State News

Warrant: Suspect claims to not remember nursing home shooting

Posted April 6, 2009 8:33 p.m. EDT
Updated April 7, 2009 12:12 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.