While the investigation continued Monday into the killings, a Decatur community mourned the death of 14-year-old Shykia Ward, an 8th grade student at Renfroe Middle School. The name of the man killed was not immediately released pending notification of family members, according to police.
Investigators were called to the Trinity Walk Apartments, located across the street from the Decatur police department at 9:35 a.m. Sunday, Sgt. John Bender said. Inside an apartment, police found the two victims dead from apparent stabbings, Bender said. Autopsies were conducted Monday at the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s office determined both died from multiple stab wounds.
Decatur police and the GBI identified 36-year-old Stewart as the suspect. They believe he stole a car and left the complex after the killings. Monday morning, police said Stewart had been charged.
“Arrest warrants for two counts of murder and one count of theft by taking a motor vehicle have been issued for Royce Stewart,” Decatur police said in an online statement.
At the Decatur apartment complex, a memorial continued to grow Monday. Stuffed animals, flowers and balloon that said “I love you” were placed on the steps outside the apartment were the stabbings took place.
No possible motive was released in the killings, though police said Stewart knew his victims. Address records showed Stewart previously lived in the same complex, but it was not known Monday whether he was still a resident.
A surveillance camera at the complex captured Stewart getting into a silver 2014 Ford Mustang convertible with Georgia tag 1BARB1E, police said. The vehicle did not belong to Stewart. He was spotted in the same Ford early Monday.
Stewart previously served twice in state prison following convictions for involuntary manslaughter and theft by taking, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections. He served from June 2004 until March 2008 and again from December 2014 until June the following year, records showed.
DeKalb County police charged Stewart with murder in 2003 in connection with the death of an 18-year-old at a birthday party, court records showed. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, leading to his first stint in prison. Since 2000, Stewart has been arrested at least a dozen times, DeKalb and Fulton booking records showed.