Matthew Stewart Speaks

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

The Ogden, Utah, man who killed one police officer and wounded several others during a drug raid over marijuana plants has finally recovered from his injuries enough to speak.

Matthew David Stewart, 37, said he never heard officers identify themselves or announce they were at his home to serve a search warrant. Stewart, in an interview Friday at the Weber County Jail, said his alarm clock woke him, then he heard a crash that sounded like glass breaking.

“Some parts I remember vividly,” Stewart said of the Jan. 4 shootout. “Other parts it was like I was running on instinct.

“When you’re convinced that you are getting robbed and most likely killed by a group of armed men, your instincts kick in.”

Stewart has been charged with aggravated murder for the death of Ogden police Officer Jared Francom, who was a member of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force. He also has been charged with eight other felony counts. Weber County Attorney Dee Smith has filed notice that he intends to seek the death penalty.

Stewart spoke with a Tribune reporter Friday during one of his two weekly 25-minute visits he’s allowed via a video teleconference system at the jail . . .

Stewart said he “had no idea” he was under investigation by the strike force. He worked a night shift at the Walmart in Riverdale and was asleep as the strike force arrived between 8 and 8:30 p.m . . .

Although Stewart said he didn’t hear officers announce themselves, he didn’t answer whether he had some indication police officers had entered his home.

“I didn’t know,” he said. “All I knew for sure is they were there to rob and kill me.”

Court documents claim Stewart was in a hiding spot as the strike force was searching the house to see if anyone was inside. Stewart then emerged from the hiding spot, court documents say, and began firing a 9 mm Beretta, first shooting Officer Shawn Grogan in the face . . .

As for Francom and the injured officers, Stewart said: “I’m totally devastated that anybody had to suffer over any of this. This never should have happened.”

Stewart thinks two bullets struck him during the shootout, but he isn’t sure. He said he can’t tell what are entrance and exit wounds and he had difficulty getting answers from his doctors and nurses at the hospital where he remained until Monday.

One bullet appears to have struck Stewart in his right hip then entered his abdomen, he said. Doctors had to remove portions of his intestines. He’s using a colostomy bag.

“I’m still having a lot of trouble dealing with the colostomy,” Stewart said. “It’s a big psychological blow, but it’s also real difficult in here.”

Another bullet struck Stewart in his left leg and damaged nerves there. Stewart said he can’t stand in one place long without “blinding pain” in the leg . . .

Near the end of his visit, Stewart implied more facts of what happened Jan. 4 will emerge.

“I’ve always been a big fan of the truth,” Stewart said. “It’s tough for me to stay silent on some issues.”

He’s also looking for an attorney.

This story is starting to look remarkably similar to the Ryan Frederick case.

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37 Responses to “Matthew Stewart Speaks”

  1. #1 |  CalebT | 

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Matthew Stewart has a happy future ahead of him. I think he’ll spend the rest of his productive life behind bars.

  2. #2 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “This never should have happened.”

    This is what people should take away from this case, no matter how it is resolved legally. All of this happened because Stewart was suspected of possessing a relatively benign substance that had yet to cause an overdose death anywhere.

    Here is some ancient wisdom that modern, militarized police agencies should consider as they continue this maddness:

    “Do not conquer the world with force, for force only causes resistance. Thorns spring up when an army passes. Years of misery follow a great victory. Do only what needs to be done without using violence.”
    ― Lao Tzu

  3. #3 |  mad libertarian guy | 

    @ Helmut

    And miss out on the opportunity to terrorize people in their homes with guns blazing and the opportunity to crack a skull or three? You’re kidding, right?

    The people who are in SWAT units take the job specifically because they will have the chance to exert their authority. They’re thugs, plain and simple, and enjoy bringing terror in to homes.

  4. #4 |  croaker | 

    He’s looking at the death penalty for killing a nobleman. Defined as someone with a tin-plated patent of nobility on his chest.

  5. #5 |  The Lethality of Marijuana « Well Known Biases | 

    […] growing operation. He killed one officer, and was shot himself. He has finally recovered enough to speak about it. It’s hard to even know where to begin. Why would police need a SWAT team to tackle a guy […]

  6. #6 |  bigjohn756 | 

    If it were the other way around then the policeman would get maybe three or four days suspension. With pay, of course.

  7. #7 |  Dante | 

    Wish I could be on his jury.

  8. #8 |  SamK | 

    and the terrible thing is…once he’d jumped out and shot the first guy he probably *did* know they were cops…but what the hell was he supposed to do then? Lie down and die? That really was his only option besides continuing to fight. He’s insanely lucky to be alive.

