Saturday, November 30, 2013
Christal Cooper – 2,138 Words
Facebook @ Christal Ann Rice Cooper
LIFE IN PICTURES
May 12, 1953 – November 29, 1994
On Tuesday, November 29, 1994 in Butte, Montana, Jennifer MacPhee, 21, dropped her oldest daughter at preschool. Then, she, her best friend, and her youngest daughter Miranda, 8 months, went Christmas shopping. It was a beautiful day in Butte, Montana – clear with fresh white snow on the ground.
The Christmas shopping trip didn’t last for long. Butte, Montana is a small town and only had the local K-mart and local Wal-Mart.
On that same day, Julianne Stallman got out of bed and went to work at the local cafe, Jaclyn’s Restaurant at 320 Harrison Avenue, where she worked as a waitress. She got off work early, about 1:00 p.m., stopped at the local Kmart to get a curtain rod and other items, then stopped at the convenience store near her home to purchase a pack of Old Gold’s cigarettes. She then returned to her home on California Street. A neighbor saw her get out of her maroon Pontiac sunbird, holding the Kmart bag and entering her home. Another neighbor saw Stallman open the door to her porch to get the five-gallon jugs of water she had delivered to her house. At 3 p.m., Stallman spoke with her sister Patti, one of seven siblings, and talked to her for a few minutes. Julianne told Patti she was on her way to her son’s business to make a daily deposit. She said she would then go to her parent’s house to finish some cleaning that she had started the day before. The sisters made arrangements at 5:00 p.m. so Julianne could give her sister a ride to pick up her car. Patti was the last person that spoke with Julie.
More than likely Julianne had leftover Thanksgiving dinner for a late lunch, cleaned her empty plate and glass, and placed them in the sink. She then smoked Old Gold’s cigarettes while watching People’s Court, Jeopardy, Court Television, or a soap opera that she would tape everyday.
She had planned to go to her son’s business (she was his bookkeeper), pick up a deposit, and take it to the bank by 3:30 p.m. in order for the funds to be credited that day.
After the Christmas shopping trip, Jennifer picked up her oldest daughter from preschool and then they all headed back to her house. Later, at around 3:30 p.m., Jennifer tried calling her mother. She wanted to come over to her mother’s house to show her Reanne and Miranda’s Christmas pictures. She left a message, expecting her mother to return her call within the hour. She never did.
“My husband at the time came home from school and made dinner.”
The last meal Julianne Stallman cooked for her family was on Thanksgiving Day, 1994.
The Stallman family had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner at 2 p.m., the main course being a juicy turkey. The family then socialized, played board and card games, and watched football.
Jennifer specifically remembers that Thanksgiving Day because she forgot her camera.
“I’m a big picture taker all the time. On Thanksgiving Day I didn’t have my camera. I remember specifically saying (to my Mom) that I was upset I didn’t have that camera. But then I told her I would bring it with me for Christmas and I could get the pictures there.”
For Julianne Stallman Christmas never came.
A little after six p.m. Jennifer still had not heard from her mother, and decided to bring the Christmas photos to her dad’s house, a few miles outside of town.
At 6:30 p.m., just as they were about to walk out the door, Jennifer’s phone rings. She picks up, and it’s her brother, John, calling from the police station.
“He told me that my mother was dead. He had been living with my mother at the time. He just said that Mom had died. I said, ‘How had she died?’ I imagined a car accident – that’s what came to my mind, because it was really snowy outside. She was a healthy woman. He told me he thought she killed herself.”
Jennifer immediately called her grandfather, her mother’s father.
“He said, ‘Your mom is supposed to be here but she didn’t show up either.’ I didn’t tell them anything at that time. That was before cell phones.”
Jennifer and her family drove to Julianne’s residence at 1028 California Street.
“There were cop cars everywhere. I jumped out of the truck before it stopped. I was trying to run into the house. This lady cop and the sheriff came over to me and had told me my mom was dead. I just wanted to see her. And he told me that at that point it was a homicide.”
Jennifer returned home and called her best friend Misty to be with her while her husband dropped the girls off at her dad’s house, and then drove 60 miles to pick up her aunt. And then she called her uncle to tell him that his sister was dead.
“I was calling around to everyone to let them know before it was on the news. I didn’t want to tell my Grandpa. I called my uncle and had him tell my grandpa. My grandfather sat in his chair stunned.”
The last time Jennifer had been in her mother’s house was the previous Sunday, November 27.
“I had gone over to get the Christmas decorations from her garage. When she died her entire house was already decorated for Christmas.”
Jennifer and her family made the decision to live in her mother’s house, they moved in on January 1.
“It was my home. She bought that house after Reanne was born. And I lived there for two years. My brother wasn’t going to live there anymore. I was never ever afraid that anything was going to happen to me.” I think I kind of asked them (the killers) to come at me. I was on the radio all the time. I’d remind people that this case was unsolved.”
On December 3, 1994 her mother’s funeral was held on a Saturday at 9:30 a.m. The family had her casket opened so they could see her face, but only for a couple of hours.
“My brother wouldn’t go in until the casket was closed. So we had the casket opened for only close family members.”
After twenty-one years of searching, Jennifer refuses to give up and has vowed to find her mother’s killer. She’d questioned God, the police establishment, family, friends, and psychics. Who did this? Why did he do this? What happened? Jennifer believes the perpetrator entered her mother’s house via the front door.
“She didn’t worry about locking her doors during the day. She’d only lock them at night. And even at night, if my brother or I were not back for the night, she’d leave the doors unlocked just in case we forgot our keys.”
She believes her mother knew the person and that there was a struggle because blood was found in various rooms. The perpetrator perhaps turned up the volume of Stallman’s television set to drown out her cries.
