Mother, husband charged in infant's murder

CONYERS -- A Rockdale County jury found a mother and her husband guilty of the 2010 murder of her 5-month-old son.

After eight days in the courtroom, the jury returned guilty verdicts on Thursday against Matea Chavez-Mendez Stewart, who was 21 at the time of her arrest in August 2010, and her husband William "Grant" Stewart, who also was 21 at the time, of 362 Morris Drive in Conyers.

The jury found Grant Stewart guilty on all nine charges: malice murder, three counts of felony murder, two counts of cruelty to children in the first degree, aggravated battery and two counts of contributing to the deprivation of a minor. Matea Stewart, who was in the U.S. National Guard at the time of her arrest, was acquitted of malice murder and two felony murder charges, as well as aggravated battery and cruelty to children in the first degree. She was found guilty on a felony murder charge for failing to protect the child, according to her attorney, Gordon Hall.

According to an RCSO investigation, the infant died in July 2010 due to blunt force trauma.

Grant Stewart, who married Matea Stewart while she was pregnant with another man's child and adopted the baby when he was born, had called 911 after performing CPR on the child. First responders found the child without a heartbeat and not breathing; he later died at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and a medical examiner determined the cause of death was cranial cerebral trauma from head trauma that resulted from a 14-centimeter fracture to the skull, according to attorneys.

Multiple fractures were found all over the child's body -- some were old and healed, some were new and some were in the process of healing. Fractures were found on the child's arms, legs, ribs and skull.

The Stewarts, who met through mutual friends while attending Rockdale County High School, were represented by two different attorneys -- Matea by Hall and Grant by Lee Sexton. Each accused the other of the child's murder.

The two are scheduled to be sentenced at 2 p.m. Sept. 25 in Judge Sidney Nation's courtroom.