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Man charged with killing Ogden officer found dead in jail

Matthew Stewart 'knew who he was shooting at' in firing 31 rounds, prosecutor says

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  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    May 24, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    Hopefully, they have an outside agency investigate the death.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    May 24, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    So, without a trial, this defendant will be presumed innocent, and was simply defending his home against intruders who broke down his door while he was sleeping.....end of story.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    May 24, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    ".....after a long and courageous battle with a corrupt and arrogant judicial system. He was supposed to be considered innocent until he was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,"

    Really? The guy shot and killed a police officer. Regardless of the situation, you are saying it was alright for him to fire shot in a standoff and kill an officer. Are you kidding me? Very easily could have put his weapon down and surrendered. No mercy on this guy at all.

  • Cleetorn Fuaamotu, Tonga
    May 24, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    Looks like a conviction to me.

  • RR_Xing San Diego, CA
    May 24, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    To Mr. Stewart's family,

    Would you be willing to sit down and discuss our "corrupt and arrogant judicial system" with Officer Francom's wife and daughters? Or with the other injured officers or their families?

    I didn't think so.

  • mattmo Gallatin, MO
    May 24, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    No one knows how this guy in jail died I didn't read that part so to judge the judicial system of being corrupt and arrogant wouldn't you have to afford them the same treatment as you say this man was trying to receive. For all we know he could have committed suicide or it could have been revenge or even natural causes. We don't know therefore we can not, from this article, make a decision either way.

  • Kevin577 Kaysville, UT
    May 24, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    The Stewart family demands that Matthew be presumed innocent while demanding that police be presumed guilty. Pure hypocrisy.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    May 24, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    Here is a tip, don't break the law.

  • MrsH Altamont, UT
    May 24, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    Utah Bruin and RR_Xing. I wish I could give both your comments 1000 'likes'.
    I totally agree!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 24, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    VIDAR
    Murray, UT
    Hopefully, they have an outside agency investigate the death.

    8:28 a.m. May 24, 2013

    ============

    Agreed.

    The guy was a suspected cop killer.

    His death seems suspicous already...

    The foxes minding the hen house - literally - shouldn't be trusted on this one.

  • Spider Rico Greeley, CO
    May 24, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    Give me a break - he killed an officer doing his job and injured others. How is that innocent? If he was not involved in drugs why did he fight off the law rather than plead his case? My heart goes out to the families on both sides, but D's family needs to think about the tragedy on the other side.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    May 24, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    I wonder, if the judge would have scheduled a hearing regarding the integrity of the search warrant, would this suicide have taken place? It would also seem that the correction officers did a poor job of monitoring this guest of their jail. I see a law suit coming from the family and Weber County paying for a death that should not have happened. And as iron&clay points out, without a trial he dies an innocent man.

  • DrUte Woods Cross, UT
    May 24, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    A set of tragic circumstances for all the families involved..... I doubt if either side of this controversy will ever see the other's perspective.

    But the basic cause of all of this grief really seems to be what might be the scourge of our century, the implications and impact of illegal drugs.

    So many crimes, so much tragedy, surrounding the world-wide conflict inherent in the various forms of illegal drugs, drug manufacturing, distribution, and addiction.

    So much crime, so much tragedy. I wonder if our society will ultimately be able to survive it all.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    May 24, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    @ Spider Rico...
    I agree that based on what I have read the guy is probably guilty. But I saw probably and you should too.

    Imagine sleeping at home and suddenly there is a guy in your house all dressed in black with a gun at his side (possibly serving a warrant and your door was unlocked or searching for someone hiding in your area or...). You've got a gun and raise it and fire because you are not really awake and you've been trained to do this. You fire and the guy goes down. Then others start firing at you from somewhere beyond the door, you fire back.

    I have no idea what happened, but I can imagine at least three other scenarios where it might have made sense.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    May 24, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    why was it necessary to serve a search warrant in the middle of the night with a "strike team". Seems the police were expecting and anticipating a violent outcome. It just didn't go the way the police planned.

