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George Dargis

George Dargis showed up at his parents’ Slidell area home Saturday morning, covered in blood and saying that he had made a mistake and had “hurt” his estranged wife, according to St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith.

Deputies sent to her Mandeville area home found 37-year-old Julie Dargis dead, stabbed multiple times, her face brutally smashed and her throat cut. 

A spokesman for the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office said an autopsy will not be concluded until Tuesday because of the extent of the victim's injuries.

Smith said Monday that it was "a bloody scene, a very nasty scene."

George Dargis, 39, killed her at some point Saturday morning, Smith said, and then took off in her rental car to commit a string of crimes along U.S. 190 in the Lacombe area, robbing Eddie's Grocery of its cash register and then attempting burglaries at three other businesses — a Dollar General, Lishman's and Lacombe Car Wash — by driving or backing the Chevy Impala into the buildings.

He finally wrecked the vehicle on the eastbound Interstate 10 twin-span bridge, apparently heading back toward Slidell, Smith said.

After being treated at a hospital, he was taken to the St. Tammany Parish Jail, where he was booked on second-degree murder and other counts.

Smith said Dargis has a lengthy criminal record going back 20 years, including thefts, burglaries and drugs.

A prior domestic violence incident involved Julie Dargis, Smith said, but she had been reluctant to pursue the matter and had not sought a protective order against him.

The couple had been married for three years, according to her Facebook account, but Smith said they had separated recently, citing his history as a reason. He was living with his parents, Smith said.

The sheriff said he suspects that Dargis was on drugs, based on his record and an arrest a few days before the homicide in which Dargis, who was driving a Ford Mustang, fled from police and ultimately wrecked the car. Deputies discovered a vial of liquid morphine in the vehicle.

"Something definitely wasn't right in this guy's head," Smith said.

After the earlier incident, Dargis was arrested Nov. 28 and booked on reckless operation of a vehicle, felony aggravated flight from an officer and felony possession of a narcotic. He was released from jail Thursday on a $12,750 bond.

Julie Dargis was marketing director for Passages Hospice & Sanctuary, a New Orleans-based hospice company, whose owner, Chris McMahon, is about to open an addiction rehabilitation center in Abita Springs.

McMahon described her as funny and quick-witted, with a big heart. Her own experiences with the effect that addiction has on family members drove her desire to help others, he said. He had been planning to make her marketing director of the new Longbranch Retreat & Recovery Center as well.

“I have two companies of employees who are grief-stricken,” McMahon said.

He said he will dedicate a memorial fountain on the grounds of the facility in her honor on Dec. 16.

McMahon said he knew Dargis was having problems with her estranged husband but had no idea she was in danger or in fear of her life.

“Domestic violence is a horrible thing,” McMahon said. “If something is going on, you need to tell other people.”

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Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.