An Arizona man who confessed to killing his wife and two of his three children — ultimately sparing his youngest, as she took after him and not her mother — learned Tuesday he will be spending the rest of his life in prison.
Austin Smith, 30, had accepted a deal from prosecutors in November, and pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault, according to several local media outlets.
The Arizona Republic reports that Smith was sentenced to life on Tuesday, avoiding a possible death sentence.
Smith was arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder in early April 2019.
In addition to his wife, 29-year-old Dasia Patterson, and two kids, Mayan Smith, 7, and Nasha Smith, 5, Smith fatally shot a family friend.
According to authorities, Smith confessed to the shootings soon after his arrest. He allegedly said he was drinking at a bar the night of April 11 before going home to confront his wife, who he suspected was cheating on him with his brother.
She denied cheating on him, but Smith fatally shot her before turning the gun on his 5-year-old daughter, Nasha. He allegedly told police God told him to kill his wife.
Smith then beat Mayan to death because she was crying. Next, he headed to his brother’s residence, where he was met by Ron Freeman, 46, a friend of the family.
Police said Smith admitted to shooting Freeman after he called him crazy for thinking his wife had strayed. Freeman was shot several times, even after he’d fallen to the floor.
Following his arrest that evening, Smith admitted he spared his youngest daughter because she “reminded him of himself.” Nasha and Mayan, he said, reminded him of his wife.
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Patterson’s family issued a statement after the killings.
“We are in anguish over the senseless loss of our beloved Dasia and her young children,” it read. “As we try to process our profound grief, our focus is on the welfare of her sole surviving three-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.”