Our View: Stewart case handled fairly

Friday , March 28, 2014 - 12:39 PM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

An independent review has concluded that there are no indications of mistreatment by staff at the jail or “unduly biased adjudication against Matthew Stewart,” the late suspect in the murder of Ogden police officer Jared Francom and the wounding of several other officers. Stewart committed suicide at the Weber County jail on May 24, 2013.

The review can be read here. It shows that Matthew Stewart was not treated unfairly by the justice system. A jail inmate who claimed a friendship with Stewart attests that he was not mistreated by jail personnel. Stewart also provided little to no signs of an intent to commit suicide. His death is a tragedy for his family and friends, but the law enforcement apparatus of Weber County did not contribute to the suicide.

Deputy Cache County Attorney Donald Linton reviewed a report from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Investigation. The report from Linton ranged from the alleged action of the accused that led to his being charged and jailed, to the circumstances of his self-inflicted death. On Jan. 4, 2012, Stewart fired on the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, which had arrived at his Ogden home to serve a search warrant related to a marijuana investigation. Besides Officer Francom’s death and other officers’ injuries, Stewart was wounded in the gun battle. The suspect’s charges included aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder, and he faced the possibility of a death sentence had he been convicted.

The Stewart murder case has emotionally roiled the community. An officer, husband and father lost his life doing a dangerous job.

Stewart’s suicide was unfortunate, and we have sympathy for his family. But the evidence shows he was treated fairly in his case.

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