Matthew Stewart files challenge to death penalty

Jan 14 2013 - 3:10pm


Matthew David Stewart
Matthew David Stewart

OGDEN -- Lawyers for the Ogden homeowner accused of gunning down a police officer during a pot raid are challenging Utah's death-penalty law.

Weber County prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty if Matthew David Stewart is convicted of aggravated murder and other charges.

The defense lawyers filed a motion last week saying Utah's law is unconstitutional because it leaves juries with no choice but the death penalty in cases of aggravated murder.

In court papers, the lawyers refer to Stewart as a youthful defendant with no criminal history who was under mental or emotional duress.

Stewart's family says the 38-year-old Army veteran was growing pot to ease his anxiety and depression. Stewart told investigators he believed he was being robbed when a narcotics task force broke into his house Jan. 4, 2011.

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