A Phoenix man is charged with four murders and multiple assaults after allegedly killing his wife, two of their children and a friend over apparent suspicions that his wife was having an affair with his brother -- who was not among the victims, officials said this week.
While in custody, suspect Austin Smith told police that "in God's eyes it was alright for him to deal with someone in this manner who been involved in adultery or an extramarital affair," Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson at a press conference on Friday. "Under his religious beliefs he believes that it was okay."
It's unclear what religion Smith practices, Thompson said.
On Thursday, police were called to the scene of an apartment complex in Glendale, Arizona -- a city about nine miles northwest of downtown Phoenix -- where they found the body of Ron Freeman, 46, as well as an unidentified woman, 47, with multiple gunshot wounds and an unidentified man with unspecified injuries.
Police said they apprehended Smith, 30, fleeing that scene. Once in police custody, he allegedly led authorities to the scene of an even more horrific crime -- at his own home.
Officials said that Smith had returned home from a local bar around 8 p.m., full of suspicion over the perceived infidelity and confronted his wife, who denied the accusation. Smith then then fatally shot wife Dasia Patterson, 29, and their 5-year-old daughter, Nasha Smith, according to court records cited by the Associated Press.
Their 7-year-old daughter, Mayan Smith, died from apparent blunt-force trauma, allegedly by the use of a bat, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities said the only survivor at Smith's family home was the couple's 3-year-old daughter.
"It is from my understanding that he elected not to shoot the 3-years-old [3-year-old], she was under the bed when officers got to her," said Thompson.
He then headed to Glendale and shot Freeman after the family friend told Smith he would be crazy to believe his wife was cheating on him, according to authorities.
Inside Smith's car, police found a 9mm handgun, a .45 caliber handgun and a .223 caliber rifle they believe were used in the shootings, according to the probable cause statement.
Smith was charged on Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court for the quadruple murder and held on $2 million bail. He is also charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault.