Desiree Staperfene will probably never recover from the deaths of her mother and boyfriend at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, Brian Douglas. An investigation into Brian revealed a man fascinated by death and vicious murder. His Facebook cover photo portrayed a macabre scene with blood strewn over a mattress, on a wooden nightstand, and across the floor.
Douglas’ Facebook page also revealed his unhealthy fascination with the film American Psycho. Quotes such as ‘I like to dissect girls. Did I mention I’m utterly insane?’ littered his Facebook page.
Desiree Staperfene witnessed an unthinkable tragedy. Let’s explore her story and how she’s doing now.
Desiree watched her ex-boyfriend murder his boyfriend before shooting himself in the head
“He killed my current boyfriend and then he held me hostage and then he just shot himself in the head,” Staperfene told the 911 operator.
At that point, Desiree didn’t know that Brian had also murdered her mother. Brian broke into the Staperfene household at around 7:30 am and started his killing spree by hacking Angela Kim Staperfene to death with an ax.
He then held Desiree hostage and made her watch him ax Jacob Lee Burns. Douglas’ murderous spree ended after he shot himself in the head. Desiree called 911 around 12:20 pm, nearly five hours after Douglas broke into the family’s home.
Desiree’s neighbor Lisa Collins told The Detroit News that Douglas approached Staperfene a week earlier, but she rebuffed his advances. “He was very controlling,” Lisa said. “That’s why she broke it off with him. She got out, thank God. She’s a very happy, outgoing girl.”
The residents of the affluent suburb of Livonia in Detroit watched in shock as police and forensic experts collected evidence at the scene. Livonia is a safe and family-oriented neighborhood, residents said. Violent crime rarely occurs in the area.
Family and friends lit candles outside the Staperfene residence. Nancy Radtke, Angela Kim’s friend, told Detroit Free Press she took solace in the belief that Angela put up a good fight:
“If Angie had anything to do with it to defend herself, I’m sure she went out in a blaze of glory. She was a feisty person. Angie always wanted the best for her daughter, always wanted the best for her daughter.”
The Staperfene family released a statement thanking friends, neighbors, and extended family for their support in the wake of the tragedy. The family expressed relief that Desiree survived:
“Despite the unbelievable pain and loss of Desiree losing her mother, and David Staperfene’s loss of his loving wife of 21 years, we are grateful that Desiree was able to survive. It is the one shining miracle we all hold on to, in the face of this unthinkable event.”
The family also conveyed sympathy to Jacob Burns’ family. “He was a family friend that Staperfenes welcomed into their home,” the statement read.
Desiree Staperfene retreated from the public eye following the horrific murder-suicide
Desiree was just seventeen when Brian Douglas forced her to watch him murder her boyfriend. She also witnessed Brian turn the gun on himself. The family’s statement rued that a breakup caused such pain and suffering:
“It’s so deeply unfortunate that a simple breakup would cause such everlasting pain and loss. Please know that the Staperfene family is resilient, strong, and with courage. If anything in this world is a testament to such a thing, it is Desiree’s survival. She is a wonderful reflection of her mother’s strong convictions, and her father’s calm, steady guidance.”
Staperfene retreated from the public eye following the case’s conclusion. People would forever link her name to the crime, so she opted to live a secretive life.
Desiree joined Twitter in June 2012, and her account is still active, but she hasn’t tweeted since June 2014.