A Florida man admitted to stabbing his wife, Julie Stewart, and placing her in the trunk of the family car during a standoff with police, WJAX reports.
Gerard Stewart, 45, reportedly called 911 on Friday afternoon, threatening to hurt himself and refusing to come out of his home, according to WJAX.
#BREAKING: Man involved in SWAT standoff on Friday in Sandalwood just had charges upgraded to murder. Police say he called 911 saying he got in a fight with his wife. Officers then found a body on the property @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/gCpxCl2reN— Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) June 19, 2018
Police and SWAT members had to block off the neighborhood during the standoff, which lasted four hours.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday that Stewart confessed to killing his wife, Julie Stewart, during the standoff. Investigators said he stabbed her, wrapped her up in something and placed her body in the couple’s vehicle.
Before going back into the home, Stewart backed the car onto the driveway so that police would have access to the body, police said.
He took pills in an attempt to kill himself before surrendering, officials with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.
“He finally opened the door, came out and fell down to the ground by himself,” neighbor Dorothy Farabee told WJAX.
Gerard Stewart and Julie Stewart have one son together, WJAX reports. Julie Stewart was a stay-at-home mom who made money by walking dogs.
“We’ve seen them playing catch outside. We never would have thought,” Farabee said.
Court documents say that Julie Stewart filed for a divorce in April, after 20 years of marriage, seeking majority time-sharing with their son, alimony and exclusive occupancy of their home.
This is Julie Ann Stewart, the #Jacksonville mom who police say was killed by her husband Gerard Stewart. A close friend tells @bridgetteANjax that she was a devoted mother and lived for her son https://t.co/ePbpQXKbJq @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/2NjNorxZ7O— Brittney Donovan (@brittneyANjax) June 19, 2018
Gerard Stewart is now facing charges of murder and evidence tampering.
Neighbor Cal Walton said the couple lived in the home for nearly 15 years. Walton said that Stewart seemed happy last time he spoke to him.
“It was difficult to be out here working in the yard knowing that at one time or another on Saturday I could look across the way and see him doing the same thing," Walton said. “Cutting the grass. And he’s not. There’s police cars out there.”
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