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Boy faces 3 counts in slaying of mom

Citizen Staff Writer

The Elgin teen-ager allegedly shot her in their home. No motive is apparent. The suspect is likely to be tried as an adult.


Citizen Staff Writer

The Elgin woman allegedly killed yesterday by her 15-year-old adopted son is a former Tucsonan.

Kristina and Andrew McMullen moved to the tiny Santa Cruz County town a few years ago apparently because of her health problems.

“The (higher) elevation was compatible for her here in Elgin,” said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Antonio Estrada.

Jonathan McMullen has been booked on one count of first-degree murder.

The teen also was charged with two counts of attempted murder in the shooting of his adoptive father and his 12-year-old biological brother, Jack.

Authorities have no motive in the killing.

Jonathan, Jack and Joe are biological brothers adopted by the McMullens a little over a year ago, Estrada said.

He said Kristina McMullen, 56, was a teacher who had been home-schooling the children.

“She’d been out of teaching a couple years,” Estrada said, adding his detectives had heard she was going to go back to her teaching career, possibly at a school in near by Benson or in Willcox, where Jonathan was thought to have attended an alternative school.

The suspect was being held last night at Santa Cruz Juvenile Detention Center on a $1 million bond.

Estrada said McMullen likely will be tried as an adult by the county attorney. He would then be transferred to the Pima County Jail in Tucson, probably this afternoon, because Santa Cruz County’s jail does not have the facilities to house a teen.

Andrew McMullen, 55, and Jack McMullen, 12, were airlifted to Tucson Medical Center after the shooting.

“The father is doing well; he’s stable. They were not able to give me any good news on Jack. He’s still critical,” Estrada said.

The family released a statement last night that said “Kristina loved people unconditionally.”

The statement also said “the entire family, including Andrew, who is the father, does not hold anything against Jonathan.”

The family also asked for prayers.

A 9-year-old brother was unharmed in the shootings, as was his 9-year-old friend, who had been spending the night in the rural home about 50 miles southeast of Tucson, Estrada said.

Cochise County deputies, alerted to the shooting in the neighboring county, found the family’s car abandoned in the Willcox area later in the morning.

About two miles away they found the 15-year old, who was accompanied by a 12-year-old friend, who had been at the home with the family and fled with the suspect, Estrada said.

The shooting late yesterday afternoon had deputies and residents of the quiet town south of the Whetstone Mountains searching for a motive for the spree, Estrada said.

“Everything picked up so far shows he was a good kid,” Estrada said of Jonathan McMullen, named in a Santa Cruz County Superior Court murder warrant.

“But,” Estrada said, “obviously something went terribly and tragically wrong.”

Estrada outlined the shooting and its aftermath:

His department got a 911 call about 1 a.m. yesterday from Andrew McMullen telling them of the shooting, and that his wife Kristina and Jonathan’s brother Jack also had been shot.

McMullen, who had been in bed in the home’s master bedroom, was roused by gunshots.

He walked into the hallway and into another bedroom, where he was confronted by Jonathan, who shot him in the chin with a small-caliber rifle.

McMullen struggled with Jonathan for the gun, got it from him, went back to the master bedroom, put the gun in the adjoining bathroom and called 911 about 1 a.m.

Then he tried to restrain Jonathan, who broke away and fled with his friend in the McMullen family car, a maroon 1987 Toyota Celica.

When deputies got to the home, they found Kristina McMullen lying dead in the bedroom where Andrew McMullen had found Jonathan after hearing shots.

“She had been shot numerous times,” Estrada said.

Deputies found Jack McMullen, 12, lying wounded near that bedroom’s adjoining bathroom.

“He was shot more than once” is all Estrada would say of the boy’s wounds.

Jonathan’s 9-year-old brother, Joe, and his 9-year-old friend, visiting from Patagonia, were found unharmed in another bedroom.

“It’s scary to think of the possibilities that if he had not gone in there and taken the rifle away, what would have happened to the others asleep in the other rooms.”

Estrada said he did not know what set off the shooting spree. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” he said.

Citizen Staff Writer David J. Cieslak contributed to this report.

MAP: Elgin

Source: Tucson Citizen

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