VERSAILLES — The mother of a 6-year-old Winchester boy found dead two years ago in his grandfather's garage in Paris was moved to tears before a prosecutor asked his first question Friday.
Stephanie Moore, 27, of Winchester testified that her son, Wesley Dylan Mullins, was smart, sweet and kind-hearted.
She said that Wesley loved his grandfather Bobby Mullins and that the child often waited by the window on the weekends when his grandfather drove to Winchester to pick him up.
Later, prosecutors called Mullins, a thin 59-year-old man who moved slowly, to the witness stand.
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Bobby Mullins' then-roommate, Lewis "Buck" Ballard, 51, is charged with murder and first-degree sodomy in Wesley's death. Ballard is on trial in Woodford Circuit Court.
Throughout defense attorney La Mer Kyle-Griffiths' cross-examination, there were groans from some of Wesley's relatives in the courtroom when she repeated questions several times as Mullins said he didn't understand, couldn't hear or did not remember the details she was referring to.
"Mr. Mullins, you seem to have a story for every occasion," Kyle-Griffiths said at the start.
She persisted with questions about statements she said Mullins made to police. "The things that you've said, they've changed a bit," she said.
Mullins said Kyle-Griffiths had him "mixed up."
On the weekend her son died, Moore testified that Wesley saw his grandfather's van enter their driveway about noon Aug. 3, 2007. Wesley said goodbye and told Moore he loved her, she said.
During cross-examination, Moore said Wesley also was excited about seeing Ballard.
Moore told Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Keith Eardley that she didn't know Ballard very well. She told Kyle-Griffiths that Wesley never seemed uncomfortable about going to his grandfather's house.
But Moore told Eardley that Wesley was afraid of the dark.
"He would never go outside when it was dark," she said. "He had to have a night light."
Kyle-Griffiths asked Moore about her son's sleeping patterns. Moore said Wesley got up early even when he stayed up late.
In his testimony, Mullins told Eardley that he had a great relationship with Wesley.
"We did a lot of things together," Mullins said.
Mullins said Wesley also got along well with Ballard. Mullins said that he'd known Ballard's family about 25 years and that he let Ballard rent a room from him because he was having financial troubles.
Mullins said he had a few beers with a visiting nephew and Ballard the night of Aug. 3.
Wesley took a bath and dried himself, Mullins testified. Then Mullins helped the boy get into his pajamas.
Mullins said he then told Wesley it was time for bed. It was about 10 or 11 p.m., he said. But Wesley wanted to play darts with Ballard.
Mullins said he went to bed but woke up about 2:30 a.m. to use the bathroom. Mullins said Wesley wasn't on the couch where he often slept, so he knocked on Ballard's door.
According to Mullins, Ballard said, "He's in here with me, Bobby."
Mullins said he woke up about 8 a.m. He ran errands and had a few visitors.
He said he knocked on Ballard's door again about 5 p.m. Ballard told Mullins that Wesley wasn't in the room, Mullins said.
Mullins said he ran out of the house, looking for Wesley. Then he went back to Ballard's room, and the door was locked, Mullins said. He told Eardley that's when Ballard finally came out of the room.
Mullins said he called police and continued searching. He said he found Wesley's body in the garage; police arrived as he was leaving the garage.
Kyle-Griffiths noted that Mullins had told police Ballard left his room immediately after hearing Wesley wasn't in the house. But Mullins said several times that he didn't recall things he said to police.
Mullins, at one point, said, "After I found the baby, my mind went blank."
Kyle-Griffiths also asked Mullins why it didn't seem unusual that Wesley wasn't up at 5 p.m., and Mullins said he figured he had been up late.