The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Accused Utah Cop-Killer Had Antigovernment Views

By Bill Morlin on April 5, 2012 - 3:31 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Extremist Crime

A Utah man accused of murdering one police officer and wounding five others developed antigovernment views after being fired as an armed security guard for the IRS, his father told Hatewatch today.

Matthew David Stewart, a 37-year-old decorated Army veteran accused of fatally shooting a police officer in January, previously worked for a private contractor providing security at the IRS Service Center and nine other IRS offices scattered throughout Ogden, Utah, said his father, Michael Stewart.

His son was fired after he was caught accessing a computer network in an IRS building while pulling a graveyard shift, the father said. After a period of unemployment, Matthew Stewart was hired to stock shelves at Wal-Mart, a job he still held on Jan. 4, when members of a Weber County, Utah, drug task force showed up, looking for marijuana plants in his Ogden home.

In an ensuing exchange of gunfire, Matthew Stewart is accused of fatally shooting Ogden police officer Jared Francom, assigned to the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, and wounding five other officers involved in serving the search warrant. If convicted, Stewart faces a possible death penalty.

Court documents filed in the aggravated murder case allege that Stewart previously made several antigovernment statements to a former girlfriend, enjoyed playing “World of Warcraft” computer games, was intrigued by conspiracies surrounding the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and didn’t believe the Constitution gives the federal government the right to collect taxes.

The girlfriend told investigators that Stewart said if the IRS ever forced him to pay taxes, “he knew how to get into the IRS [buildings] and once inside he would kill IRS employees.” The woman, whose identity is redacted from court documents, now reportedly is in hiding after her identity was divulged on a Facebook page for supporters of Matthew Stewart.

A computer taken from Stewart’s home after the fatal shooting had been used to access antigovernment and anti-police websites, along with information about marijuana manufacturing methods, court documents say.

Michael Stewart told Hatewatch that it was “not fair” to label his son as antigovernment. “I think he had questions about the government; a lot of us do,” including laws that prohibit people from growing, possessing or using marijuana, the father said.

The court documents, quoting the former girlfriend, claim that Matthew Stewart boasted last summer that he would “go out in a blaze of glory and shoot to kill” if anyone interfered with his marijuana growing.

“Everybody can have their own opinions,” the suspect’s father said. “This is a free country. A lot of people didn’t like what happened at Waco, at Oklahoma City. But just because you look at this stuff on the computer, doesn’t make you a terrorist or antigovernment.”

Michael Stewart said he believes his son, who was asleep when he heard breaking glass, initially thought intruders were responsible and grabbed his 9mm handgun.  The drug task force officers, some of them wearing street clothes, kicked in a rear door at 8:40 p.m., after dark, “when they could have arrested him at work,’’ the suspect’s father said.

Court documents also accused Matthew Stewart of possessing child pornography images on his computer and bomb-making components in a closet.

“Not true, either of them,” the father said. “What they’re saying was a ‘bomb’ was part of a costume. My son dressed up as Osama bin Laden on Halloween. That’s all that was.  They’re trying to demonize him with hearsay in these court papers because of what a lot of people think was a botched arrest over a little pot.”

Supporters who have put up a Facebook page and web site believe the case points to the need for local police agencies to lower the priority given to marijuana possession cases. Michael Stewart said supporters, including friends his son knew at the IRS, will hold a rally April 12 at the Weber County Library.

Members of the same drug task force fatally shot suspected drug dealer Todd E. Blair in September 2010 in nearby Roy, Utah, and that case also generated community discussion, Michael Stewart said.

“We’re not trying to get Matthew to be a ‘poster boy’ for the legalization of drugs,’’ his father said. “What we’re trying to do is get local law enforcement to look at their enforcement priorities.”

Michael Stewart said his son was growing a few marijuana plants for his own use, had never had been arrested for selling drugs, and had no criminal record. “He was turned in by an old girlfriend because he was growing pot — self-medicating for anxiety and depression. Now, look where this got us.”

  • concernedcitizen

    the concerned citizen posting above uses a space in their name those are not my comments.

    I just want to make sure that we are aware that I have a troll.

  • concernedcitizen

    Well that’s an interesting view Rose and of course I found this in 2013, I suppose threatening to go into a building and kill innocent Americans performing their jobs is okay?

    Accessing IRS databases is a serious offense and he could have been attacking the accounts of innocent Americans.

    We have a system of fighting it’s called a Judicial System, it’s the law we use lawyers, judges, juries and we have self representation or court appointed lawyers and those who work Pro Bono, but what we don’t have is a system that allows for anyone of us to take guns or other weapons and at will whenever we feel the need take a life of an innocent person.

