|Stewart (holding his niece) with his attorneys Grant Rahmeyer and Stacie Bilyeu when he was released from jail in 2010
Former Stone County Sheriff Richard Hill and Prosecutor Matt Selby have been added as defendants to a federal lawsuit and another filed in state court in Greene County by a man the Supreme Court says was wrongfully convicted of murder.
In 2010, a jury in Greene County convicted Zackary Lee Stewart of first-degree murder for shooting David Dulin to death at his home on Tin Can Hollow in Hurley. Stewart, who had just turned 18 at the time of the murder, was sentenced to life without parole.
It was shortly after midnight on November 26, 2008, when Dulin called 9-1-1 and told the dispatcher that two men in their 20's and 30's had broken into his home and shot him in the head with his own .22 pistol.
As Dulin lay dying he told the 9-1-1 operator that he did not know who shot him, but stated that the assailants were from Hurley and that one of the men said he was the "Eby girl's boyfriend."
In May of 2010 the Missouri Supreme Court reversed Stewart's conviction based on evidentiary matters. A hat was left at the murder scene that contained DNA that did not belong to Dulin or Stewart. At the time of the high courts reversal, Selby said he would re-try Stewart for murder and he was sent back to jail in Greene County to await trial.
But in a surprise move in December of 2010, Selby dropped charges against Stewart and quickly charged his brother-in-law Tim Seaman (who was married to Paula Eby's daughter) and his friend John Mills for Dulin's murder after DNA on the hat came back as belonging to Seaman.
Mills, who was facing weapons charges in an unrelated case, turned states evidence and was offered immunity for his testimony against Seaman. He is currently serving a seven year prison sentence on the weapons charges.
Seaman, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in March of 2012 and was sentenced to 21 and a half years in prison. Mills told investigators that Dulin was murdered during a robbery for money to buy meth.
In the federal filing attorneys for Zack Stewart allege that Detective Karl Wagner, Chief Deputy (then Captain) Tim Gideon, Detective Orville Choate and the Stone County Sheriff's Office violated his constitutional rights, were inadequately trained and abuse of police and arrest power on the citizens of Missouri.
The documents also say that Selby "engaged in actions beyond those of a prosecutor and and into an investigatory role , including but not limited to interviewing witnesses, determining what DNA evidence should be tested, and utilizing jailhouse informants as agents of the state."
Court papers say that because Selby "acted as an investigator, he waived his right to prosecutorial immunities and other immunities afforded to Prosecutors that only act within their prosecutorial capacities."
Hill, they say, was working "under the color of the law" and allege he and his deputies did not fully investigate the case.
Charges against Stewart's one time co-defendant, Leo Connelly, were eventually dropped.
Stewart is seeking damages against all of the defendants for "malicious prosecution, false arrest, use of unreliable and fraudulent investigatory techniques, procurement of unreliable and fabricated evidence, concealing material evidence, and wrongfueld conviction and imprisonment; suppression of exculpatory evidence; violative policies, practices patterns and procedures; claim for common law negligence resulting in wrongful incarceration and continued detention; claim under Missouri common law for false arrest; claim under Missouri law for malicious prosecution; and claim for civil conspiracy.
There have been offers made to settle the case during mediation, but Stewart's attorneys want a jury to hear the case.