Morenci miner’s ex-wife pleads guilty in his murder

Georgina Misener, 34, of Tucson, pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault in the death of Morenci miner Matthew Gerald Misener, 35.

By Jon Johnson

CLIFTON – Georgina Misener, 34, of Tucson, has pleaded guilty for her role in the murder of Morenci miner Matthew Gerald Misener, 35.

Georgina pleaded guilty to an amended count of murder in the second degree – a Class-1 felony, and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault – a Class-3 felony, during a hearing in Greenlee County Superior Court on Nov. 13.

According to the plea agreement, Georgina faces a term of probation up to an aggravated term of 8.75 years in prison for the conspiracy charge and a term of 10 – 25 years in prison for the second-degree murder charge with the presumptive sentence being 16 years. It is similar to the same plea that the man who killed Matthew, Eduardo Montano Jr., 36, of Tucson received. However, the court will decide if the sentences will be served concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one after the other). Also, the sentencing lengths will be at the discretion of Greenlee County Superior Court Judge Monica L. Stauffer, and not stipulated as was in the Montano case. Georgina is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 5, 2021, starting at 1:30 p.m.

According to the factual basis in the plea, Georgina admitted to recklessly instructing Eduardo Montano Jr. to use violence to prevent Matthew Misener from attending a court hearing. Montano then fired multiple shots into Matthew’s while he was traveling to work, killing him.   

Walt Mares Photo/Gila Herald: A memorial was placed on U.S. Highway 191 between Clifton and Morenci where Matthew Gerald Misener was shot to death as he was driving to Morenci early Monday morning, Feb. 10. The memorial was apparently placed there by Misener’s family and friends. It was placed along the highway on Feb. 12. Many motorists stopped at the site to commemorate the Misener’s life and tragic death.

Montano was initially charged with murder in the first degree after Matthew was gunned down as he was on his way to work at the Morenci mine on an early Monday morning in February.

According to his plea agreement, Montano agreed to be sentenced to the maximum term of 25 years on a charge of murder in the second degree and a consecutive sentence of an aggravated term of 8.75 years for a charge of aggravated assault for a total of 33.75 years in prison.

Misener was driving a black, Chevrolet Tahoe on U.S. Highway 191 and was shot as he began to enter the “Horseshoe Curve” between Clifton and Morenci. The incident took place just before 5 a.m. on Feb. 10, and the Clifton Fire Chief called it in after noticing the bullet-ridden vehicle. Other citizen responders in the area also stopped to help and then noticed the vehicle had been shot.

The investigation into the shooting led to Montano, who was arrested in Tucson and brought back to Greenlee County, where he was held on a $1 million bond.

According to the factual basis of Montano’s plea agreement, he admitted to conspiring with Misener’s ex-wife, Georgina Misener, to injure Matthew so he would miss attending a court hearing regarding the custody of his children. Montano admitted that he ambushed Matthew and fired multiple shots from a 9 mm Ruger handgun, which killed the victim.

Montano was represented by attorneys Daisy Flores and Dennis McCarthy, while the prosecution was performed by Greenlee County Attorney Jeremy Ford.

Contributed Photo: Matt Misener, 35, of Safford, was killed in a traffic shooting incident early Monday morning in Clifton.

Misener’s mother, sister, brother, and fiancée all spoke at Montano’s sentencing, as well as Misener’s co-worker, Samuel Rivera, who was supposed to be in the vehicle with Misener but had called off that day. Rivera said he had worked with Misener for the past three years and that he had grown closer to him than any previous co-worker he’s had for the past 15 years.

“I’m lucky to be here,” Rivera said. “You hurt this whole family and took a good friend away . . . I hope you never come out. You took someone away from all of us who we really cared for.”

Misener’s sister, Christy Perkins, said her brother would have “given his shirt off his back” to help a person in need and that Montano was duped into getting involved in a custodial situation between Misener and his ex-wife, Georgina Misener.

“You took away somebody who meant so much to all of us,” Perkins said. “You took his life away from all of us.”

Misener’s mother, Jeanne Anderson, expressed her desire that Montano spends the rest of his life behind bars.

“I despise him (Montano), and I hope he spends the rest of his life in jail and never have an opportunity to see daylight,” she said. “You don’t know what you did to us – to your own family – to those children, my grandchildren, who don’t have a father now . . . We’re all still in a state of shock. I cry every day.”

Jon Johnson Video/Gila Herald