Teen Son Finds Mother Slashed to Death

The victim's estranged boyfriend turned himself in to police

By Mari Payton and Michelle Wayland
|  Sunday, Aug 2, 2009  |  Updated 1:33 PM PDT
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Mother Murdered in Home

Friends and neighbors cling to each other outside the victim's home.

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Mother Murdered in Home

A teenage son made a gruesome discovery this weekend, his mother slashed to death in their Carlsbad home.
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A teenage son made a gruesome discovery this weekend -- his mother slashed to death in their Carlsbad home.

“He ran out and was like no, no, no,” the victim’s friend Rosemary Leone said.

Officers were called to 6440 Camino Del Parque at about 11.25 p.m. on Friday.   When they arrived they found 43-year-old Jennifer Stark's body inside the home. Stark worked as a court reporter at the Vista courthouse.

“She was a great woman, a great mother and she was a really true friend,” Leone said sobbing. 

The victim’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jonathan French, turned himself in as the murder suspect at 4.30 a.m. Saturday at the Encinitas Sheriff's Station. The 40-year-old was immediately taken into custody, police said.

Neighbors described the couple's three-year relationship as toxic and said there were warning signs but never thought French was capable of killing.

“He was a chameleon. He could be very charming and very manipulative and very mean,” Leone said. “She loved him, you know. She loved him and he -- was ill.”

Friends said the pair were together at a restaurant hours before the woman's body was found. They said French was in therapy and that Stark constantly made excuses for him.

“All of her friends said ‘no more! Stay away from him!’ But she couldn't,” Leone said. “She is going to be missed and was truly cared about by everybody.”

The grieving neighborhood formed an instant support group Saturday and held a meeting. Grief counselors were brought in to help.

“The suspect is in custody. It’s not something that is going to be plaguing your neighborhood,” Carlsbad police officer Jeff Chapman reassured the group.

The suspect's bloodstained car was found near the Encinitas-Del Mar city limits, investigators said.

French is being held at the Vista detention facility.

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