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Town Marshal Killed While Investigating Woman’s Death

July 7, 1986

BELLE CENTER, Ohio (AP) _ This town’s marshal likely was overpowered and shot to death with his own gun after he found the partially clothed body of a woman who had been stabbed to death at her home, a coroner said Monday.

An autopsy found that Murray Griffin, 64, who had been called to the home of Phyllis Mullet, 37, was shot four times Saturday. Mrs. Mullet died of multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest, said Logan County Coroner Dr. C.T. Richardson.

Griffin’s body was found on an upstairs landing. Mrs. Mullet’s body, bound at the arms and legs, was in a kitchen downstairs, Richardson said.

″Apparently the marshal went upstairs to see if there was anyone else in the house and that’s where this took place,″ the coroner said.

″I think this other man was much stronger, and it didn’t take too much time to do this fellow (Griffin) in,″ Richardson said.

Griffin’s gun was missing, leading authorities to suspect it was used in the shooting, the coroner said.

Griffin had gone to check a report of a disturbance at Mrs. Mullet’s home. A deputy who was sent to act as Griffin’s back-up discovered the bodies late Saturday, said Col. Mike Henry, Logan County chief sheriff’s deputy.

Sheriff Milt Watts said authorities have a description from neighbors of a possible suspect. No arrests had been made, he said.

Authorities do not believe the suspect is from the Belle Center area, about 10 miles north of Bellefontaine, he said.

Watts said robbery and sexual assault were considered as possible motives in the attack on Mrs. Mullet, although it was not clear if anything had been taken from the house.

Richardson said the partial autopsy report he obtained Monday did not indicate if she had been sexually assaulted.

Neighbors said Mrs. Mullet lived in the house with her 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, and that she and her husband, Richard, were separated and were going through a divorce.

Mullet told police he was with the children and a lawyer at the time of the slayings, said a law-enforcement official who spoke on condition his name not be used.

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