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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Suspicious death investigation of Elkhart man

8-5-2012 Indiana:

Suspicious. That's how investigators are, so far, describing the death of an Elkhart man, found on Saturday at his home in the 1700 block of Morton Avenue.

The victim is identified as 69 year-old James Grant, who also went by the name Tyrannosaurus Rex Mullins.

He's said to be a registered sex offender, having been convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor going back to the late 1990's.

Right now, the case is under investigation pending an autopsy. ..Source.. by News Talk 95.3 MNC


Elkhart police investigate possible murder

8-5-2012 Indiana:

Elkhart police are investigating a possible murder.

Officers were called to a home on Noble St., near Morton Ave. late Saturday morning. Police were called to this home on Noble Street, near Morton Avenue just after 11:00 a.m.

Inside the home, they found a man dead.

He’s identified as Tyrannosaurus Rex Mullins.

Neighbors say the man who lived there was a convicted sex offender and they stayed away from him.

“It's scary not knowing if there's somebody out there that's doing something, breaking into homes or if it's just a random act, or if it's just was somebody who knew him,” said neighbor Deb Fay.

Neighbors also told WSBT that teenagers were constantly coming and going from that house. ..Source.. by WSBT-TV Report


Elkhart County Coroner: Autopsy determined T-Rex was murdered

ELKHART, Ind. -- We have an update on the death investigation of an Elkhart County sex offender.

The Elkhart County Coroner's Office just told us that "Tyrannosaurus Rex Mullens'" death has been determined to be a homicide.

The coroner also said that Mullens died of "multiple sharp force trauma". He would not confirm whether or not T-Rex was stabbed.

The 69-year-old man's birth name is James E. Grant.

Police found his body on Saturday morning at a home on Morton Ave. ..Source.. by Jenny Dolph


Coroner: Man was victim of homicide


ELKHART -- The Elkhart man found dead last weekend in his home was the victim of a homicide, according to Elkhart County Coroner John White.

White confirmed 69-year-old James Grant was killed by a sharp object, what he described as "sharp force trauma,"

WSBT reported.

Grant was also known as Tyrannosaurus Rex Mullins.

Police were called to 17011/2 Morton Ave. late Saturday morning when they found Grant dead inside. ..Source.. by Staff


Mother says teen accused of murdering convicted sex offender "T-Rex" acted in self-defense

8-22-2012 Indiana:

The mother of 18-year-old Brandon Johnston, who is accused of murdering 69-year-old convicted sex offender James Grant, aka Tyrannosaurus Rex Mullens, defended her son on Tuesday saying he acted in self-defense.

Mullens, who was convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor in 1996, was found stabbed to death in his home on the 1700-block of Morton Avenue on August 4. The Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office announced the arrest of Johnston on Monday. Johnston’s mother believes Mullens was a predator who targeted her son for years.

Jessica Dills, Johnston’s Mother, said she, son and her parents lived on Morton Avenue for years and Mullens moved in about five-years ago. Dills claimed that nobody in the neighborhood was notified that Mullens was a sex offender and only found out after they grew concerned about Mullens’ behavior.

"He tried to buy my parents gifts, he tried to buy us stuff because he always tried to get a hold of Brandon…he would call and ask where my son was,” Dills described. “He even showed up at our house before, he showed up at my parent's house, it was just creepy."

Dills claimed she and others made numerous formal complaints and reports to the Elkhart Police Department about Mullens’ behavior, saying that he often had contact with the numerous children in the neighborhood.

"People would see him, supposedly, masturbate in front of their window," Dills explained. “The bus stop is right in front of his house.”

Eight-months ago Dills moved to her current home in Three Rivers, Michigan, in part to get away from Mullens. However, he parents (Brandon Johnston’s Grandparents) remained at their home near Mullens and her son often stayed with them. Johnston was staying with his grandparents when Mullens was murdered and has told his mother that Mullens had gotten him drunk on the night of the murder, but he can’t remember much of what happened.

"I don't know if he slipped something into the drink that he gave my son and that's why my son can't remember some of it, it knocked him out and then he woke up and that's when everything happened,” Dills claimed. “My son tried to get it to stop and he (Mullens) was hitting my son with an object and my son said, ‘I had to defend myself.’"

