Cullman County Jurors Deliver NOT GUILTY Verdict
in Bulliner Murder & Manslaughter Trial
One of the longer duration criminal trials in recent memory dominated the 32nd Judicial Circuit Court this week.
The case was the STATE OF ALABAMA Versus CRYSTAL LYNN BULLINER.
Captain Beck Boyd of the Cullman Police Department arrested Crystal Lynn Bulliner on July 17, 2015.
The original criminal charge facing Bulliner involved the death of Vincent Mitchell McGough in 2014. Bulliner allegedly provided McGough with fentanyl patches which caused his death.
Bulliner was believed to have had no prescription for the patches.
Bulliner faced a Manslaughter charged at the time of her arrest.
Fentanyl is an opioid used as a pain medication and together with other medicines for anesthesia. It is an increasingly popular and potentially lethal ‘recreational’ drug. Medically, fentanyl is used by injection, as a patch on the skin, as a nasal spray, or in the mouth.
A Cullman County Grand Jury Indictment Bulliner included a charge of manslaughter – PLUS – two additional charges of Murder back on July 8, 2015.
Count 1 of the Indictment alleges, Bulliner ‘did recklessly cause the death of VINCENT MITCHELL MCGOUGH, illegally providing fentanyl patches to him which caused his death.’
Count 2 of the Indictment levied a murder charge on Bulliner claiming that she caused McGough’s death while engaged in the ‘unlawful distribution of a controlled substance’ as outlined in Count 1.
Count 3 of the Indictment added a second murder charge to the mix in the form of the defendant ‘manifesting extreme indifference to human life, recklessly engaging in conduct listed in Counts 1 and 2.
Bulliner received a $75,000 bond for the multiple charges with a surety from 1 QUICK BAIL BONDS, LLC.
After jury selection on Monday, the Honorable and Presiding 32nd Judicial Circuit Judge Gregory A. Nicholas opened the proceeding by allowing opening statements from the attorneys representing the Defendant and the Plaintiff.
Cullman Assistant District Attorney John Bryant addressed the jury first detailing the hours leading up to (and through) McGough’s death. Flanked by a second assistant District Attorney, Jeremy Cline, Bryant read the Grand Jury Indictment to the jurors along with explanatory definitions of the charges facing Bullinger: Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide, and Murder.
Bryant and Cline represented the State of Alabama on behalf of the deceased.
Prominent Cullman criminal defense attorney Melvin Hasting – representing Bullinger – wasted no time with the jury getting to the crucial focal point of his defense. That is – Hasting asserted – McGough died of ‘multi-drug toxicity’ due to the presence of multiple drugs found in forensic results from the death investigation autopsy.
Hasting made the point that fentanyl allegedly provided by Bulliner could not be conclusively proven to have killed McGough.
Hasting also forewarned the 12 Cullman County jurors that the trial would contain lengthy testimony from expert witnesses revealing the technical truth of his client’s defense.
That is precisely what occurred.
Following the opening attorney’s statements, the lengthy, four-day trial proceeded throughout the week.
The extensive forty-eight (48) party Witness List in this trial included:
• Captain Becky Boyd – Cullman Police Department
• Jeremey L. Kilpatrick – Cullman County Coroner
• Officer Cindy Rohrschieb – Cullman Police Department
• Cullman Regional Medical Center
• Bradford Health Services
• Alabama Department of Forensic Science
• Matt Gentry – Cullman County Sheriff
It appeared that Hasting’s vigorous defense along with the fact-based testimony of witnesses shifted the jurors’ perception towards acquitting Bullinger during the Thursday session.
One longtime court observer, following Thursday’s proceeding, said privately: “The jury quit taking close notes today, we are going to see a not guilty verdict.”
After a Friday afternoon featuring Hasting grilling arresting Officer Boyd in open court, and wrapping up with persuasive, closing attorney appeals and closing arguments, the proceeding moved back into the hands of Judge Nicholas.
Judge Nicholas granted a motion by Hasting on behalf of the Defendant for a judgment of acquittal in respect to Count 2.
Two other motions for acquittal – on Counts 1 and Count 3 – were denied by Nicholas.
The Judge then gave the 12 jurors their solemn instructions in determining the fate of Bulliner. They left the courtroom charged with deciding a verdict on Manslaughter (Count 1) and Murder (Count 3)
Just before 9 am Friday, the Cullman County jury of Bulliner’s peers returned a verdict of:
NOT GUILTY – Manslaughter
NOT GUILTY – Criminally Negligent Homicide
NOT GUILTY – Murder
In a 9:16 pm Friday Circuit Court Order, Judge Nicholas ordered all surety on Bulliner’s bond be discharged.
With no further criminal charges pending in Cullman County, Crystal Lynn Bulliner is now a free woman:
NOT GUILTY Verdict Reached in Bulliner Murder & Manslaughter Trial
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