Wife of accused Carthage shooter attempted suicide

Robert Stewart
August 9, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
Wanda Stewart, the estranged wife of Robert Stewart, was expected to take the stand Wednesday, but did not because she was just released from the hospital following a suicide attempt.

Defense attorneys want to see her medical records to make sure she's fit to take the stand. She was released from the hospital Tuesday evening after a suicide attempt on July 31 -- the day before the trial began.

Prosecutors say Robert Stewart intended to kill his wife, who worked at Pinelake, and took out anyone in his path. Last week a neighbor testified that he called her a couple of days before the shooting saying his wife left him and that it would be the last time. He also told the neighbor make sure they know it would be the last time.

Wednesday jurors in the Robert Stewart murder trial were shown the gun that ended the 2009 shooting rampage.

The Moore County man has admitted to being the gunman in the Pinelake Health and Rehab Center shooting that killed eight people on March 29, 2009.

The SBI agent who took the gun from the officer who ended the rampage by shooting Stewart, recalled former Carthage officer Justin Garner's testimony while on the stand Wednesday.

The agent told the courtroom that she took the gun as evidence and interviewed Garner after the shooting.

Last week while on the stand, Garner detailed the trail of death he came across inside the nursing home. He said he heard four consecutive gunshots in one hallway before confronting Stewart as he entered another hallway.

He said Stewart was reloading his shotgun when he ordered him to drop his weapon, then both men fired at each other simultaneously.

With pellet injuries to his leg, Officer Garner approached Stewart - who was shot in the chest - to handcuff him. He said Stewart kept repeating, "kill me, please just kill me."

The jury also spent some time Wednesday hearing more about the victim's deaths -- seven elderly residents, mostly slumped over in their wheelchairs, and a nurse.

State Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Deborah Radisch went over the autopsies of each victim, pictures of their injuries and showed their actual clothing.

Radisch told the courtroom that 89-year-old Margaret Johnson was shot in the pelvis - a painful injury that likely caused her to lose so much blood that she lost consciousness within five minutes and likely died about five minutes later.

The details brought many of the victims' families to tears.

Stewart's attorneys say he was prescribed a dangerous mix of too many sleeping pills and anti-depressants, he didn't know what he was doing and he doesn't remember the shooting.

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