PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- A man who admitted that he killed his wife, two of his young daughters, and a man has been sentenced to life in prison.
Austin Smith was sentenced in a Phoenix courtroom Tuesday. Per a plea agreement, the judge handed down a sentence of natural life in prison for 4 counts of murder in the first degree, 12 years for attempted murder, 15 years for aggravated assault and 7.5 years for aggravated assault to be served consecutively.
The case dates back to April 11, 2019. On that night, Phoenix police responded to a shooting call at Smith's home near 71st Avenue and Camelback Road.
There, officers found a woman and two little girls dead inside the home. They were identified as Smith's 29-year-old wife, Dasia Patterson, and two of his daughters, 5-year-old Nasha Smith and 7-year-old Mayan Smith. Patterson and Nasha died from gunshot wounds, according to Phoenix police. Police say Mayan died from blunt force trauma.
According to the police report, Smith believed his wife was having an affair. She denied the affair, but Smith told police he shot her anyway "because he believed God told him to do so."
The police report states that Smith shot his 5-year-old daughter because she had "exhibited bad behavior he deemed against God's laws." Police say Smith's 7-year-old daughter was crying over what happened, and Smith "believed you should not weep for the wicked, so he punched her in the face several times with a closed fist" and then eventually hit her in the head multiple times with a baseball bat, according to the police report.
Officers also found the couple's 3-year-old daughter hiding under the bed. She was not harmed. According to the police report, Smith did not kill his youngest daughter "because she reminded him of himself." He said his "other two daughters reminded him of his wife whom he considered wicked in the eyes of God."
Smith said he then went to the apartment where his brother was staying, near 67th Avenue and Indian School Road. Police say he first approached a family friend who was at the apartment. Smith "confronted this victim with the belief Austin's brother was cheating with Austin's wife," according to the police report.
The report goes on to say that the man "told Austin he was crazy and Austin shot him numerous times with a handgun." Police say Smith then reloaded his gun "and shot this victim several more times as the victim lay on the ground."
Smith then went to his car and came back with a rifle, police said. When Smith returned to the apartment, he saw several friends of the family trying to help the male victim. "He considered these people co-conspirators with his wife and he shot at them with the rifle," according to the police report.
Police say Smith continued to fire the rifle and his handgun. "He claimed it was God who told him to shoot these people," according to the police report. Police say 46-year-old Ron Freeman was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two other people were found shot and injured at that same scene. A 47-year-old woman was found in critical condition. A 33-year-old man was also found shot, but his injuries were not life-threatening.
Smith was taken into custody without incident a short time later. Police said he admitted to the crimes. “During the course of that interview, he said that the reason he shot these individuals is because in God’s eyes it was all right for him to, to deal with someone in this manner,” Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department explained.