Family, friends mourn loss of slain Rowan County woman

Published 4:16 pm Saturday, February 12, 2022

By Susan Shinn Turner
For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — Family and friends realized Jason and Julie Corriher were soulmates when they married four years ago.

“Jason was much happier after he married Julie,” Jason’s younger brother Adam said. “They seemed to wrap themselves in one another.”

Julie, 55, was killed Monday by her 24-year-old son, Hayden Perry Jones, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. He is in jail without bond. Family and friends are devastated, but they remain determined to remember all the good things about her. 

And there are a lot of good things.

“Julie was such a wonderful person,” Jason said. “She was so full of love for my son, Xander, and me and both our families. She was a bright light in an increasingly dark world. Her smile was infectious, and she was an inspiration to all of us.”

Julie and Jason met in 2014, introduced by mutual friends. After their first date, they were together almost every day after. They married March 24, 2018.

Jason, 48, fell in love with her, he said, because “she was so genuine, honest and sweet as she could be.” His son, Xander, was 9 they met. “She treated him like he was her son from day one,” Jason said. “She took him to church and family events. They would sit and talk about everything.”

Julie also had a daughter, Jessica Jones.

Julie also got Jason back in the habit of going to church, which he hadn’t done since graduating from high school. The family attended West A Tabernacle Baptist Church in Kannapolis, and Jason joined the church the Sunday after they were married. 

Jason was planning to get baptized by full immersion — the Baptist custom — as soon as the sanctuary was rebuilt. It burned in 2013. He was baptized as an infant at Mount Zion United Church of Christ in China Grove, where his parents, Sally Corriher and the late Barry Corriher, were members. 

“I wanted to be the first member to be baptized in our new sanctuary,” Jason said. “Julie thought it was a good idea, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Julie was an active member of her church and helped with Hanging of the Greens at Christmas, her favorite holiday. She attended church each Sunday and Bible study each Wednesday. She was also in charge of cleaning the church.

Julie was the daughter of Shelby Bostian of Kannapolis and the late Jack Bostian. She has one older brother, Donnie. 

“Julie really loved doing things with all of the little kids in the family,” her mom said Friday. “And Julie was a Daddy’s girl.”

The loss is doubly hard for Julie’s mother-in-law, Sally Corriher of China Grove. Her husband, Barry, died Sept. 26, of a sudden heart attack. He was a longtime chief of Bostian Heights Volunteer Fire Department, where Jason now serves as captain. 

“I was crushed,” Sally said. “It’s so hard. I was still at the point with Barry of saying, ‘OK, today I’m good, but then tomorrow something else happens and I’m not.’ ”

Jason is reserved like his mom, who said Julie’s death has been an “enormous setback” for her family members in their grief journey.

Last week, Sally talked with her daughter-in-law, the wife of Mark Corriher, her oldest son. 

Stacy Corriher told her, “I just sat and cried.”

“I did, too,” Sally said. “I cried all day.”

Stewart Clement, who’s married to Jason’s younger brother Adam, said even though they weren’t in the same social group, they always enjoyed one another’s company at family functions.

Julie’s assignment was to bring potato salad, said Sally, who loved the way she made it.

“Even if she made it to take to church or to her family, she’d save some out for me, because she knew how much I loved it,” Sally said.

The two got to be close friends in the time they knew one other. 

“I loved Julie because she loved Jason so much and she loved Xander so much,” Sally said. “For Christmas one year, Xander made me a snowman out of a gallon milk jug. It has lights in it, and a hat and a scarf. I thought it was as cute as it could be. Julie had the idea and she and Xander made it together. She always wanted to bake cookies and decorate the tree when Xander was able to be there.”

The two were also confidantes.

“She came and sat with me when Barry died,” Sally said. “We talked about Barry and we talked about her worries for her children.”

Julie also leaves behind a daughter. Her son had been diagnosed two years ago with a mental illness, but he was not on medication at the time of her death. 

“Anything he needed she made sure he had it,” Sally said. “There was no indication that something like this would happen. She was there when he needed her.”

Sally said she feels sure her daughter-in-law would have shared if she felt threatened. 

“I thought the world of Julie,” Sally said.

Before his death, Barry and Sally watched “Yellowstone,” one of his favorite shows. After he died, Julie promised Sally that she and Jason would come each week so the three of them could watch the show together. 

“They came every week,” Sally said. 

Julie was the administrative assistant for U.S. Renal Care in Charlotte.

“She was the glue that held that place together,” said Nicole Taylor, her close friend and office mate since 2014. “She was everybody’s go-to. We talked to each other and comforted each other. We’re both Christians, and we prayed for each other and shared uplifting scriptures. Her life glorified God. She was patient and kind. Even our ‘challenging’ patients were crazy about Julie.”

The clinic cares for about 100 dialysis patients, said Nicole, a registered nurse who works with an additional 18 patients on home dialysis. 

“Our patients and staff are shedding tears,” she said.

Nicole said grief counselors were at the clinic Wednesday and Friday. She was able to meet one-on-one with a counselor for an hour. 

“She could tell I was tense and trying to process everything,” Nicole said. “All I could think of was picturing Julie on the ground. It was so traumatizing. I pulled up her wedding pictures on my phone and tried to concentrate on them instead.”

Nicole was surprised when Julie did not come to work on Monday morning. She texted her and asked, “Julie, are you off today?” But there was no response. 

She left her a voicemail at noon: “Julie, are you OK?”

At about 2 p.m., Nicole realized Julie had never called back. 

Jason called about two hours later with the news.

“Jason was calm,” Nicole said. “He said, ‘Hello, how are you?’ I said, ‘I’m afraid. I haven’t heard from Julie.’ That’s when he told me, and I immediately broke down. It was unbelievable.”

Nicole said co-workers left flowers at Julie’s desk. Some just come to sit in her chair for a few minutes. Her disposable lab coat — with her name and a bear that she drew — still hangs on the back of her office chair. 

“It’s extremely hard,” Nicole said. “It’s hard to sleep. It’s hard to concentrate.” 

But Nicole is holding on tight to the memories of her friend.

“Julie truly cared about her patients.”

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