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Florida Man Admits To Stabbing Wife 13 Times & Placing Body In Car Trunk After She Filed For Divorce

Florida Man Admits To Stabbing Wife 13 Times & Placing Body In Car Trunk After She Filed For Divorce

A Florida man pleaded guilty this week to killing his wife in cold blood after she informed him she wanted a divorce, and would be leaving him along with their son.

Gerard Stewart, a Jacksonville resident, copped to the 2018 murder of his wife, 42-year-old Julie Ann Stewart, just hours before he was scheduled to go on trial for her murder back on Tuesday. The 49-year-old now faces up to life in prison for the awful crime.

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According to First Coast News, Julie Ann had told Gerard (pictured in the mugshot, above) that she wanted a divorce in April of 2018, after 20 years of marriage to the man. She filed court documents to make the breakup legal, and was planning on removing herself and the couple’s then-9-year-old son from the premises for good.

Two months later, on June 15, 2018, the elder Stewart killed her by delivering 13 stab wounds to her body before wrapping her up in trash bags, placing her corpse in the trunk of his car, and attempting to leave the couple’s home undetected. Gerard’s plan was caught prematurely after he reportedly told a neighbor about what happened, according to News4Jax. The neighbor who heard Stewart confess the killing then quickly contacted the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, which immediately dispatched deputies to the couple’s home.

Officers arrived just as Gerard was pulling his car out of the family garage, according to the state attorney’s office. When he spotted the police behind him, Stewart reportedly returned his car to the garage and went inside the house, triggering a long standoff. An arrest affidavit obtained by First Coast News reported that the man “subsequently downed a large number of pills in an effort to end his own life,” but survived.

Thankfully, officers were able to safely remove the couple’s young son from the premises early in the standoff. Hours later, Stewart himself emerged from the home and was taken into custody without further incident.

According to the state attorney’s office, the man was then interrogated by police about the incident (below; interrogation pictured, above):

“Stewart told officers he killed his wife by stabbing her two to three times, but an autopsy revealed 13 wounds, including her throat being cut. Stewart told officers his wife told him she was going to take everything, including their son, from him in their upcoming divorce. He then told them that after killing his wife, he wrapped her inside trash bags secured with tape and placed her in the trunk of his vehicle. The investigation revealed text messages that showed Stewart knew of his wife’s plans several days before the crime.”

Gerard had previously gone through a first-degree murder trial for the offense. In addition to the neighbor’s report to police, court docs filed in conjunction with that first charge claimed that the man had called other family members and confessed to the crime after it happened, as well.

The jury in that initial trial deadlocked on a verdict for the murder charge, although they did find Gerard guilty of tampering with evidence in the death of Julie Ann. Prosecutors then chose to re-try Stewart on second-degree murder charges in the trial that was scheduled to have begun this week, until he chose to come clean and plead guilty about his actions prior to opening statements.

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Here is more on Stewart’s initial interrogation following the killing, from News4Jax (below):

Having confessed to the crime, Stewart will now be sentenced for his heinous act at a later date.

Sending our condolences to Julie Ann’s family, friends, and loved ones — and that poor young boy, as he continues to deal with the aftermath of this unimaginable tragedy.

[Image via News4Jax/YouTube/Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office]

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Apr 01, 2022 14:44pm PDT