A Florida man pleads guilty to killing his wife and then putting her body in the trunk of his car after she asked him for a divorce.
49-year-old Gerard Stewart pleaded guilty last week to killing his wife and putting her body in the trunk of his car after she asked for a divorce. The State Attorney’s Office for Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida announced Stewart entered the plea on March 29 for the death of his wife, Julie Ann Stewart. He was reportedly previously convicted of tampering with evidence, but WJXT-TV reports a jury deadlocked on murder charges in February.
According to the State Attorney’s Office, Gerard Stewart reportedly told a neighbor he “had killed his own wife and placed her body in the trunk of his car.” When law enforcement officials arrived, Stewart reportedly pulled his car out of the garage and entered his home. The Florida Times-Union reports an hours-long standoff with SWAT ensued when Stewart went inside, but officials were able to get his 9-year-old son out safely.
He reportedly told deputies he stabbed his wife two or three times, but an autopsy report showed Julie had 13 stab wounds. Her throat had reportedly been cut, too.
Stewart reportedly told investigators that Julie “was going to take everything, including their son, from him in their upcoming divorce.”
After he stabbed her, Stewart said he wrapped Julie’s body in trash bags and placed her in his trunk. The State Attorney’s Office said Stewart “knew of his wife’s [divorce] plans several days before the crime.”
According to the Florida Times-Union, the Stewarts had been married for 20 years. Julie reportedly filed for divorce less than two months before she was killed.
The State Attorney’s Office said Stewart could face life in prison.