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Press Release

Fort Mojave Man Pleaded Guilty To Second-degree Murder, Child Abuse, And Assault

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

                 PHOENIX, Ariz.–Matthew Smith, 31, of Mohave Valley, Ariz., pleaded guilty on Aug. 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 Nov. 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, 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, 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.

CASE NUMBER:           CR-12-8195-PCT-PGR
RELEASE NUMBER:   2013-067_Smith

For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit

Updated January 7, 2015