“The television was left on and the police said it was deafening loud. The police checked to see what channel was on and it was a channel that she wouldn’t watch.”
From November 29,1994 to June 1995, Jennifer could not be alone. When her husband would go to work, she would go stay with her grandfather. Despite her fears of being alone, she was the rose to the police department, a rose with many thorns.
“I was a thorn in their side. I would literally sit there for hours and hours at the police station. I told them, ‘I have nothing but time.’” They’d tell me, ‘We have this much files and stacks and stacks of binders. This is the information we have.’ I cleared his desk and said, ‘You need to listen to me, so I can help you. You cannot NOT talk to me. I’m not going to tell the city that you think it is this person or that person.”
Despite the tension between Jennifer and the police department, she recognizes the hard work the detectives did on the case. The first detective Jack worked on the case for six years, until, 2000 when he moved to Minnesota.
“We became really close. I’ve seen photographs. He’s probably given me more information than any victim’s daughter needed to know.”
As of now Detective Jerome MacCarthy is on the case. Jennifer’s strength has always been visibly dominant in her family and friend’s lives. Other family members would tear up at the mention of her mother’s name, but she didn’t.
“I don’t cry. I don’t show my emotions. Jack said I’m emotionless. I told him I can separate the emotional from what the police need to do. I was the rock that held everything together for the longest time.”
That is until all of her friends and family were gone; her daughters asleep; her husband asleep; only then would she go to her sanctuary.
“And my bathroom was my sanctuary and I would lay on the throw rug on the floor and would cry my eyes out and all by myself.”
But when she was with other people, she dried up.
“I was just so consumed with the loss and the homicide itself. I didn’t even have a chance to have any other emotion.”
In 1995, Jennifer finally found some form of comfort and peace when she attended meetings for an organization that supported people suffering from the death of a loved one.
“It was the only thing that gave me any kind of peace. I went there just because they knew my story and they knew who I was. I could cry with them.”
Jennifer also found comfort in the memories she and her mother had together.
“She would do little itty bits of things for us. She’d make breakfast for dinner. Once a week we’d go down to A&W and get root beer floats and they would put them in these little tiny baby cups.”
One of her favorite memories was when she turned 21 years old, and her mother, aunt, and best friend Misty took her to Jim’s Bar and purchased her first legal drink – a Miller Lite.
The ultimate memory would have to be when her first two daughters were born.
“She was the only one there for both births. The year Reanne was born my mother’s birthday fell on Mother’s day May 12. Reanne was born two days later on May 14.”
During the years of living in her Mom’s house on California Street her mother would visit her.
“My mom used to come to me all the time. I’d find things. She would tell me things. And I felt that she was there. I knew that she was there. After she died, in my house picture frames on the walls would move, the dishwashing liquid would fall from one side of the sink to the opposite side of the sink.”
By the time Jennifer moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she resides now, she had four children: Reanne 24, Miranda 21, Caleb 18, and Cullen 14. Her highest priority is her children whom she enjoys taking care of and giving all that she has to them.
“My life has been filled with many joys and many happy times. My children keep me focused and they are who I live for.”
Sometimes she looks at her children and can’t help but think what could have been, and how cheated her children were to have their Nana murdered.
“I feel that had my mother not been taken from me at such a young age and in such a tragic way it could have been different. I am and have always been very honest with my children about the circumstances of their Nana’s death.”
She especially mourns the loss of her mother on behalf of her two boys, whom were born after her mother was killed.
“I am so angry that my boys never ever felt her kisses or her touch. Miranda and Reanne had little time with her as well. When Caleb was two he held a picture of my mom in his little hand and told me matter of factly that this was his first mom and told me how she took care of him. I now have a beautiful granddaughter named Sophie Anne, her middle name is after my mother.
My brother has two children Madison 16 and Josh 14, and they never had a chance with their Nana either. I wish that I could call her on the phone and ask her how to cook something, what to do, or just to tell her I love her.”
“The death of my mother has changed my life sometimes for the better and sometimes not. I am a very untrusting and unforgiving person. I am a very strong and protective woman.”
Photo Description and Copyright Info
Sisters Linda and Julianne (far right) in 1955. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Siblings Joe, Linda, and Julianne in 1956. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1957. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne, second from right. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1961. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1968. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1969. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Photo 9, 10, and 11.
Julianne in 1971. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne holding son John in 1972. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne holding baby Jennifer in 1973. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1978. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne, far right, in 1978. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1980. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne holding niece Natalie in 1980. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Sisters Patti and Julianne in 1982. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne, right, in 1983. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1983. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne dressed in pink, far left, in 1983. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne holding nephew Timothy in 1984. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1985. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Sisters Julianne (far left) and Paula in 1986. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1990. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Jennifer, Julianne, and John in 1990. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Jennifer, second from left, and Julianne, far right. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Jennifer and Julianne on Thanksgiving of 1990. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne, summer of 1991. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne and Reanne in June of 1991.
Julianne holding baby Reanne in July 1991. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne and Reanne in 1991. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Jennifer holding Reanne, Julianne, and Mary in Christmas of 1991. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne holding Reanne in Christmas of 1991. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne and Reanne in 1992. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Reanne, Maggie, and Julianne in 1992. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1992. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Photo 39 and 40.
Reanne, Jennifer, Julianne, and John in 1992. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Reanne and Julianne in 1993. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Maggie, Patti, and Julianne in 1993. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne, second from left in 1993. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in 1993. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne in white dress in 1993. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Patti and Julianne in Thanksgiving of 1993. Copyright by Jennifer MacPhee.
Julianne, far right, in summer of 1994.