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Suspect indicted in nursing home shooting rampage

Posted April 13, 2009

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— A Moore County man accused of going on a deadly shooting spree at a Carthage nursing home last month was indicted Monday on a number of charges, including eight counts of murder.

A grand jury also indicted Robert Kenneth Stewart on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, one count of assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer, two counts of assault by pointing a gun and one count of discharging a weapon into occupied property.

Alleged gunman indicted on 14 counts Alleged gunman indicted on 14 counts

Seven patients and a nurse died in the March 29 attacks at Pinelake Health and Rehab in Carthage; and three other people, including Carthage police officer Justin Garner, were injured.

Garner shot Stewart, 45, in the upper chest, ending the nearly 20-minute rampage, police said.

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

An autopsy report released Monday found Hedrick died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Autopsy results of the other victims were not immediately released.

Garner, who underwent surgery last week to remove two of three gunshot pellets from his left leg, is recovering at home.

Stewart was scheduled to appear in court Monday on eight charges of murder, but the hearing was postponed. Stewart's defense attorney, Frank Wells, said his client is still undergoing "some treatment" for the gunshot wound at Central Prison in Raleigh.

"The last time I saw him, he was doing well, physically," Wells said.

Investigators have not discussed a motive in the shootings, but Stewart's wife, who works at the nursing home, has said she believes he went to the facility to shoot her.

According to search warrants, investigators said Stewart told a nurse he had taken six nerve pills prior to the shootings and did not remember anything about them.

Moore County District Attorney Maureen Krueger will not comment on whether she plans to seek the death penalty.


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  • mocena Apr 13, 2009

    "All it takes is for your family to be affected by a capital murder case, and you change your tune very fast." My family was. My friend was murdered. Still don't believe in the the death penalty.

  • panthers254 Apr 13, 2009

    heck, he is obviously crazy, sane folks dont go into a rest home and start killin old folks. an eye for an eye works for me.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 13, 2009

    He doesn't have to worry about being put to death in North Carolina, as we don't have an active Death Penalty currently. And I don't expect we will have one for a decade or two. As long as we have a liberal Governor and Senators, it won't happen anytime soon. They are so removed from violence, they don't understand the neccessity of the Death Penalty. All it takes is for your family to be affected by a capital murder case, and you change your tune very fast.

  • Jeremiah Apr 13, 2009

    "eye for an eye and Leviticus are both in the Old Testament, FYI"

    oh yeah, reading too fast. i assumed he said old testament, and i just copied and pasted his quote. i meant OT

  • 1Moms_View Apr 13, 2009

    He's guilty and that's a fact that can't be questioned. Put him to death and save taxpayers millions of dollars. Why does he deserve healthcare at the taxpayers' expense? He had no concern for the helpless men and women he slaughtered in cold blood. Even if he took nerve pills, he's responsible for his actions. No one forced the pills down his throat. He's already milked taxpayers by drawing gov't benefits while working (his paint company), don't let him rip us off again. Why put the families of these innocent victims of his through a long drawn out trial, appeals, and watching him get off scotfree by claiming he doesn't remember. He remembered well enough how to load those guns, where his ex worked and what car she drove. So, obviously, his memory was not a problem that morning. He's a worthless, heartless coldblooded killer. People like him ARE the reason for the death penalty. USE IT instead of playing bleeding heart liberal. Save the concern for the real victims.

  • 4lilboys Apr 13, 2009

    "The last time I saw him, he was doing well, physically," Wells said.

    I smell insanity defense.....

  • readme Apr 13, 2009

    I don't think he can convince a jury he doesn't remember the shootings. That just angers me more that he is cowardly trying to weasel out of it.

  • working for deadbeats Apr 13, 2009

    Alleged?? Who else could it have been? Get the needle ready.....in 20 years.

  • Drakula_I_G Apr 13, 2009

    Step one!
    Step two - guilty verdict.
    Step three - eight death sentences!

  • bigmelons2004 Apr 13, 2009

    the trial is not the waste of public money. the real waste was the health care given for his gunshot wounds. some one should have kicked a cat so they had an excuse to work on the cat while he bled to death.

    I really love the way that was put. And I agree 100%.