Somerset man facing 70 years on sex abuse, burglary charges
December 22 – A Somerset man facing multiple charges ranging from sexual abuse to burglary faces up to 70 years if found guilty, prosecutors say.
That man, Tyler B. Stewart, had been made an offer by Commonwealth’s attorney David Dalton, but Dalton said he withdrew that offer after Stewart fired his former defense attorney.
Stewart, 22, was served five charges against him in February 2021. three second-degree unlawful transactions involving a minor; use of a minor under the age of 16 in a sex performance; promoting a sexual performance by a minor under the age of 16; Possession/Viewing Depiction of a sexual performance by a minor; distributing obscene material to minors; sexual misconduct; second degree sexual abuse; three second-degree unlawful transactions involving a minor; second degree burglary; third degree burglary; and two counts of theft by unlawful taking or alienation of a car between $500 and $10,000.
At a court hearing Thursday, Stewart appeared via videoconference from the Pulaski County Detention Center while his new attorney, Brian Reed, stood in the courtroom.
Reed told Pulaski District Court Judge Teresa Whitaker that he had just been assigned the case and had not yet received all of the findings from Stewart’s former attorney, Tim Despotes.
Prosecutor Dalton had strong words for Stewart and expressed frustration that Stewart had fired Despotes as his attorney.
Dalton said he was “very irritated” when competent attorneys were badmouthed by their clients, as Stewart appeared to have been, and Despotes’ removal from the case was the direct cause of Dalton withdrawing an offer he had made laid the table.
Dalton went on to say that if Stewart didn’t think Despotes was a good lawyer, “the client has obviously lost his mind” and that Dalton would rather take the case to court than work with an irrational defendant.
“You just have to be shown by a jury,” Dalton said.
Whitaker told Stewart that once Reed received them from Despotes, he would need to discuss the cases’ discovery with his new attorney.
Citing the seriousness of the charges, Reed asked for more time for the review, with Whitaker setting another date for the pretrial conference for February 23.
Readers are reminded that an indictment is only an indictment and all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in court.
Carla Slavey can be reached at [email protected]