Feds indict family members of Del. courthouse shooter [video]

 (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

(Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

New charges have been brought against three members of the Matusiewicz family in relation to the death of Christine Belford.

David Weiss, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware, held a news conference Thursday afternoon detailing a four-count indictment handed down by a Delaware federal grand jury.

The indictment charges David Matusiewicz, his mother Lenore Matusiewicz and his sister Amy Gonzalez with one count of conspiring to commit interstate stalking and cyberstalking, two counts of interstate stalking and one count of cyberstalking of Christine Belford and her family, which Weiss said resulted in Belford’s death.

Belford was gunned down by her ex-father-in-law Thomas Matusiewicz in February before a child support hearing at the New Castle County Courthouse. Her friend Laura Mulford was also killed. Thomas Matusiewicz took his own life following a shootout with Capitol Police.

Years of harassment

The indictment reveals that for years, the Matusiewicz family took part in stalking, harassing and intimidating Belford before she was ultimately murdered.

“The facts set forth in the indictment allege in part that beginning in December of 2009 shortly after David Matusiewicz’s sentencing for kidnapping charges, David Matusiewicz, with the assistance of his mother, father and sister, orchestrated a three-year campaign designed to defame, harass and intimidate and frighten Christine Belford and her children,” Weiss said. “This campaign was waged by the Matusiewicz family and others known to the grand jury on several fronts.”

The cyberstalking charges come from years of spying, harassing, defaming and intimidating Belford using the internet, according to Weiss.

“First, they used various internet applications, including YouTube, Facebook, other websites and email devices to accuse Christine Belford of, among other things, sexual abuse against one of her children and physical abuse and parental neglect involving all three of her children. They claimed that she suffered from mental health issues, and accused Christine Belford of poisoning Lenore Matusiewicz and threatening to sell her children for a sum of money.”

The indictment state the Matusiewiczes also sent letters to the children’s schools and to the family’s church making the same accusations about Belford.

The interstate stalking charges stem from a 2011 trip Lenore and Thomas took to Delaware to pursue Christine.

“This count charges that from Nov. 28, 2011, through Dec. 1, 2011, Lenore Matusiewicz traveled with her now-deceased husband Thomas Matusiewicz from Texas to Delaware with the intent to kill, injure or harass and to place under surveillance with the intent to kill, injure and harass and intimidate another person. As a result of such travel, did place a reasonable fear of death and serious bodily harm or injury and did cause substantial emotional distress to Christine Belford and her children,” Weiss said.

Belford was scared

Weiss said Belford had expressed fear of the Matusiewicz family to her attorney.

Weiss said: “On Nov. 28, 2011, Belford stated the following in an email to her attorney: ‘David has nothing to lose at this point. He has lost everything. He may allow me to survive to suffer. I may survive long enough to watch the girls be harmed. I may even go missing. All of this could be possible.’”

The indictment also suggests Thomas was preparing for his own death. Investigators searching his Texas home found a booklet containing information about federal veteran benefits along with a handwritten note from Thomas that read “vets funeral arrangements.”

Just days before the courthouse shooting, Thomas also left his daughter Amy instructions on how to handle the family’s property. The note read:

“All my guns take them protect them. They will be your only freedom in the coming years under what was once my government. When government takes your grandchildren away it ceases then being your government… Hopefully we can end this BS now—up to Dave.”

Lenore and Amy were arrested in Texas this morning following the release of the indictment. David remains behind bars in New York for an existing parole violation.

All three defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison, a $250,000 fine for each count and a three-to-five-year term of supervised release.

Weiss added that the investigation is ongoing and more charges could be filed.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.