Kidnapper's appeal declined

Former Sequim resident Edward Steward will stay in prison for more than 20 years.

The state Appeals Court agreed with the 2006 decision of a Clallam County jury that put him behind bars.

Steward was found guilty of kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon after a December 2006 jury trial regarding the Port Angeles crime. A Clallam County Superior Court judge sentenced Steward to four years in prison for first-degree kidnapping and a little more than two years in prison for assault. However, because deadly weapons were used in the crime, the judge added another 19 years to the sentence, to begin after his other time is served.

Steward appealed the conviction, arguing that information given to the jury was inadequate, that the courts cannot define the word "assault" and that his lawyer was ineffective in discussing the case with him.

On March 11, the Washington State Appeals Court affirmed the conviction, stating Steward's arguments for mistrial "failed." If the appellant court had found fault in the Clallam judgment, Steward would have been able to have his case retried.

In April 2006, Steward and two other individuals allegedly held another man hostage at gunpoint until he made arrangements for Steward to collect approximately $425, which Steward claimed the other man had stolen from him.

The two accomplices accepted plea bargains, the same type that Steward rejected in favor of a jury trial.

The man who was held at gunpoint alleged Steward had sold him fake methamphetamine. He said he promised to buy Steward more of the drug at a later date, but simply kept the money, spurring Steward's response.

When Steward and his accomplices found the man who kept the money, they held him at gunpoint, forcing him to call his girlfriend to make the $425 available. When Steward went to pick up the money, the other men were instructed to detain the man until he had the money.

Once Steward received the money from the man's girlfriend, he called the accomplices and instructed them to take the man to a friend's house. While en route, the man jumped from the moving vehicle and ran away to call the authorities, who in turn arrested the three kidnappers.

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