV. Later, he went into that Walgreens to buy more cold medicine. It was the moment she’d been patiently waiting for.
Alisa Mathewson (with Peter Van Sant outside Walgreens): I pulled the door handle to open the door. … and, so, I’m running and I’m stumbling … through this parking lot … and I could hear him coming at me and grabbed me.
Peter Van Sant: Did he lift you off the ground?
Alisa Mathewson: — and lifted me off the ground, pushed me back to the car.
That’s when that Walgreens employee called 911.
911 CALL: She ran out of the car screaming “help me” … trying to get the license plate. … it’s a dark-dark blue SUV … he’s pulling out right now.
The employee managed to get that license plate number. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies realized it was Alisa’s vehicle and began a statewide search. As they sped into the night, Alisa says Trevor was irate.
Alisa Mathewson: He’s screaming at me … “you agreed to go with me, why are you doing this?” … he cut from over here, all the way across, over to here (tracing the scar on her left wrist). … He said, “that’s for getting out of the car at the Walgreens.”
Alisa says Trevor spent hours driving along backroads down the Tampa Bay coast. They stopped several times, including at a secluded rural area where they hid out for over a day. Here he wrote letters detailing what he done: a confession, and a chilling farewell to their children. Alisa read an excerpt:
Alisa Mathewson: “We should have never gone down the road of divorce that tore our family apart … So, we have ended it for your sake … and will be watching you from heaven.”
Alisa says Trevor raped her two more times.
Alisa Mathewson: I just needed to stay alive. I just need to stay alive.
On the morning of March 13, Trevor drove to Little Harbor, a resort area where they used to go as a family. Alisa says Trevor pulled the SUV over, parked right behind a dumpster, and climbed into the back seat.
Alisa Mathewson (in a car with Van Sant): And a rope came over my head and came around my neck.
Peter Van Sant: Is there any doubt in your mind what he’s attempting to do at that moment?
Alisa Mathewson: No — he is killing me behind a dumpster. … suddenly, he’s behind me and he lets go, and he dove through the car, jumped into the driver’s seat, and took off.
Alisa Mathewson: There’s no talking. He is laser focused and he is driving.
Trevor believed he’d been spotted. Panicked, he pulled into a home’s carport.
Alisa Mathewson: He pulls out the razor blade and he starts slitting his throat. … I’m screaming at him to stop. … And at this point, the police come up around … guns drawn, screaming.
Alisa remembers an officer helping her.
Alisa Mathewson: He puts me right into the front seat and he gets in and he takes off and goes down this road.
Peter Van Sant: Just takes off and boom? You’re out of here.
Alisa Mathewson: Boom. That fast. … Suddenly, I’m saved. … I’d been pulled from hell.
Following Alisa’s rescue, investigators took photographs. While still receiving medical attention, Alisa told her story.
ALISA MATHEWSON (to investigators): My hands were behind my back, and he slit my wrist … And I just kept begging and begging, “please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me.”
Trevor Summers also spoke to investigators from his hospital bed, where his wounds were stitched up. Law enforcement says it amounted to a confession:
INVESTIGATOR: What did you tie her up with?
TREVOR SUMMERS: Just some rope. Nylon rope. … I grabbed a pillow and put it over her face …
But bizarrely, Trevor also claimed Alisa voluntarily went along with him.
TREVOR SUMMERS (to investigator): She willingly let me tie her up.
Trevor was later charged with 11 counts, including attempted murder, kidnapping, sexual battery, and child neglect. Trevor pleaded not guilty. But Alisa’s ordeal was far from over. She would come face-to-face with Trevor yet again, at his trial.
A TRIAL TWIST
Alisa Mathewson: I’m not afraid of him anymore. And I’m going to say this is what happened. And this is what you did.
By 2022, five years had passed since Trevor Summer’s arrest on charges including attempted murder, kidnapping and sexual battery. During that time, the couple’s divorce was finalized. Now, after legal and COVID-related delays, a jury would decide if Trevor’s mission had been to kill Alisa or to reconcile with her.
Anthony Marchese: There was no murderous intent. … he stopped. Otherwise, she would be dead.
Anthony Marchese, Trevor Summers’ court-appointed attorney, says his client believes he did nothing illegal.
Anthony Marchese: So, in his mind … he could see consent … He would think that he could show everyone that no crime was committed.
Peter Van Sant: Even though she is tied up. … even though there’s been alleged physical violence — he still believed that the sex they had was consensual?
Anthony Marchese: Yes, I mean … in his mind, if this tying up or other things happened, those were temporary. Then from there she would consent. … I’ve never had a client like Mr. Summers … He was always a gentleman, always very polite … very intelligent. … But — he doesn’t understand the distinction between consent and acquiescence.
Marchese was the latest of seven different lawyers who had been on and off the case.
Jennifer Johnson: Trevor Summers’ plan was always to take Alisa and to harm her that night.
