A man wanted for attempted murder in Washington state was arrested aboard the USS Hornet museum in Alameda by U.S. Marshals Tuesday afternoon, according to authorities in Pasco, Wash. Marshals arrested Todd Stuart, 48, who was wanted for attempting to murder his mother-in-law, 58-year-old Judy Hebert, days before she was killed on Mar. 3, 2011, Pasco police Capt. Jim Raymond said today.
Detectives tracked Stuart to the Bay Area from the Franklin County community on the Columbia River in southeast Washington and had been monitoring his whereabouts. “Essentially we kept track of him the best we could until it got to the point where he would be arrested,” Raymond said. According to a statement released by the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office today, Stuart had left the Tri-City area a few days before Hebert’s death and was living in the Bay Area.
Stuart’s wife, Tashia Stuart, has been in custody since March 3 for allegedly shooting and killing Hebert, who was found dead inside her home at 7907 Salmon Drive, according to Franklin County Superior Court records. An affidavit filed in November with the court indicates that Hebert had told several people about an incident that occurred about two weeks before her death in which a box of books fell on her head, causing a severe injury to her head. Hebert confided in the neighbor that “she believed Tashia and Todd were trying to kill her,” according to the document.
Detectives learned that Todd Stuart and Hebert were allegedly measuring the garage, with Stuart giving directions to Hebert as to where to stand. Once Hebert was in a specific position, the books fell on her, according to the affidavit. Several days after Hebert’s death, on March 8, Todd Stuart contacted a police investigator to say that he had heard about Hebert’s death when he was checking the website for the local paper, the Tri-City Herald.
When questioned where Tashia Stuart was during the book incident, “Todd hesitated for a few seconds then said Tashia was supposed to be giving (her daughter) a bath,” according to the affidavit. Tashia Stuart pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder on March 25 and is being held on $500,000 bail.
Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant said that Todd Stuart will be arraigned and trial dates will be set once he is transported back to Franklin County from the Bay Area but that it was unknown when he would return. According to the Tri-City Herald, Stuart had been living aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier.
A spokeswoman for the USS Hornet deferred comment to the museum’s CEO, who was unreachable to return a call seeking comment. Alameda police Lt. Sean Lynch said today that the department had been notified of the impending arrest but that the department’s assistance was not requested in making the arrest. A spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service had not returned calls seeking comment as of the time this story was published.
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