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Michael J. MULDER





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 8, 1996
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1950
Victim profile: John Ahart, 77
Method of murder: Beating
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Status: Sentenced to death
Michael Mulder - Nevada Death Row

Facts of the Crime:

Convicted of the beating of a 77-year-old man at his mobile home in Las Vegas in July 1996. John Ahart, was beaten with a blunt instrument and his hands and feet were tied with duct tape. Ahart's 1990 Infiniti coupe, a new watch, a jewelry box and a gun were stolen.


Supreme Court reinstates death penalty for Vegas killer

By Cy Ryan -

June 18, 2009

The Nevada Supreme Court has reinstated the death penalty for Michael J. Mulder, convicted of the 1996 robbery and beating death of an elderly man in Las Vegas.

The court, in its unanimous opinion, overturned the decision of District Judge Michelle Leavitt, who ruled that the aggravating circumstances used to inflict the death penalty were invalid.

Chief Justice James Hardesty, who wrote opinion, said the evidence of the aggravating circumstances “supports imposing the death penalty here.”

Mulder also appealed saying the court must vacate the death sentence because of his mental retardation caused by a stroke and he was not competent to be executed. The court rejected those claims.

Mulder on July 8, 1996 robbed and killed 77-year-old John Ahart in his home. Ahart was found dead in a pool of blood with his hands and ankles bound with duct tape. He had a crushed left cheekbone and several severe scalp lacerations, including a 15-inch hinge fracture from the front of the skull extending around the back of the base of the skill.

Mulder’s fingerprints were found on the duct tape used to bound the victim.

The jury found four aggravating circumstances that warranted the death penalty. The murder was committed during both a robbery and a burglary; Mulder had been convicted of using violence during a bank robbery in Arizona in 1987 and he was convicted also of an armed robbery in Arizona in 1980.

Judge Leavitt found that two of the four aggravators – robbery and burglary – were invalid.

The Supreme Court said, “We conclude that the jury would have imposed a sentence of death absent the invalid aggravating factors because the facts of this crime are particularly heinous and involve the robbery and brutal murder of an elderly victim …”

The court said the jury’s consideration of the two invalid felony aggravators was “harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Mulder, now 49, is housed at the Ely State Prison. One of his arguments was that his death penalty should be nullified because he suffered a stroke due to his use of methamphetamines while in prison, leaving him mentally retarded.

The court said Judge Leavitt was correct in finding Mulder was competent to assist his attorney in filing these post conviction motions.



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