  • UtahBruin Saratoga Springs, UT
    May 24, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    @Fitz

    Ridiculous comment, if a search warrant is issued by a court of law, I would say it has integrity.

    Suicide??? Hmmm, I did not know the cause of death was released yet.

    Law suit for cases like this? Laughable, this is exactly what is wrong with our countries people way of thinking. Doesn't go your way, let's sue someone.

    @Hamath

    Search warrants are not a Navy Seal like tactic of sneaking in, they are announced, several times loudly throughout the gaining control of the home. When the guy woke up and heard several officers screaming search warrant, he should have known at that point that it is the police, this is when you throw your hands in the air and let the officers do their jobs and then if you are innocent then you can explain this and walk away from the ordeal. It happens all the time. And nobody fired from beyond a door.

    Guilty

  • Papa Smurf UTE Herriman, UT
    May 24, 2013 12:54 p.m.

    Hamath,

    They announced that they were Police Officers. This was stated over a year ago when all this went down. Most sane people, even with military training don't just get up and start shooting. The guy is guilty, and I believe that his family probably know that as well. I would like for his family to go to Officer Francom's widows house and tell her that it was just a big misunderstanding.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 24, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    "And as iron&clay points out, without a trial he dies an innocent man."

    No he didn't. What a silly idea. He wasn't tried is the only thing his suicide did. Whether he was guilty is based on the fact of whether he commited the crime. It has nothing to do with rather or not he was found guilty in a court. If he is guilty he is guilty.

    Hamath, even if he didn't recognize initially that he was shooting at cops (which he could have argued at court) I find it hard to believe that at some point he did not realize he was shooting at cops. You realize this whole incident was reletively drawn out. If the cops made mistakes then argue that in court. But if he knew he was shooting at cops at any time he is 100 % guilty. You realize he shot a number of cops, luckily only killing one. He was also growing pot (which is illegal).

  • lilyvonschtupp salt lake city, UT
    May 24, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    Utah Bruin, I wish I could give you 1000 likes.
    The police had a knock & announce search warrant. They knocked & announced, and Stewart concealed himself, lying in wait as the officers came towards him. He fired upon the officers, killing Officer Francom and continuing to fire at officers even as the fight moved outside and it was obvious that they were in police uniforms. His purpose was to "go out in a blaze of glory" just as he told his friends.
    Whatever you may think about marijuana laws, the fact remains that it is still illegal, and a residence where marijuana is cultivated lowers the quality of life and value of homes in the neighborhood it is in. He was also growing within 500 yards of a school.
    Finally, Stewart was not some war hero - he was a clerk in the Army, never saw combat, and discharged less than honorably. If that's the kind of preson you want to defend while villifying the police, more power to you.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    May 24, 2013 1:15 p.m.

    So if the family thinks that the police force was arrogant and corrupt, what specific charges do they have and are they making? I just hear accusations with nothing to back it up. Police are not always "pure as the wind driven snow" and they do make mistakes. Just look at the WVC Police dept. but I have not heard of any specific charges against the OPD in this case. I do know there were some "irregularities", but nothing that would have changed the outcome.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    May 24, 2013 1:19 p.m.

    Coward to the end.

  • benny02 slc, ut
    May 24, 2013 1:20 p.m.

    as long as the outside agency doing he investigation, isnt the WVC PD.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 24, 2013 1:47 p.m.

    I'm amazed that the pro-gun commentors here are happy this guy is dead.

    Wasn't he just using his 2nd amendment right to protect his property from a tyranical Government?

    I hear the Pro-Gun people threatening to do the same thing this guy did.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    May 24, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    Why did police think it prudent to break into a home un-announced for merely marijuana use? Now one policeman is dead along with the homeowner and several police were injured.

