Nursing home shooter trial to start Friday


A dozen jurors and four alternates will be bused 60 miles to Carthage every day for the trial set to begin Friday morning. The jury was selected in Stanly County because of publicity about the shooting in Moore County.

Robert Stewart, 47, has admitted he was the shooter who went on a killing spree March 29, 2009 at the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center in Carthage.

Stewart's lawyers say he was under the influence of alcohol and prescription medicine and is not legally responsible for his actions.

Prosecutors say the 47-year-old knew what he was doing when he shot seven elderly patients and a nurse at the home. Residents Tessie Garner, 75; Lillian Dunn, 89; Jesse Musser, 88; Bessie Hedrick, 78; John Goldston, 78; Margaret Johnson, 89; Louise DeKler, 98; and nurse Jerry Avant, 39; all died.

Stewart was eventually stopped by Carthage police officer Justin Garner who was wounded by shotgun pellets in the leg during an exchange of gunfire. Garner shot Stewart in the chest.

Prosecutors say Stewart came to the nursing home looking for his estranged wife Wanda Luck. She managed to hide in a bathroom in a locked area for Alzheimer's patients and was not injured in the attack.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty if Stewart is convicted.

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