MANDEVILLE – A 39-year-old man who had recently separated from his wife, brutally murdered her then went on a crime spree where he smashed her rental car into several businesses before going inside to try to rob them, Sheriff Randy Smith said Monday.

The incidents occurred early Saturday morning in Mandeville and the Lacombe area, according to Smith.

“A brutal domestic homicide,” he said at a Monday press conference. “A bloody scene, a nasty scene.”

Smith said that although 37-year-old Julie Dargis was killed before George Dargis took her vehicle and began to rob vehicles, deputies discovered the murder only after the series of reported burglaries and attempted burglaries at several stores in the Lacombe area.

First, deputies were dispatched to Eddie’s Grocery on Hwy. 190 in Slidell after a clerk called 911 to report a robbery around 5:30 a.m. Moments later, deputies responded to an alarm at Dollar General at 27301 Hwy. 190 in Lacombe. Shortly thereafter came an alarm at Lishman’s at 27417 Hwy. 190 in Lacombe. While at that scene, a passerby said there was an attempted burglary at the Lacombe Car Wash.

In all of the cases, a vehicle was used to get inside, either by backing into the business or just driving into it.

At 7:30 a.m., Smith said George Dargis’ parents called 911 to say their son had been at the home, covered in blood, and saying he had ‘made a mistake,’ according to Smith.

Deputies then went to the home at 580 Smith Street in Mandeville and found Julie Dargis dead, with blunt facial injuries and a cut throat.

Deputies located George Dargis when the NOPD called to say that he had been involved in a one-car crash on the Twin Spans and was at University Medical Center.

He was turned over to St. Tammany authorities and is in jail, booked with: Two counts of simple burglary, one count of unauthorized entry, three counts of criminal damage to property, one count of simple robbery and one count of second-degree murder.

Smith said the couple, while married, had recently separated over some of Dargis’ criminal activity, which included taking police on a chase in the Slidell area earlier in the week, on Tuesday. He was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail on Nov. 28 for reckless operation of a motor vehicle, felony flight from an officer, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance. He was released on bond on Nov. 30, two days before his alleged crime spree.

Smith said Dargis has a long criminal record that also includes charges of burglary, theft, battery, disturbing the peace, drug possession and various traffic violations.