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Police: 3-year-old hid under bed as dad killed mom, 2 sisters because ‘God told him to’

Police: 3-year-old hid under bed as dad killed mom, 2 sisters because ‘God told him to’

3-Year-Old Hid Under Bed as Dad Allegedly Killed Mom, 2 Sisters Because ‘God Told Him To’

Police: 3-year-old hid under bed as dad killed mom, 2 sisters because ‘God told him to’

An Arizona man is accused of gunning down and beating to death his wife and two of his small daughters “because he believed God told him to do so,” police officials said. 

Austin Elijah Smith’s youngest daughter, who turned 3 over the weekend, survived the attack on her mother and sisters by hiding under a bed, KTVK in Phoenix reported. She was found uninjured by police officers who went to the family’s home Thursday night. 

The officers found the bodies of Smith’s wife, Dasia Patterson, 29, and two of their children, Mayan Smith, 7, and Nasha Smith, 5, inside the home, KTVK reported. Patterson and Nasha Smith died of gunshot wounds, police officials said. 

Mayan Smith died of blunt force trauma, according to the news station


>> Read more trending news

“We’ve been working on this all night,” Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said during a Friday morning news conference outside the Smith family’s home. 

Austin Smith, 30, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in connection with his family’s deaths, authorities said. He is also accused of killing a man at a second crime scene.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ron Freeman, 46, also of Phoenix. He is also charged with three counts of aggravated assault, one count of kidnapping and discharging a firearm at a residence.

Smith was quiet during his initial court appearance until the judge mentioned the kidnapping charge.

“Kidnapping? Who?” Smith asked, according to footage of his appearance from the Maricopa County Jail, into which he was booked early Friday. 

The judge told him he should talk to his attorneys before speaking to her directly. 

Prosecutors requested a $2 million cash bond based on the nature of the crimes and the seriousness of the charges. Smith’s public defenders asked for a “reasonable” bond for their client.

The judge said the requested bond was reasonable, pointing to the nature of the case, Smith’s flight risk and the strength of the evidence. She cited his alleged confession to police as part of that evidence. 

KTVK reported that Smith told investigators the violence began at his home after his wife came home from a bar Thursday night. According to a police report, Smith said Patterson denied having an affair with his brother, but he shot her “because he believed God told him to do so.”

He then killed Nasha Smith because she “had exhibited bad behavior he deemed against God’s laws,” the news station reported. 

Mayan Smith was crying about the slayings, Smith told investigators. He said he “believed you should not weep for the wicked, so he punched her in the face several times with a closed fist,” KTVK said

Austin Smith also threw the girl against the ceiling and the floor, the report said. He ultimately killed Mayan by beating her in the head with a baseball bat, police authorities said. 

According to the report, Smith told investigators he didn’t kill his 3-year-old daughter “because she reminded him of himself.” The other two girls “reminded him of his wife, whom he considered wicked in the eyes of God,” KTVK reported

The second crime scene was an apartment where Smith’s brother was living, the news station reported. It was his brother with whom Smith believed Patterson was cheating. 

When he arrived at the apartment the night of the killings, he first encountered Freeman, who is a friend of the family. Smith “confronted this victim with the belief Austin’s brother was cheating with Austin’s wife,” the police report said

When the man told Smith he was crazy for the suggestion, Smith shot him multiple times, the report said. 

He then reloaded and shot Freeman several more times as he lay on the floor, police officials said. 

AP Photo/Matt York
Pictured is the apartment complex where Austin Elijah Smith is accused of gunning down Ron Freeman, 46, the night of April 12, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. Smith, 30, is also accused of killing his wife, Dasia Patterson, 29, and two of their daughters, Mayan Smith, 7, and Nasha Smith, 5, after he claims "God told him to do so."

Police: 3-year-old hid under bed as father killed mom, 2 sisters because ‘God told him to’

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt York
Pictured is the apartment complex where Austin Elijah Smith is accused of gunning down Ron Freeman, 46, the night of April 12, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. Smith, 30, is also accused of killing his wife, Dasia Patterson, 29, and two of their daughters, Mayan Smith, 7, and Nasha Smith, 5, after he claims "God told him to do so."

Smith is accused of going out to his vehicle and returning with a rifle, with which he shot two more people attempting to help the mortally wounded Freeman. A 47-year-old woman was left in critical condition and a 33-year-old man suffered serious injuries.

Smith considered those victims “co-conspirators with his wife,” KTVK reported. Though police did not identify either of the surviving shooting victims, Freeman’s mother told ABC15 in Phoenix that they were Smith’s brother and Freeman’s girlfriend. 

