Family of former Marine found with explosives say he is not viol - WLTZ 38 | Columbus Georgia Regional News & Community

Family of former Marine found with explosives say he is not violent

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By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA - 42-year-old John Mullen pleaded not guilty in Recorder's Court Friday afternoon to five counts of possession of a dangerous weapon and five counts of possession of a destructive device.

Mullen was arrested Wednesday night after Columbus Police officers found several weapons inside his car, including an automatic gun, gun suppressors, improvised explosive devices and a hand grenade.

Officials say they responded to the corner of 12th Avenue and 49th Street after reports of suspicious cars parked in the parking lot.

An officer testified in court that while other officers were looking into the suspicious parked cars, he  noticed a Dodge Durango with foggy windows and went to investigate.

Mullen and his girlfriend Karlettia Collier were sitting inside the car.

"We had decided that Valentine's Day was going to be too crowded so we decided to get together and hang out for a while and just find a place to sit," Collier says.

The officer knocked on the window, and that's when Collier says the questioning began.

"They kind of made a sideways statement that I was a prostitute and I was like no this is my boyfriend, I have known him since December. They asked me all these questions and I didn't even see a reason for them to search the vehicle," Collier says.

During the questioning, police say they noticed a loaded magazine inside the car, which led to the search of the car and recovery of almost a dozen weapons.

But Mullen's family says, he is not dangerous, he is just a gun collector.

"He is not out to get anyone, he would never hurt anyone," Mullen's ex-wife, Sheila Mullen, says.

Officials testified that when they asked Mullen if he had the intention to hurt anyone, he said no, he just likes a big bang.

Mullen has worked at Glover Tire Service in Opelika for the past ten years. He is a former Marine, and his family says he has always been a responsible gun owner, raising three children around guns.

"He gets very upset when shootings occur and says people are very careless and senseless with their weapons," Sheila Mullen says.

For Mullen's family, it's all about timing.

"If the things were going on right now with gun control and the school shootings, it wouldn't be like this," Sheila Mullen says.

John Mullen's bond was set at $50,000.

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