A Phoenix man killed his wife, two daughters and a man he suspected was her lover Thursday, telling police that his religion allowed him to kill his family.
The evening started around 8 p.m. when Austin Smith, 30, accused his wife Dasia, 29, of having an affair, which she reportedly denied, police told the Arizona Republic. It is alleged he then shot and killed her and their five-year-old daughter Nasha, and then killed their seven-year-old daughter Mayan with a baseball bat.
Police found the couple’s three-year-old daughter hiding under the bed unharmed, having been spared by Smith because she reportedly reminded him of his wife, he told investigators.
After killing most of his family, Smith then drove to the apartment complex of the man he suspected was his wife’s lover, Ron Freeman, shooting him dead. He reportedly shot two additional people who suffered serious injuries, but survived.
30 yr-old Austin Smith is accused of killing his wife and 2 young daughters along with another man. Police say he claimed his wife was cheating on him and his religion made it ok to do what he did. Full report at 5 on #fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/LCbkuaEivr
— Danielle Miller FOX10 (@Fox10Danielle) April 12, 2019
ABC15 News in Phoenix reported that Smith was arrested after leaving the scene, and confessed to the murders while in custody, telling police that “God had told him to do the things he did.”
“[Austin Smith] said that the reason he shot these individuals is because in God’s eyes, it was all right for him to deal with someone in this manner who had been involved in adultery, extramarital affairs,” according to Phoenix Police Sergeant Tommy Thompson.
No police or media reports name Smith’s religious practice, other than to state that he was very religious according to interviews with his neighbors. The justifications he described may lead to speculation that this was an “honor killing,” which is the extreme religious practice of murdering female family members for behaving in a way that “shames” the family, according to Time. No additional information was available regarding Smith’s religious practices.
Smith was booked into the Maricopa County jail and charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder, and three counts of aggravated assault, police said. Friday a judge set a $2 million cash-only bond for him, and set a preliminary hearing for April 22. (RELATED: Muslim Asylum Seeker Imprisoned For Killing Wife Who Converted To Christianity)
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