Someone at the scene that night called 911. Smith was arrested a short time later as he fled his brother’s apartment complex in his vehicle. 

Thompson described the scene as “chaotic,” with first responders working to help the victims while uncertain where the gunman was at the time. He said it was one of the victims at the second crime scene who expressed concern over the safety of Smith’s wife and children. 

Their bodies and the surviving child were found during a welfare check, Thompson said during the news conference

See the entire news conference with Thompson below, courtesy of KTVK. 

Patterson’s mother, Cynthia Patterson, told ABC15 that her family had been preparing to celebrate a high school graduation, but instead, now must plan three funerals. 

“My daughter was one of the most humble (people) in the world,” Cynthia Patterson told the news station. “Sweet, honest and wouldn’t harm anyone.”

She also talked about her grandchildren who were slain. 

“They were the most beautiful, sweetest children in the world,” she said

The Patterson family also released the following statement Friday night:

“We are in anguish over the senseless loss of our beloved Dasia and her young children. As we try to process our profound grief, our focus is on the welfare of her sole surviving 3-year-old daughter. She just lost her mother and sisters, and we want nothing more than for her to be with her family right now. 

“We understand that it is the weekend, but we are hoping that the authorities can help reunite us with her as soon as possible so that she is not in the care of strangers at this incredibly painful time. Finally, we ask that the public respect our privacy so that we may begin healing.”

Freeman’s mother, Sharon Fells, said her son had no idea Smith’s wife and children were dead when he was confronted by the alleged killer. 

“My son turned his back on him and he shot my son in the back,” Fells said of Freeman, who lived in the apartment adjacent to Smith’s brother’s apartment. 

Fells told ABC15 her son was a U.S. Marine veteran who is survived by eight children. On a GoFundMe page set up to pay for Freeman’s funeral, his sister, Lisa Freeman, describes her brother as a “true patriotic American who serviced this country with honor and prestige.”

Fells said she is finding solace where she can. 

“The one thing that brings me peace is (that) I know where he is, and he is with God now,” Fells told the news station. 

