Richard Paul Stewart hospitalized in Texas following Norma Stewart's murder (67)
Update: We're getting more information about the arrest of Richard Paul Stewart, a person of interest in the slaying of his ex-wife, Norma Stewart, at the Edward Jones branch in Westminster. Granted, some of that info is a bit garbled. However, it's clear that Stewart is currently hospitalized after being pulled over for driving erratically by, of all people, a Texas game warden.
Big pic below.
According to a release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife department that can be seen below, a game warden was en route to a meeting when he saw a car swerving from lane to lane near the community of Littlefield -- which makes one wonder how the hell Stewart managed to make it there all the way from Colorado.
After stopping the vehicle, the warden called in the plate number and got a hit -- but not from the Westminster Police Department. Turns out Stewart was also named in an outstanding assault warrant out of North Carolina. But instead of taking him directly to jail, the warden called an ambulance, because the suspect was confused and had a hard time remaining conscious.
To the hospital he went -- after which, the parks and wildlife release continues, authorities learned that Stewart was wanted on a first-degree murder charge stemming from the Westminster incident. Except that he isn't: As a subsequent Westminster Police release also seen here makes clear, no charges have yet been filed against him, although that only seems like a matter of time. In addition, the document refers to his bust in Texas as a "DUI contact," even though the the parks department statement mentions alcohol only in the context of the warden's suspicions, and not in relation to a specific accusation.
Bottom line: Stewart's extradition depends on his health. See the aforementioned releases below, followed by our previous coverage.
Texas Parks and Wildlife department release, April 6:
Texas Game Warden Arrests Murder Suspect
LITTLEFIELD -- A Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game warden has arrested a 71-year-old man wanted in Colorado for first degree murder in the shooting death of his wife of 45 years.
Game Warden Lance May was on his way to a meeting with a group of Bailey County land owners to discuss deer hunting issues about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday when he saw a west-bound late model car swerving from lane to lane on U.S. Highway 84 and Loop 430 about a mile east of Littlefield.
Suspecting an intoxicated driver, the warden briefly followed the car as it continued to operate erratically, stopping it at the intersection of Wayland Jennings and Badger Streets in Littlefield. May routinely radioed in the plate number of the vehicle to obtain registration information and soon learned the driver was wanted on an assault warrant issued in Mecklenburg County, N.C. and arrested him.
The man was identified as Richard Paul Stewart of Independence, MO.
While talking with Stewart, who seemed to be confused and having difficulty remaining conscious, May became concerned for the man's health and called for an ambulance. The man was taken to Lamb County Health Care Center in Littlefield. About midnight, he was transferred to the intensive care unit at University Medical Center in Lubbock.
About the same time, May received notification that an arrest warrant for first degree murder and domestic violence had been issued for Stewart in connection with the fatal shooting of Norma Stewart, 71, about 7 a.m. Monday in Westminster, CO.
Game Warden Maj. Rick Gully of Lubbock said Stewart remains under guard Wednesday at the Lubbock hospital.
May, originally from Lubbock, has been stationed in Lamb County since his graduation from the TPWD game warden academy four years ago.
Westminster Police Department release, April 6:
Plans for Extradition Dependent on Release from Hospital
April 5, 2011 around 2:00 p.m. Richard Paul Stewart (DOB: 02-10-40) was contacted on a traffic stop on suspicion of driving drunk by game wardens from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Mr. Stewart was taken to a hospital in the Lubbock, TX area on non-law enforcement related medical issues. Mr. Stewart is currently being guarded at the hospital by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement. He will be guarded until he is discharged from the hospital.
The status of Mr. Stewart and his medical condition is not a matter for the police to release. Pending his release from the hospital the judicial process for his extradition to Colorado will proceed. There is no immediate timeline as to when he would be released or extradited. Extradition is a judicial process that involves the district attorney's office and court system.
Westminster police are unable to comment on the DUI contact in Texas or pending criminal charges in North Carolina. Our investigation is ongoing and there is additional follow up that needs to be conducted at this time. Mr. Stewart has not been arrested and charges have not been filed in relation to our homicide investigation at the time of this release.
No additional information is available for release at this time. Please contact Investigator Trevor Materasso regarding any questions about this press release at 303-658-4427.