PHOENIX—On September 21, 2012, Matthew Lee Smith, 30, of Mohave Valley, Arizona, had his initial appearance in federal district court in Phoenix. On August 22, 2012, a federal grand jury in Phoenix returned an indictment against Smith for two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of child abuse, one count of assault with intent to commit murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit child abuse, and four counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, all of which allegedly occurred on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation. Smith is being detained pending trial, which is set in Prescott, Arizona, before Senior U.S. District Judge Paul G. Rosenblatt on November 6, 2012.
A conviction for first-degree murder carries a minimum penalty of 30 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life in prison, or, unless the defendant is subject to the jurisdiction of an Indian tribal government, death, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for child abuse carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum penalty of 24 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for each of the assault charges carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison.
An indictment is simply a method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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, Dyanne C. Greer, and Sharon K. Sexton, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.