Prosecutors will be calling in the first witnesses to testify in the cyberstalking case involving the family of Thomas Matusiewicz, who shot his daughter in-law at a courthouse child support hearing.
The man’s family is involved in what prosecutors believe to have been a 4 year-long conspiracy to harass and stalk Christine Belford, David Matuziewicz’s wife. Matusiewicz, together with Leonore Matusiewicz, his mother and Amy Gonzalez, his sister are facing several charges including cyberstalking and conspiracy.
If the three are found guilty, they could be facing life in prison.
But while federal prosecutors argue that Christine Belford suffered a 4-year-long fierce campaign of harassment and intimidation, Matusiewicz’s defense attorneys argue that the family’s efforts were only focused on obtaining the custody of Belford’s three children.
All three family members have repeatedly denied having known about Matusiewicz’s true intentions.
Belford had obtained custody of the children after fierce battles and after David and his mother kidnapped the three children and took them to South America.
The day that Belford was fatally shot, Thomas Matusiewicz, David’s father, had arrived at the courthouse where Belford was attending a child support hearing and after killing the woman, he also fatally shot one of Belford’s friends and entered a gunfire exchange with police officers.
He then committed suicide.
Prosecutors argue that the man had come with clear homicidal intent, especially since a “hit list” was found in Matusiewicz’s car after the shooting. The hit list had been recovered from a notebook which prosecutors describe as “a stalking playbook”.
Aside from the “hit list”, Matusiewicz had come equipped with three plastic handcuffs, a bullet-proof vest, a taser, a knife and loads of ammunition the day of the shooting.
On Thursday afternoon, the Wilmington US District Court began hearing opening statements. Jury selection involved selecting 12 jurors and 4 alternates out of a pool of several hundred people.
According to the prosecution, the defendants had made slanderous accusation about Belford, including online comments that she had allegedly sexually abused the oldest of the couple’s girls. She will be one of the witnesses called in on the prosecution side, to testify that such allegations are false.
Image Source: Delaware Online