An Oklahoma dad who claimed his ex-cheerleader daughter fatally shot herself will be tried for murder after a detective said the shot could not have been self-inflicted, according to several media reports.
Ronald Lee McMullen Jr., 43, of Norman, was in Cleveland County Court on Monday on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of his daughter Kailee, 22, who was pronounced dead at the family’s home early on June 29, reports the Norman Transcript, The Oklahoman and The Express-Star.
McMullen has not yet entered a plea, and will be formally arraigned on March 14, according to the county clerk’s office. He currently is being held without bond, jail records show, and it was unclear if he has retained legal counsel who could speak on his behalf.
In court Monday, Detective Brian Franks said gunpowder residue on the victim suggests the gun likely was fired at her face from 18 inches away — beyond the victim’s reach, which would have been 11.5 to 14 inches if she’d been holding the gun herself.
“It tells me it was fired outside of her reach,” Franks told Judge Steve Stice, who ruled there was probable cause to send the case to trial.
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Kailee, a 2013 graduate of Norman North High School who was co-captain of the school’s varsity cheerleading squad, had alleged to friends she was molested by her father in the months prior to her death, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.
The affidavit also alleges Kailee’s father touched his daughter inappropriately in 2007, when she was 14, but no charges were ever filed.
Police reported that he was allegedly a “very controlling father.”
At 5:38 a.m. on June 29, McMullen called his wife, a night-shift hospital nurse, to tell her “Kailee’s been shot,” before he called police to say his daughter had committed suicide. But a neighbor testified about hearing a loud noise coming from the house about 5:15 a.m.
Police who responded to the home about 5:45 a.m. say they found Kailee’s mother performing CPR on her daughter, who was already dead, and Kailee’s father covered in blood, according to the affidavit.
Franks testified that the body had been moved from the kitchen to the living room, as had the gun.
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At the scene, McMullen allegedly “kept trying to wipe off the blood all over him with a towel” as officers attempted to photograph him, the search warrant stated. Police allegedly had to physically restrain him from doing so.
Testimony in the preliminary hearing also alleged that McMullen rolled on the ground and rubbed dirt on his blood-covered hands and face.
He initially told police he had witnessed Kailee accidentally shoot herself while “playing with a wheel-gun” that morning, with the revolver pointed to her face and her thumb on the trigger, the detective testified. McMullen said the gun “went ‘pop'” when he tried to take it away from her, according to the detective.
He was arrested July 6.