Memphis man charged in 2008 beating, sexual assault of 79-year-old Knoxville woman

Michael Mullins (source: KCSO)
Michael Mullins (source: KCSO)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A Shelby County man already serving time on three first degree murder and three aggravated rape charges has been charged in the 2008 beating and sexual assault of a 79-year-old Knoxville woman.

Michael Mullins, 53, was recently arrested and pleaded guilty to the Shelby County incidents which occurred in 1999, 2011 and 2012. He is currently serving a prison sentence of life without parole.

Police say he was responsible for brutally beating and sexually assaulting Jessie Maples, 79. A group playing frisbee found Maples lying near some bushes in East Knoxville’s Morningside Park on April 18, 2008.

Maples spent several days in the hospital and was never able to return home. She died in 2012 in an area nursing home.

Jessie Maples (source: Knoxville Police Department)
Jessie Maples (source: Knoxville Police Department)

Knoxville police were able to identify a person of interest in the case in February 2012. Three days later, with the assistance of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Memphis Police Department, the person of interest was determined to be the prime suspect in Maples’ case.

Mullins was returned to Knox County this week. He will be arraigned Friday morning on aggravated rape and attempted first degree murder charges.

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