    Just because the law says you can do something doesn't mean you should. If police or a gang of thugs break into a home unannounced and say, "we are the police", why should the home owner believe them? Anyone can say they are the police. If these are thugs, the home owner has to act fast or he will lose tactical advantage, putting himself and his family at severe risk. A person has the right to defend themselves and their family.

    The police shouldn't break to any home unannounced except to prevent murder or injury.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    May 24, 2013 2:49 p.m.

    Every person in lockup thinks he/she is different from the run-of-the-mill crook. He tells his family his case is special and he is different. It is part of the thinking that goes along with criminal behavior. It is a story as old as time itself.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    May 24, 2013 3:54 p.m.

    This is quite a different report than the one published this morning with only the family's account of their poor son.
    The article leaves out the fact that officers located his marijuana growing operation in the home. The warrant proved to be substantiated by the evidence.
    I'm sure the officers regret the way the arrest took place. They would much rather have EVERYONE walk away from such encounters.
    Of course, there are some in the community who feel street drugs should be legal and the police can never do anything right.
    Thanks to the DN for telling the whole story here, even though it took several hours of the family's side only.

  • Archie1954 Vancouver, BC
    May 24, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    Suicide? I doubt it very much. Having been keeping tabs on police brutality and extra judicial murders in the US, I believe that he was summarily disposed of by a police execution.

  • Commenter88 Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 24, 2013 4:39 p.m.

    So we are supposed to believe this version of events when what we actually know is that Stewart's "elaborate cultivation system in his basement for large-scale distribution" turned out to be a few young plants for personal, future use, hardly worthy of a dangerous and risky search warrant.

    The issuing of this warrant and the commissioning of the SWAT team was incredibly stupid, based on the vengeful lies of an ex-girlfriend (who surely has a hand in instigating all this death and tragedy).

    If we believe that people are distributing low level drugs, then arrest them while they are distributing them.

    Don't pick on the grieving Stewart family because of their dead son. They have a right to cry foul in this matter, as do the poor children and wife of Mr. Francom.

  • TerryHaimes Sturgis, MS
    May 24, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    What did the police find in the basement? Wonder why the police waited until night to execute the search warrant?

  • utah1966 broomfield, CO
    May 24, 2013 4:44 p.m.

    I am interested in whether or not Stewart was on any prescribed mind-altering medicine. The shooters in most mass shootings were taking mind-altering drugs. Too many, 7 Million, children take them, some started very, very young. Please take an interest in this. This may not have been the case with Stewart, but since he was a veteran, he may have been suffering from PTSD. Many of our soldiers suffer from this.

  • The STAR Forum Coalville, UT
    May 24, 2013 5:23 p.m.

    Ogden police are known for their "No Knock Raids." This is a tragedy for all involved. Our system needs to take a long look at whether or not it is aggravating the problem.

  • The STAR Forum Coalville, UT
    May 24, 2013 5:27 p.m.

    We also need to remember that we have 4th amendment rights. If someone doesn't know that the police are going to barge in the natural reaction would be to defend oneself. I'm not saying he was innocent or guilty. But it's time to look long and hard at 'No Knock Raids."

    Would the police have been better to announce, and then wait for this young man to come out of the home? Would justice have been better served by surrounding the home? If he was guilty of a crime, and there was no reason to believe anything giant was going on inside the home right then, was it necessary to break into his home?

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    May 24, 2013 5:47 p.m.

    I usually side with the police but they were wrong in how they went about this arrest. I feel bad for both families but the police need to change their operating procedures. The deaths did not need to happen.

  • TBAnnounced9 Spanish Fork, UT
    May 24, 2013 6:09 p.m.

    Dying while in police custody is immediately suspicious and should be treated as such. An independent, non-police agency panel of third-party citizens and lawyers should conduct an immediate and thorough investigation. The judicial system has a duty to protect prisoners and make sure they get a fair trial. Anything less and our system isn't worth defending.

