Police said Caleb Lawrence Mullins pleaded guilty in Madison County Circuit Court Monday morning to second-degree murder in the Nov. 10, 2012 fatal stabbing of his 43-year-old aunt, Karen Denise Mullins, inside her Copper Ridge Drive home in Jackson. Caleb Mullins also pleaded guilty to theft of property of more than $10,000 and tampering with evidence.
Caleb Mullins, who remains in Madison County Jail, will be sentenced on Nov. 18 at 8:30 a.m., a year and eight days after murdering his aunt. He is facing 15 to 25 years for the murder and three to six years each for the theft of property and tampering with evidence.
Police said at 9:52 p.m. Nov. 11, 2012, the department received a call from Karen Mullins’ twin sister, Sharon Mullins, who lives in Louisville, Ky. Sharon Mullins told police that she had not heard from her twin sister in over 20 hours, which was uncharacteristic. The sisters didn't let that much time pass without talking to each other.
When officers arrived at Karen Mullins' home on the 20 block of Copper Ridge Cove, they looked through the window and saw a woman lying on the kitchen floor. Officers forced entry into the home and found Karen Mullins dead. Because foul play was apparent at the scene, an assistant county medical examiner and police investigators were called to the scene. The preliminary cause of death was ruled homicide due to multiple stab wounds.
Police said investigators determined that Karen Mullins' nephew, Caleb Mullins, who lived with her, and her SUV, a Toyota Rav4, were both missing from the house. The investigation also revealed that Karen Mullins moved to Jackson from Louisville in March of 2012 and her nephew came from Louisville to live with her in early October 2012.
Investigators received information from Mullins family in Louisville about a possible location of Caleb in Louisville. Jackson police contacted the Louisville Police Department, which found Caleb and Karen Mullins' SUV around 1 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2012. He was taken into custody and the SUV was impounded by Louisville police as a crime scene.
Jackson investigators traveled to Louisville around 3 a.m. on Nov. 12, to question Caleb Mullins. As a result of the question, the police’s investigation revealed that Caleb fatally stabbed Karen, inside the home, on the evening of Nov. 10, 2012. He then took her SUV and drove to Louisville.
Investigators also recovered the murder weapon and a bloody shirt in a dumpster at Camellia Trace Apartments in Jackson. Police said Karen Mullins and her nephew had lived in Camelia Trace Apartments prior to moving to Copper Ridge Cove.
On Nov. 13, 2012, Caleb Mullins appeared before a judge in Louisville to determine whether he would waive his right to an extradition hearing. Caleb Mullins refused and the judge set him a bond of $1 million and a status court date for Dec. 12, 2012. He was held, as a fugitive from justice, at Louisville Metro Corrections in Louisville, Ky.
Jackson police contacted the District Attorney's Office regarding Caleb Mullins' refusal to waive extradition and they began the process of applying for an extradition warrant, which if granted, would have demanded the return of Caleb Mullins to Tennessee and have sought an extradition hearing.
Services for Karen Mullins, who was a former employee of Toyota Motor Company and Human Resource Manager at Eaton Corporation, in Newbern, Tenn., were held on Nov. 17, 2012 in Louisville.
On Dec. 12, 2012, Caleb Mullins waived his right to an extradition hearing and was brought back to Jackson on Dec. 18, 2012 and booked into the Madison County Jail. He was formally arraigned on charges in the case on Dec. 19, 2012 and his bond was set at $500,000.
On April 1, Caleb Mullins was indicted by a Madison County grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, theft and tampering with evidence. Police originally charged Caleb Mullins with second-degree murder, but after further investigation, investigators presented facts and evidence to the District Attorney's Office and those findings dictated the more serious and appropriate charges.
This is not Caleb Mullins first time being in trouble with the law.
According to the Associated Press and Louisville court video files, Caleb Mullins was arrested in April 2012 for robbing a man at gunpoint. The robbery charge was reduced to felony theft and a potential 10-year prison sentenced was reduced down to a one year suspended sentence minus 10 days served.
In court video, Judge Katie King warned Caleb Mullins that if he picked up any new charges, he would be looking at serving the remaining 355 days of his sentence.
Less than seven months later, Caleb Mullins murdered his aunt who had taken him in.