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Warrant: Suspect claims to not remember nursing home shooting

Posted April 6, 2009
Updated April 7, 2009

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— The man accused of fatally shooting eight people at a Carthage nursing home told a hospital nurse that he didn't remember anything about the March 29 attacks, according to search warrants unsealed Monday.

The search warrants also detailed that investigators seized numerous firearms, ammunition and several notebooks from accused shooter Robert Kenneth Stewart's home and a Jeep registered to his estranged wife.

Investigators search home, vehicle in nursing home shooting Investigators search home, vehicle in shooting

Stewart, 45, suffered a gunshot wound during the rampage at Pinelake Health and Rehab Center and was taken to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital.

There, according to the warrant, he told a nurse that he had taken six nerve pills and "does not remember anything." Investigators drew two vials worth of blood from him for testing.

A witness told investigators that before the shooting, she saw Stewart park a Jeep at Pinkelake and retrieve a firearm from the passenger's side. After the shooting, investigators found a .22-caliber rifle on top of the vehicle, according to the warrant.

Investigators determined that the 1999 black Jeep was registered to Stewart's estranged wife.

After the shooting, a deputy went to check for additional victims at Stewart's home at 2530 Goldon Carthage Road. Inside the home, the deputy found ammunition "in plain view" on the kitchen table and a bed, the warrants said.

Investigators later seized at least nine boxes of ammunition and firearms, including one semi-automatic Remington shotgun, three other shotguns, three pistols and a .308-caliber rifle.

They also took pill bottles and a notebook, papers and pieces of paper with writing on them.

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

Carthage Police Cpl. Justin Garner, 25, was shot twice in the leg before he shot Stewart in the chest.

Stewart was being held in Central Prison in Raleigh on eight counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony assault on a law enforcement officer. He is scheduled to make his second court appearance on April 13.

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  • rcrdngcountry Apr 7, 2009

    a way to get out, playing i forgot and i was insane game. if
    he got the death penalty, that would bring his memory back.

  • sophiemom Apr 7, 2009

    He doesn't remember the shooting but remembers taking six "nerve pills"?

  • iwideopen Apr 7, 2009

    Whether he remembers or not, if I was the judge I would make sure that he would never be a free man again.

  • iwideopen Apr 7, 2009

    Don't remember my eye !!!

  • BigUNCFan Apr 7, 2009

    "Or, should suspects be killed with or without a trial and even if they are deemed insane? No one is talking about letting this guy walk, but we don't usually execute people who have been proven to not be mentally competent. Should that change? If you think so, what's stopping you from just executing everyone with an IQ under 70 who has ever had a violent thought?"

    I think your thinking is what has our justice system in such a mess. We convict people for actions not thoughts and yes I do think even if you have an IQ less than 70, that does not exempt you from knowing right from wrong.

    I could see a smart person taking an IQ test and acting like he was mentally challenged to beat a murder rap. If you do the crime, you do the punishment, no matter what. I am tired of people saying that people under 18 or women or mentally challenged people or insane people can just get off because they did not mean it. That is a bunch of junk.

  • BigUNCFan Apr 7, 2009

    Remember the dude that killed all of those people on franklin street that was a UNC law student off of his meds and he got off and then sued the doctor who retired and passed his care on to someone else. The dude won the suit! Unbelievable what you can get away with here.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 7, 2009

    Isn't there medical documentation that proves people can have selective amnesia like this guy claims? If so and his defense could prove it, would that change anyone's mind?

    Or, should suspects be killed with or without a trial and even if they are deemed insane? No one is talking about letting this guy walk, but we don't usually execute people who have been proven to not be mentally competent. Should that change? If you think so, what's stopping you from just executing everyone with an IQ under 70 who has ever had a violent thought?

  • Drakula_I_G Apr 7, 2009

    Mr. DA, remember to constantly remind the jury:

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

  • kal Apr 7, 2009

    I honestly think they should let him free on the insanity plea. In return everyone who shows up at the courthouse to shoot him should also conviently forget adn alwso get off scott free

  • koolady Apr 7, 2009

    Pathetic.

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