Stewart supporters to rally before preliminary hearing

Oct 31 2012 - 10:09am

Images

Ben Valdez Jr. (left) holds up a sign during a "Keep the Peace" rally in support of Matthew David Stewart in downtown Ogden in May. Stewart's preliminary hearing begins today. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Matthew David Stewart looks into the gallery while appearing in 2nd District Court in Ogden in May. Stewart is accused of shooting at police officers during the serving of a search warrant, killing one officer and injuring five others.(Standard-Examiner file photo)
Ogden officer and Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force agent Jared Francom was killed in a Jan. 4 shootout in Ogden. (Courtesy photo)
Ben Valdez Jr. (left) holds up a sign during a "Keep the Peace" rally in support of Matthew David Stewart in downtown Ogden in May. Stewart's preliminary hearing begins today. (NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner)
Matthew David Stewart looks into the gallery while appearing in 2nd District Court in Ogden in May. Stewart is accused of shooting at police officers during the serving of a search warrant, killing one officer and injuring five others.(Standard-Examiner file photo)
Ogden officer and Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force agent Jared Francom was killed in a Jan. 4 shootout in Ogden. (Courtesy photo)

OGDEN -- Supporters of Matthew Stewart have announced a courthouse rally this morning before his preliminary hearing on charges of shooting six police officers, one fatally, at his home.

Keep the Peace, the supporters of Stewart, will assemble outside the 2nd District Courthouse, 2525 Grant Ave., beginning at 7:45 a.m.

The three-day hearing is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.

Stewart family members will be making occasional statements to the media during the hearing, according the news release.

"Matthew is a victim of the drug war, a survivor of police violence, a police scapegoat and political prisoner. We must support him and all political prisoners -- or all our civil liberties will be lost," it states.

The Jan. 4 gun battle at Stewart's home stemmed from the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force serving a warrant for marijuana cultivation.

Stewart is charged with capital homicide in the death of agent Jared Francom, plus seven counts of attempted aggravated murder for allegedly shooting at seven other officers, five of whom were wounded.

Stewart was shot four times and has endured several surgeries while held without bail.

The preliminary hearing is a mini-trial meant to determine whether the state meets the minimum evidence threshold to advance the case to trial.

In the news release issued shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, the Stewart supporters said, "We're devastated by Matthew being made a scapegoat for violent mistakes and procedures of the police."

A similar rally earlier this year in front of the Weber County Attorney's Office drew almost as many members of the media as participants.

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