The 37-year-old Joplin man pleaded guilty in federal court in May to charges enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit activity.
But as he nears his 10:30 a.m. October 2 sentencing date in federal court in Springfield, Stewart has been remembering his childhood and in a memorandum filed today his attorney explained why Stewart should receive a lighter sentence for his crime.
Defendant was born premature, weighing less than a pound, because his mother smoked crack cocaine while she was pregnant with him. When he was only two years old, Defendant’s mother was shot to death in the head at a club in New Orleans, Louisiana, and died in the street, when he was young. Defendant’s father overdosed on heroin in front of him and his siblings after learning of his mother’s death. This event haunted the Defendant throughout his life.
Stewart was facing three counts of statutory rape in Jasper County Circuit Court when a federal grand jury indicted him in April.
As a result, the Defendant “hates drugs” and has never used drugs. After his parents’ deaths, the Defendant and his siblings were raised by his grandmother in the “hood” of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Defendant grew up in a very violent area of town.
His crimes were outlined in the plea agreement:
On December 29, 2016, Jane Doe was interviewed at the Children’s Center in Joplin by forensic interviewer Tiffany Bogardus.
During the course of the interview, Jane Doe informed the interviewer that she and STEWART communicated via text messages transmitted with her iPhone and ZTE981 cellular telephones.
During these text exchanges, STEWART asked Jane Doe to produce and transmit sexually explicit images of herself. Jane Doe complied with these requests, and produced and transmitted sexually explicit images of herself, taken at STEWART’s direction, to STEWART via text messaging. The photographs were taken using the aforementioned cellular telephones, both of which were manufactured outside the state of Missouri.
The investigators were able to seize and examine both cell phones utilized by Jane Doe to communicate with STEWART. A forensic examination detailed numerous text messages sent between Jane Doe and STEWART discussing sexual activity.
Several sexually explicit photographs of Jane Doe were also recovered from the telephones. Photographs of STEWART posing naked were also located on the phone.
On January 26, 2017, Joplin Police Detective Jason Hutchins made contact with STEWART at the Jasper County Detention Center with regard to a separate investigation. STEWART admitted having been involved in a sexual relationship with Jane Doe