Suspect accused of stealing from dead man's home

Donnie Wayne Stewart (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Donnie Wayne Stewart (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Police say after discovering his friend dead, a Jonesboro man helped himself to the deceased man's cash.

Donnie Wayne Stewart, 28, was arrested Wednesday on charges of residential burglary and theft of $1,000 or less.

According to detectives, police dropped the burglary charge against Stewart on Thursday.

According to the initial police report, Stewart and a female friend went to check on Jessie Roberts.

The woman told police she had not seen Roberts in several days and became concerned when he wouldn't answer his door.

After several days had passed, she and Stewart forced entry into Roberts' home in the 900-block of West Oak Street.

Inside the home the woman said they found Roberts dead on his bed.

According to Officer Lane Holmes' initial report, it appeared the 57-year-old man "had been deceased for several days."

Before calling police, the woman stated she saw Stewart open a bedside drawer and remove a small bag of "dope."

According to the report, the woman wasn't sure if Stewart put the drugs back in the drawer or not, "but she was sure that he took cash from the drawer and put it in his pocket."

She said Stewart then went home.

A few minutes later, Stewart returned to the scene.

When Holmes asked him about the drugs, Stewart reportedly said "I didn't take any drugs out of there." He did, however, admit to taking about $60 from the house, the report stated.

Holmes arrested Stewart and searched him, finding $112 in his wallet, the report stated.

Another officer took Stewart to the Craighead County Detention Center where he was held to await a probable cause hearing.

Holmes then entered Roberts' home and found "a small corner baggie of possible meth" in the nightstand, the report stated.

He seized the baggie and logged it into evidence to be destroyed.

Craighead County Coroner Toby Emerson removed Roberts' body from the house.

Even though the burglary charges have been dropped, Stewart still faces a misdemeanor theft charge.

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