Ogden shooting suspect had 16 marijuana plants, prosecutors say
Matthew David Stewart, who is accused of killing one police officer and wounding five others in an Ogden shootout, had 16 marijuana plants in his home, according to a court documents filed Tuesday.
It's the first time law enforcement has disclosed details of what they allege was marijuana growing in Stewart's home. The Weber County Attorney's Office made the claim Tuesday in paperwork seeking to permanently seize Stewart's home at 3268 Jackson Ave.
Matthew Stewart's father, Michael Stewart, didn't learn of the news until The Tribune told him.
"Why are they doing that?" Michael Stewart asked Tuesday evening. "How can they do that when he hasn't been convicted of anything â¦ now they are going to take his home?"
The county attorney did not specify the maturity of the plants or if they were found harvested. The day after the shooting, reporters watched detectives remove large PVC pipes with holes in them and two long, florescent lighting systems from Stewart's home.
The county attorney's office argues in court papers that Utah's Controlled Substances Act allows for the home's forfeiture because it was used to manufacture or distribute drugs.
Michael Stewart said since the shooting almost two months ago, his family has not been allowed inside the home their son still legally owns, and the family wants "access to his personal property."
They have asked authorities if they could go into the home to get their son's belongings and personal papers, but have been denied.
"We'd like to file his taxes and get his personal papers," Stewart's father said, adding that there are many things inside the home that have nothing to do with the alleged crime.
Since Stewart has been in jail, he hasn't been able to make his mortgage payments and recently received a late notice, his father said.
"My question is, [is the county] going to take the mortgage too?" he asked.
A property records search reveals the 882-square-foot home on .19-acres has a 2011 market value of about $84,000.
Last week, one of Stewart's defense attorneys, Randy Richards, filed a motion that claimed he had been denied access to the house for investigative purposes.
One of Stewart's court appointed attorneys, Bill Albright, declined to comment Tuesday when asked if he had been granted access by law enforcement.
The Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force served a search warrant on Stewart's home Jan. 4. Court papers say the strike force repeatedly knocked and announced their presence and when no one answered they entered the home. Prosecutors have alleged Stewart then emerged from a hiding spot and began shooting with a 9 mm pistol.
The shooting killed Agent Jared Francom. The five other wounded officers have since been released from hospitals.
Stewart, in an interview this month with The Salt Lake Tribune, said he was shot twice. Stewart also said he thought people were breaking into his home to "rob and kill me."
He has been charged with capital murder and other felonies. Weber County Attorney Dee Smith has filed notice with the court he will seek the death penalty.
Stewart is being held without bail in the Weber County jail.
According to court documents, Stewart's attorneys have now been provided with hundreds of pages and dozens of CDs as part of the discovery process.
Tribune reporter Cimaron Neugebauer contributed to this story.
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