If the Preliminary hearing on Matthew David Stewart is any indication, the trial should be a doozy.
Stewart was bound over for trial Friday after a 3-day prelim (click) that showed a pretty serious shoot-out in the tiny house on Jackson Avenue. Police describe making a lot of cop-like noise while they searched through the house, then a hand coming out of a doorway and a pistol blazing away.
Prosecutors are calling it an ambush, although that sounds like a bit of a stretch — an ambush would mean that Stewart knew the cops were coming and set things up ahead of time. His being barefoot and wearing a bathrobe would seem to argue against that.
The Prosecution also argues that Stewart should have quit shooting when he knew it was cops in his home — heck, I suspect they are arguing he shouldn’t have started shooting, that cops yelling “Police!” and “Search Warrant!” should have told him that it was cops in his home and he should sit tight and let them do their things.
On the other hand, Mr. Stewart was already operating on the other side of the law if he was growing marijuana, and it can be argued that someone who is not all that law-abiding would be a bit paranoid about people coming into his home. And if that person claims to be a cop? Well, what better way to get an innocent castle defender to let down his guard?
From what I can tell, the current gun culture in the US is fed, at least in part, on fear of the government. When that government comes into peoples homes with guns, it has to expect that, someday, someone is going to shoot back, no matter how loudly it announces itself.
Did I just blame the Jared Francom for his own death? No no no.
I blame a situation involving police force dependent on heavy power and gun owners who fear that power and feel they have to respond with their own. This is a situation that is asking to explode in everyone’s face eventually, and apparently it did.
I really hope that, at some point in time, the prosecution sets out the police strategy in this case and explains why an entry by the task force was needed IN THIS CASE.
If they thought they were dealing with an armed guy, which argues for force, then why weren’t they all wearing body armor? But if they weren’t expecting trouble (no body armor) then why all the heavy force? Why not wait until Stewart’s leaving for work and serve the warrant on him then? Of course, with a wearch warrant that involves knocking, announcing and then entering you are always taking a chance on surprising some half-awake gunslinger who will shoot first and ask questions later, but doesn’t that again argue for mandatory body armor?
Or maybe they figured the situation wasn’t dangerous and they just always go in heavy. That’s scary — where do they draw the line, at parking tickets?
Many questions, still waiting for answer.
The only thing we know for certain is that this bust sure as heck didn’t go the way it should have and a cop died and a bunch more were damaged for life and one other guy is looking at the death penalty, all because of 16 marijuana plants.
What that tells me is someone screwed up and I really hope that that problem is being dealt with so it doesn’t happen again.
We shall see.