Stewart guilty of murder, charged with attempted murder

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- It took a jury just one hour to find 34-year-old James Stewart guilty of the 1999 murder of Christopher Pierre. He was also arraigned on new charges of attempted murder.

On September 17, 1999, Pierre's body was found at the corner of Fremont and Humbolt Streets in South Bend. He had been shot in the back of his neck.

Stewart was charged with the murder in May 2000, but a critical witness refused to testify and the charges were dismissed in 2002.

Cold case investigators reopened the case and on March 1, 2013, Stewart was charged with Pierre's murder.

Sentencing is set for June 11.

In addition to reading the guilty verdict, Stewart was arraigned on attempted murder charges.

He is accused of trying to choke another inmate on April 20, 2014 while in the St. Joseph County Jail.

According to the criminal complaint, Stewart got Gregory Spurgeon in a choke hold. Deputies ordered Stewart off Spurgeon and he released the victim.

Stewart allegedly said, "I was going to kill that [expletive deleted]!"

Spurgeon was unresponsive.

Stewart told one of the deputies he, "Had to get that [expletive deleted]" because Spurgeon had disrespected him.

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