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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Edward Patrick Stewart #200804 (1961-2014)

Edward Ross Stewart died in prison at age 52


Edward Patrick Stewart was born October 24, 1961, and died of an apparent heart attack at the Buckingham Correctional Center near Dillwyn, Virginia, at about 1:41 pm February 18, 2014.

Two persons at BKCC wrote me last month about the loss of Mr. Stewart, a model inmate and a close friend, which prompted me to do a February 28, 2014, blog about his untimely (and preventable?) death. I was recently sent the above photo, and I have since tried to find an obituary or other information about his life or his death on the Internet, but the only thing that came up with a Google search was a link my own blog. According to one of my sources, Edward had a mother and two sisters still living, but none seems to have kept in touch with him in recent years. His step mother in Ohio had apparently agreed to provide a place for him to live and get a new start if he were to earn his long sought for parole.

Mr. Stewart was serving a life sentence plus 25 years for a crime he committed over two decades ago. Due to his exemplary behavior in prison he had been parole eligible for some time (having been incarcerated prior to parole being abolished in 1995 under then Governor George Allen). Sadly, Virginia' parole grant remains one of the lowest in the nation, at under 4%.

Something about this case haunts me. Ed deserved a chance to prove that he could be a productive citizen on the outside, having learned to be one in the very stressful situation he lived in behind bars. He most certainly did not deserve to die as he did, and at only 52 years of age.

Meanwhile, there is supposedly an independent investigation being conducted as to why the guard on duty did not use CPR as he and other employees are clearly trained to do, and why it took 6-10 minutes for medical personnel to arrive to perform emergency fist aid. Related concerns are that Buckingham, like other older Virginia prisons, does not have an emergency call system and is often short staffed, according to my sources.

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