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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prison death of sex offenders' killer is investigated as a suicide

4-24-2007 Washington:

In a letter sent to The Seattle Times a few months before his death, convicted sex-offender killer Michael Mullen wrote that during his arrest and trial, "facts are, I just wanted to die."

Mullen was serving a 44-year prison term after being convicted of killing two Bellingham sex offenders in what was considered one of the nation's worst cases of vigilantism against sex offenders.

Mullen was found unresponsive in his cell at Stafford Creek Corrections Center near Aberdeen on April 15, and declared dead at Grays Harbor Community Hospital.

The state Department of Corrections says it's still investigating his death.

Prison spokeswoman Sheri Izatt says Mullen was alone in his cell. His death is being investigated as a possible suicide.

"I've been moved from prison to prison since my incarceration," Mullen wrote in his January letter to the Times. "I can not ajust (sic)."

Mullen was sentenced last year for the shooting deaths. He found his victims on Whatcom County's online sex-offender list, posed as an FBI agent in August 2005 to enter the home, and killed Victor Vazquez, 68, and Hank Eisses, 49. He said he let a third resident go because he showed remorse. Mullen had a history of petty crime in Washington and California.

Eisses had served a five-year prison sentence for raping a 13-year-old boy. Vazquez was convicted in 1991 of molesting several children.

In letters Mullen wrote to The Seattle Times after the killings in 2005, he said, "... I wanted one alive to spread the message that 'we' will not tolerate 'our' children being used and abused."

He also said at the time that he was motivated by the case of Joseph Edward Duncan III, a sex offender charged with killing a family in Idaho and kidnapping two children as sex slaves.

A convicted sex offender and former Washington prison inmate, Duncan is accused of murdering a North Idaho woman, her son and her boyfriend, then kidnapping and molesting the woman's 9-year-old son, Dylan Groene, and 8-year-old daughter, Shasta. Duncan is also accused of killing Dylan after molesting him.

Mullen said he would welcome the death penalty in order to beat Duncan into the afterlife and hold him accountable for the Groene family's deaths.

"I will see to it personally that their deaths and abuse was not in vain!" he wrote to The Times.

Duncan, a Tacoma native, is awaiting a federal trial in Idaho. ..News Source.. by Sharon Pian Chan and Mike Carter, Seattle Times staff reporters

Man Sentenced For Killing Sex Offenders


BELLINGHAM - A Whatcom County man who shot two sex offenders to death in their Bellingham home was sentenced Friday to more than 44 years in prison.

Michael Anthony Mullen, 35, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of second-degree murder, saying the killings were not premeditated.

Mullen, who posed as an FBI agent to get into the home of three sex offenders, was originally charged with aggravated first-degree murder in the Aug. 27 deaths of Victor Vazquez, 68, and Hank Eisses, 49, both shot in the head. The third resident left the home before the killings.

"This will probably account for the defendant's very last days on earth," said Mac Setter, chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, of the sentence imposed by Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Ira Uhrig. The victims' families "support this recommendation although they recognize there is no solution for the pain they've gone through."

Vazquez's daughter, Eve, said of the plea deal: "I put my trust in the prosecuting attorney's office, and I think they made the right decision for me and my family and my dad ... and Hank's family."

"My dad is dead," she said to Mullen in court on Friday. "He's not supposed to be dead and I'm not ready for him to be dead."

She cried as she told Mullen and the court she and her dad were starting to reconcile and deal with past problems.

During her emotional testimony, Mullen dabbed at his eyes several times, but he had nothing to say to the court or the victims' families.

Under the original charges, Mullen had faced a maximum penalty of execution or life in prison without parole. The prosecutor's office decided against pursuing the death penalty because "the facts underlying the double homicide do not demand the death penalty, in lieu of life time incarceration," Setter wrote.

In letters sent to media outlets shortly after the killings, Mullen said he had developed a list of registered sex offenders that he would kill if police didn't arrest them.

On the evening of Aug. 26, he went to a home shared by three Level III offenders, those deemed most likely to reoffend. After a couple hours at the house, Mullen shot two of the men.

He turned himself in to Bellingham Police on Sept. 5 and confessed to the killings, saying that he killed the men because they were sex offenders and he was the angel of death.

In a statement attached to the guilty plea he signed, Mullen wrote, "with the intent to cause the death of Victor Vazquez and Hank Eisses, but without premeditation, I did cause the death of Victor Vazquez and Hank Eisses, while armed with a firearm."

None of this makes sense to Eve Vazquez, and she still finds what happened all but unbelievable. "Every time I drive by that house that he lived in, I keep expecting him to come out waving his arms saying it's a mistake, I'm not dead," she said.

James Russell, survived that night. He was the third man in the home. He drank beer with Mullen and left for work. He came back after the shooting and saw Mullen again.

"There were so many times he could have done the same thing to me," Russell said. Why (he didn't) I don't know, there are times I wish he would have. There are times I wish it would have ended right there for me."

The judge told Russell he hopes he finds a way to move on.

As for Mullen, the Judge Uhrig said, "I hope as long as you live, the names of Victor Vazquez and Hank Eisses haunt you." ..SOurce.. by KOMO

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