I Dunnit

Here's how a Kentucky inmate conned Tempe cops and the County Attorney's Office into believing he'd killed a stripper, who really was a victim of the Baseline Killer

"He said, 'Let's go,'" Maxie says.

"Like he was pissed?"

"Yeah. He said, 'Fuck them. Let's go.'"

Craig LaRotonda/Revelation Studios
Georgia Thompson, about a year before her September 2005 murder.
Georgia Thompson, about a year before her September 2005 murder.

"Fuck her or fuck them?" Schoville asks.

"Fuck them."

Schoville asks again about the woman who had left the club with Mullins.

"I didn't see them [leave]," Maxie says, disregarding what he had said earlier about the Puerto Rican girl.

The Tempe cops ask the inmate if he would wear a hidden wire and try to get more admissions from Mullins back on the cellblock.

Maxie insists that "if I don't get my freedom, I ain't gonna do it."

Sergeant Jackson comes in to tell Maxie, "I doubt if I can make your felony go away today," but he adds that he may be able to get a judge to reduce Maxie's bond and dismiss the contempt case if Maxie comes through for them.

Maxie says he's worried for his own safety and reputation if his budding role as a police snitch is revealed.

"Yeah," Jackson retorts. "You're really gonna be frowned on for putting a guy who murdered a 19-year-old girl behind bars."

Jackson leaves to track down the judge at home in Paducah. He returns later and announces that the jurist — an ex-police detective — tentatively has agreed to set aside the contempt charge and lower the bond.

"You do your part, you get your deal," Detective Luckow tells Maxie.

If the inmate can come up with fresh admissions of guilt from Mullins and $650, he'll be a free man, at least for a while.

About 90 minutes later, Maxie is back from his mission and at the police station with Detective Schoville. She's having a hard time hearing some of the tape-recording between him and Mullins, and asks him to fill in the gaps.

"He said he did it," Maxie says. "He said he killed her. He said she tried to rob him."

Sergeant Jackson says he learned soon after the taping that other jail inmates were coming forward to say Maxie had shown the recording device to Mullins back in the cellblock.

Mullins doesn't deny it.

"If you listen to the beginning of the tape," he tells New Times, "you'll hear me ask him, 'Was that [the cops you were talking to]?' That's when he showed me the wire. You'll hear these pauses in our conversation. We was writing stuff back and forth to each other."

A lanky, laconic man with thinning hair and a crooked grin, James Mullins brings up Curtis Maxie's name within seconds during his own interview on January 2 of this year, saying he had just noticed his cellmate's name on an in-and-out sheet.

"You don't think I've raped somebody, do you?" Mullins asks for no apparent reason, probably referring to a previous Maxie conviction for attempted rape.

Mullins soon explains that he and Maxie had gone "down to Texas together, we went to Arkansas together. Was in Arizona together."

Schoville asks him, "When did you guys go to Arizona?"

"September. . . . We was in Arizona on the fifth."

Mullins tells of driving to Tempe with Maxie in a white Cadillac. There, they'd waited in a rest area for some dope sources to show up, which they had.

Mullins denies he was carrying a gun, and says he had never seen Maxie with one on their trip to the desert. (That's precisely the opposite of what Maxie had told the cops.)

He claims some "Mexicans" had led him and Maxie to an "old ranch house" in the middle of nowhere, where they had stayed for four or five days.

Mullins volunteers that "we went into town on one of the last days. Went out and partied. Some shit went down, and we left."

"Talk to me," Schoville says. "What happened?"

"Maybe I should have a lawyer or something because I kinda got a feeling what this is."

Schoville lights the first of many cigarettes for Mullins.

"It was an accident," the inmate says. "It wasn't supposed to be like that."

But instead of allowing Mullins to tell his story, the detective then speaks for almost a minute about doing the right thing before saying, "There's other people that were there, other people that saw you there. Obviously, there's DNA that's involved, things like that . . ."

Mullins keeps a poker face.

He has been trying to sell a story built on lies.

Now he knows that Schoville is using the same tactic.

"Nobody's gonna believe me," Mullins tells her. "Here you got this innocent-looking stripper, you know what I mean? Well, she wasn't quite too innocent."

"You just don't seem like a cold-blooded killer to me," Schoville replies.

"Lord, no!" Mullins answers with a remarkably straight face. "I was on the parent-teacher association for my fiancée's daughter!"

Fifteen minutes into the interview, the detective asks him, "Who's the girl that you met?"

"Georgia," Mullins says calmly.

The hooks are set.

"She gets off work [at the strip club]," he tells Schoville, "we're walking down the street. I guess she was wanting my money, I don't know. She pulled out a gun. When she pulled out a gun, I took it from her."

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Black Widow
Black Widow

James Mullins is a good man who made a silly stupid mistake. His judgement was clouded by the stress of facing 25 years plus in prison. It made him make a compulsive decision that was not a bright idea although to him it seemed like the lesser of two evils. James knows that he was on the side of error and is truly and sincerly sympathic to Georgia's family and apologizes for his lack of thought and for giving the family false hope that her killer was found. James has honestly expressed his apologies to the family and the public servents that were involved.

brandon gomez
brandon gomez

they should of kept chuck.when he had that tempe street beat show on channel 11,it was always interesting and edicational.it taught me a lot watching him.

it's BULLSHIT how they fired him,he was a good cop.

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