Schubert unable to block his testimony

By Scott North

Herald Writer

An Arlington man on trial for murder in the 1989 disappearance of his wife fought hard Monday to try to keep a Snohomish County jury from hearing him describe, in his own words, the last time he saw the woman.

At issue was testimony David Schubert, 62, gave three years ago during a civil wrongful death case involving his missing wife, Juliana Schubert.

The 30-year-old mother of two sons, then ages 6 and 8, dropped from sight 12 years ago, leaving behind her car, cash and children. Although no body has been found, jurors in the civil trial found David Schubert liable for her death.

Schubert is now on trial for first-degree murder. On Monday, public defender Richard Tassano tried to block prosecutors from entering Schubert’s prior testimony in the civil trial, arguing Schubert’s former lawyer had failed to protect his client’s rights.

With the jury out of the room, Schubert, a former Arlington police officer, took the witness stand and said he was not told his sworn testimony in the civil case could be used against him at some future date.

"I was told that I had no choice, that I had to testify," Schubert said.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Castleberry ultimately ruled that Schubert’s prior testimony should be heard, finding no legal grounds to prohibit its introduction.

Two deputy prosecutors read the testimony into the record. There were no bombshells.

Schubert described his missing wife as a good mother who was devoted to her children. He said he last saw her on June 30, 1989, after they argued while discussing plans for divorce. She walked out of their house and never returned, he said.

When asked what happened to his missing wife, Schubert testified he had no idea.

In other testimony:

  • A friend of the missing woman said David Schubert, then her boss, asked her not to call during the weekend his wife disappeared, saying he planned on serving his wife with divorce papers. The woman didn’t call, and found a $100 bonus check on her return to work.

  • A woman who formerly babysat the Schubert children said David Schubert had her take his sons out of the home for much of a day immediately after his wife disappeared.

  • A detective said investigators found the missing woman’s jewelry locked in a safe during a search of the Schubert home. They also seized four handguns. David Schubert was carrying three of the weapons in his car.

    Prosecutors say they may rest their case as early as today.

    You can call Herald Writer Scott North at 425-339-3431

    or send e-mail to north@heraldnet.com.

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