Brandon Johnston is in the Elkhart County Jail awaiting trial.

"I saw him by myself and when he started crying I just started to lose it, it's not easy to see your kid there," Dill described. "The rest of his life it's going to haunt him, it's going to haunt us…he wanted to join the Army, that's never going to happen, so much is going to be taken away from him just because of this.”

Dills said she believes police should have done more to investigate Mullens before his murder and that the case should serve as a reason for stricter rules about where sex offenders should be allowed to live.

“I’m not saying he (Mullens) didn’t have a right to live anywhere, but in amongst a general population with tons of kids that wasn’t right,” she said. “I don’t want this to ever happen again, this shouldn’t have happened this time.”

Brandon Johnston is scheduled to be in court for an initial hearing on August 23. ..Source.. by Tony Spehar


Teen pleads guilty to Elkhart man's murder

12-13-2012 Indiana:

18-year old Brandon Johnston pleaded guilty to murder Thursday morning in Elkhart County.

He's accused of killing James Grant – Also known as Tyrannosaurus Rex Mullens – back in August.

Police say Grant was stabbed several times in his head, neck, and chest in his Morton Avenue home in Elkhart.

Johnston is scheduled to be sentenced next month. ..Source.. by


Teen sentenced on murder charge said victim gave him drugs


GOSHEN — What exactly happened the early morning of Aug. 2, 2012, may never be known. But what came out of the incident was the death of a 69-year-old man —a registered sex offender,— and the sentencing of an 18-year-old on charges of murder.

Brandon Johnston pleaded guilty in December to the charge of murder in connection to the death of James Grant, also known as Tyrannosaurus Rex Mullens. He was sentenced to 51 years in prison Thursday morning in Elkhart Circuit Court. He also will serve four years on probation.

Grant was killed in the early hours of Aug. 2. His body was found two days later in his home located at 1701 ½ Morton Ave., Elkhart. According to the probable cause affidavit for Johnston’s case, during their investigation police found a witness who said Johnston had said he “stabbed Rex in the head.”

Police also interviewed another person who said Johnston had told them “he had hurt someone and he thought he had killed them.” Johnston had told the witness he was going to “Rex’s house” to drink some beer. According to the witness, “Rex” was known as a person who lived on Morton Avenue and frequently spent time with Johnston.

Johnston was arrested Aug. 17.

An autopsy revealed that Grant died of multiple sharp force injuries to the chest, neck and head. During the sentencing hearing in Elkhart Circuit Court, Deputy Prosecutor Vicky Becker said Grant received a total of 23 stab wounds. She added that Grant, who used a wheelchair to move around, had stab wounds on his forearms, which indicated he was trying to shield himself from Johnston.

Becker said Johnston had committed acts that sent red flags with his constant use of alcohol and drugs since the age of 15, which he admitted to in his pre-sentence report.

“The choices that he was making led him down the path that resulted in the death of Mr. Grant,” Becker said.

Judge Terry Shewmaker said Johnston’s case was one he had given much thought to.

A few letters filed to the court by Johnston’s mother, Jessica Dills, and other members of Johnston’s family, asked the judge for leniency in his sentencing.

In one of her letters, Dills said her son, as other children in the neighborhood, had been targeted by Grant. Dills said in her letter that several phone calls were made to police about possible ongoing molestation the last few years.

Grant was a registered sex offender who in 1996 was found guilty on two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Those letters were brought up during the hearing. Shewmaker asked Johnston if it was true he had received alcohol and drugs from Grant.

Johnston admitted that he had received marijuana, synthetic marijuana, alcohol and pills from Grant on multiple occasions.

Johnston, whose address is listed in Three Rivers, Mich. said that on the day of the incident he was in Elkhart to visit family. He said he had gone to Grant’s house, which he described was just around the corner from where his family lives, to get alcohol.

The fact that Johnston was receiving drugs and alcohol from the victim was considered as a mitigator at the time of the sentence, Shewmaker said. Johnston’s acceptance of responsibility and his arguments at the sentencing hearing were also taken into consideration.

“I’m not going to make an excuse or try to justify what I did,” Johnston told the court. “I don’t want people to think I’m a psychopath or a monster.” ..Source.. by Sharon Hernandez

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