July preliminary hearing set in Ogden police shooting case

Published: Monday, March 19 2012 12:12 p.m. MDT

OGDEN — A judge has set a three-day preliminary hearing, but not until July, in the capital murder case against Matthew David Stewart, 37, in the death of Ogden police officer Jared Francom.

Second District Judge Noel Hyde scheduled July 18-20 for the preliminary hearing during a status conference Monday.

Outside the courtroom, Stewart's father, Michael, said he and his family are still concerned for the families of the police officers shot while serving a warrant at his son's Ogden home on Jan. 4.

"Our hearts still go out to the families of the officers," he said. "I know they have gone through a lot of things. We just hope everybody gets through this and heals."

He said his son continues to heal, in jail, from gunshot wounds to the arm and hip he received during the shootout. He said his son also has support from groups that label the shootout as an example of excessive police force.

"They're trying to label him as a terrorist and a pedophile," Mike Stewart said of police and prosecutors.

A recently-released search warrant affidavit indicates that anti-government documents, instructions on bomb making and "multiple images consistent with child pornography" were located during a search of Matthew Stewart's home at 3268 Jackson Ave.

Stewart's girlfriend told police he was "very much into World of Warcraft (computer game), 911 conspiracy theories (where Stewart believes that the U.S. government is responsible for the 9/11 attacks), 2012 end of the world theories, and that he also believes that the U.S. Constitution does not provide the federal government the right to collect taxes."

Stewart's girlfriend said he hadn't paid state or federal income taxes since 2005, during which time he worked as a security guard for the IRS' Ogden office. If authorities ever forced Stewart to pay his taxes, "he knew how to 'get into' the IRS, and that once inside, he would 'kill IRS employees,'" the girlfriend told investigators.

Mike Stewart said the alleged child pornography was on a computer that belonged to someone else who had been living in the house with his son.

Members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force were serving a warrant at Matthew Stewart's Ogden home when they came under attack from inside.

Mike Stewart said the lengthy span between Monday's hearing and the preliminary hearing in July is an unnecessary attempt to cloud the issue of what happened during the shootout and make the case into something it's not.

Weber County Attorney Dee Smith previously held a press conference to talk about attorney tactics in the case but only said outside the courtroom Monday he is "not talking at all."

During the hearing, prosecutors sought a gag order, while Stewart's attorneys asked the county to pay for a defense investigator and a ballistics expert. Hyde issued no rulings Monday on those requests.

E-mail: sfidel@desnews.com

Twitter: SteveFidel

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