    I do not defend Mr. Stewart's actions. But it is possible both sides are wrong in this case. Cultivating marijuana in a basement is not an immediate threat to life and limb that requires an aggressive, armed invasion of private property, an action LIKELY to provoke an armed response if the resident is armed, trained and ready to protect his investment against competitors. How to tell if a midnight knock is really police or imposters?

    The correct action here would have been to wait until daylight and wait Mr. Stewart out. He is not going anywhere with the house surrounded. No other victims or hostages in the house, what is the rush to use lethal force? Trusting official explanations is another mistake. They protect their own. Strict oversight is needed.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    May 24, 2013 6:24 p.m.

    There seems to be a dispute on the facts of the police entry. But isn't it sad that all this happened because the defendant was allegedly growing pot in his basement?

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    May 24, 2013 6:30 p.m.

    Utah Bruin. I wonder what those Chicago mobsters were thinking as they were being moved down by fake cops in the St Valentines day Massacre?

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    May 24, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    Don't you think that if they wanted him dead they would have killed him during the raid?
    They had evidence of him firing on the police and proof that it was a substantiated raid (despite what some posters who want street drugs legalized are saying here).
    Seriously, the natural reaction of police who just saw one of their own mortally wounded would have been to kill him at the first opportunity.
    He looked pretty healthy at the hearing on Wednesday.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    May 24, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    Re: UtahBruinUtahBruin

    "When the guy woke up and heard several officers screaming search warrant, he should have known at that point that it is the police, this is when you throw your hands in the air and let the officers do their jobs and then if you are innocent then you can explain this and walk away from the ordeal. It happens all the time"

    Other than the obvious question of: what is to stop a criminal from yelling police? When he bust down your door?
    It is naive to think only guilty people are killed in drug raids. All you have to do is search innocent people killed in drug raids for many examples.
    There are numerous examples of police raiding the wrong house and killing innocent people.
    And here is the other point I want to make here: I find it shocking the number of people who defend background checks, or gun registration, or any restrictions on firearms; because they believe citizens need guns to protect themselves from the police and military. And then when someone does use a gun against the police, the same people are first in line to demand they be executed: seems hypocritical

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 25, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    What is wrong with you people?

    You can't just shoot and kill cops. What are you thinking?

    This guy ambushed these cops and shot them as they came in. He then escaped outside and hid and then continued to shoot at them. He shot a number of them and killed one. There is absolutely no way he did not know at some point he was shooting at cops. Unless he was too high on his own product to even think straight.

    This isn't about second amendment rights, this isn't about protecting yourself in your home against thugs. This is about killing a cop. This guy was a cop killer and a drug dealer. This is almost lunacy what some of you people are suggesting: that we can just start killing cops because, hey, the search warrant might not have been right. Well tell it to the judge. Or that anyone can imitate a cop.

    Some of you people are really defending this guy by saying he might have thought he was defending his drug stash from competing drug dealers. You are defending him using that!

    What is going on?

  • kcar11705 Payson, UT
    May 25, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    What is ironic is no one had to die. Police should review how they handle these situations and deal with them in a smarter way. IE Wait until the person leaves the house and make the arrest or surveillance to establish who is coming/going, or send a officer to the front door as a last resort. If someone breaks into my home the last thing I would be incline to believe is them saying they were police. If they want to talk to me just knock and show me they are a officer so I can call and confirm their ID or be convinced they are who they say they are. Don't send a bunch of gung hoe rambo want to be's. It is plain stupid policies that costs lives.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    May 25, 2013 1:31 p.m.

    Re: "[A family member] called him an 'herbalist' who wasn't dealing drugs or harming anyone . . . ."

    Yeah, and the Zetas cartel are just unlicensed pharmacists who aren't dealing drugs or harming anyone.

  • CB Salt Lake City, UT
    May 25, 2013 1:41 p.m.

