Carthage Nursing Home Massacre
On March 29, 2009, Robert Stewart, 45, entered a nursing home in Carthage, reportedly with the intention of killing his estranged wife who worked there as a nurse. Instead, Stewart ended up murdering seven nursing home patients, aged 75 through 98, and a 39-year-old male nurse.
Stewart, dressed in a bib overall, arrived at the parking lot of the nursing home just before 10 a.m., where he shot several times at his wife’s car.
Stewart entered the building and in a “very calm and deliberate” manner went room to room slaying his victims. He shot defenseless, elderly residents as they sat in wheelchairs and as they lay in bed, walking up to within a few feet of some of them before pointing his 12-gauge shotgun and firing.
Carthage police officer Justin Garner ended the massacre when he shot Stewart in the chest. Garner was wounded in the rampage.
Stewart showed the same lack of emotion when a jury found him guilty of murder as witnesses say he displayed when he gunned down eight people at the Carthage nursing home,one of the worst massacres in our state’s history.
In September of 2011, Stewart was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 141 to 179 years in prison. The verdict is considered a partial victory for Stewart’s defense team, which kept him off death row by arguing that Stewart was of “diminished capacity” at the time of the shooting.