Stewart preliminary hearing set for July

Apr 7 2012 - 3:55pm

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 OGDEN -- Second District Court Judge Noel Hyde this morning set a preliminary hearing for July 18-20 for Matthew David Stewart who is accused of killing an Ogden police officer and wounding five others in a shootout on Jan. 4.

Hyde set the schedule during a 30-minute hearing this morning. He also set a status conference for May 14.

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Hyde is enforcing a strict decorum order which locks door to the courtroom while all hearings are in session, which according to court observers is rare.

Stewart did not comment during this morning's hearing.

However, his father Michael Stewart, told reporters after the hearing that a website established by family members to raise funds for Stewart's defense has received a necessary permit from the state and is again accepting donations and has received $9,000.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys for Stewart did not comment following the hearing.

Stewart is charged with aggravated murder in the shooting death of Officer Jared Francom and the wounding of five others during a raid by the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force. Stewart was also wounded in the shootout.

"We have limited resources. That's why we're turning for help," he said. "The county can spend all the money they want."

Matthew Stewart appeared attentive to court proceedings in jail garb Monday. His father said he had depression and anxiety and pain from being shot by police. He may have been medicating himself with home-grown pot, his father has said.

Michael Stewart said the war on drugs should focus on illegal distribution, not "self-use" and that his son's case was "not about the drugs. It's about violence and intimidation."

He said prosecutors through public statements and the release of search warrant affidavits are trying to unfairly label his son as a terrorist and pedophile to cover their mistakes.

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