Witnesses detail stabbing death at Pomona mental-health facility


POMONA — In the days before she stabbed and killed a fellow resident at a mental-health facility here, Nicole Ann Stewart urged facility workers to take her to a hospital because her medication wasn’t working and she feared she would hurt someone.

That was the testimony this morning of Stewart’s boyfriend, one of three witnesses called at a preliminary hearing in Pomona Superior Court.

The boyfriend, John Weedon, testified that employees at the Hamilton Villa “paid no attention” to Stewart’s complaints about her mental state.

And on July 23, she stabbed and killed Robin Ridgeway — reportedly because Stewart believed Ridgeway and Weedon were having an affair, according to witnesses who testified today.

Owners or managers of the facility could not be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone at the facility this afternoon said the owner was not available.

At the conclusion of the hour-long hearing, Judge Charles Horan ruled that there was sufficient evidence for Stewart, 34, to stand trial on murder charges.

Weedon, a resident of Hamilton Villa, testified that Stewart accused him about three days before the stabbing of having an affair with Ridgeway, 49.

Weedon denied he had a romantic relationship with Ridgeway. “There’s no way I would do that,” he testified.

At about 4 p.m. on the day of the incident, Ridgeway was standing in an outdoor area of the facility speaking with another resident and a psychologist who works with patients at the facility, located at 948 S. Hamilton Blvd.

The psychologist, Joseph Pruitt, testified that he was sitting only 18 inches away from Ridgeway when she was attacked by Stewart.

Pruitt said that he saw Stewart stab Ridgeway in the back with a blade that was at least a foot long. After wounding the woman, Stewart said, “Take that,” Pruitt said.

“Robin stepped back and said, ‘I’ve been shot,'” Pruitt testified.

After the stabbing, Pruitt and another employee took Ridgeway indoors, where she collapsed, and other patients ran from Stewart, who walked back and forth clutching the knife, according to witnesses.

Stewart said, “Don’t mess with my husband,” according to Weedon, who was nearby when the attack occurred.

The three witnesses who testified today said they had never seen the knife Stewart used to attack Ridgeway. They said the knife, which was described as a hunting knife or kitchen knife, did not belong to the facility.

Deputy District Attorney Stephen Dones said after the hearing that Stewart told police after her arrest where she got the knife. Dones declined to disclose what Stewart said.

Stewart hears voices and often assumes different personalities, including that of her brother, Weedon testified.

He said Stewart would have “crazy spells,” and he would hold her down for 10 minutes until the spells would pass.

Stewart is next scheduled to appear in court Nov. 9 for an arraignment hearing. She remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.

Stewart’s attorney, Rodolfo Aguirre, declined to comment after the hearing.

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20 thoughts on “Witnesses detail stabbing death at Pomona mental-health facility

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