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By Tillie Fong
Rocky Mountain News

DENVER - Steven Garrett Stewart died alone in the home of strangers as a life of drug abuse, car thefts and police chases closed in on him.
The 39-year-old Lakewood man shot himself in the head after leading police on a harrowing car chase, crashing, running into an apartment and taking a family hostage Tuesday.
Stewart left behind a handwritten will and at least three suicide notes to his parents and girlfriend, a Denver police source told CBS4 News.
Stewart's 22-year criminal history included arrests for aggravated car theft, burglary, weapons and narcotics violations, assault, forgery and identity theft, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.
Twice married
Court records show that Stewart had been married twice. The first ended in divorce in 1998 and the second in 2002. He also had a restraining order against him in 2002 on a domestic violence charge that was later dropped.
Stewart died with an Arapahoe District Court warrant pending for his arrest. It charged him with felony drug possession, identity theft, a weapons violation and theft.
Those offenses occurred before Stewart began a series of crimes in Littleton that included home- invasion robberies in a gated community and the theft of two luxury cars. Littleton police Lt. Mike Broadhead said Wednesday that witnesses tied him to the crimes.
"We feel very confident it's him," Broadhead said. "We're not looking for anybody else."
Denver police do not believe that Stewart was involved in a carjacking on Smith Road Sunday in which a woman was shot.
A source with Denver police told CBS4 News' Michelle Griego that Stewart wrote the suicide letters before Tuesday's chase started.
In the letters, Stewart says he owed a drug dealer some money and he was either going to kill the dealer or kill himself by having police shoot him.
Broadhead said police received a bulletin from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office last week, telling officers to be on the lookout for Stewart and warning that he was "armed and dangerous."
Tuesday, officers were warned in a separate teletype that Stewart wanted to be killed by police.
Arapahoe County sheriff's Capt. Mark Fisher said deputies had been looking for Stewart for more than a month, ever since he ran from deputies who pulled him over on Sept. 25. Deputies checked Stewart's vehicle and found a sawed-off shotgun and narcotics.
Addicted to meth
An attorney who represented Stewart for many years initially didn't know that it was his former client who was involved in the series of crimes Tuesday.
"I'm really sorry to hear that," said Leo Daniel Legere, Stewart's attorney from 1999 to 2004.
Legere said Wednesday that Stewart struggled with a methamphetamine addiction, and like many other drug addicts, committed crimes to support his habit.
Legere said that while he represented Stewart, none of the charges ever went to trial. Instead, Legere would have him plead out, usually with the condition that Stewart would seek help for his addictions.
"I always thought he had a chance if he stayed clean, but he would relapse," Legere said.
"He put a lot of people through hell the last couple of days. When addicts go on a rampage, they don't even realize the amount of people and resources that go into cleaning up after their wreckage. They're not only hurting themselves but victimizing people along the way."
Legere said Stewart may have wanted to end it all after failing to kick his addiction.
"It's very godless, soulless behavior," Legere said of Stewart's actions. "But not everyone has to end up like this guy. They can change their lives. They can recover their soul. They can recover the person God meant for him to be
Long criminal history
Steven Garrett Stewart was arrested 26 times in six cities and three counties in the Denver area since 1986. The charges included multiple counts of trespassing, burglary, larceny, receipt of stolen goods, vehicle theft, drugs, fraud, forgery and criminal impersonation. He also had been arrested for domestic violence, assault and various traffic offenses, including drunken driving. He pleaded guilty to 11 charges:

Date of crime Jurisdiction Charge Sentence

* 1 0/09/98 Lakewood unauthorized permit to drive $25 fine
* 1 0/29/98 Lakewood trespass 10 hours community service
* 1 1/03/98 Denver theft Unknown
* 8/2 5/99 Longmont false reporting 21 days in jail
* 9/1 4/99 Boulder 2nd-degree burglary 3 years in prison
* 4/2 1/00 Aurora 2nd-degree burglary 4 years in prison
* 4/2 6/00 Lakewood trespass-attempted auto theft 3 years in prison
* 8/1 0/00 Denver forgery-government-issued document 2 years in prison
* 8/3 1/02 Lakewood trespass-dwelling 2 years in prison
* 2/ 6/04 Westminster criminal impersonation 3 years in prison
* 2/2 8/04 Westminster criminal impersonation 3 years in prison

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