Man pleads guilty in South Dakota hospital lockdown case

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 pleaded guilty today to burglary and aggravated assault.

Matthew J. Mathern, 31, of Redfield will be sentenced at a later date, after a presentence investigation.

In exchange for his guilty pleas, other charges were dismissed, said Vic Fischbach, Spink County state's attorney.

Fischbach said that Mathern also admitted to a bond violation — contacting a victim — in a case that was unrelated to the June incident.

The aggravated assault charge resulted from Mathern brandishing a gun in front of the hospital's administrator during the lockdown, Fischbach said. The burglary charge was because he entered the hospital while it was on lockdown.

The morning of June 25, authorities said Mathern entered the hospital armed with a handgun and his 10-year-old son, and barricaded himself in a room. That was after he had been at the hospital earlier in the morning and was reported to the sheriff's office as an "aggravated man." That's why the hospital was locked down.

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

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.

The hospital's magnetic door lock failed, which allowed Mathern to get in.