08-23-2013, 11:58 PM #1
OH - Christie Mullins, 14, Columbus, 23 Aug 1975
I remember this old murder case from 1975 that happened a week before the school year started after Labor Day in Columbus, Ohio. I also remember that this murder case made sensational headlines in the Columbus news media back then.
I’m going by old newspaper articles on microfilm from the public library as I discuss this murder case. I also have a link to a local magazine that wrote an article about the murder of Christie Lynn Mullins.
I must point out that the articles from the local newspaper and magazine had published the names of suspects that were involved with the case years ago that I cannot mention.
It is only after the details of this old murder case are explained that it can be understood why the names of the suspects involved cannot be mentioned.
Christie Lynn Mullins
Christie Lynn Mullins was 14 years old when she was kidnapped, raped, and brutally murdered on Saturday August 23, 1975 in Columbus, Ohio.
The murder occurred in a dense wooded area between Graceland Shopping Center and the Olentangy River. Graceland Shopping Center is located on the north side of Columbus on North High Street near Morse Road.
The body of Christie Lynn Mullins was found on the same day three fourths of a mile behind the former Woolco Department Store at Graceland Shopping Center.
Her hands had been bound with telephone wire and her clothing was partially stripped. She was struck in the head multiple times by a two-by-four board.
The crime scene was several blocks away from the residential street where Christie Lynn Mullins lived with her family.
Details of the crime
On Saturday August 23, 1975, Christie Lynn Mullins and a 14 year old girlfriend walked to the Woolco Department Store at Graceland Shopping Center on the north side of Columbus. They went to the shopping center around 1:30 p.m. after Christie’s girlfriend had received a telephone call from a man claiming to be a disc jockey from a local radio station.
The male caller said he was having a cheerleading contest at Graceland at 1:45 p.m. with a pass to the Ohio State Fair as a prize. The male caller told the girl to wait for him outside the Woolco Department Store.
Christie Lynn Mullins was sitting on a railing on the north side of Woolco combing her hair when her 14 year old girl friend went into department store to see what time it was. When the girl friend came out from Woolco, Christie Lynn Mullins was gone. The girl friend waited on Christie for 20 minutes before going to the home of another friend.
Not long after Christie Lynn Mullins disappeared, a man was walking with his family in the dense woods behind the Woolco Department Store at around 2 p.m. when he and his wife saw another man hitting something into the ground with a board.
The suspect saw the eyewitness and suddenly fled from the crime scene. The man and his wife then found the body of Christie Lynn Mullins. The male eyewitness then went inside the Woolco Department Store to report finding a body.
The male eyewitness gave Columbus Police a very detailed description of the attacker. A man matching the attacker’s description was arrested by police a few days later after he was seen walking on the sidewalk of a street in Downtown Columbus.
After the suspect had been arrested, the murder case had a speedy resolution which would later become controversial.
Not only did the police wrapped up the murder case so fast, the defense attorney was so sure of his client’s guilt and quickly made a plea bargain deal with prosecutors.
Eleven days after the murder was committed, the suspect appeared before a judge in a court hearing that was held without a jury. The suspect pled guilty to one count of aggravated murder and was sentenced to a term of life in prison. The police and prosecutors considered the Christie Lynn Mullins murder case to be closed.
A week later after the court hearing, the murder case became a public controversy. The public became increasingly skeptical over the police and prosecutors claims that the suspect, who was mentally retarded and had the mental age of a preteen child, had murdered Christie Lynn Mullins. The public believed that the wrong man had been convicted of the crime.
Two weeks later, the growing public controversy forced the original defense attorney to withdraw from the murder case. A new defense attorney was appointed and the guilty plea was later withdrawn.
After the guilty plea was set aside, a new team of defense attorneys were appointed. But legal wrangling in the murder case prevented a retrial from happening for a considerable amount of time.
Two and a half years later, the handicapped suspect finally had a jury trial in a packed courtroom on charges of kidnapping, rape, and murder in the Christie Lynn Mullins murder case.
During the week long highly dramatic trial, witnesses for the defense testified that the handicapped suspect was on the other side of the city during the time that Christie Lynn Mullins murder was committed.
The defense also had three last minute surprise witnesses that testified near the end of the week long trial. Their surprise testimonies cast serious doubts and suspicions concerning the male eyewitness that was at the crime scene during the time of Christie Lynn Mullins murder.
The male eyewitness who testified for the prosecution at the time of the trial was serving a prison sentence on an arson charge for burning down his own home a year after Christie Lynn Mullins was murdered.
After the defense and prosecution rested their case in the week long trial, the case went to the jury for deliberations.
The jury found the handicapped suspect not guilty of all charges in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Christie Lynn Mullins. The jury believed the testimonies of the alibi and surprise witnesses that the defense presented during the week long trial.
The jury also believed that due to the handicapped suspect’s mental retardation, he didn’t fully comprehend the nature and the severity of the crime that he was accused of and also couldn’t have committed the crime.
