Local News

A timeline of the Carthage nursing home massacre

Posted April 2, 2009 11:08 a.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2011 5:52 p.m. EDT

A chronology of key events in the case against Robert Kenneth Stewart, the man accused of killing seven patients and a nurse at the Pinelake Health and Rehab on Sunday, March 29, 2009.

July, 1983

Robert Kenneth Stewart (then 19) marries Wanda Gay Neal (then 17) for the first time.


Stewart and Neal divorce.

1986 – 2002

Stewart and Neal marry other people.

June, 2002

Stewart and Neal reunite and get married a second time.

February, 2009

Family members say Neal left Stewart.

March 29, 2009

10 a.m.: Police say Stewart enters Pinelake Health and Rehab armed with more than one weapon. Witnesses said he was shooting a "deer gun" and a shotgun.

10 – 10:15 a.m.: Stewart is accused of shooting 11 people at the nursing home. Seven patients and a nurse were killed. Neal, who is at the facility, survives by hiding in a bathroom inside a locked area for Alzheimer's patients.

10:15 a.m.: Carthage police Officer Justin Garner, responding to several 911 calls from Pinelake, stops the violence by shooting Stewart in the chest. He was the only officer on duty and went into the home without backup.

March 30, 2009

Stewart makes his first court appearance on eight counts of first-degree murder and a single charge of felony assault of a law enforcement officer.

March 31, 2009

Family members of the victims meet with local prosecutors about the case.

April 1, 2009

The Carthage Town Board holds an emergency meeting in response to the recent shooting deaths.

April 2, 2009

First Baptist Church in Carthage hosts a program every Thursday in April to help residents deal with their grief and loss.

April 13, 2009

Stewart is indicted on eight counts of murder, 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.

May 28, 2009

Prosecutors announce they will seek the death penalty against Stewart. 

Jan. 20, 2010

Defense seeks change of venue for Stewart's trial. 

Feb. 9, 2010

Superior Court judge rules moved Stewart back to Central Prison in Raleigh after more than two weeks at the Moore County jail. 

Oct. 15, 2010

Superior Court Judge James Webb denies defense motion to change venue, but rules jury will come from another county. 

April 21, 2011

Moore County District Attorney Maureen Krueger removes herself from the case because she previously represented Stewart's mother.

June 1, 2011

Superior Court Judge James Webb prohibits electronic media and still photography in any courtroom, hallway or lobby at any stage of the Stewart trial. 

July 11, 2011 

Jury selection begins in Albermarle.