Justin Laurens Stein Stands Trial for Murder of 9-Year-Old Charlise Mutten

Justin Laurens Stein is on trial for the alleged murder of 9-year-old Charlise Mutten, whose body was found shot and in a barrel on the Colo River in January 2022. Stein claims Charlise's mother, Kallista Mutten, pulled the trigger, and he only helped dispose of the body.

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Justin Laurens Stein Stands Trial for Murder of 9-Year-Old Charlise Mutten

Justin Laurens Stein Stands Trial for Murder of 9-Year-Old Charlise Mutten

Justin Laurens Stein, 33, is currently on trial in the NSW Supreme Court at Parramatta for the alleged murder of 9-year-old Charlise Mutten, whose body was found shot and placed in a barrel on the Colo River in January 2022. Stein has pleaded not guilty to the crime, claiming that Charlise's mother, Kallista Mutten, was the one who pulled the trigger and that he only helped dispose of the body.

Why this matters: This case highlights the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of children, particularly those living in complex family situations. It also raises questions about the effectiveness of systems in place to protect vulnerable children from harm.

The incident occurred on or around January 12, 2022, at Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Charlise had been living with her grandparents, Clinton and his wife, in Tweed Heads after her mother's ability to care for her was questioned. In December 2021, Charlise traveled to Sydney to spend the Christmas and New Year period with her mother and Stein.

witness, evidence, begins Prosecutors allege that Stein shot Charlise twice, once in the head and once in the back, before dumping her body in a plastic barrel. They claim that Stein pretended to search for Charlise while actually disposing of her body, and that he was the "last person" to see her alive. The Crown also alleges that Stein and Mutten broke into a neighbor's home near the Mount Wilson property, taking two firearms, including a .22 bolt-action hunting rifle.

Stein's lawyer, Carolyn Davenport SC, argues that her client initially lied to police to protect Mutten, and that evidence will show it was Charlise's mother who had motive to carry out the killing. Davenport claims that Charlise was killed by her mother near a chicken shed on the property.

man, stop, alleged Charlise's grandfather, Clinton Mutten Snr, testified that his granddaughter was an academic all-rounder who loved animals and dreamed of becoming a veterinary surgeon. He described Charlise as having a close relationship with him and rarely requiring discipline. Clinton Mutten said, "She said that she really liked Justin and she asked if he would be a good dad." When asked if he had concerns about sending Charlise to live with her mother and Stein given their history of drug use, he replied, "No, because I was under the impression that both had cleaned their act up."

The murder, trial, nine, year, old, girl, which is expected to last six weeks, continues before Justice Helen Wilson in the NSW Supreme Court. Phone records, CCTV footage, and other evidence are expected to be presented as the prosecution builds its case against Stein. The defense will likely focus on shifting blame to Kallista Mutten and casting doubt on Stein's involvement in the actual killing of Charlise Mutten.

Key Takeaways

  • Justin Stein, 33, is on trial for the alleged murder of 9-year-old Charlise Mutten.
  • Charlise's body was found shot and in a barrel on the Colo River in January 2022.
  • Stein claims Charlise's mother, Kallista, pulled the trigger and he only helped dispose of the body.
  • Prosecutors allege Stein shot Charlise twice and dumped her body in a plastic barrel.
  • The trial is expected to last six weeks and will involve phone records, CCTV footage, and other evidence.