Trial date for au pair charged in Herndon double homicide expected Thursday

The trial date for a northern Virginia au pair accused in the shooting death of a man inside her employers’ family home, where one of them was found stabbed, will be set Thursday.

Juliana Peres Magalhaes, 23, was indicted this week for the Feb. 2023 shooting death of 39-year-old Joseph Ryan. His body was found in the Herndon home of Christine and Brendan Banfield, who employed Peres Magalhaes as a live-in au pair from Brazil.

Christine Banfield, 37, was found with stab wounds on the same day authorities found Ryan. He was pronounced dead on the scene, while Banfield died a short time later. Initially, Banfield’s husband Brendan told authorities he shot Ryan after he [Ryan] barged into their home and stabbed his wife.

Police have not confirmed whether Ryan stabbed Christine Banfield, as her husband told authorities. To date, no one has been charged with her death.

At hearings earlier this month before Peres Magalhaes was indicted for second-degree murder and the use of a firearm in commission of a felony in relation to Ryan’s death, evidence presented by the Commonwealth of Virginia included testimonies from Dr. Meghan Kessler. The medical examiner testified Ryan suffered two "rapidly fatal" gunshot wounds, one to the head and one to the torso.


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Testimony was also given by Det. Steven Carter from Fairfax County Police, who interviewed Peres Magalhaes the day after the alleged murder. According to Det. Carter’s testimony, the suspect said Brendan Banfield shot Ryan once and instructed her to get another gun from a safe in the master bathroom.

Peres Magalhaes told Fairfax County authorities she got the gun and shot towards Ryan on the floor, but she wasn't sure if she actually hit him.

Amy Shotwell, manager of the Silver Eagle shooting range, testified in a hearing that Brendan Banfield and Peres Magalhaes had been to the shooting range twice together in the months preceding the alleged murder. Banfield returned a month before the alleged murder and bought a Glock handgun, according to Shotwell’s testimony. A matching serial number determined that same handgun was found in the Banfield's house on the day of the shooting.

 Banfield, who is not charged with a crime, was also called to testify in one of the hearings and exercised his right to 5th amendment on a number of questions.

The trial date for the shooting death of Ryan will be set on Thursday morning, along with the 74 other unrelated cases that were indicted this month.