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20060323: Serial killer from Santa Cruz County denied parole CA Cruz County Serial Killer News

Herbert William Mullin wants to come home to Santa Cruz County. He'd like to live in Boulder Creek and find a wife. He's thought about auditing a psychology course at UC Santa Cruz. He says he would be a hard-working, law-abiding citizen.

But Wednesday the California Board of Prison Terms refused to release the convicted serial killer, saying he should stay behind bars for at least another five years, the maximum time allowed between hearings.

Mullin was convicted in 1973 of 10 slayings in Santa Cruz County and one in Santa Clara County.

The panel's action came after a roughly two-hour hearing at Mule Creek State Prison, during which Mullin discussed his guilt, his life in prison and his hopes for the future.

"I just want to get back to living my life free," the 1965 San Lorenzo Valley High School graduate told the panel of two commissioners, whose identities are kept confidential under prison rules.

Mullin's convictions stem from a five-month killing spree in late 1972 and early 1973. His victims included strangers and acquaintances, men and women. He killed a woman and her two young sons, ages 4 and 9, shooting them all in the head and stabbing the 4-year-old in the back. He stabbed a 64-year-old Catholic priest in a confessional booth in a Los Gatos church.

Though he was convicted in 11 murders, he's confessed to killing 13.
"This is ugly. These are very ugly crimes you've been convicted of," a commissioner said.

As the commissioner recited the names of his victims and the circumstances of their deaths, Mullin was calm, impassive, a lifted eyebrow or turn of the head the only signs of any agitation.

Though he was argumentative at times, he maintained that composure throughout the hearing.

"The people I am accused of killing, I did kill," Mullin said after the commissioner finished. "But I'm not guilty by reason of insanity."

Mullin was 26 when he entered the state prison system. Now he's less than a month away from his 59th birthday. He's a slight man, dwarfed by the male and female correctional officers who escorted him, shackled, into the hearing room. He's balding and wears large wire-rim glasses.

Though in 1973 Mullin said he killed to prevent earthquakes, he didn't give that explanation when asked about his motivation Wednesday. Instead he said he was suffering from "undifferentiated schizophrenia" at the time.

"I was not a thinking individual," he said, blaming his parents for "denying him maturity" and "not teaching me the facts of life."

His parents didn't explain the "pecking order" to him, he explained, as an example, adding he's learned about the system of deference to those in power while in prison.

"The state should be punishing my parents, at least chastising them publicly," Mullin said. "They're the ones who made me do it. They put me in a situation where I became mentally insane."

Mullin said his parents have since died.

Back then, Mullin said he was having a "terrible time." He took LSD and marijuana, was in and out of mental hospitals, and sought outpatient treatment in Santa Cruz.

But he's changed, he said. He's healed. He attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and hasn't taken any kind of medication since 1976.

He's taken vocational courses in cooking, landscaping and cabinetry, and studied tai chi.

According to a prison report read at the hearing, he's worked as a janitor for the past five years, and received positive evaluations from his supervisor.

Mullin suggested grocery clerk or gas station attendant as possible employment opportunities if he were released.

A commissioner reminded him the world had changed while he was in prison, and that gas stations were now self-serve.

Mullin insisted he was ready to face the world, to be a benefit to society and to demonstrate rehabilitation works.

"I'm extremely remorseful and sorrowful for my part in committing this crime," Mullin said. "I pray for the souls of the victims every day."

But Santa Cruz County prosecutor Ariadne Symons, sitting a few feet away from Mullin, said his "disregard for human suffering was astonishing." He had no words for the families of his victims, she said.

As to his plan to seek shelter and help finding a job at New Life Community Services in Santa Cruz, Symons said it's doubtful he could find a place.

Symons said she serves on the agency's board, and those who seek help there must accept responsibility for their actions, something Mullin has never done.

"I don't care how well he behaves in prison," she said, urging the commissioners to keep Mullin locked up. "Prison is also about retribution. He's spent 32 years in prison and he hasn't begun to pay his debt to society, not only for the 13 people he killed but also for the families, the loved ones in this community."

Parole was denied because of the "cruel and callous" manner in which Mullin carried out his crimes, the fact that he hadn't accepted responsibility for them and the continuing danger he poses to society, a commissioner said, explaining the decision to Mullin.

"You are not the victim here," he said. "The victims and their families are the victims. You are the individual that made them victims."

 