Jennifer Johnson and Jessica O’Connor, prosecutors with the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office, built the case against Trevor Summers.
Jennifer Johnson: The strongest evidence that we have was the post-Miranda statement, the handwritten confession, as well as the videotaped confession.
TREVOR SUMMERS CELLPHONE VIDEO: And I woke Alisa up and I have been holding her against her will.
Those pieces of evidence would play a crucial role as Trevor Summers’ trial began in August 2022.
JENNIFER JOHNSON (in court): Alisa Summers thought she was living out the last few days of her life. She believed that the defendant Trevor Summers was going to kill her.
ANTHONY MARCHESE (in court): The testimony from Mrs. Summers will be that she was tied up … that she had no alternative, but there’s some inconsistencies.
Peter Van Sant: This case, in many ways, rests on your shoulders, your ability to deliver, so as you take the stand what’s going through your mind?
Alisa Mathewson: Oh, gosh. What’s going through my mind was …just tell them what happened.
ALISA MATHEWSON: He used the Christmas lights to tie me to the bed rails … and used the vacuum cord to go underneath the mattress.
Over the course of several hours, the prosecution questioned Alisa regarding Trevor’s actions.
ALISA MATHEWSON: Being hogtied. The pain was so incredible … He pushed down the pillow on my face.
The prosecutors anticipated the defense would question if Alisa was raped or consented to having sex, so they raised it first, with Alisa detailing the alleged assaults.
ALISA MATHEWSON (in court): He started to remove my bottoms and proceeded to have sex with me.
JENNIFER JOHNSON: Did you tell him no?
ALISA MATHEWSON: No.
JENNIFER JOHNSON: Why is it that you did not tell him no or fight back?
ALISA MATHEWSON: Because I didn’t want to get hurt.
Peter Van Sant: You finish your testimony. And now it’s time for the defense attorney to cross-examine you. What happens?
Alisa Mathewson: So, we’re taking a break to then do cross-examination. And Mr. Marchese stands up and gets the judge’s attention
Marchese informed Judge Christopher Sabella that he had just been fired. His replacement to now cross-examine Alisa would be the man on trial for attempting to kill her: Trevor Summers himself.
Peter Van Sant: The man you believe kidnapped you, on at least two occasions … attempted to murder you, is now going to do what?
Alisa Mathewson: Stand in front of me and ask me questions.
Jennifer Johnson: That was his way to manipulate and to abuse her again, to represent himself.
Defense attorney Marchese was permitted to remain as stand-by counsel, but he was not permitted to speak with Trevor while court was in session.
Alisa’s questioning by her ex-husband — her alleged tormentor, went on for more than four hours, much of it focused on the issue of consent.
TREVOR SUMMERS (in court): Did I threaten you or force you to have sex with me?
At times, Alisa refused to look at Trevor, focusing instead on the jury, and objects in the courtroom.
Alisa Mathewson: I was in my head starting off. … Him standing in front of me and questioning me about the things he did to me, how, how is this possible? … And then as it went on, my confidence built.
ALISA MATHEWSON (in court): You did tie me up. You did attack me. And you did break into my home when I was sleeping. You raped me.
TREVOR SUMMERS: So, you’re calling it rape?
ALISA MATHEWSON: It is. That is the definition of rape, to come into someone’s home and attack them and tie them up and then have sex with them. That is the definition of rape.
Jennifer Johnson: That was the probably the most powerful incident — situation in the entire trial.
Trevor also questioned some of his own children about the events that night. Bryn was 13 years old at the time of trial.
TREVOR SUMMERS (in court): Do you remember, Miss Bryn, if I was yelling anything back at mommy?
BRYN SUMMERS: No.
And Arden was 19 at the trial:
TREVOR SUMMERS: Arden, did you ever see us physically fighting in the home when you came in?
ARDEN SUMMERS: Not physically, no.
Sergeant Edward Remia was asked about that hospital interview he conducted with Trevor after he was treated for the self-inflicted knife wound.
Summers argued that, despite seeming coherent, and agreeing to be interviewed, he was not in stable enough condition to have been questioned.
TREVOR SUMMERS (in court): Did you see me before the surgery?
SGT. EDWARD REMIA: I am not aware that you had any surgery.
TREVOR SUMMERS: Did you notice a large cut and stitches and bandages on my neck?
SGT. EDWARD REMIA: Correct. Again, I think we are probably going to differ on our definition of getting stitches and surgery.
Peter Van Sant: Now, the man that you interviewed is cross-examining you. Had you ever had that happen in your career before?
Sgt. Edward Remia: I’ve never had that happen before.
Peter Van Sant: Never?
Sgt. Edward Remia: Never. … it just poses, you know, a unique set of circumstances when he’s interviewing with his own children, when he’s interviewing his ex-wife — what’s his goal? … Is this his last-ditch effort to cause any mental anguish he can possibly do or is it his last-ditch attempt to show everybody that everything was OK, that I was in control of the whole situation, and that I’m not guilty of a crime.
