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Allen case goes to the jury

Jurors must decide whether defendant participated in stabbing of girlfriend’s mother or just helped cover it up.

September 17, 2008|By Michael Alexander

As jurors deliberate whether 23-year-old Ian Allen is guilty of the 2006 murder of his former girlfriend’s mother, Barbara Mullenix, in their Huntington Beach condo, Allen’s guilt wasn’t the only question they were asked to grapple with.

Both prosecution and defense attorneys had to deal with the question of Rachael Mullenix, also.

The defense and prosecution made their closing statements Monday to jurors, battling over whether Allen was an active participant in the brutal stabbing or just someone who saw an unspeakable crime and tried to help her cover it up. Jurors then began deliberating at the end of the day, and will meet until they reach a verdict.

Rachael Mullenix was the sole killer, and the stabbing was sudden, not a conspiracy, public defender Julie Swain told the jury. The weapons used, and Rachael Mullenix’s history of abusive treatment by her mother, suggest the teen killed her mother on her own, and suddenly, she added.

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“The prosecution would have the conspiracy begin Friday, Sept. 9 and ended on Sept. 12 with a 2-inch pocket knife and a butter knife in Barbara Mullenix’s eye,” Swain said. “This attack was not planned. There was no plan. The fact that Rachael Mullenix went into a rage and stabbed her mother was not a surprise.”

Prosecutor Sonia Balleste argued that Rachael Mullenix manipulated Allen into participating in the brutal stabbing. She added that text messages suggesting a plan came just a day before his friends say he told them he wanted to kill Barbara Mullenix and dump the body.

“Mr. Allen had different motives than Rachael Mullenix did to kill Barbara Mullenix,” she said. “His motive is her. That’s his motive.”

What Allen did was help his girlfriend clean up the mess after she snapped after years of bottled-up rage and stabbed her mother to death, Swain said. That makes him merely an accessory after the fact to a crime, and not even the crime of murder, Swain said.

“Rachael Mullenix committed ... manslaughter,” she said. “Though a person intends to kill, they suffer provocation that pushes that person over the edge. Ian Allen is an accessory to manslaughter, an accessory after the fact.”

Jurors were not told of Mullenix’s first-degree murder conviction earlier this summer.

But Rachael Mullenix’s being guilty wouldn’t make Allen innocent, Balleste said.

“It’s not a contest about who is the most evil, who is the most guilty,” she said.


MICHAEL ALEXANDER may be reached at (714) 966-4618 or at michael.alexander@latimes.com.

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