Man confesses to stabbing wife, stuffing body in trunk, police say

Man taken into custody after hourslong SWAT standoff at Jacksonville home

By Ethan Calloway - Anchor/reporter, Colette DuChanois - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man taken into custody after an hourslong SWAT standoff in the Sandalwood area on Friday confessed to fatally stabbing his wife and stuffing her body in the trunk of his car, Jacksonville police announced Tuesday.

Gerard Stewart, 45, is charged with murder and tampering with evidence in the death of his wife, Julie Stewart, 42.

Stewart told a judge Tuesday that he could not afford an attorney and will need a public defender. He was ordered to be held without bond and will be in court again July 11.

Police said Gerard Stewart initially called police about 2 p.m. Friday to say he'd killed his wife and that her body was in the trunk of the car. When police arrived at Stewart's home on Cavalry Boulevard, Stewart was backing the car out of the garage, Lt. Craig Waldrup said at a news conference Tuesday.

Stewart then ran into the home, threatening to harm himself and officers. The SWAT team was called in, and some time during a three-hour standoff, Stewart took a large number of pills in an unsuccessful attempt to take his own life, police said.

Gerard Stewart was taken into custody, Baker Acted and taken to a hospital. Julie Stewart's body was found in the trunk of the car.

Waldrup said that during the standoff, Stewart confessed to fatally stabbing his wife and stuffing her body in the trunk. He confessed again days later, Waldrup said.

"After being released from the hospital, he was brought to the homicide office and interviewed by detectives, where he confessed to murdering his wife," Waldrup said.

He said the two had been having domestic issues. Waldrup said officers had never been called to the home before Friday.

A small memorial for Julie Stewart could be seen outside the home Tuesday.

News4Jax learned that Julie Stewart filed for divorce in April. According to a petition for dissolution of marriage, the couple had been married for 20 years. Her divorce attorney said Julie Stewart was a stay-at-home mother of their 9-year-old son. She had a dog-walking business on the side.

Gerard Stewart worked worked at a Gainesville car dealership.

The boy was not in the home during the standoff and and a source said he is staying with grandparents.

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