In the first conviction ever for cyberstalking resulting in death, three defendants were sentenced to life in prison. On Friday, in Delaware federal court, David T. Matusiewicz, Lenore Matusiewicz and Amy Gonzalez were each given long haul for the February 2013 murders of David Matusiewicz’s ex-wife, Christine Belford, and her friend, Laura “Beth” Mulford, at the New Castle County Courthouse.
In 2007, after their divorce, David Matusiewicz and Belford were involved in child custody proceedings for their three children, in Delaware. In August of that year David and Lenore Matusiewicz (his mother) reportedly kidnapped the kids and fled to South America. They were found in March 2009, in Nicaragua, living in a motor home. The mother/son kidnappers were arrested and the children were returned to Belford. In 2009, David and Lenore Matusiewicz pleaded guilty tothe kidnapping.
David Matusiewicz was sentenced to 48 months in prison in December 2009. From behind bars, he “began to orchestrate, from his prison cell, a course of conduct designed to stalk, harass and intimidate Belford and her children.” Matusiewicz’s family (including his mother, sister [Gonzalez] and others) proceeded to stalk Belford using “false and defamatory allegations” by mail, email, websites, Internet postings and other means.
After his release from federal custody, David Matusiewicz resided in southern Texas. On Jan. 8, 2013, David Matusiewicz sought and received permission from the U.S. Probation Office in Texas to travel to Delaware to attend a child support arrearage hearing he had requested. That hearing was scheduled for Feb. 11, 2013. David Matusiewicz never informed the probation officer that he intended to travel to Delaware with Thomas and Lenore Matusiewicz.
On the morning of Feb. 11, 2013, David and Thomas Matusiewicz drove to a hotel parking garage near the New Castle County Courthouse in a 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 Belford’s children and residence. After entering the courthouse lobby at approximately 7:30 a.m., David Matusiewicz entered and stayed in the security screening line, while Thomas Matusiewicz moved around the lobby, occasionally approaching and talking to David Matusiewicz.
Shortly before 8:00 a.m., David Matusiewicz passed through courthouse security screening and walked to another floor of the building. Thomas Matusiewicz remained in the lobby, where he shot Belford multiple times as she entered the courthouse lobby, killing her. He then shot 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.
In addition to the cyberstalking resulting in death charge, the familial trio were also convicted for conspiracy, interstate stalking resulting in death. Judge Gerald A. McHugh sentenced the three to life “based on defendant’s repeated criminal conduct and the serious nature of the offense, which included “contempt for the law,” only a life sentence would protect the community and Belford’s children.”