Teen knew mom would check on him
Leaving his bedroom light on in the middle of the night to lure in his mother, Jonathon McMullen, 14, then shot her with a rifle, according to testimony given in court on Thursday.
Sgt. Ruben Fuentes of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's office testified during the youth's pretrial hearing, detailing an interview he taped with Jonathan.
"Did he know the consequences of pulling the trigger at his mother?" prosecuting attorney Marc Offenhartz asked Fuentes during testimony.
"That they were gonna die," Fuentes said.
Fuentes took the stand Thursday and gave his account of how Jonathan McMullen of Elgin shot his adoptive mother, adoptive father, and his brother, Jack, at approximately 1 a.m. on Sep. 6 and then fled from the family home with a friend.
Judge Brock Fuller ruled that the state had shown probable cause to link the defendant, Jonathan McMullen, with one murder charge and two attempted murder charges.
At the request of the defendant's father, Andrew McMullen, Fuller ruled that Jonathan McMullen may have contact with his father but not with any other family members. Bond remains at $1 million.
Defense attorney Robert Hooker has not yet formally entered a plea, Fuller said.
The arraignment is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 1 at 8:30 a.m. at Superior Court. Judge Roberto Montiel will preside.
According to the sheriff's reports, Jonathan McMullen's mother, Kristina McMullen, died at the scene as a result of the shooting, while his father and brother sustained injuries requiring hospitalization. Jonathan's brother, Jack McMullen, remains hospitalized.
Despite this, Andrew McMullen said in his brief court appearance on Thursday, "I love you. No matter what happens, you will always be my son."
Fuentes, who said he is one of four officers investigating the crime, gave a detailed account of the scene where police reported the shootings occurred.
Fuentes said he arrived at the family home at about 3:40 a.m., hours after the shootings occurred.
The surviving victims had already been airlifted to Tucson Medical Center. Andrew McMullen sustained a gunshot wound to the neck. Jack McMullen had been shot in the face.
Fuentes testified that he received information on the shooting from the defendant's older brother, Matthew McMullen, and from statements Jonathan McMullen made during a videotaped interview. The taped interview took place in Nogales a few hours after officers took Jonathan McMullen into custody and about 12 hours after he is alleged to have committed the crimes.
Fuentes said Jonathan McMullen told him he planned to kill family members with knives at first, but revised his plan to use a rifle so the victims would die more quickly.
Fuentes testified that Jonathan told him that he knew his mother would awaken sometime during the night and check on him if he left his light burning. When his mother awakened to the sound of horses roused by the family's dogs, she came into Jonathan's lit room as he anticipated she would. When she entered, he fired a rifle at her, according to Fuentes' testimony regarding the taped conversation he had with Jonathan McMullen.
Jack McMullen entered Jonathan McMullen's bedroom after seeing their mother lying on the floor, Fuentes testified, and Jonathan shot Jack twice so that he couldn't tell on him. He then turned on his father for the same reason, according to Fuentes' testimony.
"Did you ask Jonathan if he tried to give aid to his mother?" Offenhartz asked.
"He said he fled because he knew the cops would come," Fuentes said.
The defendant's father, Andrew McMullen, reported he struggled with Jonathan to take the rifle away from him, and then instructed him to remain in the room until help arrived. Andrew called 911. Instead of complying with his father's instructions, Jonathan drove a car and fled with a friend. The two planned to go to a secret place in Cochise County, according to Fuentes' testimony.
Hooker questioned Fuentes on whether Jonathan McMullen had undergone any interrogations before the taped interview he had with Fuentes.
Fuentes said he did not know of any prior interrogations, nor had the defendant met with a magistrate or been in any juvenile court prior to his videotaped interview with Fuentes at the County Sheriff's Office in Nogales. Fuentes testified that he had read Jonathan McMullen his Miranda Rights before the interview.
After the preliminary hearing, Andrew McMullen said, "I don't understand why he did what he did." He said that a counselor following the progress of the adoption met with the McMullens and agreed that "things were going so well."
Regarding his health, he said he felt physically well. Emotionally, he said, he had "faith in God and Jesus Christ.
"God is a God of love and also a God of justice," he said.
Andrew McMullen said, "My concern is he's in a safe place where I can talk to him. It's a depressing place, but it's a safe place."
Jack McMullen remains hospitalized with a tracheotomy, a breathing passage surgically made in the lower, front neck. The procedure is usually done to create an airway when breathing passages in the throat area become obstructed or inadequate. Andrew said he expects the hospital to release Jack in the coming week.
"I forgive you, and Jesus Christ forgives you," he said, "but the state has its laws."
Relatives said Jonathan and his two brothers were taken in by Andrew and Kristina McMullen early last year, and adopted in January.
Jonathan will be tried as an adult.