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Details of murder released

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Mullins ignored man’s pleas for life

By Lorrie Kinkade

By LORRIE KINKADE

The Trimble Banner

Additional details about the death of Steven Michael “Catfish” Jones were released yesterday, as his accused killer appeared in Trimble County District Court for a preliminary hearing.

Judge Jerry Crosby agreed with prosecutors that the evidence presented yesterday was sufficient to bound the case over to a Trimble County Grand Jury and ordered Clester E. “Cletus” Mullins’ to remain in jail, pending bond.

Mullins, 33, of eastern Kentucky, was originally arrested Jan. 15 and charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Jones, his former roommate. The two were employed as ironworkers at a local construction site.

With Trimble County Jailer Bobby Temple standing behind him, the accused sat quietly as Kentucky State Police Det. Todd Harwood described evidence, including a taped confession that led to Mullins’ arrest. He remained silent throughout the hearing.

Police contend Mullins murdered Jones, 56, on Dec. 6, 2008 at the rental home the two shared in the 1100 block of Coopers Bottom Road. Jones’ family initially reported him missing in early December and the victim’s sister filed a formal missing persons report on Dec. 20.

According to Harwood, the lead investigator and arresting officer in the case, Mullins’ confession, acquired on Jan. 15, included statements that “he had got into an argument with the victim” that quickly turned physical.

Mullins, Harwood said, confessed to hitting Jones in the head first with a wooden table leg before using a tool similar to a tire iron to strike him again.

“The victim was lying on the floor and began to beg for his life,” Harwood said, adding that Mullins then “continued to hit him in the head until his body seized.”

Harwood said Mullins admitted to then using a shoestring and a coax cable to strangle Jones. He then, reportedly smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, before wrapping Jones’ body in a rug and removing it from the mobile home. He then attempted to clean the crime scene and took rags and other items to a Henry County business for disposal, Harwood said.

Two days after the alleged murder, Mullins moved from the residence to a home in Madison, Ind. and Jones’ burned vehicle was found near a cemetery in Clarksville, Ind.

Harwood said Mullins confessed to planning to set fire to the mobile home after moving, but reconsidered after he saw a car parked in front of the residence.

Although a final autopsy report has not been issued by the medical examiner’s office, preliminary results, according to Harwood, show Jones died of multiple blunt-force trauma and asphyxiation due to ligatures, injuries consistent with Mullins’ statements.

Following the hearing, Mullins was returned to the Carroll County Regional Detention Center, where he remains held on a $2 million cash bond.

Also yesterday, local authorities served Mullins with a warrant charging him with first-degree robbery in the case of a Lexington taxi driver robbed on Dec. 28, 2008.