Court upholds killer’s conviction

An Arlington man convicted of murdering his wife and hiding her body for the last 15 years lost a key appeal Monday.

David Charles Schubert, 64, has been in prison since 2002 after a Snohomish County jury found him guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the disappearance of his wife, Juliana Schubert.

The state Court of Appeals on Monday rejected David Schubert’s challenge of his conviction and 13-year sentence. He’d argued there was insufficient evidence to show a crime had been committed.

The appeals court ruled Schubert was wrong, and ample evidence supported his conviction.

There were problems in the Schuberts’ marriage in June 1989. Juliana Schubert, then 30 and the devoted mother of two young sons, was preparing to leave her husband, Judge Ann Schindler said.

“Schubert suspected Juliana was having an affair and was angry at the prospect of divorce,” she wrote. “On the day she disappeared Schubert threatened Juliana with a gun. Schubert admitted they had an argument that night. No one ever saw Juliana again after that day.”

The slain woman’s mother, Karil Nelson of Arlington, said the appeals court ruling gives her hope that the conviction will remain intact. She spent 13 years pushing for justice, including a successful 1998 wrongful death lawsuit against her former son-in-law.

“I was overjoyed hearing the news about the appeal,” Nelson said. “It was a victory for the prosecution and the sheriff’s office and for my daughter Juliana.”

“I am just pleased that we won’t have to try this thing again, and the court found that we did it right the first time,” deputy prosecutor Ed Stemler said. He won Schubert’s conviction along with deputy prosecutor Paul Stern, a legal effort that was notable in part because the case was entirely circumstantial. It took two criminal trials before jurors were unanimous in their verdict.

David Schubert insisted his wife simply walked away from him and their sons.

But those who knew Juliana Schubert said she was a doting mother who never would have abandoned her family. Investigators learned David Schubert had made repeated threats about killing his wife. They also caught him in numerous lies to explain her disappearance.

Reporter Scott North: 425-339-3431 or

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