Ex-girlfriend of James VanCallis calls him 'abusive, controlling'

Image 1 of 5

James VanCallis' ex-girlfriend Crystal Stadler.

The ex-girlfriend of murder suspect James VanCallis took the stand in his trial for the murder of April Millsap Friday. Crystal Stadler called him abusive, controlling and even threatening.

Attorney: "What were the conversations that led to those frightening statements?"

"He said he would bring me down with him," she said.

Stadler dated VanCallis for eight and a half years and testified against him Friday. James Vancallis is on trial for first degree murder, kidnapping and attempted sexual assault.

Attorney: "What does he say to you?"

"He messed up and he needs me to stay by his side," she said.

Crystal Stadler testified that the night of July 24th, 2014  when 14-year-old April Millsap was found stomped to death in a ditch along the Macomb Orchard trail that VanCallis was acting strange.
"I asked him why he was cleaning his shoes," she said.

Attorney: "What did he tell you."

"He was cleaning oil off them," Stadler said. "I (thought) it was weird."

Stadler says VanCallis was controlling and abusive. That he told her to tell police he was wearing different shows that day and asking her to wash his clothes.

Attorney: "What was it that you found?"

Stadler: "Wadded up hair and like shavings of grass or like, hay."

The prosecution showed searches from VanCallis' computer days before April's murder,

including "how to have sex with a girl," and "how to attract younger women."

But the defense argued there's no proof it was VanCallis, also accusing Stadler of changing her story.

"You remember about what time Mr. VanCallis left the house on July 24," asked an attorney.

"Between 4:30 and 5," Stadler said.

"And how do you know that today," the attorney asked. "How do you recall so quickly what time that is."

Stadler admitted to telling different stories to police, Stadler says she was scared.

"You were so scared of Mr. VanCallis to the point that it didn't matter that there were two troopers there," the attorney said. "Correct?"

"Yes," Stadler said.

"At least one of them was in uniform and had a gun with him," the attorney said.

"Yes," Stadler said.

The trial continues Tuesday. Those who wish to donate to the April Millsap Memorial Garden can CLICK HERE for the Weebly.com link or CLICK HERE for the GoFundMe page.

A sponsor is matching donations for the month of January, up to $2000.

You may also mail a check, payable to:

April Millsap Memorial Garden
1523 Northampton Rd
Kalamazoo, MI 49006