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.
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.
Update, 11:47 a.m. April 6: The Adams County coroner has now confirmed that the woman killed at the Westminster branch of Edward Jones was Norma Stewart, 71. Her former husband, Richard Paul Stewart, was taken into custody yesterday in Littlefield, Texas -- and while he's yet to be charged in the case, investigators from the Westminster Police Department definitely want to have a serious conversation with him.
Get more details about that, and the incident as a whole, by checking out our previous coverage below.
Update, 7:27 a.m. April 6: Richard Paul Stewart, 71, the designated person of interest in a homicide at an Edward Jones branch in Westminster, is currently in custody. But he's a long way from the scene of the crime.
Instead, he's behind bars in, of all places, Littlefield, Texas. At this point, however, we have only the vaguest inkling about why.
A release issued late last night by the Westminster Police Department notes that Stewart was "contacted" in Littlefield and is in custody "on unrelated charges." However, he won't be going anywhere soon. The WPD note goes on to say Stewart "will also be held on a warrant for investigation of murder" in Westminster.
Still no name on the victim in this case, but more info on Stewart. He was reportedly busted on a domestic violence beef in 2008, shortly before his wife of 45 years filed for divorce.
Look below for our earlier coverage.
Update, 6:57 a.m. April 5: The Westminster Police Department has yet to release the name of the woman found dead at an Edward Jones office yesterday morning.
But the WPD is now ID'ing the person of interest in the case: Richard Paul Stewart, 71.
Stewart was the murder victim's ex-husband, according to the Westminster police, and they've added a second vehicle, in addition to a 1997 Buick LeSabre, to the watch list associated with him: a silver-metallic 2009 Chevy Malibu with Minnesota plates.
As for the instrument of death, the WPD has not officially released that information, but there are mixed messages in media reports. Note that in the Fox31 video report on view below, no weapon is mentioned -- but the text accompanying it declares that the woman was shot to death.
Look below to see the latest release, a larger photo of Stewart, that Fox31 package and our previous coverage.
Westminster Police Department release:
Westminster Police are looking for a person of interest in the shooting of a female employee who worked at Edward Jones on April 4, 2011.
Police are asking for the public's help in locating Richard Paul Stewart DOB/02-10-1940. Mr. Stewart is approximately 5'10" 140-190 lbs. with brown/gray hair.
Mr. Stewart is the deceased female's ex-husband.
Westminster Police believe Mr. Stewart may be driving a 1997 Buick LaSabre Custom, dark blue in color with Missouri handicapped license plate BX97J.
A second possible vehicle is a 2009 Chevy Malibu LT, silver ice metallic in color with a possible Minnesota license plate. Unknown on the exact plate number
It is possible that Mr. Stewart may be armed and dangerous and we are asking the public to contact Westminster Police Department if they know his whereabouts or see Mr. Stewart or his vehicle(s). 303 658 4360.
Original item, 1:50 p.m. April 4: Earlier today, the Westminster Police Department let the media know about a deceased female found at the Edward Jones branch at 11265 Decatur Street -- but there was no specific mention of foul play. There is now, however. A WPD spokeswoman confirms that the case is being investigated as a homicide and notes that a person of interest driving a 1997 Buick LeSabre is actively being sought.
At this point, Westminster Investigator Cheri Spottke declines to provide specific information about the identity of the victim or the aforementioned person of interest, or even the kind of the weapon used in the crime. "We're still trying to track down a bunch of leads," she points out. Among them is the LeSabre, bearing a Missouri license plate with the letter-and-number combo BX97J. (When this post first went live, the WPD didn't know what color the car is. They now believe it to be dark blue.) According to Spottke, police believe the driver may be armed and dangerous, although he hasn't been officially named as a suspect.
The WPD received an alarm from Edward Jones at around 7:30 a.m., Spottke says, adding that the victim was inside. "We don't believe the body was there over the weekend," she allows. "We believe it happened this morning."
See the two Westminster Police Department releases below, followed by a photo of a vehicle similar to the one eyeballed near the scene and an interactive graphic of the business complex in question; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
Westminster Police Department release, 11:27 a.m.
On April 4, 2011 Westminster Police Department received a duress alarm from Edward Jones, located at 11265 Decatur St. #500. Officers arrived on scene and found a deceased female.
Detectives are working to identify the female party and contact anyone who might have information or been in the area this morning around 7:00 A.M.
If you have any information, please contact the Westminster Police Department at 303 658 4360.
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Westminster Police Department release, 1:09 p.m.
Deceased female update
In connection with the deceased female at Edward Jones, the Westminster Police Department is looking for a vehicle/person of interest.
The vehicle is a 1997 Buick LaSabre Custom. It has Missouri handicap license plate BX97J... The police department is looking to talk to the person(s) driving this vehicle. We do believe the person may be armed and dangerous and are asking the public to contact the Westminster Police Department at 303 658 4360.
Attached is a photograph of a 1997 Buick LaSabre, it is NOT a picture of the exact vehicle, only a stock photo.
View Larger Map
More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Amara Kamoh Sayon, Cherise Houston ID'd as homicide victims in S. Quince shooting (64, 65)."