  9. #9 |  SamK | 

    …and odds are if he hadn’t wounded so many of them, he probably *would* be dead. There just was too much going on for the uninjured members of the strike force to kill him with certainty without abandoning the injured.

  10. #10 |  Bob | 

    Even if he realized they were cops the instant before before he shot the first one, it wouldn’t matter. There he was, gun in hand. If SWAT will mercilessly gun someone down that’s carrying a golf club, they will certainly not hesitate to kill you for daring to think you have the right to defend yourself with a gun in your own home.

    It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. The SWAT guys should have thought of that before breaking into someone’s house like that.

  11. #11 |  Whim | 

    This was truly a tragedy.

    Mr. Stewart “had difficulty getting answers from his doctors and nurses at the hospital where he remained until Monday.” Wonder if the hospital is working in concert with the police, since the police (the taxpayers) have to foot the bill for injuries inflicted by the police.

    There is a Lesson learned: Use a .45 caliber automatic pistol next time.

    With armor-piercing bullets.

    Why didn’t the police just arrest him when he reported to work at Wal-Mart? Boy, that is really some investigative prowess on display.

    He worked a regular night shift there as a stocker.

    Answer: Lack of opportunity for no-resistance Trigger-Time…..

  12. #12 |  Chris Mallory | 

    He may not have officially been under arrest until after he was discharged from the hospital. That is how they play it around here. That way the government isn’t responsible for the hospital bill. They play all kinds of games like that.

  13. #13 |  supercat | 

    I don’t know enough about this case to know how it parallels the Ryan Frederick case, but when reading the latter, I found myself thinking that his lawyer should have made the point that Mr. Frederick had an absolutely reasonable belief that people who would be rather noisily breaking down the door of a conspicuously occupied dwelling are not likely intending to ask the occupant for tea, but almost certainly intend to violently subdue him. Mr. Frederick faced a choice: shoot the intruders, keep the gun trained on the intruders but do not shoot, or put down the gun. The second option would have resulted in Mr. Frederick’s getting shot if the intruders got sight of him before he could identify them–a very real possibility. Anyone who would suggest that Mr. Frederick should not have shot at the intruders would therefore suggest that he should have blindly surrendered to them. It would be interesting to ask some government personnel: is one’s house more likely to be broken into by legitimate law enforcement personnel serving a warrant in legitimate and reasonable fashion, or by robbers? If the latter, then Mr. Frederick made an entirely reasonable decision. If the former, who do people need protection against?

  14. #14 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Stewart sounds articulate and thoughtful, more so than Ryan Frederick, based on this small interview. THat may serve him very well — even better than ppl think possible.

    So glad he is getting rid of the lawyer he had while on meds (that is, the law partner of the prosecutor — more specifically, the prosecutor (Dee something) is the same guy who cleared the same task force in the Todd Blair execution.

  15. #15 |  james | 

    it was bound to happen and if this crap the government is pulling continues there will be more of it. as far as i am concerned the whole neighborhood should have joined in and finished the cops off. in the united states each persons home is there private domain no one can enter without permission..ever. if we continue to stand idly bye and let government agents violate our neighbors then rest assured they will come back for you. this government better get right with the constitution or we are all gonna be finished

  16. #16 |  John Q. Ghost | 

    I agree 100% with Helmut above. This is totally insane. INSANE. For one person to die and another’s life to be ruined because a person in this U.S. country simply decided to grow/smoke some relatively innocuous but unfortunately illegal plants. SOME PLANTS. Someone is dead because of a few plants. I know this sounds like oversimplifying it and probably is to an extent, but the U.S. government seems to have nothing better to do lately than to harass people largely minding their own business, not causing anyone any real grief. Yes this is coming from personal experience, I was lucky enough to have been approached by them in a more straightforward manner rather than have them bumbling into my lawful residence, but no less disruptive to my life. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t accidentally kill one and end his life and ruin the rest of mine. I hate to say it but I think maybe it’s time for a terrorist uprising somewhere nearby to give them something more constructive to do. I’m sorry for offending anyone but needless to say this type of story just goes further to raise the hackles on the back of my neck.

  17. #17 |  Greg Beaman | 

    What I find stunning about this incident is that *before* Stewart woke up, the prosecutor charged him announced he was seeking the death penalty. No attempt to even get Stewart’s side of the story. Does anyone know if Stewart spoke to the police or attorneys before speaking to the press? Have the authorities interviewed him?

