Families of suspect and victim tell different stories after 14-year-old Louisville girl stabbed to death

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As family members of one Louisville teen grieve a loss of life, another teen's loved ones fear she could spend the rest of hers behind bars. 

Police said 14-year-old Madison Branch died after being stabbed in the stomach by 19-year-old Tiffany James.

"She was great," said Christy Branch, the victim's aunt. "She was awesome. She could bring a smile to anyone's face."

A fight broke out between two groups of girls at a Speedway gas station near the intersection of N. 21st Street and Rowan Street around 6 p.m. Monday. 

James was arrested the same night and charged with Branch's murder

"It's been an ongoing bullying case with another juvenile," said Debra James, the suspect's mother. "Right now it's just self defense."

But Branch's family tells a much different story.

"Yes, the little girl was victimized, the little girl was bullied, I know that," said Christy Branch. "But not by Madison Branch."

"Never, never-ever has my niece bullied anybody, never," Christy Branch added.

The fight broke out with Branch just a few blocks from her home. The families know each other from the Portland neighborhood. 

With two very different tales of what happened, police say there's evidence to find the truth. 

"There is video in the area, and other witnesses," said Lt. Emily McKinley of the Louisville Metro Police Homicide Unit. "We want to review all that and there is the potential that there could be other charges because there were other people involved in this fight." 

With a 14-year-old dead and a 19-year-old behind bars, the two families agree on one thing: they never thought it would go this far.

"Nobody is a victim besides Madison and we will get justice for her," Christy Branch said.

"Stop the bullying," Debra James said. "This is not leading anywhere."

James' lawyer asked for home incarceration. The judge denied the request and upped her bond to $100,000 cash.

Jefferson County Public Schools confirms Branch attended graduated from Westoport middle school and was due to start 9th grade at the Academy at Shawnee next school year. 

James remains behind bars and is due in court again July 7.

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