Commonwealth Journal

September 11, 2013

Burnside man indicted for brutalizing wife

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — A Pulaski County man indicted after a year-long investigation into an alleged assault on his wife.

A Pulaski County grand jury last week indicted Christopher T. Smith, 44, of Caney Branch Road in Burnside, on one count of first-degree assault after he allegedly caused “serious physical injury upon Tammie Mullins and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life,” according to the indictment.

The investigation began just after midnight on Aug. 20, 2012 after Smith called Pulaski County 911 and said he found his wife unresponsive in their home at 755 Caney Branch Road, according to Lt. Det. Brett Whitaker, with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.

“Smith told dispatchers (Mullins) was lying in the bedroom floor when he returned home from work,” Whitaker stated in a press release.

Mullins was treated at their home by Somerset-Pulaski County EMS and flown by helicopter to the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Whitaker said law enforcement did not initially respond because the incident was reported as a medical emergency and not a possible crime.

Whitaker said medical staff while treating Mullins noticed “unexplained bruising and injuries on her head and body.”

That’s when the sheriff’s department was contacted, and detectives began looking into the incident as a possible crime.

Whitaker said detectives soon learned there was a “substantial history of domestic violence” in the relationship.

Court records available to the public show one domestic violence order taken out on Smith, filed in 2002. The victim in that case was not Mullins.

According to that 2002 complaint, Smith grabbed the victim by the throat and shoved her across the living room of the couple’s home.

“About 10 minutes after, he hit me in the face with his hand,” states the victim in the 2002 petition. “I am afraid this will happen again and I fear for my safety.”

Whitaker said Mullins was injured so severely that she was transferred from UK to Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center. Whitaker said Mullins suffered in the alleged incident from a brain injury that “substantially affected her memory.

“Mullins struggled with remembering the events that led to her injuries,” said Whitaker in the press release.

Detectives eventually concluded that Smith and Mullins fought on Aug. 19, 2012, and Smith allegedly assaulted Mullins during that incident. Smith then left the home to go to work, and returned home the following night to allegedly find her “unresponsive,” according to Whitaker.

Whitaker said it appeared no weapons were used in the alleged assault, and he said Smith and Mullins are still legally married but they’re not in a relationship.

Whitaker said Smith worked for Wayne County EMS when the alleged assault occurred, but he couldn’t confirm whether he still worked for the agency as of Tuesday. Sherwin Corder, director for emergency medical services in Wayne County, confirmed Smith was still employed by Wayne County EMS, but he said he didn’t know about the indictment.

First-degree assault is a Class B felony. Smith was arrested Monday evening and lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center on a $100,000 cash or property bond.

An indictment is an accusation only and defendants are assumed innocent unless and until proven otherwise in court.