Three Members of Matusiewicz Family Indicted for Federal Stalking Crimes Resulting in Courthouse Murders
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 08, 2013|
WILMINGTON, DE—A four-count indictment unsealed today in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware charges David T. Matusiewicz, his mother, Lenore Matusiewicz, and his sister, Amy Gonzalez, with conspiring to commit interstate stalking and cyberstalking, interstate stalking, and cyberstalking, announced David C. Weiss, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware; Stephen Vogt, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Baltimore Division; and Nathaniel McQueen, Jr., Colonel, Delaware State Police.
David T. Matusiewicz’s father, Thomas Matusiewicz, was named as a deceased co-conspirator in the indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on August 6, 2013 and unsealed this morning following the arrests of Lenore Matusiewicz and Amy Gonzalez in McAllen, Texas. David T. Matusiewicz has been in federal custody on a supervised release violation since the February 11, 2013 murders of his ex-wife, Christine Belford, and her friend, Laura Mulford, in the lobby of the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington.
If convicted of the most serious charges and aggravating factors contained in the indictment, all three defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a five-year term of supervised release. Additionally, because David T. Matusiewicz and Lenore Matusiewicz were subject to “no contact” orders in place during their alleged criminal conduct, they also face a mandatory minimum term of one year in prison if convicted.
According to the indictment and court documents filed in this case and in prior cases, David T. Matusiewicz and Christine Belford were engaged in divorce and child custody proceedings in the Family Court of Delaware in 2007. In August 2007, David T. Matusiewicz and his mother, Lenore Matusiewicz, kidnapped the three young children born of his marriage to Christine Belford and fled to South America. In March 2009, David and Lenore Matusiewicz and the young children were found living in a motor home in Nicaragua. David and Lenore Matusiewicz were arrested and prosecuted in Delaware, and the children were returned to the care of their mother, Christine Belford.
In September 2009, David and Lenore Matusiewicz both pled guilty to crimes relating to their kidnapping of the children. In December 2009, David T. Matusiewicz was sentenced to 48 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervision by the U.S. Probation Office.
In the days following his December 2009 sentencing, David T. Matusiewicz began to orchestrate, from a prison cell, a course of conduct designed to stalk, harass, and intimidate Christine Belford and her children. He enlisted his father, mother, sister, and various other persons in this effort, which stretched from December 2009 to February 2013.
The Matusiewicz family began their stalking campaign by broadly disseminating—by mail, e-mail, websites, Internet postings, and other means—false allegations that Christine Belford had, among other things, abused her children, suffered from mental illness, and had attempted to harm Lenore Matusiewicz. They used a website, posted YouTube videos, and sent letters to Christine Belford’s church and her children’s schools repeating their false and defamatory allegations. Christine Belford and her children were aware of the Matusiewicz family’s widespread public dissemination of this false and defamatory information.
In August 2011, the Family Court of the State of Delaware terminated David T. Matusiewicz’s parental rights as to his children with Christine Belford. In doing so, the Family Court rejected David T. Matusiewicz’s assertion that Christine Belford was abusing the children, referring to those allegations as “baseless” and “made up.” Following the completion of the Family Court termination of parental rights proceeding, the Matusiewicz family recruited and used a variety of people to conduct physical and online surveillance of Christine Belford and her children.
After his release from federal custody, David T. Matusiewicz resided in southern Texas first with Amy Gonzalez and then with Lenore and Thomas Matusiewicz. Between September and November 2012, the United States Probation Office twice denied David T. Matusiewicz’s requests for permission to travel from Texas to “New Jersey.” On November 9, 2012, David T. Matusiewicz filed a petition to reduce the monthly child support arrearage payments he owed Christine Belford in the Family Court of the State of Delaware. That petition ultimately resulted in the scheduling of the February 11, 2013 court hearing. Christine Belford was ordered to attend that hearing in the New Castle County Courthouse.
On January 8, 2013, David T. Matusiewicz sought and received permission from the U.S. Probation Office in Texas to travel to Delaware to attend the child support arrearage hearing scheduled for February 11, 2013. David T. Matusiewicz never informed the probation officer that he intended to travel to Delaware with Thomas and Lenore Matusiewicz.
Between February 4-7, 2013, David, Lenore, and Thomas Matusiewicz traveled from Texas to the Delaware Valley in two vehicles—a Honda Civic and Honda CRV—later found to contain numerous weapons, ammunition, restraints, an electric shock device, several gas cans, a shovel, and numerous pictures of Christine Belford’s children and residence.
On the morning of February 11, 2013, David and Thomas Matusiewicz drove to a hotel parking garage near the New Castle County Courthouse in the Honda CRV, which contained ammunition, a military-style knife, three sets of restraints of progressively smaller sizes, a bullet-proof vest, an electric shock device, binoculars, and photographs of Christine Belford’s children and residence. After entering the courthouse lobby at approximately 7:30 a.m., David T. Matusiewicz entered and stayed in the security screening line, while Thomas Matusiewicz moved around the lobby, occasionally approaching and talking to David T. Matusiewicz.
Shortly before 8:00 a.m., David T. Matusiewicz passed through courthouse security screening and walked to another floor of the building. Thomas Matusiewicz remained in the lobby, where he shot Christine Belford multiple times as she entered the courthouse lobby, killing her. He then shot Laura Mulford multiple times as she attempted to flee. After a shootout during which he shot and injured two Capitol Police officers, Thomas Matusiewicz died on the sidewalk of the courthouse of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On February 15, 2013, Amy Gonzalez filed a petition for custody of Christine Belford’s three children in the New Castle County Courthouse, which houses the Family Court of the State of Delaware. The enclosed check written to the Family Court was dated February 12, 2013—the day after the courthouse murders. The petition was dismissed on February 26, 2013.
Acting U.S. Attorney Weiss stated the following: “From 1976 through 2005, over 64,000 people were killed as a result of domestic violence. These staggering numbers contributed to the enactment of the federal stalking statutes that are part of the Violence Against Women’s Act, passed initially in 1994 and reauthorized on multiple occasions, most recently in February of this year. This office is staunchly committed to the enforcement of federal domestic violence laws. I want to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Delaware State Police and the Delaware Attorney General’s Office for their extraordinary work on this case.”
This case is being investigated by FBI and the Delaware State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamie M. McCall and Edward J. McAndrew.
Criminal indictments are only charges and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.