Murder victim’s daughter seeks answers

Eleven years later, no one charged in Butte stabbing death
2005-11-29T23:00:00Z Murder victim’s daughter seeks answersBy Thad Kelling of The Montana Standard - 11/30/2005 Montana Standard

Tuesday marked the 11th anniversary of the day Jennifer MacPhee’s mother, Julianne Stallman, 41, was stabbed to death in her Butte home.

No one has ever been charged with the crime, but MacPhee remains hopeful.

“Somebody knows, somewhere, and all we need is that one clue, that one piece of the puzzle, to get it solved,” said MacPhee, 32, who now lives with her four kids in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The murder occurred on Nov. 29, 1994, sometime before 6 p.m., when Stallman’s son found her dead in her kitchen at 1028 California Ave. She suffered multiple stab wounds.

Police have since questioned at least 30 people about the killing, and they have collected DNA evidence from about as many people.

“It was a pretty extensive investigation, and it’s still an open investigation, but we just don’t have any new information to follow up on,” said Butte Sheriff John Walsh, who was the captain of detectives when Stallman was murdered.

New detectives are expected to review the case, Walsh said, noting that he has a personal interest because the murder occurred on his watch.

Throughout the investigation, MacPhee has stayed involved. At least once a year, she contacts detectives to brainstorm and offer any information — even rumors See MURDER, Back Page she has heard.

“I will never let go and hope they don’t,” she said.

She said it gives her comfort knowing police revisit the case regularly “if nothing else to brush off the dust once a year.” It took MacPhee four years after the murder to pick up her shattered life. She found comfort in a Butte support group for people suffering from the death of a loved one.

“I was just so consumed with the loss and the homicide itself,” she said. “I didn’t even have a chance to have any other emotion.” Motivated by her mother’s death, MacPhee began studying forensic science at the University of Great Falls. She didn’t finish her degree, but she said she hopes to one day.

More recently, MacPhee joined the Citizens Against Homicide, a national support group based in California. Last year, the group featured an article MacPhee wrote about her mother in its monthly newsletter.

MacPhee has abandoned all of her hunches about who may have killed her mother. DNA testing has ruled out everyone she suspected. But her hunt continues.

“I just really hope that whoever killed her has never killed somebody else,” she said.

Reporter Thad Kelling may be reached at 496-5511 or thad.kelling@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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