PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- A cold-blooded murder of a mom and two young daughters in Phoenix now has the woman's husband (and the girls' father) behind bars.
Police say 30-year-old Austin Smith admitted killing his wife, two of his young daughters and another man, all because he believed his wife was having an affair. Police say he also shot and injured two other people.
Sadly, hundreds of kids in the United States are killed by their parents, and many of the victims are very young.
We talked to a psychiatrist about Smith's case and his reasons behind alleged crimes.
“Men have a real difficult time with humiliation,” said Valley psychiatrist Dr. Martin Newman.
Newman said this appears to be the start of a psychotic rage.
“If also he feels he’s been betrayed by his wife; that exacerbates that condition,” Newman said.
Things only got worse.
Police say Smith went on a shooting spree, killing four people and injuring two others.
Smith said it was God that told him to kill his wife, then he said his 5-year-old daughter Nasha was behaving badly and that was “against God's laws” so he shot and killed her.
Court documents then say his 7-year-old daughter, Mayan, was crying over what was going on, and he said he believed “nobody should weep for the wicked” so he allegedly beat her to death.
Newman told us he believe's Smith's mind is warped.
“If he believes, truly believes, that God has given him a message to do this, he’s acting in a 'selfless way,'” Newman said. “This makes no sense to individuals like you and I [sic], but to him, it’s the right thing to do.”
The number of children killed by their parents over the past few decades is shockingly high, statistics show.
According to the FBI, between 1976 and 2007, there were 500 cases of parents who killed their kids in the United States, and 72% of those kids were 6 years old or younger, just like one of Smith’s daughters.
“Those kids under the age of seven are very, very dependent on their family, unlike teens who can push back and be a little rebellious,” said Newman.
Newman said it’s important to address mental health in people before they get to this point.
He is opening Destiny Springs, a new behavioral health hospital in Surprise, to add resources to the Valley that can tend to severe cases like this.