Man convicted of killing eight at North Carolina nursing home

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 03, 2011 8:14 PM
Man convicted of killing eight at North Carolina nursing home

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - A North Carolina man will spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury on Saturday found him guilty of fatally shooting eight people at a nursing home in March 2009.

Jurors found Robert Stewart, 47, guilty of eight counts of second-degree murder connected to the rampage that left seven patients and a nurse dead in Carthage, a small town about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh.

A judge then sentenced Stewart to 189 to 236 months in prison on each count, to be run consecutively, defense attorney Frank Wells told Reuters.

The state charged Stewart with first-degree murder, arguing he had gone to the Pinelake Health and Rehab Center looking for his wife who had recently left him.

But attorneys for Stewart, a disabled house painter and former member of the National Guard, said he had so many prescription drugs in his system that he had no conscious control over his actions.

"There are no winners in a case like this," Wells said.

"Our client goes to prison for the rest of his life. And the families of the victims (are) obviously hurting very much. They are really decent people, and your heart just goes out to them."

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jerry Norton)