Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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October 11, 2013

Nursing home parolee who spent over 60 years in prison wants to revisit case

• Harvey Stewart said 'I really don't cry about it' when recalling murder he committed in 1958

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He said two members of the jury that convicted him were planted there by corrupt authorities. And he said one police official threatened him with the electric chair if he didn't offer false testimony in the case against an attorney.

"I don't lie and I don't snitch," he said.

Stewart may not be completely coherent. He has no wife or close family members and has rarely received visitors in his 60 years of incarceration.

But he insists he is of sound mind in his search for a particular kind of personal justice.

His story was relayed to a Jacksonville Daily Progress reporter by a Good Samaritan who often visits residents of the nursing home and has evolved into a sort of confidante of Stewarts. But even she cautioned that some employees of the nursing home consider Stewart delusional in his claims.

Whatever his current state of mind, authorities definitely considered him a violent person when he was younger.

According to old records recently recounted in a Houston Chronicle story, the body of Stewart's victim was found laying face down by the road, wearing cotton gloves. He was gagged with a venetian blind cord, according to the news report.

Records indicate the victim had been spotted with Stewart and another man in various Port Arthur bordellos the night before his demise. In a very dramatic turn of events, authorities discovered a note in the victim's pocket that stated if he was found murdered it would be by Stewart and the accomplice.

Stewart and the other two were said to be part of a crew that frequented a local tavern.

And Stewart's accomplice was a former area mayor who Stewart believes was illegally placed on the jury of his murder trial to convict him.

When all was said and done — and after serving nearly ten years on an unrelated armed robbery charge — Stewart was sentenced to the life sentence.

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