Local News

State will seek death penalty in nursing home massacre

Posted May 28, 2009

— The state will seek the death penalty against Robert Kenneth Stewart, who is accused of killing eight people at a Moore County nursing home in March.

Stewart, 45, is charged with eight counts of murder in the March 29 shooting at Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation in Carthage. Seven residents and a nurse were killed.

Accused gunman to face death penalty Accused gunman to face death penalty

Moore County District Attorney Maureen Krueger said during a hearing Thursday that there were enough aggravating factors to warrant a capital case, including the fact that the crime occurred during the commission of a felony.

Authorities have not offered a motive for the slayings, but Stewart's estranged wife, Wanda Stewart, a Pinelake employee working that morning, said she believed Stewart was looking for her.

She was present for Thursday's hearing and sobbed as Stewart entered the courtroom.

Thursday was Robert Stewart's first time appearing before a judge. Carthage police officer Justin Garner shot him once in the chest, ending the rampage, and Stewart has been in the hospital at Central Prison in Raleigh recovering.

Krueger also filed a motion Thursday asking that the bullet, if removed from Stewart, be preserved as evidence. The defense had no objection.

No trial date has been set. An administrative hearing is scheduled for Sept. 10.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • dogsrule12cheek May 29, 2009

    Why should our tax money (by the way where is our tax money) pay for some crazed man to put in a cell the rest of his life
    and we take care of him,, why should he get a chance he didnt give those poor people a chance gun down for no reason,,,

    put him on the Chain Gang and let him work off his room and board.

  • Canon36 May 29, 2009

    Yes, This probally does warrant the death penalty, even though I don't really agree with the death pelnalty. Some people just can not be rehabilitated.

  • Adelinthe May 28, 2009

    ya reckon - "In order for the death penalty to deter, it must be used swiftly and frequently, and it must have visibility. 90 days to trial, appeal, termination. Twenty years on death row is a joke."


    God bless.


  • Adelinthe May 28, 2009


    This man terrorized his wife throughout their marriage, then plowed through innocents to get to her where she worked.

    He should pay dearly.

    Praying for the loved ones of those he wantonly slaughtered, most of them while they laid helpless in their beds.

    God bless.


  • YA RECKON May 28, 2009

    In order for the death penalty to deter, it must be used swiftly and frequently, and it must have visibility. 90 days to trial, appeal, termination. Twenty years on death row is a joke.

  • floseh May 28, 2009

    We need to have another "Devil's Island". Remember the movie? That's where they sent the ones who were incorrigable or a menace to society. Send the rapists & murderers & sex deviates & druggies there. Then select from them a government to replace the one we have.

    The Floseh

  • sophiemom May 28, 2009

    The problems with the death penalty are many, and there is not enough space to explain fully. Briefly, it does not deter crime. Our homicide rate is five times that of European countries ( of course there is also the easy access to guns here, but that is another debate). Second, it is more expensive to have a death penalty than not. This is some states are thinking about getting rid of it. Third, the death penalty is not uniformly applied for the same sorts of crime. Whether one receives the death penalty depends upon the state, the precinct, the DA and a host of other subjective conditions. This is not "liberal" hoopla but the reality of the death penalty.

  • doobedobedoodoo May 28, 2009

    Who speaks for the accused?!?!

    I tell you, the man has rights!!!

    This man is innocent! Innocent I say, until PROVEN guilty!

    Yeah, right.

  • GetRight May 28, 2009

    "What is killing him going to solve? The eight people are still dead. He should sit in prison the rest of his life and think aobut what he did. God will forgive him if he ask, but he was wrong for killing those people." -PrayerWorks

    What executing him will solve is to reinforce the deterrent to other would-be criminals. Our "liberal" society seems to think it's wrong to "make an example" of people. I strongly disagree. If wanna be criminals saw that we swiftly executed those convicted of certain crimes the incidence of those crimes would decrease. No "if, ands or buts" about it.

    Another benefit is that those of us law-abiding citizens would feel a greater sense of pride about our justice system, instead of the bitter contempt most of us feel toward it.

    It's like Dr. Benjamin Spock is still here haunting America. He's the guy that said that spanking your children will warp their psyche and damage them for life. Nonsense!!!

  • PaulRevere May 28, 2009

    But the death penalty is so mean!