Day three offers closing arguments in Stewart trial

Cathy Decker, Staff Reporter

Cindy Stewart of Keithsburg, 54, took the stand Tuesday afternoon, June 21, 2011, during the defense portion of a jury trial that started Monday in Mercer County Court.

In the morning the state continued its case against Stewart in front of the 12 jurors (five men and seven women). First to testify was Special Agent Michael Kuehl from the Illinois State Police meth response team, which was called in to clean up a meth lab discovered at the Stewart home in Keithsburg. Kuehl was one of four sent to the Stewart home. He testified about what was discovered in the home and where it was found. He also testified about the affects of meth and the report he prepared for the case.

Other state witnesses included two pharmacists from the Aledo Walmart and a Monmouth Walgreens,  a staff member from the Mercer County Assessor's office, who testified about aerial and street maps from Keithsburg, produced in the assessor's office, an individual from the Illinois Crime Lab in Morton and Mercer County Detective Dusty Terrill, the head investigator for the county.

After the lunch break Stewart's attorney Kate Drummond argued before the judge to dismiss the case, because there was not enough evidence to convict and evidence that Judge Frank Fuhr denied the motion and the jury returned.

Besides Cindy's testimony, the defense called forward Robert Merchie, who runs a private detective agency. Merchie testified to videotaping and measuring the distance from the Stewart home to St. Mary's Church, which according to his calculations was more than 1,000 feet.

Cindy Stewart was the final witness for the defense. She talked to the jury about her fear of her husband and domestic violence that occurred through more than 10 years of her married life.

Jim Stewart was convicted earlier this month in a plea agreement and given 10 years in the Department of Corrections.