home
billy jack
homophobia
a gay gene?
the bible
cultural context
discussion
billy jackassault on gay america

STATEMENT OF STEVEN ERIC MULLINS RE: HOMICIDE OF BILLY JACK GAITHER CASE NO.: 99-02-070

JEFF MOBBS, SYLACAUGA POLICE DEPT: Today is March the 3rd, Wednesday, 1999. It's 6:03 p. Steve, we're here on the death of Billy Jack Gaither. Can you tell us what happened back on, February 19, 1999?

STEVE MULLINS: Yes, I can. Uh, I called, I called Billy Jack about four o'clock and asked him to come pick me up so we could go out to the bar. Um, he came and picked me up about seven (7:00). From there, uh, he had already bought a six pack of beer and we rode around and I drank it, some of it. Rode around and, uh, then about 8:30, 8:45 he was gonna go in the Tavern and try to collect $20.00 from this guy. Um, I stayed in the car because I didn't have any money to get in and didn't really want to go in. Um, He came back out about an hour later which was about 9:15 or 9:30. We, uh, went to the 11th Frame, told Charles Butler that I was there with Billy Jack and he knew Billy Jack was . . .

JM: What do you call, what do you call Charles Butler?

SM: Charlsey.

JM: Charlsey?

SM: Charlsey.

JM: What is his real name?

SM: Charles Butler.

JM: Is it Sr. or Jr.?

SM: Jr.

JM: Charles Butler, Jr.

SM: Yeah.

JM: Okay.

SM: Um, told him who I was with, told him what I was thinking about doing.

JM: And that was?

SM: Um, killing Billy Jack. Um, it was after a few minutes and I went back outside and was waiting, we were waiting on Charlsey; waiting on him and then we went, went back or I went back inside to see if he was coming on or about ready to go and he finished up his game of pool and he come out and he got him some beer out of the back of his daddy's truck, six pack took him a shot of moonshine, asked me if I wanted some, I didn't, we left, uh . . .

JM: You, you told him that you were with Billy Jack Gaither? Is that correct?

SM: Right.

I JM: Okay. And you told him what you were planning on doing?

SM: Right.

JM: And that was?

SM: Killing Billy Jack.

JM: And why were you planning on doing that? Why, why did you tell him that too?

SM: Because, I thought I could trust him and I knew he didn't like queers either.

JM: So, what are you saying? Are you saying that he, he?

SM: So we left, uh, went back to his daddy's house, Charles Butler, Sr. and he started getting ready and we discussed what, you know, what we were going to do, we talked about it. Um, we got Billy Jack to go out to the boat launch on Millerville Highway and Charles, Charlsey was taking a, relieving hisself at the front of the car. Me and Billy Jack was standing at the back and Billy Jack was watching him when he was taking a leak and I grabbed Billy Jack and threw him on the ground, cut his throat, and uh, he was just sitting, he was knelt on his hands and knees. I told Charlsey to open the, to pop the trunk and he went around and popped the trunk and Billy Jack tried to get up. I stabbed him twice in the rib cage and told him to stay where he was. Charlsey popped the trunk I told Billy Jack to get in the car. He did. We shut the trunk. I drove us to 165 Cedar Creek Circle and uh, got two tires, and a gallon of kerosene, box of matches and an ax handle.

JM: What did you use to, uh, cut his throat?

SM: A pocket knife. A plain old pocket knife.

JM: What did you do with it?

SM: I threw it in the river.

JM: Okay.

SM: Uh, got the two tires, the ax handle, the gallon of kerosene, the box of matches and went to Peckerwood Creek Road, um, uh, got the tires out of the trunk, the ax handle, propped it up against the car. Charlsey was lighting the, lighting the tires. Uh, I drug Billy Jack out onto the ground and uh, had my back fumed to him, he out of the blue knocked me down the hill into the creek um, and when I finally got back up to the, to the top he was trying to leave in the car. He was laying across the seats. Charlsey was gone. I found out later he had hit him and he took off running, um, I told Billy Jack that he couldn't go nowhere or anywhere cause I didn't have, I had the keys and I grabbed him by his pant's legs and drug him away from the car and got the ax handle which was leaned up against the door of the car and started beating him with it and Charles, Charlsey showed back up and I took my shirt off and told him to get the blood out of the car and we talked and I was still beating him and when 1, I gave; out of energy and couldn't do it anymore, um, the fire got to going and the tires started burning real well and I drug him into the flame and uh, we stood there for a few minutes and then we left. Went to the Exxon, no, went to the trailer at 165 Cedar Creek Circle, went there, I went inside and uh we both, me and Charles Butler both went inside and uh, he sat in the kitchen and I went back to my bedroom and got some things to take a bath with and took a, took a shower, got cleaned up, changed clothes and l asked Randall Jones if I could use his car to take this guy home and go out to the bar for a little while and um, we left, I uh, I drove Randall's car and Charlsey drove Billy Jack's car. We went . . .

JM: What happened to the clothes?

SM: Um, my pants and shoes and socks were left in my bedroom and the shirt was

burned.

JM: Where did, where did it get burned?

