SEATTLE – The man who turned himself in and confessed to killing two Bellingham child rapists plans to seek execution as quickly as possible so he can wait in the afterlife to punish the man whose crimes he says drove him to kill: Joseph Edward Duncan III.
“My goal is to beat J. Duncan to death, so I can be there when he arrives,” Michael A. Mullen wrote in a four-page handwritten letter to the Seattle Times from the Whatcom County Jail. Duncan is jailed in Idaho, awaiting trial in the bludgeoning deaths of three people – a crime authorities say was committed to give him access to two children for sex.
Duncan was arrested July 2 with one of the children, 8-year-old Shasta Groene. Remains of her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, were found in Montana two days later.
Mullen, 35, was charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder last week in Whatcom County Superior Court. The crime carries only two penalties: death or life in prison without parole. Deputy Prosecutor Mac Setter said the prosecutor’s office would decide today whether it would seek the death penalty.
Mullen turned himself in to police Sept. 5, saying he was responsible for the Aug. 26 deaths of Victor Vazquez, 68, and Hank Eisses, 49, each shot once in the head. Both had served time in prison for child sex abuse and had been released several years ago. Their addresses were posted on the county’s Web site of registered sex offenders.
In his Sunday letter to the Times, Mullen said he did not kill a third man at the address because he wanted him alive to “spread the message that ‘we’ will not tolerate ‘our’ children being used and abused.” He said he chose the third man because he was the only one to express remorse or guilt.
Mullen offered police a variety of motives for the killings: protecting his children, his own experience of child abuse, a desire to give his life value by protecting the community and Duncan, court documents said.
In his letter, Mullen wrote at length about his dissatisfaction with laws that allow pedophiles and other sex offenders to be free in the community after they have served time in prison.
Mullen said he cried when he heard news accounts of Shasta Groene’s July 2 recovery, and “the horrors those poor kids must have witnessed.” He spoke of his disgust and anger when he thought of the abuse Dylan suffered before he died and how Duncan reportedly bragged to Shasta about killing her siblings.
Mullen compared his mission to the work of the soldiers in uniform.
“I … will proudly give my life for ‘my’ family, ‘your’ family, and most importantly, ‘our children’; tomorrow’s future,” he wrote.