20060322: Serial killer asks for parole CA Santa Cruz Serial Killer News
By the time Herbert William Mullin gunned down 72-year-old Fred Perez in the front yard of his Westside Santa Cruz home on Feb. 13, 1973, the 1965 San Lorenzo Valley High School graduate had killed a dozen others in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. Mullin's five-month killing spree baffled police and created a climate of fear in a community already traumatized by a mass murder in the Soquel hills two years earlier. Mullin, who testified telepathic voices told him to sacrifice his victims to prevent earthquakes, is now 58 and serving life sentences in Mule Creek State Prison in Ione for 11 of the murders. A parole board will review his case there today. "He'll never be let out of prison as long as we have people who are using their common sense in making these decisions," said Chris Cottle, a retired judge who as an assistant district attorney prosecuted the case. Mullin was an honor student in high school and later studied engineering at Cabrillo College. But in his early 20s, his life went off track. Some said he blew his mind on drugs, others that he was devastated by the death of his best friend, Dean Richardson, in an auto accident in 1965. Others said he was just plain crazy. Witnesses at his 1973 trial testified to his use of hallucinogens and marijuana. He was in and out of mental institutions. A defense psychiatrist said he was a paranoid schizophrenic. Mullin testified that he was the victim of "killjoy sadism," a conspiracy to rob him of pleasure that started during his childhood. He criticized his father, blaming him for encouraging him to enroll at San Jose State University, a campus "full of anti-war demonstrators." He said he sang the "die song" to his victims. "I'm telling you to die, you know," he explained to the court. "I'm telling you to kill yourself, or be killed, so that my continent will not fall off into the ocean." Lawrence White was Mullin's first victim. The 55-year-old's body was found in mid-October in the Rincon area just off Highway 9 between Santa Cruz and Felton. Mullin, pretending to be a motorist with engine trouble, lured White close and then bludgeoned him to death with a baseball bat. A week later, he picked up Mary Guilfoyle, a 24-year-old Cabrillo College student hitchhiking to an appointment in Santa Cruz. He stabbed her to death and dumped her body in bushes near Smith Grade Road in Bonny Doon. On Nov. 10, Mullin walked into a Catholic church in Los Gatos where the Rev. Henri Tomei was hearing confessions. Mullin stabbed him in the confessional booth. In mid-December he purchased a .22-caliber handgun for $24 at the Western Auto store in Felton. At the trial, store owner Anthony Black said Mullin, whom he described as "clean cut, clean shaven and cleanly dressed," told him the gun was for target practice. He used it to kill his next victims. James Gianera, 24, an acquaintance of Mullin, and his wife, Joan, 23, were shot multiple times at their home on Western Drive in Santa Cruz in late January. Mullin then went to a cabin near the Mystery Spot, where he had earlier asked 30-year-old Kathy Francis about Gianera's whereabouts. He shot Francis, and her two sons, David Hughes, 9, and Daemon Francis, 4. On Feb. 10, 1973, Mullin confronted Robert Spector, 18, David Olicker, 18, Brian Scott Card, 19, and Mark Dreibelbis, 19, at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, where the four young men were camping. After they refused to leave, he shot them too, and took a rifle and $20. Responding to a tip from a witness, Santa Cruz police stopped Mullin minutes after he shot Perez. Mullin surrendered without a fight. Inside his Chevy station wagon, police discovered the rifle and shell casings. It was the first break in a "huge puzzle" of a case, said Watsonville police Chief Terry Medina, a detective with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office at the time. "Until then we had no clue," he said. Only the Gianera and Francis murders appeared linked. The other victims had nothing in common, and Mullin dispatched his victims by bat, knife and gun. Complicating the investigation was the fact that a second serial killer, Aptos resident Edward Emil Kemper, was operating in the county at the same time, Medina said. In a period that spanned less than year, more than two dozen bodies and assorted body parts turned up in the county. "I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back now, I realize it was a very strange time," Medina said. Kemper, who turned himself in a few weeks after Mullin's arrest, was convicted of killing and mutilating eight women, including his mother, whose head he placed on the mantle at her Seacliff home, between May 1972 and April 1973. He and Mullin were housed in adjoining cells while awaiting trial. When Mullin was tried, defense lawyer James Jackson tried to prove he was not guilty by reason of insanity. Even Cottle, the prosecutor, conceded Mullin was "crazy, in the lay, common sense way of thinking." But Cottle said he wasn't legally insane, and argued Mullin's efforts to hide his crimes proved his point. The jury found Mullin guilty of first-degree murder for the killings of James Gianera and Kathy Francis. He was convicted of second-degree murder in eight other killings because the jury found his "diminished capacity" limited his ability to premeditate. He was never charged with the murder of Guilfoyle and White, though he admitted to them. A Santa Clara County jury convicted him of Tomei's murder. Jackson said the two first-degree convictions didn't make sense because Mullin was either capable of deliberative action or not. It's not a temporary condition. Jackson believes the jury found Mullin guilty because they wanted to make sure he was put away for good. "Jurors live in a real world in a real community with real murderers and real victims," he said. If Mullin was tried today he would most likely have faced the death penalty, but that wasn't available to the District Attorney's Office at the time, Cottle said. The U.S. Supreme Court suspended capital punishment in 1972, and reinstated it in 1976. So Mullin was sentenced to life in prison, which at the time allowed for parole after seven years, according to prosecutor Ariadne Symons, who plans to attend the hearing today on behalf of the county. He's been denied parole several times. Prison officials have called him a model prisoner. He has studied cooking, woodworking and landscaping during his incarceration. In 1987 he ran a personal ad in the Scotts Valley Banner with the aim of finding an "Irish wife." "I am 40 years old. I am 14 years in prison. I desire to sire children now," the ad said. Symons said she can't imagine anyone in their "right mind" releasing Mullin. Neither can Medina. But he's still bothered each time Mullin comes up for review. "I've mellowed on the death penalty over the years," Medina said. "But I do believe there's a place for it. It's for the Kempers and the Mullins and some of these extraordinary cases."
 


Copyright 1995-2006 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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