SM: On the fire.

JM: Okay.

SM: Along with the ax handle. Um, we left and went to the Exxon in Sylacauga on 280. Um, Charles parked the car on the left end of the building and sat there and waited and gave me the $20.00 to go in and get a gallons, a gallon or a dollars worth of gas, um, I did that, went in and got the gas, paid for it, got my jug, went back and got in the car, met him around on the end of the building, discussed where we were gonna go with the car and we left and we went to, out Millerville Highway to the trash dump and he took, drove the car back off into the mud and um, got, you know, I he, I gave him the gas and he started pouring gas all over the car and I was back in the car waiting on him and he set it on fire and we left and went to the Southern Station for about a hour and uh, took him home and I got back home about 3:30 a.m.

JM: Where are the pants at now?

SM: There in the trash. Superior Garbage picks the trash up and they carried them

off.

JN: What day do they pick up?

SM: 1, I don't know, we, our trash they hadn't paid the trash bill down there and so you know, the trash can got gone with it and it was probably last week, last Tuesday, I don't, I don't know what days they run 1, you know, Randall worked with them for a little while and we were supposedly getting free garbage pick up and he quit and they disposed of the garbage can, I guess last Tuesday.

JM: Say you called B. J.?

SM: Yes, yes I did.

JM: What was the conversation?

SM: Just, we were talking about going out to the bar.

JM: And when he got to pick you up, did he already have some beer? Do you know what kind it was?

SM: Bud Lite in bottles, six pack.

JM: You know where that watersheds place is? Boat launch, I think you called it.

SM: 1, I don't know how to get to it I mean 1, you know, I know, well, I know, you know the road that carries you out that away, but I don't know how to get exactly to it

JM: What's the name of that road?

SM: Alls I know is you go out Millerville Highway and you'll see a little brown sign that's got a boat ramp on, a boat being launched and that's where you turn at. You go down to where it T's and take a right.

JN: Left or right?

SM: Left. Uh, go down and you'll come to that road will dead end to where a road T's off and you take a right down to I don't, you know, 1, I don't, I know it's out that away, I don't know exactly where. I've been out there swimming but not to the boat ramp. That was .

JM: Whose idea was that to go out there?

SM: Charles's. It was his idea to go to the boat ramp cause that was, that was his idea to go out there, I didn't know where to go.

JM: And what happened to the, the uh, knife that you had?

SM: Threw it in the river.

JM: And you don't know what kind it was?

SM: Uh, black handle, uh, stainless steel blade. That's all I know, regular, regular size, you know, probably three inch blade, I guess. Three or four inch blade on it.

JM: How far out did you throw the knife?

SM: Uh, not being able to see, guessing by hearing the splash, probably twenty, thirty feet.

JM: So it's pretty close to the bank?

SM: I guess, you know, its pitch black dark and I just chunked, you know it could be fifty feet. I just threw it and you know, I didn't close it up or nothing, I just slung it and . . .

JM: Which side of the boat ramp you on?

SM: Uh, the right side. As you, where you launch your boat, its right off at an angle.

JM: Where did you pull the car at? Towards that boat ramp?

SM: Uh, I didn't, Billy Jack was driving and he circled around and pulled it up as you're facing towards the boat ramp on the right side, on the edge of some woods, this big open area right there.

JM: Was there anybody else out there?

SM: No.

JM: Did you meet any other cars coming in or out of the roads you took?

SM: No, I didn't.

JM: When you, when you left there, you said earlier that Billy Jack was in the trunk, is that correct?

SM: Right.

JM: You leave there and where do you go?

SM: Back to the 165 Cedar Creek Circle.

JM: Okay, and tell me again what you do there?

SM: I got the two tires that were around back, two of the tires that were around back, um, an ax handle, a box of matches, and a gallon of kerosene.

JM: Where do you put 'em?

SM: I put it all in a, well, I put the two tires in the trunk and put the rest in the back seat.

JM: Describe the box of matches that you . . .

SM: It's a large box of matches. I guess the biggest ones you can buy in a store.

JM: Do you remember the name?

SM: Huh-uh.

JM: Where were they at inside the house?

SM: Uh, on top of the, above the cabinets. Couple other boxes there now.

JM: Did you go back, um, did you go back to the scene or have you been back to the

scene since it happened?

SM: No, I haven't.

JM: Either, have you been to either place?

SM: No.

JM: Since it happened?

SM: No, I haven't.

JM: When you get down to Peckerwood Creek Road, is what you're calling it. Is that correct? Is that the only name of the road you know?

SM: Yeah.

JM: Alright, you call the road that you come in on as "One Minute Road.?

SM: Yeah. You take One Minute Road to Talladega Springs, go down and it will cross a, a fairly new bridge and it's the first dirt road to your left.

JM: If um, if I'm coming down Fayetteville Road from Sylacauga, I come through Fayetteville and I come to the forks right?

SM: Uh- huh.

JM: I take the left fork. That's the One Minute Road you're talking about right?

SM: Uh, yeah, you go down that away. That One Minute Road comes out right there and where the some kind of monument or something is in Talladega Springs.

