An Arizona man who suspected his wife was cheating on him is accused of murdering her, their two children and a family friend — all because he says God told him to, ABC15 reports.
Austin Smith was arrested Thursday while driving away from an apartment complex where emergency crews responded to a report of a shooting. Inside the apartment, police found 46-year-old Ron Freeman dead, while another man and woman were shot and wounded, Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.
Police first said Smith believed Freeman was having an affair with his wife, but court documents later said Smith suspected that his own brother was the one having the affair.
Freeman was reportedly a family friend who told Smith “he was crazy” before Smith killed him.
Police later went to Smith’s home on Thursday and found three people dead: his 29-year-old wife, Dasia Patterson; their 7-year-old daughter Mayan Smith; and their 5-year-old daughter Nasha Smith.
Court documents allege that Smith violently attacked his oldest daughter. He allegedly punched her, threw her into the home’s ceiling and on the floor, and then took a baseball bat to the girl’s head multiple times.
UPDATE: Police say 6 people were shot, 4 who were killed. Among the victims was the suspect's 29-year-old wife, 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old daughter. A 3-year-old girl was found hiding under the bed unharmed. LIVE: Phoenix police to give updates on deadly overnight shooting incident near 67th Avenue and Indian School Road: bit.ly/2D8ps0Q
Posted by ABC15 Arizona on Friday, April 12, 2019
The couple’s 3-year-old daughter was located without injury underneath a bed. Smith did not kill her because he said she “reminded him of himself.”
Smith said in an interview with police that he felt “in God’s eyes it was all right for him to deal with someone in this manner who had been involved in adultery or an extramarital affair,” Thompson said.
The scene inside the home was chaos while first responders were treating victims, in part because the suspect’s location was not known, Thompson said. Police later obtained a warrant and searched Smith’s car, finding two handguns and a rifle they believe were used in the killings.
Authorities on Friday charged Smith with four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault.
A judge set bail at $2 million.
[Feature Photo: Austin Smith/Police Handout]