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Matusiewicz siblings appeal cyberstalking convictions

Delaware Public Media

David Matusiewicz and his sister, Amy Gonzalez, are appealing the life sentences they received last year on federal cyberstalking charges.


In more than 200 pages of court briefs filed with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, lawyers for Matusiewicz and Gonzalez argue neither stalked Matusiewicz’s wife, Christine Belford.


Instead, they say their father, Thomas Matusiewicz, hatched a “sinister plan” before a child support hearing at the New Castle County Courthouse four years ago.


That’s when Thomas shot and killed Belford, as well as her friend Laura Mulford. He later killed himself in a gun fight with police.


Their lawyers say prosecutors couldn’t prove either of them actively plotted a cyberstalking campaign.


Belford’s murder capped a long standing custody fight between her and David Matusiewicz. He and his mother, Lenore, kidnapped his children shortly after the two divorced in 2006 and fled to Nicaragua.


Authorities found them two years later and awarded sole custody of the kids to Belford.


David had alleged Belford sexually abused their children. The state didn't investigate those claims, saying there was no proof, according to the briefs.


Lenore Matusiewicz also earned a life sentence during the trial, but she died shortly thereafter.

The case was the first in the nation to use the then-new cyberstalking statute.

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