Man accused in Ogden police shootout hears charges against him

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 1 2012 2:15 p.m. MST

Matthew David Stewart appears before 2nd District Judge Brent West in Ogden through a video link from the Weber County Jail Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Stewart is charged with aggravated murder, which could bring the death penalty, seven counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of production of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, in regards to the Jan. 4 shootout at his home with members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force.

Erin Hooley,

OGDEN — The man accused of killing a police officer and wounding five others during a shootout made his first appearance in court Wednesday.

Matthew David Stewart, 37, appeared by video from the Weber County Jail. He shuffled back and forth, with his wrists shackled and hands clenched, while a court clerk read aloud nine charges against him.

The charges include capital murder, which "carries three possible penalties … death, life without parole and life with parole," said 2nd District Judge W. Brent West.

A pretrial status conference was set for Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. in a larger courtroom due to increased public awareness of the case. Stewart will be brought to the courtroom for the hearing.

Other charges filed against Stewart include seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, all first-degree felonies; and producing a controlled substance, a second-degree felony.

Officers with the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force were attempting to serve a warrant to Stewart's home on the night of Jan. 4 when Stewart allegedly fired at them, striking several officers and killing Ogden police officer Jared Francom before Stewart was apprehended.

Stewart was released from the hospital and booked into jail Monday after being hospitalized 26 days with injuries sustained during the gunfight with police.

From the 7-inch split screen on a 14-inch monitor in the courtroom, Stewart's injuries were not apparent. Defense attorney Randy Richards told the court that Stewart was having "significant issues" with the medical treatment he was receiving at the jail; specifically, he said Stewart was experiencing diarrhea from the combination of medications and his diet.

Richards also complained of not having sufficient information regarding the case. He had not been informed of a recent amendment made to each charge — an enhancement penalty for use of a restricted weapon that was filed Jan. 19.

Prosecutor Christopher Shaw said the "massive investigation" was still being conducted and it involves a lot of people and a lot of hours. The case has yet to be filed in its entirety and there is evidence that still needs to be cataloged, Shaw said.

"The state has had this information for three, going on four weeks, and I know evidence disappears, memories fade and things get washed away," Richards said, adding that Stewart is entitled to the information at some point.

Stewart is being held at the jail, without the opportunity to post bail.

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com Twitter: wendyleonards

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