State News

Stewart admits to shooting at Carthage nursing home

Posted July 13, 2011

— Lawyers for a man accused of killing eight people at a Carthage nursing home are focusing on a strategy of limited mental capacity as their client admits his role in the shootings.

Robert Kenneth Stewart said in open court Tuesday that he killed the victims at the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center in Carthage on March 29, 2009.

Defense attorney Frank Wells said they wanted to present the information outside the presence of the jury so there wouldn't be a surprise when they started questioning potential jurors about it. 

Stewart's lawyers have said he was under the influence of alcohol and prescription medicine and is not legally responsible for his actions.

A total of 750 citizens in Stanly County have received summons for jury selection in the case. Superior Court Judge James Webb ruled that potential jurors would come from Stanly and not Moore County because of the extensive coverage the shootings received.

On Tuesday, Webb questioned Stewart about letting jurors know that he shot the victims. Stewart says he trusts his lawyers.

Authorities say Stewart shot and killed eight people and wounded three others, including a police officer, at Pinelake Health and Rehab. Stewart's estranged wife, Wanda Stewart, worked at the facility as a nursing assistant. She told WRAL News that she thinks he was gunning for her because she had left him weeks before the shooting.

A Carthage police officer, Justin Garner, ended the rampage when he shot Stewart in the chest.

The trial, which will be held in Moore County, is expected to last four to six weeks, Webb said. Jurors will be bused to Moore County each day.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • fayncmike Jul 15, 2011

    Sorry, meant deterrent though I guess both fit.

  • fayncmike Jul 15, 2011

    "Mike, I'm sorry to hear of your loss, and I respect the fact that you feel the death penalty for first degree murder is the wrong choice,"

    What does murdering a murderer accomplish? It's certainly been proven that it's not a determent and we'd have to live with crushing guilt over having taken part in the killing of another human being, as well as grief. If my sister could speak from the grave we know she'd have added her voice to ours asking that the death penalty not be considered.

  • fayncmike Jul 15, 2011

    It has been proven time after time that life without parole is ----more---- expensive than legalized murder."

    OH WOW!I can't believe I wrote this. I'm surprised everyone isn't jumping down my throat:)

    What I meant to write, of course, was the exact opposite.

    It has been proven time after time that life without parole is +++far less+++ expensive than legalized murder."

    I guess I was a little behind the curve when I made the original post

  • barbstillkickin Jul 14, 2011

    May I ask why do we need to pay for a trial when the man is guilty and was stopped at the time of the crime. Please do not give this man a trial and just sentence him for his crime. He never gave the poor victims a chance.

  • edbuck51 Jul 13, 2011

    the pills jumped up off the table and into his mouth

  • scifion Jul 13, 2011

    Mike, I'm sorry to hear of your loss, and I respect the fact that you feel the death penalty for first degree murder is the wrong choice, but I disagree with you as a matter of personal philosophy that the state (us citizens) are somehow morally demoted by acting to destroy people who have done harm to society. I think if I were in your shoes I would have made the opposite choice, and I know I would not be a bad person for doing so.

  • momof2girls Jul 13, 2011

    He has admitted guilt!! Why should we waste money paying for him to have two attorneys.....after all, the state is in a "budget crisis!!"

  • johntew Jul 13, 2011

    I suggest the jurors be supplied with alcohol and drugs that way they cant't be held responsible for a guilty verdict. Makes as much sense as his plea........right.

  • fayncmike Jul 13, 2011

    "Life in prison is just a burden on me and all the other tax payers. I do not get a free ride, so why should he?"

    It has been proven time after time that life without parole is more expensive than legalized murder.

  • fayncmike Jul 13, 2011

    “fayncmike, I'm gonna presume that if this person or anyone else murdered a member of your family, say, your child, you would not want them to have the death penalty?”

    With all respect, may I ask if you bother reading my posts? I don’t ask that you hang on my every word but at least read enough to get what I’m writing before asking questions that I’ve already answered. Below is my post answering your question. I didn’t want to be too specific but, for your benefit I’ll flesh the answer out just for you. The murdered woman was my sister and she was the world to me. I still miss her terribly even though she’s been dead for almost ten years.

    "A very close and beloved relative of mine was murdered in a convenience store not too long ago. She was nothing more than a customer there. At the sentencing hearing several of us family members pleaded that the death penalty not be imposed. You see, we didn't want to lower ourselves to the level of the criminal. What I say here I