Immediately after the jury announced its verdict, police and prosecutors still insisted to the public and to the news media that they had brought the correct suspect to trial and that the murder of Christie Lynn Mullins was solved.
The police and prosecutors suddenly found themselves on the hot spot as the public and the Columbus news media became outraged over their insistence that the Christie Lynn Mullins murder case was closed.
The huge public outcry prompted police and prosecutors to reopen the investigation into the murder of Christie Lynn Mullins.
Two and a half years after the murder of Christie Lynn Mullins, the original crime scene in the dense woods behind the Woolco Department Store had been cleared by a bulldozer. Police and prosecutors were back to square one.
Even though there were serious doubts, questions, and suspicions concerning the male eyewitness who happened to witness the murder of Christie Lynn Mullins, the male eyewitness was never arrested or charged with the murder of Christie Lynn Mullins.
The Christie Lynn Mullins murder case is still open as her murderer has never been brought to justice.
The murder of Christie Lynn Mullins remains unsolved to this day.
Note: This is the link to the local magazine article. The article was orginally published in 1978 and republished in 2009. It is a long article, so you may want to grab your favorite drink before reading this article.
08-24-2013, 11:53 AM #2
quick question...So was the phone call from the dj a prank call?
Just reading your last posting.......Your first link is not working just so you know.
from your last link.
The prosecution asked Carol Reeves to begin. She told how she and Christie Mullins had been swimming at Broadmeadows Apartments pool that Saturday when Reeves’ 10-year-old sister (also named Christie) came to tell her that an unidentified man who had called her several times earlier in the week was once again trying to reach her. She ran home, she told the jury, and the man called again about 1 pm...
Christie was not the intended target. It was Carol. Christie happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He called her land line number and asked for her by name, so he knew her from somewhere.
Surprised to learned from your last link she was not raped.
The killer may had been surprised that two showed up and didn't know what to do so waited.
When Carol went inside and lfet the girl alone he made his moved on Christie. Even though it was carol he was planning to kill, Christie became an opportunity and he took advantage of it.
I would ask carol if she was here if the phone-calls stopped after the killing.
afterthought...there were no reports of screaming or anything from Christie, so she may have also known the killer, unless he threaten to kill her there on the spot if she didn't proceed into the woods.
I believe for now from what i have been reading is the phoncaller, the dj is most likely the killer and someone at least carol knew bt didn't recognize the phone voice.
Last edited by :+:MrTT:+:; 08-24-2013 at 12:16 PM.
08-24-2013, 02:10 PM #3
There is a serial killer scam similar to the "d.j." calls about the "cheer leading contest". The one I've heard of is the guy pretends to be looking for models. It's all about getting the girl out of the mall, alone.
I kind of wonder if he would have taken any young girl he found sitting alone outside. This might explain the girls who just vanish from places like that without anyone having run a scam on them beforehand.
Did Christie and Carol look anything alike? (Especially from a distance.) He may have believed he killed Carol until he saw the news.
08-24-2013, 02:37 PM #4
IF Carol would have shown up by herself, he would have to know what she looked like to kill her after phoning her house several times that week, including the last day.
I did find it strange she never ask or forgotten, but from court records never asked what station he worked at. Which seems odd to me, seems she would have ask for at least a name of the caller and which station. To not ask these two questions seems rather odd.
The witness either seen it as he said and the wife, did it himself or made a good guess that a board was used to kill the girl.
I believe for now they did see it, after all they were the ones, the wife i believe or the husband are the ones that called it in.
So I believe they did see it occur, or just one hell of a guess a board was used, but I don't think for now the witness did it.
Thinking WAY OUTSIDE THE BOX here. One could speculate that Christie was set up and her murder was planned for whatever reason at the time.
Ill need to read more and research for some visual aids.
Several pieces to this puzzle are still missing or have not been released to the public.
Afterthought...Perhaps there focus should have been towards someone younger, around her age or alittle older such as a classmate, someone local for they knew about the short cut in the woods there, and asked her if she knew about it, which makes me think the killer walked that path themselves.
Last edited by :+:MrTT:+:; 08-24-2013 at 02:54 PM. Reason: Done editing
08-24-2013, 04:30 PM #5
I believe that the phone call from the so called disc jockey was a prank phone call intended to lure the victim. I don't believe there was any kind of a sponsored public event on that day at the shopping center.
About the girl who received threatening phone calls after her court testimony, the Columbus news media reported that her parents contacted police and a 19 year old man was arrested for aggravated menacing and telephone harassment. It turned out that the father of the 19 year old man charged with the threatening phone calls was an attorney. I don't know if the calls stopped after the 19 year old man was arrested.
08-24-2013, 06:11 PM #6
Map & Photos of Graceland Shopping Center
I found some visual aids that will help everyone out here on this case.
The above photo is a map of Graceland Shopping Center. The Woolco Department Store was on the left at the far part of Graceland.
The above photo was taken in 1973 showing the north side view of Graceland Shopping Center. You can see Woolco and the tree line behind Woolco in the picture. On the right from Woolco, there was a cinema that was next to the bowling alley. The cinema was close to Woolco. The railing that Christie Lynn Mullins sat down is to your right near the trees.
