On the evening of April 14, 1985, Stewart was hitchhiking and was picked up by Michele Acosta, who was driving with Mark Harris. Stewart climbed into the back seat and requested a location to be dropped off. When Acosta stopped at the desired location, Stewart struck Acosta on the head with the end of his gun and fired three gunshots. Acosta suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder and Harris suffered a gunshot wound to the spine.
Stewart forced Acosta and Harris out of the car and drove to pick up his friend, Terry Smith. The two men removed items found in the trunk of the car, and Stewart set the car on fire after telling Smith that the car belonged to a woman and man whom he shot.
Some time later, Stewart was arrested and immediately charged. Stewart allowed officers to search his apartment, which yielded items he and Smith had taken from Acosta’s car.
Investigators presented photographs of potential suspects to Acosta and Harris. Acosta, who had recovered from her injuries, identified Stewart as the attacker. Harris, who was dying from his injury, also identified Stewart as his attacker, and died shortly afterward.
During trial, Acosta testified as a surviving victim. Smith served as a secondary witness and testified that Stewart admitted to the shootings and provided details of the offense.