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Man who placed South Dakota hospital on lockdown sentenced

Matthew J. Mathern

ABERDEEN, S.D. - The man charged in a series of events on June 25 that caused Community Memorial Hospital Avera in Redfield to be locked down was sentenced to 10 years prison.

Matthew J. Mathern, 31, of Redfield pleaded guilty in December to charges of felony burglary and aggravated assault. He was sentenced on the Spink County charges at the Brown County Courthouse on Tuesday, March 12. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on each charge, and to two years in prison on a bond violation, said Spink County State's Attorney Vic Fischbach. All of his sentences will be served concurrently.

He was also ordered to pay a total of $312 in court costs. He cannot have contact with the victim or the hospital, and must pay restitution, which has yet to be determined. Fischbach said restitution will pay for damage done to the hospital doors.

The charges stemmed from the morning of June 25, when Mathern entered the hospital with his 10-year-old son armed with a handgun around 8:30. That was the second time Mathern was at the hospital that morning, according to authorities. After the first visit, around 6:45 a.m., the sheriff's office received a report of an aggravated man at the hospital, and the hospital started lockdown procedures.

Before Mathern got to the hospital the second time, he led authorities on a chase that officials said reached speeds of 125 mph.

When Mathern arrived at the hospital, he pulled repeatedly on the doors. The hospital’s magnetic door lock failed, which allowed Mathern to get in.

It cost about $7,000 to replace the secure doors, though Mathern won't have to pay that entire amount, Fischbach said.

Six patients and roughly 35 to 40 workers were safely evacuated during the lockdown, officials said at the time.

The boy was released around 11:25 a.m., uninjured.

The standoff ended peacefully in the early afternoon. Nobody was injured.

During a news conference after the standoff ended, Fischbach said that Mathern had an AK-47 rifle and two 30-round clips in his vehicle in the hospital’s parking lot.