Murray Center employee’s workplace related death ruled homicide

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The chief medical examiner in St. Louis has ruled the death this summer of a Warren G. Murray Developmental Center employee a homicide.

Rick Stewart (Source: Facebook)
Rick Stewart
(Source: Facebook)

Michael A. Graham, M.D., signed the ruling Friday, declaring the death of 56-year-old Rick Stewart, of Shattuc, a homicide.

Stewart was reportedly working Third Shift at the Centralia facility on July 30, when a resident of Apple cottage reportedly punched him in the chest and Stewart fell to the floor.

He reportedly got up, returned to work and later suffered a heart attack while still on shift at Murray.
Stewart was transported by ambulance to St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Centralia, but was ultimately moved to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where he was reportedly kept on life support until Aug. 6.

Just days after Stewart’s death, the resident who allegedly punched him in the chest was transported to the Clyde L. Choate Developmental Center in Anna, a transfer that reportedly was already in the works at the time of the July 30 incident.

Attorneys representing Stewart’s widow declined to comment on the homicide ruling until they had time to review the medical examiner’s report.

The Illinois Department of Human Services released a statement this afternoon saying it is aware of the recent findings of the St. Louis City Medical Examiner’s office in the death of a Murray Developmental Center employee.

The statement adds the agency will continue to cooperate with and support the Clinton County prosecutor’s office as it moves forward with their investigative process.

This is the second homicide ruling in less than a month to come out of the Murray Center. On November 12, a Marion County Coroner’s Inquest jury ruled the March death of resident Todd Clementz was a homicide. That case has been handed over to the Clinton County State’s Attorney for possible prosecution.