    How can a prosecutor already decide that he’s going to seek the death penalty before he’s even interviewed the suspect? Doesn’t the suspect even have a chance to explain himself before the prosecutor decides what he thinks is the appropriate penalty? I guess to some point, one’s actions speak for themselves…but I don’t think we can use that sort of generalization here. These cases are not cut and dried, as the prosecutors and police will have us believe.

    This case illustrates that our government thinks this single plant is so detrimental to society that it will routinely put its agents in deadly, volatile situations in order to eliminate it. And when those agents are killed or injured in their quest to eliminate the plant, the best response is to kill the botanist.

  18. #18 |  Burgers Allday | 

    How can a prosecutor already decide that he’s going to seek the death penalty before he’s even interviewed the suspect?

    Good point, but even more amazing is that when Mr. Dee announced this his old law partner (Randy Richards) was supposedly “representing” Stewart (and doing a bad job of it).

    I think Stewart is still getting rid of Mr. Richards.

    Richards Better not have let Stewart talk to the popos!!!!!

  19. #19 |  Delta | 

    #2: Great quote, thanks for that.

  20. #20 |  el corornado | 

    I gotta say Croaker, #4, is srsly onto something here. In his post here, and on another thread, he gets Medieval on us: tells us that it’s “Illegal to kill a nobleman or anyone of noble status, even in self-defense.”

    And at first, that sounds all snarky & bitter and such. Ironic. Postmodern. But when you *really think about it*, it’s EXACTLY the same legal code they used back in the dark ages through the…what…the mid-19th century. A serf kills a gentle/noble, and the serf dies, & his lands and property are forfeit to the Crown. End of story. Should the opposite happen, though – should Sir Supercop accidentally impale a mere serf while drunk off his ass or cleaning his sword, say – the Nobleman faced a markedly different set of circumstances. Either 1) the matter was dropped because his uncle the Earl/District Atty told the judge to drop it, or – on the off chance he faced trial for his actions – 2) the nobleman paid a nominal fine to the serf’s family. (which he then get back immediately by raising taxes on the unruly peasantry.)

    How does this differ from today? Matt Stewart and Ryan Frederick are looking at execution/life sentences for daring to defend themselves against their betters, who were obviously clearly in the wrong. On the rare occasions when when those same noble, buffoonish Praetorians are reluctantly put in the dock – where just as in days of yore, their testimony outweighs the serfs and is always considered to be the more truthful – they get…fined. Oh, not them *personally*. Heck no! No, the fine/geld grudgingly paid out to the surviving family comes straight outta the account of….the taxes the serfs pay.

    So how ’bout that, gang? We’ve come full circle to the legal code of 1500 years go! Even to the point where lawyers are advising subservience and forelock-tugging on those dangerous occasions when you might come into contact with one of the bloodthirsty savages in blue. The only difference being that when the noblemen shoot the uppity proles/serfs, now they give themselves *medals* for their bravery. (Ruby Ridge Warriors: medals for all. Waco Warriors: medals for all. Elain Gonzalez ninjas: medals for all.)

    The center cannot hold – sooner or later, it all returns to feudalism. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next; and when – or if – the people stop putting up with this shit.

  21. #21 |  Steve Horrigan | 

    It’s the judge’s fault. The guy worked at Wal-Mart. The police can make a traffic stop on the suspect on the way to or from work. Take his keys and go back to the house to search. All you need for this technique is two or three detectives. If they have a warrant, they don’t need PC to stop the car and get the keys. The judge has to specify that this is the method to serve the search warrant and the police can even do a felony traffic stop if they fear the suspect has weapons. Police are just a bunch of outlaw cowboys and it’s getting people killed.

  22. #22 |  marco73 | 

    How can a prosecutor already decide that he’s going to seek the death penalty before he’s even interviewed the suspect? And eight other felonies, any of which would throw Mr. Stewart in prison for decades.

    That’s standard practice whenever a cop is shot and the suspect survives. It has nothing to do with the actual trial, it has all to do with looking tough in the local press.

    Really, what would be the response from the FOP if the prosecutor had said: “We need to gather all the relevant information before we can decide if charges should be filed.” The prosecutor would be filleted by the cops and the press.

  23. #23 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #16 Delta:
    My pleasure. Tao Te Ching is a great read and can help one to change their perspective pretty quickly. At least that has been my experience.

