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PRESS RELEASE: Fort Mojave Man, Matthew Smith Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Murder, Child Abuse, and Assault

U.S. Attorney’s Office
August 16, 2013

District of Arizona
(602) 514-7500

Fort Mojave Man Pleads Guilty to Second-Degree Murder, Child Abuse, and Assault

PHOENIX, AZ—Matthew Smith, 31, of Mohave Valley, Arizona, pleaded guilty on August 15, 2013 to second-degree murder, child abuse, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in federal district court in Phoenix. Sentencing is set before Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt on November 4, 2013.

Between July 8, 2012 to July 11, 2012, on the Fort Mojave Indian reservation, Defendant Smith became angry with one of the minor children who lived in his home, and he assaulted the child multiple times. The child died due to multiple blunt force traumas and other injuries. During the same period of time, the defendant also assaulted a second child who lived in the home and took the child to the bathroom, where the child remained behind a locked door for approximately two days without food or water. The second child was hospitalized for a significant period of time and survived, but sustained serious injuries. In investigating the death and assault of these two children, law enforcement officers observed a third child who had a visibly distorted arm. It was determined that during the same July time period, the defendant assaulted the third child, who suffered a broken arm.

A conviction for second-degree murder carries a minimum of 30 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for child abuse carries a minimum of 10 years in prison, a maximum penalty of 24 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for assault resulting in serious bodily injury carries a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Mojave Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Jennifer E. Green and Sharon K. Sexton, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

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