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A former Milton resident remains behind bars today, charged in the alleged murder of his former roommate.
Clester E. “Cletus” Mullins, 33, was arrested Thursday, Jan. 15, and charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Steven Michael “Catfish” Jones.
Jones’ body was located Jan. 15 in a ravine near the Ohio River in Trimble County.
Police allege Mullins, of eastern Kentucky, killed the 56-year-old Jones on Dec. 6, and later dumped his body in the remote ravine.
Although officials are releasing few details about the homicide, Kentucky State Police public affairs officer Chip Perry said the murder allegedly occurred during a physical altercation between the two men at a Milton rental home they shared while working at the Clifty Wastewater Treatment Plant construction site in Madison, Ind.
According to Perry, Jones’ family had contacted local authorities in early December after they failed to reach him by phone for several days. The family told police that Jones, originally from Florida, traditionally kept in contact when traveling for his job as an ironworker.
Officers subsequently were unable to locate him, and Jones’ sister filed a formal missing persons report a short time later.
Throughout the investigation into the man’s whereabouts, evidence was collected leading police to believe Mullins, who had since changed jobs and moved to Madison, was responsible for Jones’ disappearance and possible death.
On Jan. 15, after being questioned by KSP Detective Todd Harwood, Mullins “led officers to a remote location in Trimble County” where Jones’ body was found, Perry said.
Private investigator John Landreth, who specializes in missing persons cases, said in a recent interview that he was hired by Jones’ sister shortly after the man went missing.
“They suspected something had happened to him and contacted me [to investigate],” he said.
As officers with KSP and the Trimble County Sheriff’s Office searched for clues as to Jones’ whereabouts, Landreth was running a similar course, and said all evidence leads to Mullins.
“Catfish wasn’t a violent man. He didn’t have that in his history,” Landreth said. “But Mullins was a violent man with a long [criminal] history. This was a brutal killing.”
Trimble County Sheriff Tim Coons said the private investigator’s information has been helpful.
“As an ex-lawman, Mr. Landreth was instrumental in developing this case,” Coons said.
Likewise, Landreth said he is grateful for the cooperation he received from Coons’ office.
“I was working for this family, and the sheriff listened to what I had to say. I was treated very professionally by the sheriff and his officers,” he said.
Landreth also praised the relationship he witnessed between KSP and the sheriff’s department.
“This case would not have been solved without the cooperation of the state officers and the sheriff’s office,” Landreth said. “In all my years, I have never seen that kind of cooperation between [agencies]. Even if [Mullins] had stone-walled, this case would have been solved because of these men working together.”
Landreth said that with the finding of Jones’ body, the family “can have the closure they deserve. ... When we don’t have closure, we never have peace again.”
Perry said Harwood’s investigation is continuing; he would not comment on whether police suspect anyone else to be involved with either the murder or evidence-tampering.
Following his arrest, Mullins also was identified as the prime suspect in a Dec. 28 armed robbery of a Lexington, Ky., taxi driver.
In that case, the driver was robbed at knifepoint and forced to leap from the moving vehicle. The taxi later was found abandoned in Frankfort.
Mullins was lodged in the Carroll County Regional Detention Center following his arrest. He remains there on a $2 million full-cash bond.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact Harwood at (800) 222-5555.