Fairfax County Judge has said there is sufficient evidence to charge Brazilian live-in-au pair, Juliana Peres Magalhaes, in shooting death

April 09, 2024

A Fairfax County Judge has said there is sufficient evidence to charge Brazilian live-in au pair, Juliana Peres Magalhaes, in a shooting that occurred at the residence she worked and lived at.

Juliana Peres Magalhaes, then twenty-two, was employed by Brendan Banfield, a criminal investigative division agent for the IRS, 38, and his wife Christine Ann Banfield, a registered nurse, 37, on the 13200 block of Stable Brook Way, Hattontown, Herndon in Fairfax County, Virginia. The couple lived in a $1 million dollar home and had a 4-year-old daughter together, for whom Magalhaes was hired to care for.

On February 24, 2023,  at 7:49am, a call was made to 911. The caller disconnected.

At 8:02am, Police received a call from Magalhaes saying two people were injured inside the Stable Brook Way home. “Her friend,” had been hurt, she told the dispatcher.

Christine’s husband, Brendan Banfield, who was at the scene and also speaking on the 911 call, told police that he had shot “the man who stabbed his wife.

Christine Banfield, who had been stabbed multiple times in the upper abdomen while in the upper bedroom of the home, died in hospital. Joseph Nathan Ryan, who was fatally shot multiple times, was found in the same room, and declared  dead at the scene.

The Banfield’s child was said to be present in the home at the time of the attack, although reports do not state where in the home the child was at the time.

Police were quickly dispatched to the scene, where they found no signs of forced entry into the residence. They found Brendan Banfield, who had a surface injury to his leg, and Juliana Peres Magalhaes, at the scene.

When police asked Magalhaes to recount the events of that day, she said that she had been out that morning, and when she returned to the home to get the Banfield’s daughter’s lunch, she noticed a vehicle that she wasn’t familiar with parked in the driveway.

She said she called Christine, but got no answer, so she then called Brendan, who was allegedly at a nearby McDonald’s, and told him about the vehicle.

Magalhaes said she and Brendan entered the home, and when they got to the upper bedroom, saw that Christine had been stabbed by Joseph Ryan, who Brendan alleged was brandishing a knife.

Magalhaes said Brendan Banfield then Shot Ryan, just as Brendan had said on the 911 call. Brenden did not speak to Fairfax County Police regarding his wife’s death.


Several months later, on October 20, 2023, Juliana Peres Magalhaes was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of Joseph Ryan. Law enforcement believed that she was responsible for shooting Joseph Ryan, despite the conflicting statement from Brenden Banfield, who claimed he was responsible for Ryan’s death.


At the time of writing, Brendan has not been charged with any crime.

To make the case more complicated, Joseph Ryan was known to Christine Banfield- in what capacity has not yet been revealed. At this point in the investigation, it was unclear who was responsible for stabbing Christine to death.


During a later bond hearing in December 2023, prosecutors revealed that an account had been created on a Fetish website using Christine Banfield’s laptop. It was through this website, they say, that Joseph Ryan found his way to the Banfield's home.

Prosecutors say that Ryan was expecting to have “rough sex” with Christine Banfield. It has not yet been confirmed who created the account, however, it was created on Christine Banfield’s laptop.

A detective from the Fairfax County Police later said that Magalhaes told him she walked into the bedroom to see Christine Banfield naked, held at knifepoint by Joseph Ryan, who was fully clothed and holding a knife to Christine’s neck. She said Brenden then came in and fired a shot at Ryan with his own firearm, before telling Magalhaes to retrieve a Glock from the gun safe in the on-suite bathroom. She then shot Ryan in the heart.


In another twist in the complicated case, last week, District Court Judge Michael Lindner said there is sufficient evidence to charge Juliana Peres Magalhaes in the shooting of Joseph Ryan. Prosecutors revealed that just a couple of months before the double murder, on Dec. 23, 2022, Juliana Magalhaes and Brendan Banfield went to an Ashburn shooting range together, the Silver Eagle shooting range.

Brendan returned to the range on January 28, the month before the shooting, to purchase a Glock, which was kept in a gun safe in the bathroom of the home.

Prosecutors also allege that Magalhaes and Brendan Banfield got new cell phones a few days before the double murder.

Brenden exercised his right to remain silent and plead the fifth at the pre-trial hearing when questioned about his relationship with Magalhaes- specifically if the two had been having an affair behind Christine Banfield's back. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kelsey Gill alleged that the pair had been romantically involved during the leadup to the murders.

According to WTOP news, prosecutors have said there is both text evidence and photo evidence that the pair were having an affair. 

Framed Photographs of Magalhaes and Brendan Banfield hugging were said to be pictured in Banfield’s room at the time of Magalhaes arrest.

The defense argues that other than Magalhae's statement to detectives, there is, at the time of writing, no evidence proving she shot Joseph Ryan, nor that the firearm purchased at the Silver Eagle shooting range was the one used in the shooting, or for that matter, who shot which gun, and in which order.

A date for trial has not yet been determined.

Magalhaes is facing charges of second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

She is being held without bond at the Fairfax County jail.

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