JM: Which, do you turn left or do you turn right off the Talladega Springs Road?

SM: Left.

JM: Turn left?

SM: Right. Then at the bridge, you turn left.

JM: You go to the end of the pavement to the bridge and then you turn left.

SM: Right.

JM: When you're down on, at Peckerwood Creek, you say Charlsey was starting the

fire. .

SM: Yes.

JM: And he puts some kerosene on the tires and starts it?

SM: Yes.

JM: And you've gotten Billy Jack Gaither out of the trunk already?

SM: Yes.

JM: Okay. And then next thing you know, you go falling down the, the hill?

SM: Yes.

JM: Did you go into the water?

SM: Yes, I did.

JM: What were you wearing at that time?

SM: Pair of blue jeans uh, a white sweatshirt, and a pair of socks and a pair of tennis shoes, underwear.

JM: Okay. So you basically got pretty wet then?

SM: Yeah. From head to toe.

JM: Alright and then what happened?

SM: I climbed back up to the top and Charlsey is not around and Billy Jack is trying to get. in the car, got the ax handle in his hand um, I tell him he can't go anywhere because I've got the keys and I drag him back out to the back of the car and beat him.

JM: What happens to the your clothes?

SM: Um, my T-shirt or my sweatshirt? I took it off and Charlsey used it to clean up the blood in the car and then he threw it on the fire and the blue jeans were taken off in the trash.

JM: Who put the kerosene on the body?

SM: Uh, I put, well, we both did.

JM: Both of you did?

SM: Both did.

JM: How much kerosene did you have?

SM: It was a gallon.

JM: Full gallon?

SM: Uh- huh.

JM: What did you have the kerosene in?

SM: A red gallon jug, gasoline jug.

JM: You leave there after uh, you've already put Billy Jack on the fire? Is that correct?

SM: Yes.

JM: You're driving the car?

SM: Yes.

JM: Was there any damage to the car then?

SM: No.

JM: No damage to the car?

SM: Just blood. That's it.

JM: Okay. You leave there and you go where?

SM: Back to the trailer where I lived at and um, that's where I took a shower and

changed

clothes.

JM: That when you- you change clothes? What happens then?

SM: 1, wake up Randall Jones and ask him to borrow his car to go out to the bar for a

riffle

while and take a friend of mine home.

JM: What were you wearing then?

SM: Uh, a pair of dress or khaki pants and a sweat jacket.

JM: What did you do with the clothes when you took them off?

SM: The clothes from, the wet clothes, I laid them in the bedroom floor.

JM: Okay, when did you get rid of them?

SM: Uh, last week um, Tuesday maybe Tuesday.

JM: What did you do with them?

SM: I threw them in the garbage.

JM: What did you throw in the garbage?

SM: The pair of pants, the the rest of it was washed in the laundry.

JM: And your tennis shoes?

SM: They were also washed.

JM: When um, when you approach uh, uh, Charlsey in the bar you tell me you tell him something.

SM: Yeah. . . ,

JM. What did you tell him?

SM: Told him that we, you know, he wasn't comfortable with leaving with Billy Jack because he knew he was queer and you know, I mentioned to him about getting rid of him.

JM: What were your words?

SM: That was basically it. You know.

JM: So, then you planned to what you call, "get rid of Billy Jack" is that correct? .

SM: Um, yeah somewhat.

JM: Did you and Charlsey talk prior to this about getting rid of B. J.?

SM: Yes.

JM: How long?

SM: How long did we talk or how long had it been since we talked?

JM: How long had it been?

SM: Probably a week. Two weeks.

JM: Why?

SM: Just cause he was queer.

JM: How? You said you knew- how did you know Billy Jack before then?

SM: From the Tavern and just acquaintance. Just knew him.

JM: That's all how you knew him?

SM: You know, a ride home. You know, a ride to the grocery store here and there. Just, you know, just knew him.

JM: And that's only- only way you knew him?

SM: I didn't know his last name or anything till this.

JM: You told me that um, that Billy Jack uh, 'propositioned you earlier. Is that correct? Tell me what he said.

SM: He told me he wanted to suck my click.

JM: And?

SM: 1, I didn't say anything.

JM: Okay. When did he tell you this?

SM: Uh, he told me a couple of times, but it you know it was probably a week or two before that that he told me and I didn't say anything and then he told me that night also.

JM: Where did he tell you?

SM: Just riding.

JM: Riding? How much do you think you had to drink that night?

SM: Six pack.

JM: How much did he have to drink?

SM: Billy Jack? Uh, two that I saw of. He bought those separately.

JM: Kelley, you got any more questions?

KJ: No.

JM: Sgt. Nail? This will end the statement. Steve you got anything else to say?

SM: No.

JM: This'll end the statement. It's 6:30 p. m. Day is Wednesday, March the 3rd 1999.


home · billy jack ·  homophobia's roots ·  a gay gene? ·  the bible's words ·  cultural context
discussion ·  quiz ·  viewer's guide
press ·  tapes & transcripts ·  synopsis ·  FRONTLINE

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

NEXT ON FRONTLINE

Losing IraqJuly 29th

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS