A Cheyenne couple is charged in the death of a transient found last year in Curt Gowdy State Park.
Russell Perry, 54, faces up to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines if convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of transient Cheyenne man Stacey “Jason” Mullen, 50.
Perry’s partner Gizelle Kellum, 55, could face up to three years in prison and $3,000 in fines if convicted of accessory after the fact for allegedly helping Perry conceal the killing.
They’re scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Friday in Cheyenne Circuit Court.
Wyoming State Park rangers found Mullen lying in the road in the state park, beaten and unresponsive, the morning of Aug. 20, 2023, says an evidentiary affidavit filed Jan. 12 in Cheyenne Circuit Court.
State park personnel called police and emergency medical personnel to the scene at 480 Road 210.
Personnel took Mullen to the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, where Dr. Jason Greer said Mullen had sustained “one of the worst brain bleeds” he’d ever seen, the affidavit says.
An air ambulance took Mullen to the Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado.
Meanwhile, Laramie County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Ryan Martinez learned from the staff at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center that Mullen’s emergency contact was Kellum.
Martinez called Kellum’s phone.
She told Martinez that Mullen was a transient, didn’t have a cellphone and mainly kept to himself, the affidavit relates. She and her husband, Perry, had taken Mullen to the hospital before to address his alcoholism, she reportedly said.
Detective Jack Dudley on that day reached out to Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, requesting each of them preserve cellphone data for towers providing service in the Curt Gowdy area.
Dudley’s request called for the cellphone service providers to safeguard device data, and device location data from phones that had both used the towers and that had been in the area the night of Aug. 19 and the morning of Aug. 20.
Later, Martinez secured a search warrant for the data on which Dudley had requested preservation, and the providers handed the data over, the affidavit says.
Lanae Fry, an analysis from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), started combing through the data.
One Week Of Life Support
Laramie County Sheriff’s Department Detective Benjamin Delcamp on Aug. 21, 2023, spoke with medical personnel at the Swedish Medical Center.
They said Mullen had internal bleeding in the brain and around it, hemorrhaging, a breastbone fracture and three fractured ribs, says the affidavit.
The doctor reportedly opined that the injuries were from blunt-force trauma consistent with a physical assault.
Mullen remained on life support for another seven days, then staff removed him from it and he died.
Martinez spoke with Kellum and Perry at the Walmart on Livingston Avenue in Cheyenne that same day, says the document.
The affidavit says Kellum and Perry told the investigator they found Mullen in the grass by the viaduct in downtown Cheyenne on Aug. 19, and they drove him to the Eagle’s Nest to get a bottle of alcohol.
Perry drove his Chevrolet pickup through the drive-thru at the store.
Kellum and Perry told police left them on foot at about 7 p.m. that night, headed toward the Ames underpass, says the affidavit.
Back To The Walmart
On Sept. 29, one month after Mullen died, detectives met with Kellum and Perry at the Walmart again.
Kellum said she and Mullen were friends. They met in 2022 at the Comea shelter in Cheyenne, and they liked to drive around and drink, she said.
The affidavit relates Kellum saying she and Perry drove around the night of Aug. 19, after dropping Mullen off. Then they parked back at the Walmart and didn’t leave Cheyenne that evening.
Young and Delcamp called up the Walmart and asked for surveillance footage from that night.
Scanning the footage, they couldn’t find Perry’s truck at the store between 8 p.m. and midnight the evening of Aug. 19, the affidavit says.
‘I Can’t Do This No More’
By Oct. 6, Fry told investigators what she’d found in the cellphone tower data. The data allegedly showed Kellum and Perry’s shared cellphone number calling another number at about 10:39 p.m., Aug. 19, using the Buford cell tower about 5.6 miles from Curt Gowdy State Park.
Dudley and Delcamp spoke with Kellum and Perry yet again near the Walmart on Oct. 19. Kellum said she didn’t have information about what had happened to Mullen, and maintained she and Perry last saw him at the Eagle’s nest around 7:30 the night of Aug. 19, the affidavit says.
Investigators asked Kellum to explain why they couldn’t find Perry’s truck in the Walmart surveillance footage from that night. Kellum couldn’t explain this, said “it was a while ago” and they’d been drinking, says the document.
Delcamp asked why her phone pinged out by Curt Gowdy State Park that night.
“Probably because we were out there,” Kellum reportedly said.
Then she burst out with, “Oh shit! I can’t do this no more,” says the affidavit. And she divulged that she and Perry were drinking and drove out toward the state park with Perry driving, Mullen in the passenger seat and Kellum sitting in the back.
Mullen started “swinging” at Perry while Perry tried to drive, and Perry fought Mullen off until he could park. They got out of the truck and pulled Mullen outside, she continued, and the men started fighting outside the truck, the affidavit says.
Mullen was “knocked out,” and Kellum yelled “stop!” at Perry, the document says.
Then they put Mullen in the back of the truck and drove to the Crystal Lake Reservoir by the dam.
She heard Mullen curse them both as they drove, she added.
Mullen got out of the truck “on his own accord,” though Kellum wasn’t sure where. At some point they looked back and found Mullen wasn’t in the truck, relates the affidavit.
A couple days later, Kellum heard Mullen was found out at the park.
Martinez read Perry his Miranda rights and started asking him questions.
Perry told a similar story, also saying he couldn’t pinpoint where Mullen got out of the truck and indicating that he merely “roughed him up” on the side of the road.
Mullen drank two 1-pint bottles of vodka that evening, the affidavit relates from Perry’s interview.
The three drove out west of town. As they rode on the pavement near the intersection of Otto Road and Interstate 80, Mullen “suddenly” started swinging at him “unprovoked,” Perry told police.
Perry pulled off the side of the road, pulled Mullen out of the vehicle and eventually “roughed him up,” the affidavit says, adding that the couple hoisted Mullen into the back of the truck, then kept heading west on I-80.
They went to the state park and stayed there a couple hours, and when they left, Mullen was not in the truck anymore, Perry said.
The Autopsy Says
On Nov. 20, Delcamp received an amended autopsy report from the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office in Colorado, where Mullen died.
The examiner opined Mullen’s injuries were from an assault resulting in multiple hemorrhages, and his manner of death was homicide, says the affidavit.
Last Time, An Old Man With A Cane
Prior to the altercation with Mullen, Kellum was charged with aggravated assault in April 2023, after bludgeoning a 71-year-old man with his own cane as he slept.
She reportedly did not know the older man, who survived the attack with significant injuries.
After a mental examination of Kellum, Laramie County District Court Judge Steven Sharpe ruled July 17 that Kellum had committed aggravated assault, but was not guilty by reason of mental illness.
Meaning, her mental capacity was insufficient for her to process the wrongfulness of her conduct or to conform her actions to the law.
Her mental illness persisted after this finding, and Sharpe called for tests to find out what sort of treatment Kellum would need going forward.
On Oct. 10, 2023 — after Mullen’s death but before police had finished investigating it — an examiner gave the court a risk assessment indicating Kellum could receive proper care, supervision and treatment in the community, court documents say.
Sharpe designated the Cheyenne-based Volunteers of America to supervise Kellum, and asked the VOA to give him a report within 90 days on how Kellum’s treatment was going.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.