Victims of Stalker Appeal for Stiff Prison Sentence – Judge Reluctantly Honors Probation Plea Deal

By Vanguard Sacramento Bureau

SACRAMENTO — After threatening and following his then-current girlfriend and her friends, defendant Matthew Schmidt will avoid a prison sentence and will be released on probation after a hearing this week in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Before sentencing—Schmidt got a year in jail suspended—a close friend of the victim delivered a victim impact statement requesting the court punish the defendant with the “maximum penalty allowed for what he has done,” so he can “grow up and reap what he has sown.”

According to Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Maroun, “On or about and between July 8, 2020 to July 20, 2020, in the county of Sacramento in the state of California the defendant Matthew Schmidt committed a felony violation of Penal Code 646.9(b) — more commonly known as stalking.

“The defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed and harassed the victim, and made incredible threats with the intent that she be placed in reasonable fear for her safety and the safety of her immediate family.

“Furthermore, there was a temporary restraining order that the court had issued previously that was issued July 8, 2020, and signed by a judge at the Sacramento Superior Court. Specifically, the defendant would repeatedly follow her to work, harass her, make threats, leave her multiple messages, leave her uncomfortable to even stay in her home, and he continued to harass her, her family, and friends on a repeated basis.”

The victims in this case did not appear before the court on September 30, 2020, but they asked the DDA to read their victim impact statement on their behalf to the court.

The main victim of this case opened her statement by mentioning, “We were in love and headed towards marriage. Unfortunately, Matt was not completely honest with me about his challenges with mental health or substance abuse. I was not aware of the fact that Matt has a history of restraining orders, violence, and drug addiction until after his latest arrest.

“As things elevated and the violence began I started having my suspicions that he was using narcotics, but by then it was too late. The damage to our relationship was already done and I had no choice but to walk away for my own safety,” the victim continued.

The events that arose between them led to the victim questioning their relationship. “How could the man that I was so madly in love with hurt me so much. I lived in so much fear that he would hurt me that I drove over 16 hours to leave the state and remained there for three months.”

The victim concluded her statement with, “He deserves the opportunity to live a happy meaningful life just as we all do.”

The next victim impact statement was from the victim’s mother, who opened by reminiscing on the happy memories that her family had with the defendant.

Then the mother informed the court that, a few weeks prior to July, the victim called her to inform her, “Matthew went ballistic and during his episode he punched a hole in the wall, then slit his wrists, and left walking somewhere.”

The victim called the police and they “found him walking down the street in Sacramento and admitted him.”

After this incident, the mother began to fear not only for her daughter’s life, but also her own. She noted, “If Matthew could slit his own wrists what would he do in his instability to my daughter or any part of the family looking for her? That is when I pulled out our firearms, loaded and ready should he decide to come.”

A few days later, the victim informed her mother that her tires were also slashed—which caused the level of fear to increase among the victim and her family, so they took action to file a restraining order. Two of the victim’s close friends also took action to file a restraining order, because the defendant also stalked them.

Even after living in fear during this time, the mother ended with, “We do love you and forgive you. We want you to become the person we know you can be.”

The sympathy toward defendant Schmidt came to a halt when the victim statement of the victim’s close friend, who also experienced the defendant’s stalking, was read aloud.

She expressed her concerns by stating, “He has stalked me before and I have no faith or trust that he won’t do it again. I am going to be really blunt. I am 34 years old. I have my life together. I have a successful career and I don’t have room or patience in my life for this type of behavior.

“He is a grown man who had every opportunity handed to him and he has chosen a life of service to himself at the expense of others. Others being women who do not tolerate his addiction and violent lifestyle,” she further added.

This is not the first incident that has left a family traumatized by the defendant, so she asked, “How many more women have to suffer and be scared for their lives for him to be actually put away and have consequences?”

Then she concluded, “I want the maximum penalty allowed for what he has done so I ask the court to please allow him to grow up and reap what he has sown.”

Judge Scott Tedmon became unsure of the appropriate punishment to ensure justice for the defendant’s actions, stating, “These crimes you have committed have a significant and lifetime impact on these victims. I want you to understand the impact you have had on these victim’s lives and think about that.”

Judge Tedmon added he would “accept this plea offer and agreement of the parties, but I want Mr. Schmidt to understand that this is a close call for the court. As I was listening to these victim’s statements, I was considering not accepting this plea offer because this could be a state prison sentence, but I will honor and accept the plea agreement at this point.

The court placed Schmidt on five years felony probation in lieu of a 365-day jail sentence, along with a 10-year no contact order for five of the victims involved in this case. Judge Tedmon made it clear that if he returns to court on a violation, whether it is before Tedmon or another judge, he will face a significant time in prison if the facts are proven.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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