  24. #24 |  Don Cordell | 

    Have you forgotten, you are guilty until proven innocent now. This just makes trials so much quicker and forgone conclusion. YOU must totally submit, and get killed when the SWAT is breaking in to your home. I want citizens to review IF you can find the original tape, when Oswald was asked about killing Kennedy, he said “I’ve not been charged with that” and a second later Ruby shot and killed Oswald, This is the new laws of our nation, and this has been going on for some time. You read over and over how some civicted citizen is finally found innocent and being released from prison, because prosecutores have overstepped the citizens rights to a fair trial. Do you think Mr. Stewart is going to get a fair trial? Sure, and I’m going to win 3 lotteries next week. When I become your president, this is going to STOP.

  25. #25 |  Onlooker | 

    @ #20 el corornado

    Very nice analysis, and chillingly accurate. We the people really need to stanch this trend, or regret the total loss of the rights our founders TRIED to secure for us.

  26. #26 |  jb | 

    This story is starting to look remarkably similar to the Ryan Frederick case.

    Therefore Stewart is 100% fucked. We will be outraged as Stewart is railroaded into ruin

  27. #27 |  Robo | 

    Jury nullification

  28. #28 |  Matthew Stewart Speaks about Marijuana Police Raid Killing - Death Rattle Sports | Death Rattle Sports | 

    […] story is starting to look remarkably similar to the Ryan Frederick case. View SourceSHARE IT Tweet REGISTER NOW! Users must be logged in for immediate display. We will review & post […]

  29. #29 |  Goldbug36 | 

    Another casualty of the insane drug war! The males (should not be called men), who seek LAW ENFORCEMENT jobs, are in love with their uniforms, badges and guns. They are looking for POWER and CONTROL over others. They are no longer PEACE OFFICERS. Most of these males were dominated mommy’s boys who are seeking revenge. They are now the rule, not the exception. We are obviously heading into a police state where nobody will be safe.

  30. #30 |  Whim | 

    Should a backlash ever ensue, the police are very vulnerable.

    They congregate in police stations, drive mostly marked cars, and wear discernible uniforms (all bomb and bullet magnets).

    And, they go home after their shift, usually wearing a uniform. Their neighbors know who are policemen residing in their neighborhood, know where their families live, and know where their children wait for the school bus.

  31. #31 |  NAME REDACTED | 

    Another reason to leave the city behind and live in the country. You are way less likely to be harassed by the cops.

  32. #32 |  Burgers Allday | 

    I’ve got a long post up about this at my blog now:


    I will make the additional observation of:

    look at how the press ask Stewart pointed questions and then explicitly point out when he won’t answer. “he didn’t answer whether he had some indication police officers had entered his home” “He did not elaborate.” “Stewart declined to answer some questions, including whether he was growing marijuana in his home on Jackson Avenue”

    why why why why why don’t they cross examine the police officers this way?

    Stewart held up to the cross examination very, very well. I think Stewart is helped by the interviewer taking an antagonistic role, and printing Stewart’s non-answers. But that isn’t the point. The point is that both sides (or neither side) should be getting this treatment from the press. But you never read something like: “police declined to say how many of the injured were solely victims of friendly fire.” GGGGGGRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!

  33. #33 |  Burgers Allday | 

    correction: my blog is at my sig link — forgot to fill in the blank.

  34. #34 |  Mark-Edward | 

    If he had a rifle instead of a pistol, he might have actually walked away from the incident, and the world would have a couple less tyrants in uniform to worry about. And the prosecutor asking for the death penalty should face the death penalty if Mr. Stewart wins the case.

    Police should face the death penalty every time they kill someone. They should bear the burden of proof that they acted within the law for every single killing, in a court trial, in front of a jury. Every time. None of this “administrative hearing” conducted by their employer and co-workers.

    These violent “surprise attacks” need to stop. This kind of attack on American’s is unlawful, uncivilized, and unnecessary.

  35. #35 |  Zeb | 

    #34. I’ve often thought that the death penalty should be specially reserved for agents of the government who use their position of power to cause someone’s death inappropriately.

  36. #36 |  Jay | 

    This is foolish. Who shoots back at darkly uniformed strangers breaking into one’s home in the middle of the night?

  37. #37 |  jen | 

    God bless Matthew Stewart ! he’s a returned Army Veteran who was treating his Post tramatic stress with a couple of small pot plants! he received 2 metals in the service and was a security guard on the nite shift –
    This Ogden SWAT team brags about doing this every nite of the week – they have killed before as documented on you tube – they also bust up property and shoot pets that get in their way –
    ironically about the same time this happened a woman called 911 asking for permission to shoot her home invaders =it was given, she shot = no charges filed!
    Great to know how our vets supposedly fighting for liberty are terrorised by the homeland goonies with no freedom to defend themselves! so much for hypocritical USA pot laws that allow this atrosity to thrive!