Stowik murder unsolved a year later

Stowik murder unsolved a year later

Holding his hands close, Cumberland Police Chief John Desmarais describes the department’s continued refusal to share details about the year-old Stanley Stowik murder investigation. (Valley Breeze photo by Marcia Green)
New detectives assigned to Cumberland case

CUMBERLAND – Just days before the one-year anniversary of the murder of Stanley Stowik, Police Chief John Desmarais is conceding he’s “pretty sure” who did it but doesn’t have the evidence to assure a conviction.

“The case is moving forward,” said Desmarais, as he continues to express confidence in a final resolution.

He’s pointing to “fresh eyes” on the case, following the late-summer retirements of Capt. James Murphy, who had been leading the investigation, and Detective Michael Strain.

In charge now is Capt. William Wilkie, working with Detective Peter Sweet, assisted by Michael O’Connor and Jolene (Bell) Alves.

Maj. Joseph Philbin is heading the State Police team, and Desmarais notes that the FBI and state attorney general’s office continue to play a role.

For the first time, Desmarais spoke of a possible reward in this case. Although nothing has been announced, the chief encouraged anyone with information to contact him to discuss the possibility of a cash payment. “Please call me,” he said.

Also for the first time, a family member, Patty Stowik, who is Stanley Stowik’s niece, is expressing publicly her disappointment in the lack of progress. She told The Breeze she feels the evidence was “botched.”

Nephew Frank Stowik, who heads up the town’s highway department and had the sad experience of discovering his uncle’s body, declined comment this week, except to applaud what he sees as a “reopening” of the case with new detectives.

Desmarais continues to hold his cards close, saying he can’t have suspects reading about the evidence in the local newspaper. “We have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, not a preponderance of the evidence. The threshold to find someone guilty is high.”

To date, even the autopsy report – including cause of death – has remained under wraps except for the medical examiner’s comment that Stowik died of “homicidal violence.”

Stowik was 80 years old and living alone at 20 Indiana Ave. on Oct. 10, 2015, the night he died. He was a retired town employee and U.S. Navy veteran who served during the Korean conflict.

Desmarais said a suspect is under the department’s watch but would say little more. The chief did say that once an arrest is made, the public will understand the secrecy that has surrounded this investigation.

As he has from the beginning, Desmarais offered assurance, based on evidence he’s not disclosing, that Monastery Heights area residents are not in danger from a murderer on the loose.

He did say that the convicted felon William Donnelly, whom many observers suspect of the crime, had lived just a couple of houses away from Stowik at 34 Indiana Ave., but has moved to the Mendon Road area.

Donnelly, 57, has been charged over the years with a variety of crimes, and last April, Desmarais described him as a “person of interest.”

Cumberland police not only questioned him, but also arrested him last November, charging him with a neighborhood break-in that happened just before Stowik’s murder.

The investigation was turned over to the state attorney general’s office, but every charge was dismissed for lack of evidence on March 16. The victims of that breaking and entering reported a stolen firearm that was never recovered and the case remains unresolved.

In 1982, Donnelly was convicted in the murder of Hyung U. Kim, 37, who supervised Donnelly at AAA Surgical Supply in Providence. Donnelly was accused of killing him with a small-caliber handgun by shooting him in the abdomen after Kim refused to co-sign a loan for him.

He was supposed to serve 18 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions but was released in 1988 when it was learned that defense attorneys hadn’t been advised of a psychiatric report that raised questions about his mental competency.

He was released soon afterward when a psychiatrist later found Donnelly rehabilitated.

In 1993, Donnelly was found guilty of embezzling $1,700 from a Smithfield gas station on Nov. 1 and Nov. 8, 1992, after working there about five weeks. A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said then that instead of placing $1,700 in receipts into a safe at the station, Donnelly put the money into an envelope for his own use.

In 2015, Donnelly was arrested on charges of making a fraudulent purchase with a credit card totaling more than $250 at the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in North Attleboro.

Stowik was a lifelong Cumberland resident and the son of the late Frank and Catherine (Maslon) Stowik.

He left his four daughters, Lynda Perry, Sandra Galuska, Barbara Stowik and Debra Albert; his two sons, Stanley Stowik Jr. and Steven Stowik; his six grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

Comments

That being William Donnelly... we need to be 110% positive that our Police officers, etc. "Have all of their Ducks in a Row" so that there IS NOT, this time, another Do-Gooder incident wherein a murderer is set free as is detailed in the above story.

This is something that happens too often once Do-Gooders get involved claiming such things as was the case with Mr. Donnelly...it resulting in his being set free from having already, once, having committing murder.

How many, many times have we seen similar incidents of this taking place, a life-long criminal, murderer, set free, back on the street to continue on his/her sick demented existence...but, in the eyes of the Do-Gooders, Reform-Believers, the victims and their families be damned...the Donnelly's of the world cannot be held responsible for their behavior because they had a "Deprived Childhood'!

AGAIN....Please let our local police, one of, if not, the BEST Police Departments in the State, along with the State police, and the FBI do their job so we can, once and for all, put this individual away and throw away the key!

Tom Letourneau

Cumberland Police Chief John Desmarais cannot give out any details is because he has none.

The only reason this is in the public eye is because of Councilor Peter Bradley bi-weekly reminders that this murder is unsolved.

You can watch the town council meetings where the bumbling mayor Bill Murray sighs and make rude comments every time the councilor brings it up. Even last night he walked out of the town council meeting after the amount of days was announced that the murder remains unsolved.

And it is going to remain that way.

Mr. Stowik will have to rise from his grave (god rest his soul) to tell the Cumberland Police who killed him. After all this is the same department that first declared he was not murdered and gave permission to clean the house before the medical examiner said he was murdered.

Need more than a new set of eyes to look at this case, you need a police chief who can give some leadership and a mayor who does not cut the police departments budget.

The Valley Breeze article should have at least given Councilor Bradley credit for keeping this from being swept under the rug.

There is no way in hell that the mayor or police chief wanted someone else to look at this case on there own.

Bumbling fools.

Thank You Councilor Bradley for never forgetting.

Correction: Donnelly lived directly next door to Stanley, not a couple of houses away.

Is it strange that both detectives retired in the middle of a murder investigation? They committed to serve and protect this community but opted out in the middle of a murder investigation???