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A historic moment 8:59 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: When the debate begins tonight, it will be the first time in U.S. history that more than one woman candidate will be on the presidential debate stage.  Moderators are getting ready 8:57 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Savannah Guthrie, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart will moderate the debates from the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Picture time 8:54 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The candidates have come out for a group photo. Checking facts 8:48 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The Associated Press will be fact-checking statements made at the debate. The structure of the debate  8:40 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The two-hour debate will be made up of five segments separated by four commercial breaks. The rules 8:33 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The rules for the debate were announced last week. There will be no opening statements tonight, but candidates will be allowed a closing statement. Candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups.   Who would have made it had the bar been higher? 8:20 p.m. June 26, 2019: From Mary Astor of the New York Times: The nine candidates who would have made it: Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Sanders and Warren. Warren is ready 8:06 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Tweeted from Warren minutes ago: What questions are asked 8 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: From Time’s Up, this tweet about what questions are asked during debates: Warren is top polling candidate tonight 7:40 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Warren is the only candidate who is polling in double digits of those debating tonight. The lowest polling candidate tonight is Ryan at 0.6 percent support. Warren is at 12.6 percent support in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. 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Echartea was booked into the Fresno County Jail.  County court records show Echartea is also charged with three counts of assault with a firearm, three counts of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon. “It should shock the conscience of every person in Fresno to know that we have a 10-month-old baby lying in the hospital fighting for her life,” the chief said, according to ABC30 in Fresno.  Dyer, who was also updating the media on two recent homicide cases within the city, called the shooting of Fayth the “most disturbing” of the three incidents.  “Bullets do not have eyes,” Dyer said. “When these gangsters or violent criminals fire rounds indiscriminately, sometimes those rounds hit unintended targets. And that’s the consequences of firing a round into a vehicle.” The police chief said a 911 call came in at 4:05 a.m. Sunday from a man who said he was rushing a baby who had been shot to a hospital. Fresno police officers met the man along the way and began to render first aid to the infant.  Paramedics took Fayth to the hospital, where she underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments from her head, Dyer said. She was listed in critical, but stable condition. Dyer said investigators learned Fayth was at the party with her 18-year-old mother, Deziree Menagh, when Menagh ran into Echartea, whom she had met just once about a week before the party. Menagh was inside the home, which was near her own house.  “While (Echartea) was inside the residence with her, he attempted to grab her hand. She pulled away,” Dyer said.  >> Read more trending news Menagh went outside and told family and friends what happened. Echartea soon followed her outside. While out on the porch, he tried to force Menagh to sit on his lap, the chief said.  Menagh again pulled away and went inside to get her daughter so they could leave the party. 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He said she and her friend may have parked to wait for Echartea to leave the area so she could safely go home.  Detectives who went to the house where the party took place found Echartea there and took him into custody.  “When our detectives brought him downtown, he had no remorse,” Dyer said, according to ABC30. “He had just shot a 10-month-old baby and didn’t even seem to care, or it didn't faze him.” Dyer said Echartea was also wanted in connection with a shooting that took place May 27 less than five miles from the scene of Sunday’s shooting. 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  • Cat lovers on the First Coast could soon have a new unique place to hang out-- work is underway to bring a 'cat cafe' to St. Augustine.  Angeli Rodriguez says she plans to open the Witty Whisker Cat Cafe later this year and right now, she's working to find the perfect space.  'And we're working with the Planning and Zoning Commission in St. Augustine to work around and make sure we're following all the rules and regulations and getting all the proper permits to get this to happen,' explains Rodriguez.  She describes a 'cat cafe' as a new concept to help cats get adopted.  'It's a way of being able to see cats' personalities. Because usually when you go into a cat shelter, they're stuck in little cages and they're, you know, very traumatized and sad, and usually sitting in their own litter boxes. You can't really tell what kind of personality they have,' says Rodriguez.  But she says in a 'cat cafe', you have an open area where the cats are free to interact with each other and with people.  'You have your cafe on one side and then you have to go through a set of double doors before you get into the cat area. So you can go into the cafe initially to purchase your drinks and cookies, brownies, and whatever it is that you want to eat, and then you pay a small fee to go into the cat side,' says Rodriguez.  Rodriguez says by opening up this cafe in the St. Augustine area, they hope to see support from tourists that come to the area, general foot traffic, and students at nearby Flagler College.  She hopes to be able to set up a partnership with a local rescue to make this a reality.  If you're interested in learning more about the Witty Whisker Cat Cafe, you can click HERE. Rodriguez tells us they're in their fundraising stages right now and would appreciate any support to bring this concept to St. Augustine.
  • When is Amazon's Prime Day Sale 2019?Amazon has announced that its popular Prime Day will start on Monday, July 15, at 3 p.m. EST, and continue through Tuesday, July 16. >> Read more trending news Prime Day is an annual sales event for Amazon, the world’s third largest retailer, that offers more than one million deals worldwide. Prime Day has regularly been the busiest day of sales for the online retailer, surpassing even Black Friday sales totals. Here’s what we know now about Prime Day 2019: When does it start? The sale starts at 3 p.m. ET July 15 and continues through July 16.  How do I shop the sale? The sale is aimed at Amazon’s Prime members. Prime membership is $12.99 a month. With the membership comes Prime Video benefits and free two-day shipping on many items. If you don’t want to become a member and pay monthly fees for the extra benefits, but you want to participate in the sale, Amazon offers a 30-day free trial membership. What’s so special about the sale? What can you get? Deals on Prime Day often include deep cuts on electronics, home goods, laptops and phones. What are some big deals this year? Amazon hasn’t released its list of deals yet, but if you just can’t wait until July 15, here are a few deals available for pre-order: Chefman TurboFry airfryer for $79.99  Kygo Life A9/600 over-ear Bluetooth headphones for $229.00  Funko Pop! Animation: Spongebob Squarepants - Spongebob & Plankton with fun song Letters for $11.99  Proscenic M7 robot vacuum cleaner for $459.99  Journey Girls 18' doll - Kyla for $34.99  Funko Pop! Deluxe: Star Wars - Millennium Falcon with Han Solo for $64.99  Toshiba 43LF421U19 43-inch 1080p Full HD Smart LED TV for $179.99 In the run-up to Prime Day, Amazon will post previews of deals to come. You can monitor the ones you like and be notified when they go live so you never miss a deal. Is Amazon the only one doing a summer sale? No, other retailers are joining in the July sales fun. Target has announced it’s summer sale for the same days. Here’s the information they tweeted: Walmart has also run a special summer sale – usually on the same days as Amazon’s Prime sale – for the past few years. Currently, Walmart is running a sale that includes Apple Watches for $199, and a TCL 32-inch Roku TV for $118. Check back here for more information on summer deals from Amazon, Walmart, Target and other retailers.
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