A former Safford woman accused of orchestrating the February 2020 death of her ex-husband in Clifton was sentenced to 33.75 years in prison Jan. 5.
Greenlee County Superior Court Judge Monica Stauffer gave virtually no weight to the mitigating circumstances presented by Georgina Misener’s defense attorney and instead found several aggravating circumstances.
“The court does not believe you are remorseful. Today was a manipulation,” Stauffer told Misener. “It is clear you will go to extreme lengths to manipulate and deceive people.”
Misener, 34, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and second-degree murder in the Feb. 10, 2020 death of Matthew Misener, the 35-year-old father of her three children, who are now 6, 5 and 3-years-old.
According to court records and Greenlee County Attorney Jeremy Ford, the couple went through a divorce in June 2019. They were in the midst of a custody battle in Pima County where Georgina Misener lived when Matthew Misener was shot to death on his way to work at the Morenci mine.
Ford told the judge that after the victim was killed, authorities gathered evidence showing Misener conspired with Eduardo Montano Jr. to kill him.
According to court documents, Montano ambushed Matthew Misener around 5 a.m. on U.S. 191 near the horseshoe curve north of Clifton, opening fire on his vehicle, resulting in him being shot three times in the head.
Matthew Misener’s fiance, Nicole Chacon, immediately identified Misener as a possible suspect. According to court documents, Chacon told police just a few days before the murder they saw someone in a white sedan taking pictures of their vehicle when they tried to see the children and they, in turn, took a picture of that car’s license plate. The plate came back to Montano and police found the murder weapon in his possession.
Montano pleaded guilty to the same charges as Misener and received the same sentence in September.
The Miseners were due to appear in court the day after the murder and there was a chance Georgina Misener was going to be held in contempt of court for preventing the victim from seeing his children on numerous ocassions, Ford said. She also feared she was going to be ordered to give back $4,500 in child support Matthew Misener had overpaid, he said.
Defense attorney Rebecca Johnson told the judge her client is not guilty of intentionally or knowingly getting her ex-husband killed, instead she is guilty of recklessly causing his death.
Misener simply wanted Montano to scare the victim and because of her mental health issues “didn’t have the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness” of her actions, Johnson said.
She was also unable to grasp what Montano was capable of, Johnson said.
According to court documents and Johnson, Misener has a history of suicide attemps and suffers from severe depression and anxiety, bi-polar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. She has received both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment at various times.
Johnson also cited Misener’s troubled upbringing, remorse, lack of a criminal history and family support as mitigating factors. She also said Misener cooperated with authorities.
Misener’s father was sentenced to death for killing his 1-year-old son, but died before the sentence could be carried out, court records indicate.
Ford countered that the crime was premeditated and committed “100% on purpose.” He read several text messages between Montano and Misener into the record.
In one, Misener said she’d “do it herself” even if it meant spending a long time in prison or a “bullet in the brain.”
In another she said if she was caught her children would have her parents. Ford questioned why Misener would say that if she was only plotting to have Matthew Misener frightened.
In yet another exchange, Misener instructed Montano not to tell her when it was done because she needed to be able to act surprised, Ford said.
As far as cooperating with the police, Misener tried to frame Chacon for the crime and at one point denied knowing Montano, Ford said.
The fact Montano wrote a letter to the judge shouldering all the blame simply shows the “conspiracy continues to this day,” Ford said.
Misener became fixated on the fact Matthew had moved on with Chacon and even called the Arizona Department of Child Safety and police repeatedly to make unsubstantiated claims against the pair, Ford said.
Misener, who sobbed throughout much of the hearing, repeatedly apologized for her former husband’s death, but insisted she did not know Montano was going to kill him.
She said she made a “terrible mistake” asking Montano to scare her ex, but she was “lost, upset and heartbroken” and let her emotions take over.
Misener pleaded with her sisters to make sure her children know how much she loves them and to reassure them that their father is their “guardian angel.”
Four of Matthew Misener’s siblings, his parents, a co-worker and Chacon addressed the judge.
All of the Miseners told Stauffer they thought of Georgina Misener as a member of the family, even after the divorce. However, they also said they have come to realize what a manipulative person she is, going so far as to claim she was dying from brain cancer.
“I didn’t buy any of that act,” Matthew Misener’s brother, Sean told the judge. “She’s manipulated people her whole live...I hope you see right through it and show no mercy.”
They all described Matthew Misener as an amazing person who dearly loved his children. He would drive from Safford to Tucson and back in one day just to spend a few hours with them. That was before Georgina Misener began refusing his visits.
They’ve had one video visit with the children since his death, they said.
Christy Perkins, one of the victim’s sisters, said that if Georgina Misener and her family truly wanted what was best for the children, they’d allow them to see the children.
Perkins vowed to step in for her brother at his children’s graduations, proms and weddings.
Chacon told the judge Misener behaved the way she did because she knew what an amazing person Matthew was and what she lost. She purposely set out to “make life a living hell” for them, Chacon said.
“A woman who truly loves her kids would never use them to hurt their father or his family,” Chacon said. “She tried to convince everyone we were bad people and we weren’t.”
Addressing Misener directly, Chacon said that what she did was a blessing in disguise, because she’s now out of the children’s lives.
She then taunted Misener.
“I’m still here. I get to be there for them. I get to stand beside Christy, Sean and Matt’s mom, everyone,” Chacon said. “I get to watch them grow up.”
Chacon told Misener that Matthew still lives on through his family and his children will never forget how much he loved and fought for them.
“They will know the truth, that you were the bad person, you were the bad parent, not Matt,” Chacon said.
Following the hearing, Ford released the following statement:
“This case was investigated by Sergeant Shari Aguilar of the Town of Clifton Police Department with the help of Investigator Price of the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office and Investigator Ellison of the Greenlee County Attorney’s Office (with additional assistance from other officers from the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office and the Pima County Sheriff’s Office). It is incredible that such a small agency was able to complete a homicide investigation that led to the conviction of two different suspects. This case was a community effort, and the positive result reflects the dedication of our officers to ensure justice is served in our community. We truly appreciate their tireless efforts.”