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Preliminary hearing set in fatal Ogden shootout

Published March 19, 2012 1:44 pm

Courts • July date could change if the defense for Matthew Stewart is not ready.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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 • A three-day preliminary hearing for the suspect in the Ogden shootout that killed one police officer and wounded five others is scheduled to begin July 18.

But that date could change if attorneys for defendant Matthew David Stewart are not ready to proceed.

Defense attorney William Albright on Monday told 2nd District Judge Noel Hyde that he is still receiving reports and other information about the complex case from prosecutors.

Also Monday, attorney Randall Richards asked the judge to lift an order requiring Albright to approve and sign any legal motions he writes. Richards has been hired to represent Stewart but said the man's family could not afford a full capital defense. At that time the judge declared Stewart indigent and appointed Albright and Bushell as public defenders.

The judge declined to change his order, but modified it by also allowing Albright's co-counsel, Ryan Bushell, to also sign motions written by Richards.

Richards told the judge Monday he had been meeting with the other two attorneys. "We're all on the same page," he said.

Stewart is charged in 2nd District Court with capital murder and other felonies related to the Jan. 4 gun battle in which Weber Morgan Strike Force Agent Jared Francom was killed.

The shooting occurred when the strike force went to Stewart's home to execute a search warrant alleging he was growing marijuana. Stewart was hiding inside, emerged and began firing at police, court documents state. In a jail interview with The Tribune, Stewart said he was asleep and never heard the strike force knock. He said his alarm clock woke him then he heard breaking glass and thought intruders were in his home. Stewart said he was shot twice in the exchange with police.

Stewart also may be facing potential charges of possessing child pornography.

While searching Stewart's computer for evidence related to the shooting an Ogden police detective "observed multiple images consistent with child pornography," according to search warrant affidavits.

The detective also viewed anti-government websites related to the Oklahoma City bombing, and Stewart had instructions for making a bomb, as well as "the makings of a bomb," according to the search warrant requests.

Also, Stewart's former girlfriend told police that he held Sept. 11 conspiracy theories and believed the Internal Revenue Service did not have authority to collect taxes. She said Stewart claimed he would enter the IRS facility in Ogden, where he was once a security guard, and would "kill IRS employees" if they tried to collect taxes from him, according to the search warrants.

"They're trying to label him as a terrorist and a pedophile," the man's father, Michael Stewart, said after Monday's hearing. "Let's see the charges."

As of Monday, no new charges had been filed against Stewart.

afalk@sltrib.com