by Russ Belville | November 1, 2012 2:03 pm
Matthew David Stewart, 37, of Ogden, Utah, faced a preliminary hearing on felony charges related to the killing of one police officer and the wounding of five others as they served a search warrant on the night of January 4 at Stewart’s home for marijuana cultivation. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for aggravated murder and eight other felony counts for the shootout.
“When you’re convinced that you are getting robbed and most likely killed by a group of armed men, your instincts kick in,” said Stewart in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune. Stewart explained that he had been working a night shift at Walmart and was asleep between 8pm and 8:30pm when the police strike force arrived to serve the warrant.
Cops became aware that Stewart had been growing marijuana thanks to a call on their tip line in September of 2011. That’s when Stewart’s ex-girlfriend, Stacy Wilson, called to tell police that Stewart was growing 12-15 plants in his home and had been doing so for about nine years. Three times police tried to reach Stewart through a “knock-and-talk” visit. On their last visit, they could see enough evidence of a grow operation inside to get a search warrant.
Police claim to have yelled, “Police! Search warrant!” upon crashing through Stewart’s front door. They claim to have all been wearing visible indication of being police officers and repeatedly identifying themselves as such while in the home. Stewart claims to have “had no idea” the men were police officers and hid from what he believed to be home -invading assailants.
Two bullets hit Stewart in the shootout, causing doctors to remove part of his intestine and forcing him to use a colostomy bag. Agent Jared Francom was fatally shot six times. Agent Kasey Burrell was shot in the abdomen and cheek, shattering his skull, requiring speech therapy, and ongoing bowel and intestinal issues. Agent Jason VanderWarf was shot in the hip. Officer Michael Rounkles, who was doing routine parole checks nearby, joined the shootout with his shotgun, only to be shot in the mouth and forearm. Agent Shawn Grogan was shot in the face losing teeth, and part of his tongue and jaw. Sgt. Nate Hutchinson was shot four times and claims after he had escaped to the street, Stewart came to the front doorway and began shooting at him and the other injured officers in the street.
Thus, thanks to a vindictive ex-girlfriend and marijuana prohibition, far more death and destruction occurred in one January night than could have ever been caused by the dozen marijuana plants Matt Stewart had been growing in Ogden for nine years.
Source URL: http://radicalruss.com/hearing-begins-for-utah-man-who-shot-home-invading-cops-over-a-dozen-marijuana-plants/
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