The above photo was taken in 1970 showing what the front of Woolco looked like back then. Christie Lynn Mullins was last seen in the area that was away from the right side of the Woolco Department Store building.
Last edited by bessie; 08-25-2013 at 04:29 AM. Reason: blown margins, resized images
08-24-2013, 06:19 PM #7
Aerial View of Graceland Shopping Center
Here is a aerial photo of Graceland Shopping Center was taken in 1986.
The Woolco Department Store is in the background in the photo.
You can also see the dense woods behind Woolco and to the right of Woolco. Christie Lynn Mullins lived in the housing subdivision on the right side of the photo.
One important thing I want to point out in the 1986 aerial view photo. The 315 Freeway did not exist in 1975 behind Woolco and the dense woods.
08-24-2013, 06:59 PM #8
After calling her at home on her land line and his land-line he probably left soon after the phonecall to get to the woods from the short cut to wait on her.
That 2x4 I would bet was no longer than 36, 48 inches in length.
Do you know, did the girls take the shortcut through the path as they went to woolco?? If they did he didn't attack because there was two of them and not just Carol.........
From looking at your visuals I would speculate the killer lived in the same subdivision as Carol. Someone at the age they couldn't or didn't have access to a vehicle so they wanted her to take the short cut through the woods to kill her there. Where did teens like to meet back then, and in this case, The mall/woolco where did the caller ask her to meet the mall/woolco. And he mentioned woolco in hopes she would take the path trough the woods to kill her right there.
Your visual aids are outstanding. Thank-you very much for posting them.
from looking at your photos, I wold say now that carol was gone a lot longer than mentioned. And Christie for one reason or the other decided to leave and took that short cut through the woods by herself and got killed for it. Carol escaped death that day by sheer luck. For I still say she was the intended victim since she got the phone calls all that week and not Christie whom happened to be with her that day by a chance encounter with carol.
Last edited by :+:MrTT:+:; 08-24-2013 at 07:20 PM. Reason: add on ...
08-24-2013, 08:54 PM #9
Although I haven't seen any account of him using the phone, the general m.o. reminds me a lot of serial killer Christopher Wilder. He would flatter girls with promises of things like modeling opportunities and such then kill them when they went off with him to be photographed or whatever.
I agree that the mentally handicapped individual is a poor suspect although I wouldn't rule him totally out just yet. It seems to me that they would have had security cameras in 1975 but perhaps not.This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.
08-24-2013, 09:01 PM #10
Here is a photo of the Graceland Cinema that was taken in 1979 at Graceland Shopping Center.
Look at the bottom left hand part of the photo. You will see the railing that I was talking about. The railing is actually a white metal guard rail next to the trees. The white metal guard rail still exists today.
The Woolco Department Store went out of business sometime during the late 1980's. The Woolco building was torn down in 2008. A fitness center gym now stands where the Woolco Department Store used to be.
Last edited by bessie; 08-25-2013 at 04:25 AM. Reason: blown margins, resized image
08-24-2013, 09:08 PM #11
08-24-2013, 09:20 PM #12
I was under the impression the caller impersonated a real d.j. from some local station. So, he gave Carol some guy's name and station. It used to be a thing sometimes, that radio stations called people and gave them prizes. Used to be most people's names were in the phone book. He probably thought Carol would cut through the woods alone to go to this cheerleading contest (which, naturally, didn't exist at all).
I understand this step isn't absolutely necessary, but sometimes murderers like the thrill of setting the victim up like that. Telling them something fun will happen and then turning the tables.
08-25-2013, 01:54 PM #13
The male eyewitness lived on a parallel street one block over from where Christie lived.
I remember reading an article (canít remember where) years ago about one of the defense team attorneys discussing this murder case. It turned out that the mentally handicapped individual didnít even know what rape was and the defense attorneys had to get a porno film to explain what rape was.
I believe the mentally handicapped individual was the type of person who could be easily persuaded and convinced by someone that he committed an act that he didnít even do in the first place.
The murder of Christie Lynn Mullins took place on the north side of Columbus. According to the Columbus newspaper articles back then, the mentally handicapped individual lived across town on the west side of Columbus. He held odd jobs and occasionally worked in a restaurant as a busboy.
Now how is it that the male eyewitness was able to make a perfect one hundred percent description of the mentally handicapped individual to the police?
I think that the male eyewitness likely had seen the mentally handicapped man somewhere.
08-25-2013, 02:09 PM #14
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08-25-2013, 02:24 PM #15
A hillbilly accent with a stutter?.........If this was his actual voice and not a disguise they should have ask friends classmates of Christie and carols for that matter if they knew of someone at the time that spoke that way.
I would bet they didn't do that?.....In fact I bet my paycheck they didn't do that.
I will re read the court testimony pertaining to the description, I have not really studied that part of the case, because they acted very quick to take the so called retarded man into custody.
Can you tell me, because I have not looked for or seen a description, but was this retarded man black? A negro they may have called him back then?
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