State News

Defense: Move accused nursing home shooter

Posted February 5, 2010

— A defense attorney for the man accused of killing eight people at a Moore County nursing home wants the suspect housed at a state prison rather than the local jail.

Robert Kenneth Stewart, 46, was shot in the chest by Cpl. Justin Garner, 25, ending a shooting rampage at the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center in Carthage on March 29, 2009. Seven patients and a nurse were killed.

Nursing home shooting suspect seeks to switch prisons Nursing home shooting suspect seeks to switch prisons

Stewart was held at Central Prison, which has a medical center for inmates, for 9½ months while being treated for his wound. He was moved to the Moore County Jail two weeks ago.

Defense attorney Jonathan Megerian said that Stewart received better care and is safer at Central Prison.

A hearing on Megerian's motion that was scheduled for Friday in Moore County Superior Court was postponed. 

A spokesman for the Moore County Sheriff's Office said that there is no threat to Stewart inside the jail and that Stewart would be safe there. Holding Stewart in Raleigh would be more costly, because he would have to be transported back to Moore County for hearings.

The defense has also asked for the a change of venue for the trial, in which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. A hearing on that motion is set for May 10.

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.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • G-man Feb 5, 2010

    The guy is guilty, he was shot in the act of the crime. What fool is not going to find him guilty.

  • Glass Half Full Feb 5, 2010

    It is sickening that time and resources are being further wasted on debating this man's level of care or safety for that matter. I agree with the posters who say that jail/prison should be returned to a place that no one wants to be. As long as all ones needs are met why want to be on the outside and have to behave and work for a living?

  • MileageWarrior Feb 5, 2010

    awe, poor baby isnt comfy where he's at now? boo hoo. how comfy are his victims?

  • aintbackingdwn Feb 5, 2010

    Sure makes crime attractive to the homeless and hungry doesn't it. To know the state will go out of their way to see you get a comfortable place to stay and all the conveniences of home.

  • sssh.. whisper Feb 5, 2010

    Obviously he did these crimes.. There is no dowbt that he was the shooter.. so why should he get preference about which prison is safer??? Prisons aren't supposed to be safe for inmates. They SHOULD be places that people fear going to and then maybe this crime nonsense will drop!!!

  • Granny Feb 5, 2010

    Just let him be as uncomfortable and miserable as he deserves to be!!

  • rpenny004 Feb 5, 2010

    alot of times it is not our system but the lawyers that rip the system apart and get these people out or with less punishment if we did not have these lawyers defending them they wouldnt get away with less.Some people will do anything for money and that is helping people like this get back out on the streets to do it again.

  • didisaythat Feb 5, 2010

    Jail is not suppose to be comfortable. I work close with local jails and Central Prison and have heard on numerous occasions that inmates will take a plea deal just to get out of the jail and go to Prison. They have more freedom in prison. Let me see why do we have the recidivism rate that we do....oh, because prison time is not punishment anymore....bring back hard labor and start putting murderers to death. Make criminals not want to go back to prison.

  • Brogden Feb 5, 2010

    Well, gosh, we certainly want him to receive the best care the state can provide!!!!!! Golly, we have turned our society upside down!

  • Ol Forrester Feb 5, 2010

    Sounds like Central Prison is more "comfortable" for him. I see that as a really good reason to deny the request.