Pinellas County

Man who beat war veteran gets 40 years in prison

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) - A man who beat a war veteran with the vet's own walker will spend 40 years in prison.

Harold Stewart, 39, was in a Pinellas County courtroom to hear the punishment.  

Judge Philip Federico listened to statements from the victim as well as Stewart, then made the determination.

"I know it was him. And I believe it - in God.  And I told the truth," said victim Jeffrey Hardeman.

It was 2016 when Hardeman was in a Walmart parking lot in St. Petersburg.  He told the court he was approached by Stewart who beat the war veteran with his own walker, then got away with the walker and $700.

"I'm innocent.  I did not do it.  And I'm going to continue to fight," the defendant said in court.

His attorney maintained he has mental health issues and asked the judge to continue the hearing.  The judge denied that request.

After the crime, people came forward with donations and bought the veteran a new walker.

"It just goes to show that there are people that do care and they don't even know you and they care," Hardeman said at the time.

Stewart was on probation for a previous robbery conviction when he attacked Hardeman.

"I just don't want him to be on the street again and do it to someone else that might now be as lucky and not get hurt like I got hurt," the victim said.

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