    If this kid only gets charged for the marijuana plants then he’s gotten off pretty good, given the threats he’s made on taking the lives of others.

  • Rose Alford

    It is not right to violently raid a home of an American citizen over a harmless plant. The prohibition against marijuana is the main culprit in this story. These bully cops go after marijuana growers because they feel they are non-violent and are easy pickings for seizure of property. The cops get extra money for these so called “no knock raids” and to me it is no different than the Gestapo.

  • concerned citizen

    and if you dont think the police have a violent gang mentality go do a you tube search, theres 1000s of police brutality cases! most of you wont care till it happens to YOU! then we will hear you crying for help!

  • Tony

    ok ARON , you must be so extremely intelligent that you completely understand how the world works! you should enlighten me ; ) Im sure you know the bill of rights by heart and you probably could recite the Constitution word for word! right ? ya I’m guessing that you wouldn’t know your ass from a hole in the ground, and you can go ahead and hide your head in that same hole you think is your ass! oh you pointed out my hurried one hand typing, that makes you soooo smart! your prize is the whole internet! So I guess you know your history so well that you know the 16th amendment was drafted by the big banks (jp morgan,chase etc) to make the average citizen pay “taxes” on your trading labor for money. I guess you also know that the Federal Reserve Bank was created at the time that the 16th amendment was illegally pushed through,just like the patriot act and so many other bills that are a assault on our rights!The federal Reserve is a private institution! And I guess you ,in all you shinning intelligence know with all your heart that the government knows whats best for you and NEVER lies! Its great how when people start thinking for themselves instead of letting some one else do it for you you are a “wacko” or in your words Aron”not expressing yourself like a adult” tell you what, every one here that doesnt think that we are being lied to and completely deceived by our “elected” officials, go ahead and keep watching your NFL and your MTV. Keep playing those video games and buying things you dont need. and when you keep ignoring your rights they will disappear. PS dont believe me about the fed reserve or the 16th amendment? how bout actually READING about it before you open your ignorant mouth. I’ve probably forgotten more books than you have read in your whole sheeple life!

  • http://twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Tony,

    Judging by your complete and utter ignorance of English grammar, I get the distinct feeling you haven’t read very many books yourself. Why don’t you come back when you can express yourself like an adult?

  • Tony

    Im sick and tired of the government making people out to be anti american when they dont support the criminal actions our government does in OUR names! I dont agree with what the government does and want them out , am I a anti government terrorist now? Oh theres a pic of my daughter,niece,or other relative when they were toddlers in a bath or some other silly moment, so I guess that makes me a “child pornographer”?! come on people cant you see whats going on here? this is what you would call tyranny! the very definition of it! the police got what they wanted, almost every time they crash through a door in paramilitary gear w assault rifles ready, they are looking for a fight. they heard the hear say of some deranged girlfriend and because she said he would go out in a blaze of glory they tried to “PUNK” him down and show him whos the tuff guys.. well I guess they know now ,they arent as tuff as they think they are. It is our right as american citizens, hell as human beings to protect ourselves and our property from people who seek to do us harm. And I for one am positve those thugs on the OPD strike team are bullies with a gang mentality. go ahead and try to tell me Im wrong! Ive experienced the mentality my self. The police protect each other like gangmebers(lying for each other and fighting physicaly anybody who tests there authority)and they are VIOLENT just like gangmembers! They are the biggest gang in the country and unfortunatly they have the support of the government that is supposed to be representing us, the people! the police are no longer public servants, they are corporate americas servants, as the government is ran by the people that have the most money. and they dont care about us or our families! only there profits! Time to wake up AMERICA, this is what our for fathers warned us about! thats why they wrote the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights the way they did! dont believe me read a book look up Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and Ben Franklin….

  • Ian

    CriticalDragon,

    Many on the far-right to not believe there is a Sixteenth Amendment. They argue that the amdment is invalid because some states passed versions with different punctuation.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    Aron,

    I agree, this guy does sound like an Alex Jones crazy.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GargamelGold?feature=mhee CriticalDragon1177

    Bill Morlin,

    He didn’t believe the Constitution gives the federal government the right to collect taxes? Just how carefully did he read the constitution, including the sixteenth amendment?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....nstitution

  • http://twitter.com/AronL Aron

    Yes, arrest him at work. I’m sure that’ll go over well. And he was asleep at 8pm? I call shenanigans.

    This guy has Alex Jones Loser written all over him.

    (Full disclosure: I am currently playing a video game as I write this.)