Local News

Victims' families meet with district attorney

Posted March 31, 2009

— Family members of the eight victims who died in Sunday's nursing home shooting met Tuesday with local prosecutors about the case.

A relative who did not want to be identified said the group talked about the possibility of the death penalty for the alleged gunman, Robert Kenneth Stewart, but did not elaborate on the details of the 90-minute meeting.

Maureen Krueger DA meets with shooting victims' families

They also asked questions and received information about grief counseling, relatives said.

District Attorney Maureen Kreuger declined to comment about the meeting and had no further comment on the investigation. She has not indicated whether she plans to seek the death penalty against Stewart, who is charged with eight counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony assault on a law enforcement officer.

Carthage police say Stewart, 45, walked into Pinelake Health and Rehab around 10 a.m. Sunday morning and shot 13 people, including a police officer responding to 911 calls.

Several people inside the nursing home told 911 dispatchers he was shooting both a "deer gun" and a shotgun. Chief Chris McKenzie has said Stewart was armed with more than one weapon but has not provided the exact number or type of weapons.

Stewart is being held at Central Prison in Raleigh until a scheduled court date on April 13, the same day a Moore County grand jury meets.

Frank Wells, one of Stewart's court-appointed attorneys, said Tuesday he and his colleagues had yet to meet with their client for the first time. He declined to comment about the case.

Although authorities said they have not established a motive, investigators are looking at the possibility that the shootings could be domestic. Stewart's estranged wife, Wanda Stewart, works as a nurse's assistant at the facility.

Her mother said Tuesday she survived the shooting by hiding inside a locked area for Alzheimer's patients.

Authorities have identified the victims as Pinelake residents Tessie Garner, 75; Lillian Dunn, 89; Jesse Musser, 88; Bessie Hedrick, 78; John Goldston, 78; Margaret Johnson, 89; Louise De Kler, 98; and nurse Jerry Avant, 39.


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  • ctechic2004 Apr 1, 2009

    Being assigned his defense case would make me want to give up my law degree. How can you defend someone who did this kind of heinous act?

    One reason is because it is part of your job. Just because you defend someone does not necessarily mean that you believe in what they did. Your job would to be making sure that his/her constitutional rights are not abused. It is the attorney's duty to give the best defense possible. We all have done things that we necessarily didn't agree with, and this is what an attorney's job is

  • sunshine1224 Mar 31, 2009

    he should be executed for what he did...y should tax dollars take care of him the rest of his life?

  • 1Moms_View Mar 31, 2009

    Forget the dealth penalty or life in prison. When he's found guilty, hand him over to the families to deal with and save the state money on supporting his sorry *** in prison the rest of his life. I think he deserves the death penalty, but since the state will never carry it out and taxpayers will end up paying for him and his multiple attorneys through repeated appeals, go ahead and fry him and be done with it.

    I'm sure his attorney will try the insanity defense, but it's obvious he had this planned or he wouldn't have had the guns with him or gone in there searching for his ex. If she hadn't hidden in a closet, maybe all these elderly people and the nurse would be alive now.

  • KBUT1 Mar 31, 2009

    A person can defend someone accused of a heinous crime because EVERYONE has certain rights and is entitled to the assistance of counsel when charged with a crime. By insuring that those rights apply even to the unpopular and the despised, and making sure that those persons are treated fairly under the law, criminal defense attorneys are vindicating everyone's rights. Regardless of what an individual is accused of, he or she is still entitled to due process before being deprived of life, liberty or property. If the government is allowed to dispense with those protections for persons who are accused of the most vicious acts, what is to stop it from ignoring those protections in other situations? It is this process,and the willingness of people to support it, that separates us from both dictatorship and mob rule.

  • sandhillsk9 Mar 31, 2009


  • Maddie girl Mar 31, 2009

    Why is there a question about the death penalty ???????? Why do we have it and never use it ???? why does it take years to do ANYTHING ????????????????????

  • this is my Screen Name Mar 31, 2009

    Being assigned his defense case would make me want to give up my law degree. How can you defend someone who did this kind of heinous act?