Archive for Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jefferson County rancher dies in prison; man convicted of killing wife, burying body in abandoned well

October 6, 2011

A Jefferson County man who pleaded guilty to killing his wife 27 years ago died in prison this week, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections website.

Charles Curtis Stewart, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 1984 beating death of his wife, died Monday at age 82.

Stewart’s wife, Jeannie Stewart, was first reported missing in August 1984, but her body wasn’t discovered until 11 months later when police searched the couple’s 1,065-acre ranch in southeastern Jefferson County. Mrs. Stewart’s body was found in a 20-foot deep abandoned well — which had been covered with dirt and rocks — in a remote portion of couple’s property.

A pathologist determined Mrs. Stewart died from several blows to the head, possibly from a 28-inch metal pipe found in the well.

Her husband had been imprisoned at the Lansing Correctional Facility and was serving a sentence of 12 years to life at the time of his death. He had been up for parole several times in the past decade.

Inquiries to the Department of Corrections seeking his cause of death were not immediately responded to. Check LJWorld.com for updates.

Here are links to original Lawrence Journal-World stories from the preliminary hearing and Stewart's guilty plea.

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