Friday, August 11, 2000

Man who tracks tragedy on trial




By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        OXFORD — A judge will have to decide what Larry Mullins' intentions were when he called a Morgan Township family and talked to a woman about her daughter-in-law's fatal traffic accident 10 years earlier.

        Mr. Mullins will stand trial on Sept. 7 in Butler County Area I Court on a misdemeanor charge of telephone harassment.

        He and his attorney, Carl Ferris, asked for the judge instead of a jury to decide the case.

        Mr. Ferris acknowledged that Mr. Mullins made the call, but he said the 58-year-old Hamilton man had no intention to harass or annoy anyone.

        In Mr. Mullins' phone call to Sherle Weartz, he talked about her daughter-in-law's death and insisted on speaking with the victim's daughter, now 12.

        The call came on May 15, the day after Mother's Day.

        Police believe Mr. Mullins has made more than 100 calls to relatives of victims of crimes and fatal traffic accidents years after the tragedies occurred. He didn't know any of the people he called, police said.

        The Butler County Sheriff's Department is examining more than 230 of his journals confiscated from his house. Police say the journals are filled with newspaper clippings and notes about missing persons and fatal accidents.

        Mr. Mullins sat in the courtroom while his attorney and Assistant Prosecutor Karl Harris listened in private to a tape of his telephone call to the Morgan Township woman and a tape of a statement he made to sheriff's deputies.

        Judge Lyons did not listen to the tapes. After a conference in the judge's chambers, the judge held a brief hearing on the case and set the date for the trial.

       



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