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11/27/2012 6:01:00 AM
Wikieup abuser wants to 'walk the walk' - to prison
These booking photos of Bernard Stewart – from his initial arrest, left, and now – show how his appearance has changed since 2011.
These booking photos of Bernard Stewart – from his initial arrest, left, and now – show how his appearance has changed since 2011.
Erin Taylor
Miner Staff Reporter

Correction: Prosecutor Megan McCoy clarified that Bernard Stewart was offered a plea deal that wouldn't have guaranteed 10 years in prison but rather would have given the judge the option of sentencing Stewart to between 10 and 79 years in prison.

A 45-year-old Wikieup man arrested for abusing his family turned down a plea deal offering 10 years in prison and instead will face a minimum of seven decades behind bars after pleading guilty last week.

Bernard Scott Stewart's attorney said in court pleadings that his client has ignored his legal advice and is instead following instructions from God.

Attorney Alexander Bolobonoff said he advised Stewart that he would likely face a life sentence for pleading guilty without the benefit of a plea agreement to 17 felony charges related to the physical and sexual abuse of his wife and two children.

Bolobonoff said during a change of plea hearing before Judge Derek Carlisle Wednesday that prosecutor Megan McCoy had initially offered 10 years in prison. Stewart now faces a minimum of 72 years in prison based on the classification of charges as "dangerous crimes against children."

"(He said) he has to 'walk the walk' that has been given to him (by God) and he needs to go down this path," Bolobonoff wrote in a motion to the court.

Stewart's mental state had been at issue following his arrest in August 2011, but he is considered legally competent following almost a year of treatment at a mental hospital and after being prescribed medication to treat a bipolar disorder and manic depression.

Bolobonoff said in court files that Stewart presents himself as calm, articulate and intelligent but that he is delusional and claims to communicate with God.

Stewart told authorities after his arrest that he was instructed by God to take his daughter as his wife and have his wife take their son as her husband. Court files indicate that he sexually abused family members in front of one another.

The mother fled the home with her children while Stewart was out hunting and went to authorities in March 2011. She said her husband did not allow the family, who lived in an isolated area, to use petroleum products, meaning they could not use gas for heat or fuel.

The family was also told they could only eat what nature provided, which included donkeys on the family's property, along with birdseed and rabbits.

Stewart said he understood the lengthy prison sentence he is now guaranteed, but asked the judge several times to make sure prison staff knows to continue his medication.

Stewart also looked markedly different from his jail booking photo. Once clean cut, he now has thick black hair and a bushy black beard.

He will be formally sentenced Dec. 20.

Related Stories:
• Death of incarcerated Mohave County man investigated
• Guilty plea ends '20 years of hell' for Kingman family
• Kingman man abused his children, MCSO says

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Article comment by: Penny Estelle

If a person wasn't a believer in God before, they sure should be now. With what I've seen of the justice system, God wants to make sure he is in prison for a long time.

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Article comment by: A L

Who said anything about being Athiest? Remember while you are busy pointing your finger at someone, 3 are pointing back at you.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: tj denton

fox hound. i love how athiests consistantly try to mock Christianity. yeah maybe this guy isnt all there, but you liberals and athiests constantly preach tolerance of others right? well why is it that they only tolerate the people THEY agree with?? and make fun of and mock the rest? seems like definition of hypocrisy to me. but hey, liberals and athiests never admit when they are wrong and hypocritical, so i expect no response.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Desert Angel

If he believes he can be cleansed from his sin by sitting in jail for the rest of his life, then maybe he isn't so dumb after all. Free hots n a cot for life with no work involved? Sounds like he just found himself a new home.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Do Your Jobs You Lazy Prosecutors And Judges!

Why would they even offer a plea deal to this person??? The baloney excuse has often been that they don't have enough evidence against a defendant to give them the maximum sentence anyway, well obviously in this case they do have enough evidence because they're talking about what an idiot this guy is for not taking the deal!

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

When God is talking to you, you might want to have someone else sit next to you and listen along with you. If the person next to you didn't hear what God said you might want to consider that a delusion. Just a thought. There is just so much evil done in his name its really hard to know who he is really talking to.

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