Stevi man facing homicide, elder abuse charges

Jess Abell

A Stevensville man is being held on charges of deliberate homicide and elder abuse in the death of his mother, Eda Lyn Karr. Karr was 63 at the time of her disappearance.

Ronan Elias Sterling-Shanahan, aka Justin Joe Whitfield, 46, was charged in Ravalli County District Court on Tuesday, Nov. 15 with deliberate homicide, theft, exploitation of an incapacitated person and tampering with physical evidence, all felonies. Whitfield was initially arrested on Oct. 16 on charges of theft, exploitation of an older person and exploitation of an incapacitated person, also felonies.

Whitfield is accused of neglecting his mother’s medical care, allowing her to deteriorate and die, and then using her retirement funds for his personal use after concealing her body. Karr, who had lived in Stevensville for more than 15 years, was retired from the California Teachers Union and suffered from multiple health issues that were managed through regular care. Whitfield was her sole caretaker and relative in Montana.

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