After three days of testimony in Trevor Summer’s trial, closing arguments began.
JESSICA O’CONNOR (in court): What this comes down to is a scorned lover. The defendant was not willing to come to grips with his divorce.
Trevor had decided not to testify. Now, his life was in his own hands, as he would have to counter the prosecution’s claims.
TREVOR SUMMERS (in court): We spent a lot of time that weekend just talking, just trying to figure things out. … I’m in a confused state of mind, we’re going through a divorce, we don’t know what’s going on.
Trevor tried to cast doubt that he was violent with Alisa in her home.
TREVOR SUMMERS: There was not broken glass or dents in walls. There’s not scratches on countertops or blood splatter.
And he questioned the legitimacy of that interview he gave to police at the hospital.
TREVOR SUMMERS: If you were in that position, you would feel vulnerable. You feel taken advantage of. … I was captive and possibly coerced.
Trevor also disputed Alisa’s description of being tied up and held against her will at the Walgreen’s parking lot.
TREVOR SUMMERS: How do you get out of the car with your hands tied behind your back?
In the prosecution’s rebuttal, Jennifer Johnson returned to the video Trevor had recorded.
TREVOR SUMMERS CELLPHONE VIDEO: I have spent a lot of time with mom the last few hours and the things she has told you about me being good about manipulation and control and lying is true … and tying her up.
JENNIFER JOHNSON (in court): That is Trevor Summers in a nutshell —manipulative, lying, controlling.
It was now up to the jury to decide Trevor Summer’s fate. And about five hours later, they had.
Peter Van Sant: The verdict is read. Tell us what you heard.
Alisa Mathewson: It was just guilty all the way across, all 11 charges, a guilty. … It’s emotional
By Alisa’s side to support her was Jeff Mathewson, whom Alisa had met shortly before the 2017 attack.
Alisa Mathewson: I just had my hand on his shoulder, and I was holding his hand.
Throughout it all, Jeff stood by Alisa. And they stood up together, getting married in 2018.
Jeff Mathewson: I think Alisa knows so long as I’m around her, she’s safe. And — and I will, you know, protect her with my life, and the kids.
Another step toward protecting the family would come about a month after the verdict, at sentencing.
ALISA MATHEWSON (in court): I suffered horrific pain during the 55-hour ordeal.
Alisa spoke about the impact of Trevor’s actions, as did several of their children, including Arden, who had been manipulated by her father into letting him into the house that night.
“48 Hours” asked Arden to read from her victim impact statement.
Arden Summers: “For five-and-a half years, I have struggled with what happened to my family, especially for the part I took in it… While no one else blamed me for what happened, I did.”
The guilt, all misplaced, has caused Arden profound pain.
Arden Summers: I’ve had so many issues with trusting people after what happened and just the guilt that I lived with for so long before I finally told myself that this isn’t my fault, but … most of my teenaged years I spent just absolutely traumatized because of him.
Arden’s trauma was not lost on the judge, who addressed her directly as he prepared to give his sentence.
JUDGE SABELLA: To Arden, you should not feel guilty for anything that you did in this case. I assure you of that.
Judge Sabella’s address to Trevor Summers had quite a different tone.
JUDGE SABELLA: The testimony and evidence that I heard clearly make you a monster in every stretch of the imagination. … Mr. Trevor Summers will spend the rest of his life in Florida State Prison.
Jessica O’Connor: The judge sentenced him to three life sentences … and then followed by 224 years of prison.
Peter Van Sant: And what a sentence. I’ve never heard of a sentence of that length. Have you?
Jessica O’Connor: I have not.
Alisa Mathewson: My focus, when that sentence came over, were the kids, and my focus was moving forward with them.
The family once so broken, is whole again. The healing, says Alisa, is a process – and ongoing.
Alisa Mathewson: We’ve already come so far.
Alisa now hopes to raise awareness of domestic abuse, sharing her experience — and recovery— with other victims. And she works fulltime as an insurance agent. What she does not do, is dwell on Trevor Summers.
Alisa Mathewson: I’ve been dealing … with him since I was 19 years old. … That man means nothing to me. And I’m moving forward with my life.
Alisa Mathewson: We have the life, more than I’ve ever envisioned us to have now.
Jeff Mathewson: We’re on the road to kids’ happiness.
Bryn Summers: A healed family.
Alisa Mathewson: This is a happy ending. This is a happy story.
Trevor Summers declined “48 Hours”‘ request for an interview, citing his decision to appeal his convictions.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
Produced by Ruth Chenetz, Murray Weiss and Lauren Clark. Elena DiFiore is the development producer. Iris Carreras is the field producer. Marlon Disla, Jason Schmidt, Ken Blum, Grayce Arlotta-Berner and Phil Tangel are the editors. Anthony Batson is the senior broadcast producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive editor. Judy Tygard is the executive producer.