3 relatives of courthouse shooter indicted, feds say cyberstalking resulted in death of victim
The wife, son and daughter of a man who fatally shot two women at a Delaware courthouse earlier this year as they arrived for a child-support hearing have been federally indicted, charged with cyberstalking that resulted in the death of a victim, reports the News Journal.
The shooter himself committed suicide after the Feb. 11 slayings. They apparently were sparked by a longstanding divorce-related legal battle between his son, David Matusiewicz, now 46, and his son’s ex-wife, Christine Belford, 39. She and a friend, Laura Mulford, 47, who had come with her to the New Castle County courthouse in Wilmington for the hearing were both killed by Thomas Matusiewicz, 68, authorities said.
David Matusiewicz was on probation at the time of the shootings after a conviction in a child-kidnapping case concerning his own children. He and his mother, who was convicted of lesser charges, took them from Belford to Central America in 2007.
Matusiewicz, who drove his father to the Wilmington courthouse on the day of the shootings, was found to be in violation of his probation after the courthouse killings because he was living with his parents in Texas in a home that contained firearms. He was sentenced to six months in federal custody.
His mother, Lenore Matusiewicz, and sister, Amy Gonzalez, also were federally indicted in the cyberstalking case. All three defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit interstate cyberstalking and cyberstalking resulting in the death of the victim. David and Lenore Matusiewicz also are charged with interstate stalking.
Philly.com provides a copy of the indictment (PDF). It says the defendants, along with Thomas Matusiewicz, participated in “a multi-pronged campaign designed to surveil and disseminate false and defamatory information” about Belford and the couple’s children and placed Belford “under surveillance with intent to kill and injure and harass and intimidate.”
Specifically, the campaign allegedly included the use of YouTube, Facebook, other websites and email services to make false claims against Christine Belford such as parental neglect and abuse and allegations that she was committing crimes and suffering from mental health issues, according to the indictment. The group also allegedly arranged to gather license plate numbers from vehicles parked near Belford’s home in Delaware and obtain surveillance photos of Belford and the couple’s children (a protective order reportedly may have been in place at that time).
Through a third party, the group also got access to Belford’s personal Facebook page, and mailed information from it to others, as well as making false accusations against her to her church and the school her children attended, the indictment says.
A news conference is scheduled Thursday afternoon.
Another News Journal article provides a timeline of events in the lives of David Matusiewicz and Christine Belford and their family members.
ABAJournal.com: “Courthouse shooter had prior run-ins with lawyers over family dispute”
Updated at 1:25 p.m. to include additional information from indictment. and News Journal