Doc's orders for unborn baby's mom postpone man's trial

Friday, September 17, 2010

A doctor's order for "modified bed rest" before the birth of her baby next week would have prevented an essential witness from testifying at a criminal trial that was due to start this week.

Therefore, defense attorney John S. Colley cited this - and other problems with witnesses and evidence - in his motion for a continuance in the trial of Dallas Jay Stewart.

Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler granted the motion, and Stewart's trial has been rescheduled to start on Jan. 12.

Stewart, 28, formerly of Sumerset Circle, was arrested in August 2009, and has remained jailed since then, held in lieu of $500,000 bond.

He was indicted by the grand jury last September. The 26-count indictment listed: one count of exhibition of materials to a minor; 11 counts of rape of a child; and 14 counts of aggravated sexual battery. Stewart is alleged to have shown the "materials" to one girl, but to have committed the rapes and the sexual battery with her and another girl, both younger than age 13, in July 2009.

In October, a direct presentment was made to the grand jury, and it handed down an additional indictment for Stewart, alleging that he "did knowingly, unlawfully and feloniously possess material that included a minor engaged in sexual activity, or simulated sexual activity, that is patently offensive." Significantly, the number of these pornographic materials or images is said to have exceeded 100, making it a Class B Felony.

Indictment does not mean a person is guilty. That's determined by a trial, or by a guilty plea.