State v. Matthew L. Christenson
Auburn Man Sentenced to 65 Years in Prison for Murder of Ex-Girlfriend's Autistic Son: A 45-year-old man was sentenced this morning to an exceptional sentence of 65 years in prison for torturing and killing his ex-girlfriend’s severely autistic 18-year-old son in 2014. A jury convicted the defendant, Matthew L. Christenson, in the murder and also found him guilty of assault for beating the victim’s younger brother. Christenson was convicted on charges of Homicide-By-Abuse, three counts of Assault in the Second Degree, and one count each of Felony Harassment and Unlawful Imprisonment as charged. The charges included aggravators based on an ongoing pattern of abuse, victim vulnerability and deliberate cruelty. The victims were subjected to protracted abuse, which included forced exercise, hours-long ice baths and beatings. The defendant was sentenced before Judge Chad Allred at the Maleng Regional Justice Center. The sentence range was 30 to 41 years. With the aggravators, prosecutors recommended an exceptional sentence of 65 years in prison. The case was handled by Senior Deputy Prosecutors Jessica Berliner and Ben Santos.