Grandfather Testifies in Murder Trial of 9-Year-Old Charlise Mutten

The article reports on the trial of Justin Stein, accused of murdering 9-year-old Charlise Mutten in January 2022, and dumping her body in a plastic barrel in the Colo River area of the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia. The case involves Charlise's mother, Kallista Mutten, who had a history of drug use and imprisonment, and her partner Stein, who allegedly killed Charlise and disposed of her body, raising concerns about child protection services and accountability for families struggling with addiction and criminal activity. This description focuses on the primary topic of the trial, the main entities involved (Justin Stein, Charlise Mutten, and her mother Kallista Mutten), the context of the events (Sydney, Australia), and the significant actions and consequences related to the subject matter. The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content.

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Grandfather Testifies in Murder Trial of 9-Year-Old Charlise Mutten

Grandfather Testifies in Murder Trial of 9-Year-Old Charlise Mutten

The trial of Justin Laurens Stein, accused of murdering 9-year-old Charlise Mutten in January 2022, continues in the NSW Supreme Court at Parramatta. Stein, 33, has pleaded not guilty to shooting Charlise twice, in the head and lower back, and dumping her body in a plastic barrel in the Colo River area of the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Why this matters: This tragic case raises concerns about the effectiveness of child protection services and the circumstances that allow children to be placed in harmful environments. It also highlights the need for greater accountability and support for families struggling with addiction and criminal activity.

Charlise's grandfather, Clinton Mutten Snr, testified that his granddaughter was a bright and self-motivated student who loved animals and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. He described Charlise as having a "very strong" relationship with her mother, Kallista Mutten, despite her mother's history of drug use and imprisonment. Charlise had lived with her grandparents from around the age of four after her mother was deemed unable to properly care for her.

According to Clinton Mutten Snr, Charlise had "really liked" Stein and had asked her grandfather if he thought Stein would "be a good dad." Kallista Mutten had met Stein while serving a sentence for dangerous driving occasioning the death of a passenger. Despite the couple's history of drug use, Clinton Mutten Snr said Charlise was "happy and excited" to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve with her mother and Stein in December 2021.

On the evening of January 12, 2022, Stein allegedly took Charlise back to Mount Wilson alone, while her mother remained at a caravan at the Riverview Ski Park. Prosecutors allege that Stein pretended to search for Charlise while actually trying to dispose of her body. CCTV images captured Stein at a BP service station in Marsden Park, northwest Sydney, on January 13, towing a boat behind his Holden Colorado ute, which allegedly transported a barrel containing Charlise's body.

The barrel was found wedged in a tree near the Colo River on January 18, four days after Charlise was reported missing by her mother. A toxicology report showed traces of Stein's schizophrenia medication in Charlise's system. However, Stein's defense barrister, Carolyn Davenport SC, claims that Charlise was killed by her mother near a chicken shed on the property and that Stein disposed of the body but did not put it in the barrel.

The six-week trial continues before Justice Helen Wilson, with Kallista Mutten expected to testify as a witness. The tragic case has shocked the community and raised questions about the circumstances that led to Charlise's death while in the care of her mother and her mother's partner, both with histories of drug use and criminal activity.

Key Takeaways

  • Justin Stein, 33, is on trial for murdering 9-year-old Charlise Mutten in January 2022.
  • Charlise was shot twice and her body was found in a plastic barrel in the Colo River area.
  • Charlise had lived with her grandparents due to her mother's history of drug use and imprisonment.
  • Stein allegedly killed Charlise and disposed of her body, but claims he didn't put it in the barrel.
  • The trial raises concerns about child protection services and accountability for families with addiction and criminal activity.