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Ex-girlfriend of Ogden shooting suspect informed on him

Published April 6, 2012 7:56 am

Woman's brother says she was motivated by fear of Matthew David Stewart.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ogden • The Jan. 4 shootout here that killed a police officer and wounded five others started with a bad breakup followed by a mysterious broken key in a door.

Police were put onto Matthew David Stewart's marijuana growing by his ex-girlfriend, Stacy Wilson, her brother James Wilson confirmed Tuesday in an interview.

The brother insists it wasn't spite that spurred the tip to police. James Wilson said his sister believed Stewart tried to break into her apartment and wanted to keep him away.

"Someone tries breaking into my place, I'm going to look for any way to protect myself," James Wilson said in defense of his sister.

Stacy Wilson's name was revealed last month in search warrants that were made public. In a brief telephone conversation Tuesday, Stacy Wilson declined an interview. She said her employers at Walmart, where Stewart also worked, and Ogden police asked her not to speak.

A Stewart attorney, Ryan Bushell, said his client will plead not guilty to the marijuana cultivation charges and Stacy Wilson is not credible.

"I don't think what she has said has been truthful," Bushell said. He declined to discuss specifics of the case.

The shooting that erupted at Stewart's house killed Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force Agent Jared Francom. Besides a charge of marijuana cultivation — police say they found 16 plants in the house — Stewart, 37, has been charged with capital murder and other felonies. The Weber County attorney has filed notice he will seek the death penalty.

The Wilson family is from Idaho and consists of nine children. Stacy Wilson is the youngest and James Wilson, 24, is the next youngest.

James Wilson said his sister dated Stewart for perhaps 18 months. They met while working together at the Super Walmart on Riverdale Road near Ogden. At the time, James Wilson said, he and his sister lived together in an apartment.

At first, James Wilson said, he didn't care for Stewart.

"Then I kind of warmed up to him a little bit and then some things happened," James Wilson said.

For a while, James Wilson didn't have a car and his sister would give him rides to the Walmart in Layton where he worked. That made Stewart mad, James Wilson said. He isn't sure why.

Stewart didn't like holidays and would not spend them with the Wilson family, James Wilson said.

On Sept. 19, 2010, another sister, Jessica Wilson, 28, was hit and killed by a car on the Brigham Young University campus in Provo. James Wilson said Stewart "just seemed cold" while the family was mourning. Stewart did not attend the funeral, James Wilson said.

"A few months before they broke up, I was harping on her. 'Break this off. Break this off,' " James Wilson said.

James Wilson can't remember how, but he said he learned while his sister was dating Stewart that Stewart was growing marijuana in his home at 3268 Jackson Ave. in Ogden. James Wilson said he never heard of Stewart selling the marijuana and never saw him smoke any.

"He never approached me with an offer to sell," James Wilson said. "He would grow it and just sit on it and smoke it for personal" use.

Stacy Wilson ended the relationship in the summer of 2011. By then she was living on her own in an apartment in Ogden and James Wilson had been transferred to the Walmart in Riverdale where his sister and Stewart worked.

The breakup made things tense between the former couple at work, James Wilson said. The pair didn't talk and kept their distance, he said.

"They had a negative attitude toward one another," he said.

About a month after the split, James Wilson said, Stacy Wilson came home and found something strange. Reports released by the Ogden Police Department show that on Sept. 10, she reported to policethat someone broke a key in the lock on her apartment's front door.

James and Stacy Wilson both suspected it was Stewart. Stacy Wilson told police Stewart had given her a set of earrings as a gift and had demanded their return.

The officer wrote in his report there were no other signs someone tampered with or forced the door. The officer also wrote that he did not contact Stewart about the broken key. The case was closed.

The episode made Stacy Wilson afraid of Stewart, her brother said. So she "dropped the dime on him about his pot growing operation," James Wilson said.

An Ogden police report says the tip came in five days after the broken key incident.

Stacy Wilson "stated that she has personally seen a hydroponics grow in [Stewart's] basement," a police report says. "She stated that it produces approximately 12-15 marijuana plants. [Stewart] then keeps the the [sic] marijuana in a freezer. He also sells some."

Stacy Wilson also tried to supply police with evidence, her brother said.

"She was asking me to go and try to buy something from him," James Wilson said. "I don't do that sort of thing."

James Wilson doesn't know if police asked his sister to find an undercover buyer or if she was acting on her own.

Shortly before 9 p.m. on Jan. 4, James Wilson said, he was driving to work when he saw police cars "flying" past him at Washington Boulevard. Wilson continued to his job and worked for a while.

Then he saw his sister crying.

"She pulled up the story [on a news website] and saw the address and was like, 'Yep, that's Matt's place.' "

Court documents have said Stewart failed to answer the door when the strike force knocked and announced themselves. It was while officers searched the house that Stewart jumped out of a hiding spot and began shooting, court documents say.

Stewart has told The Tribune he was asleep, did not hear the officers announce themselves and thought people had broken into his home to rob him.

James Wilson said he lays blame for the shooting on both Stewart and the police.

"One of the dumbest reasons to have a shooting over is a damn plant," he said.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle