State v. MullAnnotate this Case
A fight erupted during a house party; someone fired multiple shots into the bedroom through the door, striking and killing Walker. Police obtained statements from more than 25 individuals. Eyewitness descriptions identified the shooter as a black male who used his right hand, but descriptions were otherwise very inconsistent. After the party, rumors circulated on Facebook accusing Smyth of the shooting. The police later turned their attention to Harris and, ultimately, to Mull, who was identified as the shooter by several witnesses. At Mull’s jury trial, the prosecution presented multiple witnesses. The defense did not call any witnesses. Convicted of first-degree reckless homicide, Mull was sentenced to 25 years' confinement.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed an order granting Mull a new trial, rejecting Mull’s argument that his attorney was ineffective for "failing to file a third-party perpetrator motion regarding any one of the viable alternate suspects.” Counsel testified he thought a reasonable doubt defense was preferable to a third-party perpetrator defense because it was difficult to locate witnesses, even using an investigator, and that there were credibility issues and inconsistent accounts. Counsel objected to a line of questioning relative to out-of-court messages and attempted to discredit that testimony on cross-examination; he did not move to strike a statement made during cross-examination because he did not want "too much attention." The court concluded that the controversy was fully tried, and it is not probable that justice has miscarried.