2001-01-06 / Front Page

Miss Maggie’s Killer Arraigned Death Penalty Could Be Sought By Joan Ward George

Miss Maggie’s Killer Arraigned
Death Penalty Could Be Sought
By Joan Ward George

Eric Burton, who allegedly stabbed his 81 year old neighbor "Miss Maggie" Stewart to death on August 1, 2000, faced arraignment on the charge of murder in the first degree this Wednesday before Justice Liebowitz in Queens Supreme Court.

According to Mary De Bourbon, official spokesperson for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Burton’s actual trial might not occur for up to another eight months, however the plan is still to seek the death penalty in what Brown called a "vicious and unprovoked murder. . .a wanton act perpetrated against a well liked senior citizen."

It is alleged that Burton thought that Ms. Stewart had money in her possession and made the decision to rob and kill her. On the night of the homicide, shortly before 8 p.m., police from the 101 Precinct were called to a domestic dispute at 54-30 Beach Channel drive, in the Edgemere Housing Development Complex. When they arrived at the scene, they found Ms. Stewart stabbed to death. The victim was found lying in a pool of blood in the fourth floor hallway of her building. Her body, reportedly, had several stab wounds.

Ms. Stewart lived alone in her Edgemere apartment for nearly 20 years. Her husband died several years ago, but Stewart still had many surviving children who also live in the area. "Miss Maggie", as she was affectionately called by her many friends and neighbors in the apartment complex, was reportedly sitting on a bench outside of her building as she often did on summer evenings, just moments before her body was discovered.

At the time of his arrest Burton allegedly confessed to detectives of the 101 Precinct that he followed Ms. Steward onto the elevator, rode with her to the fourth floor, where they both lived, robbed her and stabbed her repeatedly causing her death.

Burton, 32, with a past criminal record, was charged with five counts of murder in the first and second degrees, two counts of robbery and burglary, and tampering with physical evidence. If convicted, Burton can face the death penalty.

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