    This young man did the same thing when he killed himself as he was trying to do when he hid himself away and then began to shoot to kill... deprive justice from being served.
    True he is in the hands of his Maker and also will face the man he killed and truly Justice will be served.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    May 25, 2013 4:51 p.m.

    re: Mark

    Did these people have the right to defend themselves? It seems that just cooperating did them little good.

    Annie Rae Dixon 84 years old Tyler, Texas January, Bedridden with pneumonia during a drug raid. Officer kicked open her bedroom door and accidentally shot her.

    Ismael Mena 45 years old Denver, Colorado: Mena was killed when police barged into his house looking for drugs. They had the wrong address.

    Mario Paz 65 years old Compton, California: Mario was shot twice in the back in his bedroom during a SWAT raid looking for marijuana. No drugs were found.

    Alberta Spruill 57 years old: Police, acting on a tip, forced their way into Spruill’s home, setting off flash grenades. She suffered a heart attack and died. It was the wrong address

    Alberto Sepulveda 11 years old Modesto, California: Alberto was killed by a shotgun blast to the back while following police orders and lying face down on the floor during a SWAT raid. He was a seventh-grader at Prescott Senior Elementary School.

    The war on drugs is a war on our own people. It is time to stop excusing this as collateral acceptable collateral damage.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    May 25, 2013 8:43 p.m.

    Reading comprehension seems to be lacking here. The raid was at 8:40 pm, not midnight. The officers had a "knock & announce" warrant, which means they were required to knock on the door, and announce their intentions. the investigation showed that they did this. It also showed that Mr Stewart did not confront them as they came in the door, he laid in hiding to ambush them, then kept firing on the wounded. He then went outside and fired on uniformed police, the kind with flashing lights, badges, distinctive clothing and I would be willing to bet that they had the word "police" on the cars and uniforms. Those officers were doing the job they were hired to do, they weren't loose cannons free-lancing it.

    No, I think the facts have been adequately presented. Let the independent investigation into the jail death commence. I am certain the facts, substantiated by videos and sound recordings which are in every jail facility to record the actions of officers and inmates, will be forthcoming.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 25, 2013 10:05 p.m.

    Vidar, what incident were we talking about? The one about the shooting of cops and the killing of one of them in Ogden, or the list you have? Try to focus. We are not talking about the raids you brought up. We are talking about this case. We are not talking about the war on drugs we are talking about a person that ambushed cops and shot them and killed one. Try to focus.

    But you really think that because cops have made mistakes in raids and there are problems with the war on drugs that excuses what this guy did? This cop killer. You really think it is okay to kill cops?

    Like I asked before, what is wrong with you people?

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    May 26, 2013 7:35 a.m.

    President Obama says that sometimes 'cops act stupidly".

    What happened to the constitutional right of the defendant to have a speedy trial by jury?

    The original article brought out that the trial was set for 2014 which is about 2 years from arrest.

    Again, without a trial and conviction by jury, the defendant is presumed innocent and so the public is now forced to presume that an innocent man was defending his home against invaders who kicked down his door while he was sleeping.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    May 26, 2013 5:22 p.m.

    Re: ". . . the public is now forced to presume that an innocent man was defending his home against invaders who kicked down his door while he was sleeping."

    No, we're not forced to do any such thing.

    The presumption of innocence is a judicial construct that applies only in court proceedings. Unless we're jurors in the case, we are free to examine the evidence and make conclusions based on our knowledge of the facts and the way things operate in the real world.

    The facts are clear. There's no serious doubt that Mr. Stewart committed murder of a police officer attempting to protect his marihuana-grow operation.

    Regardless of what cynical or credulous liberals, or his grieving, but-ungrounded-in-reality family may say.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    "Regardless of what cynical or credulous liberals. . . may say."

    Procu, while the rest of your comment is absolutely correct, your knee jerk need to blame "liberals" for all that's wrong in the world is showing. Look at the names of the commenters defending this guy, they aren't the liberals. Nope, they are from the conservative side, dude. Your side.