Attorney says murder defendant, Stislicki 'were friends'

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Defense attorney Jim Williams says Galloway is innocent and the two were friends following the arraignment in 47th District Court Wednesday.

Farmington Hills — A 32-year-old man was arraigned on a murder charge Wednesday in the disappearance of Danielle Stislicki, while the defendant's attorney said his client and the missing woman "were friends" and that would not have hurt her.

Floyd Russell Galloway was arraigned on a charge of premeditated first-degree murder filed by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel In 47th District Court of Farmington Hills. Galloway, who was arraigned by video, pleaded not guilty and was denied bond. 

Floyd Galloway enters a not guilty plea during his video arraignment Wednesday in 47th District Court of Farmington Hills.

Stislicki, of Farmington Hills, disappeared Dec. 2, 2016. She was last seen leaving her office at MetLife in Southfield.

The 28-year-old, who went by "Dani," had plans to meet a friend for dinner that evening but never showed up. The next day, Stislicki's locked vehicle was found parked outside her apartment complex with her purse inside. 

Danielle Stislicki

Galloway, of Berkley, is a former security guard for the company that previously provided security at the building on Telegraph Road where Stislicki was employed.

His defense attorney Jim Williams said Galloway was distraught and would have never committed the crime. 

"He would walk people out of the building during dark evenings, do whatever security staffs would need to do... They were friends, they knew each other. Her mother worked there and he knew her mother also," Williams said. 

But Stislicki's mother, Ann, who attended the arraignment with Danielle's father, Richard, and sisters, Holly and Jillian, said Danielle and Galloway were never friends. 

“They were never anything more than acquaintances. They never had any one-on-one time,” said Ann Stislicki, who wore a yellow “Find Dani” ribbon on her black suit. “This is all about Danielle. I trust the attorney general. This isn't a political thing or anything more than getting justice for Danielle and the many other people who are missing."

In June 2017, Galloway was charged in the Sept. 4, 2016, attempted sexual assault of a 28-year-old woman who was jogging in Edward Hines Park near Levan Road in Livonia.

Galloway pleaded guilty to the Hines Park assault in November 2017. He is serving a 16-35 year sentence at Alger Correctional Facility in Munising on kidnapping and assault charges in relation to the incident, according to Michigan Department of Corrections Records.

Floyd Galloway, already in jail for an attempted kidnapping In Hines Park in 2016, will be charged in the 2016 murder of Danielle Stislicki of Farmington Hills.

During the time of the Hines Park assault, Galloway was a person of interest in Stislicki's disappearance and investigators had theorized he somehow led Stislicki to his house, where he killed her and later disposed of her body. 

Williams said Galloway, who faces the possibility of life in prison, knows he is innocent. 

"He is disappointed and I believe the facts will show he's innocent," Williams said. "The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office probably feels the same way, which is why they didn't charge him a week ago, a month ago or a year ago. They haven't found any new information."

A spokesperson for Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper declined to comment on the case Tuesday.

Williams said Nessel filed the new charge against Galloway for publicity's sake. 

"If they had a case, Oakland would have previously charged him," Williams said. "We get a new attorney general and I think she just decided to go ahead with this charge for good publicity."

When asked why are charges being brought now, more than two years after Stislicki disappeared, Nessel said two years was a long time and "at some point you need to go forward with the evidence you have."

Danielle Stislicki's parents and siblings fill the front row of 47th District Court Wednesday for the arraignment of Floyd Galloway.

Stislicki's parents and siblings sat beside each other in the front row of the courtroom hoping to find closure. The Stislickis — who participated in numerous vigils for their daughter and have joined in efforts for other families with missing relatives — commended the police department and the public for their help and support over the past two years.

"We are grateful that we are at this part and are anticipating the next step," said Richard Stislicki, who said he wished a close-up of Galloway was shown in the courtroom. "I was hoping to look Floyd Galloway in the eyes and to see him for the person I believe he truly is."

Danielle Stislicki's parents Ann and Richard outside the courtroom saying Galloway was never more than a work acquaintance with their daughter.

Williams said Galloway "doesn't have a clue who committed the crime" but hopes they find the "true suspect" and Danielle. 

The Stislicki case is being handled by newly appointed special assistant attorney general Jaimie Powell Horowitz, who has worked as a special assistant prosecutor for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Horowitz declined to comment, saying there was little prosecutors could say without harming the case. 

Galloway’s preliminary examination will be done by video at 9 a.m.  March 15. 

Staff Writer Mike Martindale contributed.
Twitter: @SarahRahal_