Court appearance for stepfather accused of murder

March 24, 2009 4:09:25 AM PDT
A man accused of killing his stepdaughter made his first court appearance Monday.Fishermen discovered the body of 16-year-old Mylin Bullock partially burned in the parking lot along the bank of the Eno River just before 8 a.m. Saturday.

The parking lot is located near the intersection of Old Oxford Highway and Snow Hill Road.

Her stepfather, 32-year-old Jeffrey Gist, is charged with murder and he made his first court appearance Monday morning. He was arrested Saturday.

Bullock's mother broke down in tears moments after seeing her husband, Gist, enter the jail house court room.

"God's gonna be the glory, 'cause he's gonna get what he deserves," Bullock yelled when she saw Gist.

He avoided eye contact with Mylin's family and friends who were on the other side of the glass barrier.

Bullock's mother had worked the overnight shift and reported her daughter missing on Saturday morning.

Authorities, who were working on a missing person alert from Mylin's home, identified the teen. She was in her pajamas. According to search warrants a pillow, sheet and blanket were found nearby.

"Durham city police department called us maybe around 11:30 a.m.," Durham County Sheriff Lt. S.E. Harris said. "They got a missing person report here on Waring Street that matched our description that we had put out."

The teen lived in a house shared by her brother, her mother and Gist.

Neighbors were shocked by the news even though many did not know Mylin.

"She maybe joked with her classmates and that's it," neighbor Jonathan Self said. "Once she's joked with her classmates, come down the sidewalk and she'd go straight home and go in the house and you never see her again. I don't see no little kids come around, no little boys, teenage boys or anything like that. It's just she goes home, nothing bad about her."

Investigators won't comment on the motive, but court records say gist told investigators he and his stepdaughter had an argument on Friday. Then she went to bed upset and by morning he claimed she was gone.

It wasn't until he was asked to give a statement at the sheriff's department that he admitted on videotape to choking the teen.

Mylin's grandfather told reporters Monday at the jail that he suspected a problem between Gist and his granddaughter.

"It's just that he was a fine stepfather and would do things for the kids," Ed Bullock said. "But at the same time, you never know unforeseen occurrences. You can't read a man's heart. He may be good one day, and bad the next day."

Mylin's family wants everyone to remember her as a happy teenager with a promising life ahead of her.

Mylin was a student at Northern Durham High School and grief counselors were on the campus Monday to help students deal with her death.

"It's like a big shock, like not only that she died, but what happened to her, like what she had to go through," student Mo Lee said.

This is the third student from school to die in the past year.


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