Ala. inmate convicted of gay hate crime fatally stabbed by another inmate

The inmate who was serving time for murdering a gay man was fatally stabbed by an inmate who killed 5 men


Carol Robinson
Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ala. — A 45-year-old man convicted in the 1999 hate crime murder of Billy Jack Gaither has been killed in an Alabama prison.

Steven Eric Mullins was found unresponsive Feb. 26 at St. Clair Correctional Facility, Alabama Department of Corrections officials announced Monday. About 6 p.m. that Tuesday, correctional officers responding to the assault found inmate Mullins unresponsive inside a housing area.

The inmate was airlifted to an area hospital where he was treated for multiple stab wounds. Hospital officials reported that Mullins had died from his injuries on Thursday.

ADOC spokesman Bob Horton said The Department of Corrections’ Investigations and Intelligence Division is filing capital murder charges against 50-year-old Christopher Scott Jones who is a suspect in the fatal stabbing.

Jones is serving a 25-year sentence for a 2011 murder conviction in Shelby County. He was convicted in the 2008 slayings of five men in a Shelby County apartment. They slayings happened Aug. 17, 2008 at an apartment complex off U.S. 280.

Authorities said the slayings were carried out in a murder-for-hire over $450,000 in missing drug cartel money.

Billy Jack Gaither was savagely murdered 20 years ago today because he was gay in Alabama

The 39-year-old was stabbed, beaten and set on fire on Feb. 19, 1999.

Mullins was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole on a 1999 capital murder and kidnapping of the 39-year-old Gaither n Coosa County. Gaither’s murder sparked a national outcry and a movement to include sexual orientation in Alabama’s 1994 hate crime law.

Mullins, then 25, and Charles Monroe Butler, then 21, told Coosa County Sheriff’s Office investigators they plotted Gaither’s death because he made a pass at Mullins a week earlier. They later denied the murder was premeditated, saying instead Gaither was killed because he came on to Butler the night of the murder.

The Fayetteville men lured Gaither from a Sylacauga bar to a boat launch, stabbed him, beat him with an ax handle, put him in a car trunk and drove him to a creek. They beat him again and then placed him on two fiery, kerosene-drenched tires.

Events for Gaither were held across Alabama and across America.

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©2019 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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