Michael Anthony Mullen, 36, called 911 to claim responsibility and gave information that only the killer would know, according to a police news release.
BELLINGHAM — The man arrested in the shooting deaths of two convicted child rapists told investigators he was motivated by the notorious case of Joseph Edward Duncan, who is accused of killings and child abductions in Idaho, police said.
Michael Anthony Mullen, 36, called police yesterday to turn himself in and later confessed to killing Hank Eisses, 49, and Victor Vasquez, 68, on Aug. 27, officers said.
“One possible reason was the case in Idaho,” Bellingham Police Lt. Craige Ambrose told The Associated Press. Ambrose wouldn’t elaborate, saying the case was still under investigation. Mullen was booked into jail for investigation of murder and scheduled for a court appearance this afternoon.
Police believe Mullen killed the Bellingham sex offenders because he knew details only the killer would know, according to a department news release. He knew that the victims were each shot once in the head, and he knew the caliber of the weapon.
“Mullen also said that he had planned the murders for some time and that on July 13, 2005, he had accessed the Whatcom County Sheriff’s sex offender Web site, and from that selected at least one of the two victims,” the release said.
As is typical throughout the state, the Web site includes the residences of sex offenders who are required to register with local authorities.
Mullen gave no fixed address but has lived in Whatcom County most of his life. He had a criminal record but no history of violence, Ambrose said.
Duncan’s case made headlines earlier this year and focused new attention on the danger posed by released sex offenders. He is accused of killing three people in a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, home in order to abduct two children for sex.
He was arrested early July 2 at a restaurant with one of the children, 8-year-old Shasta Groene. Remains of her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, were found in a Montana forest two days later.
Vasquez was convicted in 1991 of molesting several relatives. His victims suffered regular abuse, sexual and otherwise, according to court documents. He was under Department of Corrections supervision at the time of his death. He was released from prison about two years ago.
Eisses was sentenced to 51/2 years in prison in 1997 for raping a 13-year-old boy at his home in Sumas, near the Canadian border. Kit Bail, Corrections Department field supervisor for Whatcom County, said Eisses was released from department supervision about two years ago.
Mullen said he mailed letters about the killings to several news outlets last week, police said. In a report published Thursday, The Bellingham Herald reported that the letter threatened the lives of other sexual predators.
“He said there are more letters forthcoming,” Ambrose said of Mullen’s confession to police.
Eisses and Vasquez were both Level III sex offenders, considered the type most likely to reoffend.
Their bodies were found by a roommate, also a sex offender, who said a man wearing a blue jumpsuit and a cap that said FBI on it came to the place the three shared, told them he was an FBI agent and said he wanted to discuss their status as sex offenders.
The man told the three that one of them was on a “hit list” on an Internet site, police said.
The roommate said he left while the FBI impostor was still there and found the bodies when he returned about four hours later. Neighbors said the man was at the house about two hours, according to police.