Officers recount the panic and the calm during Ogden shootout

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012 9:00 a.m. MDT

Dr. Edward Leis, chief deputy medical examiner for Utah, testified that Francom was shot six times. Two of the injuries were potentially fatal as they caused internal injuries, Leis said. But the gunshot that most likely killed Francom was one that entered his back and severed his spine.

Prosecutor Gary Heward said all of the bullets recovered from the officers who were struck were from a Beretta. All the officers carried Glocks, Heward said.

Support for Stewart

At the end of Wednesday's hearing, which is scheduled to continue through Friday, Judge Noel Hyde will determine if there is sufficient evidence to order Stewart to stand trial on charges of aggravated murder, a capital offense; seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; and production of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony.

Investigators later found a marijuana growing operation in the basement, including artificial lighting and a water system. According to the arrest warrant, Stewart told a friend that if police officers ever tried to stop his marijuana cultivation, he'd "go out in a blaze of glory and shoot to kill."

Stewart's family has adamantly supported him, calling the incident a "tragic misunderstanding" and said Stewart thought he was being robbed. They launched a website — www.helpmatthewstewart.org — to raise money for defense attorneys and to present what they said was their side of the story.

Sister-in-law Erna Stewart said she trusts Matthew Stewart and described him as a polite, soft-spoken person.

"I'm anxious to get the rest of it out," she said. "We haven't had a chance to express our view, our defense. Everything you've seen up until now is against Matthew. … But patience is a virtue. We've been patient 10 months already."

On Sunday, the family posted its first entry on the website since July, saying they hope some of their questions will be answered during the three-day hearing. The family also issued a statement on Tuesday:

"We're devastated by Matthew being made a scapegoat for violent mistakes and procedures of the police," the Stewart family wrote. "Matthew is suffering tremendously, being treated as a guilty convict for 10 months before his trial even reached the preliminary hearing."

They said Stewart has "struggled just to survive" the injuries he sustained in the shooting. They report that he has been kept in a 5-by-9-foot cell for 23 hours a day and is a casualty of the "war on drugs."

"Matthew is a victim of the drug war, a survivor of police violence, a police scapegoat and political prisoner," the statement reads. "We must support him and all political prisoners — or all our civil liberties will be lost."

Seven supporters of Stewart demonstrated on the steps of the courthouse before Wednesday's hearing including Ryan Kropotkin of Salt Lake City, who said he has never met Stewart.

"I don't think think he was at fault for defending himself when he thinks he's being robbed," Kropotkin said. "I don't think police should be able to break into people's houses."

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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