The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Stafford wants shot at Stewart
No matter how much time Laurence Alan Stewart II gets when he is sentenced in Montana, at some point he will make a return trip to Stafford County.
Stewart, 25, a former Stafford resident, was convicted Monday in Cascade County of seven counts of attempted deliberate homicide.
Stewart threw pipe bombs at police officers during a 45-minute chase across two counties in Montana on Nov. 1.
Stewart was already wanted by local authorities after being accused of setting off pipe bombs Oct. 30 at the homes of a deputy and Stewart’s ex-fiancée in Stafford and the former Fredericksburg home of another Stafford deputy.
He was on the run from Virginia and federal authorities when he was stopped on a traffic violation in Montana, before the wild chase began there.
Stafford Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen said his office has already taken the necessary steps to ensure that Stewart will be brought here to stand trial after he is sentenced in Montana.
His sentencing there is set for June 20, and Montana authorities are seeking a life sentence without parole.
“Without question we are going to try him for what he did here,” Olsen said. “We are all very lucky that he didn’t hurt someone. He was certainly trying to.”
Olsen said paperwork on file in Montana forbids his release there without first being brought to Virginia.
After he receives his Montana sentence, Olsen said he will formally request temporary custody of Stewart so that he can be tried here. Local authorities would then have six months to try the cases against him.
Once his Virginia trials are over, Stewart would be returned to Montana to finish serving whatever sentence he gets there.
If convicted here, Olsen said he would automatically be brought back to serve his Virginia sentence if he is ever released in Montana.
Montana was able to try its charges against Stewart first because that’s where he was apprehended.
No one was injured by the exploding bombs, but considerable damage was done to the local homes.
Stafford Sheriff Charles Jett said at the time that the deputies targeted had been involved in a previous prosecution involving Stewart and the former fiancée, who lived in Stafford but has since moved to another state.
Police believe Stewart began planning his attacks weeks before they actually took place.
Among the numerous local charges facing Stewart are two counts of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404