Delaware Federal Trial Team Honored For Landmark Cyberstalking Resulting In Death Prosecution
WILMINGTON, Del. – United States Attorney David C. Weiss announced that the U.S. Department of Justice honored the trial team which prosecuted the country’s first cyberstalking resulting in death case by awarding them the prestigious Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigative Team on June 20, 2019. Five employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the District of Delaware, together with their investigative counterparts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Delaware State Police were among ten trial teams nationwide so recognized at the 35th Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director’s Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The award was the result of the team’s work in United States v. Matusiewicz, et al. tried in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The prosecution team honorees, from top to bottom in the photo, are:
- Shawn A. Weede, Criminal Chief, USAO
- Millard Greer, Lieutenant, Delaware State Police
- Joseph P. Gordon, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent, FBI
- Edward J. McAndrew, former Assistant U.S. Attorney, USAO
- Jamie M. McCall, Assistant U.S. Attorney, USAO
- Christine C. Oliver, Special Agent, FBI
- Susan P. Alfree, Victim/Witness Coordinator, USAO
- Sherry Kaminski, Legal Assistant, USAO
- Barbara Lotharp, Litigation Support Specialist, USAO
On the morning of February 11, 2013, the lobby of the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware became a shooting gallery as Thomas Matusiewicz – the husband of Defendant Lenore and the father of Defendants David and Amy – shot and killed his former daughter-in-law, Christine Belford, and her friend, Laura “Beth” Mulford. Thomas also shot two Capitol Police officers, who were providing security at the courthouse, before taking his own life. This brutal criminal act touched off a lengthy investigation, which uncovered evidence of Defendants’ three-year stalking campaign designed to psychologically torture and intimidate Ms. Belford – the mother of David Matusiewicz’s three biological children. Among other things, Defendants publicly and falsely accused Ms. Belford of sexually molesting her own children and utilized third parties to keep her under constant surveillance. These actions led Ms. Belford and her family to live in a constant state of fear, and ultimately resulted in Ms. Belford’s death.
Following a five-week trial in the summer of 2015, where the government called approximately 70 witnesses and admitted over 700 trial exhibits, Defendants were convicted on all charges, including cyberstalking resulting in death. Each Defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment, and on appeal the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld their convictions in a sweeping precedential opinion.
U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss commented, “Cyberstalking is a form of psychological terror that deeply impacts its victims, and the Matusiewicz cyberstalking prosecution was a watershed case of national importance. I am proud to offer congratulations to the entire trial team for winning the Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigative Team. This award is among the most prestigious and competitive awards given by the U.S. Department of Justice, and is the only award that includes those who have left federal government service. The long-term commitment and personal partnerships required to successfully prosecute the Matusiewicz family represent the best of Delaware law enforcement. We truly value these relationships.
While the Matusiewicz case was the first of its kind, our commitment to the victims of online terror campaigns continues. Individuals who engage in cyberstalking are on notice that the U.S. Department of Justice will continue such prosecutions to the fullest extent of the law.”