Alleged killer’s DNA on guns, court told

Composite of Justin Stein and Charlise Mutten
Prosecutors allege Justin Stein killed Charlise Mutten.

Part of Justin Stein’s DNA remained on a rifle which police claim was stashed on a fire trail and used to kill schoolgirl Charlise Mutten, a jury has been told.

Mr Stein, 33, is facing a trial in the NSW Supreme Court at Parramatta after pleading not guilty to murder, but has admitted to disposing of the schoolgirl’s body.

He is accused of murdering Charlise, who was the daughter of his former partner Kallista Mutten, at a property owned by his parents before dumping her body, which was concealed in a plastic barrel, near the Colo River area.

The girl was visiting her mother during the school holidays, and spent her time in NSW split between Mr Stein’s family property at Mount Wilson, where she was allegedly shot and killed, and at a caravan park named the Riviera Ski Gardens in Lower Portland about 1.5 hours away.

Forensic scientist Rebecca Willis, an expert in DNA analysis, told the jury on Friday that she had examined more than 233 samples which were received by police during the investigation.

She told the jury a swab from the trigger of the BSA .22 calibre bolt-action rifle tested positive to two sets of DNA, one of which was Mr Stein.

“The DNA recovered is a mixture that originates from at least two individuals … Justin Stein cannot be excluded as a contributor to this mixture,” she told the jury.

Charlise Mutten was killed by a gunshot wound, a jury has been told.
Charlise Mutten was killed by a gunshot wound, a jury has been told.

The jury had previously heard the guns had been found by a walker on a fire trail near the Mount Wilson property, buried under a pile of sticks and wrapped in a blue tarp.

In a prison call on March 21, 2022, Mr Stein had told his mother he needed her to “retrieve” some stuff in the mountains.

The call was played to the jury, in which he said he had “borrowed” certain things from a friend and “dumped” them in the bush.

The jury had also been told a scope on the gun had a fingerprint of Mr Stein.

Another expert told the court two pairs of shoes belonging to Mr Stein had been tested for gunpowder residue, but there were no positive results.

“Due to the transient nature of trace evidence and the ease of which gunshot residue is lost and transferred, its absence cannot be used to excuse someone for having been in range with a discharging firearm,” she told the jury.

A worker from Lawsons Auctions group also gave evidence in the trial on Friday, telling the court she visited the property on January 6, 2022, to value some items of furniture and had met Charlise.

Shauna Farren-Price told the court she did not visit the property again, because she had fallen ill with Covid-19 the following week.

The jury had previously been told Mr Stein made up a story to police and Ms Mutten, claiming a worker named “Leanne” had come to the property the day Charlise went missing on January 12, 2022.

He claimed the woman had offered to look after Charlise as she had been sick while he drove to collect Ms Mutten from 90 minutes away.

Mr Stein then changed his story and claimed Ms Mutten had something to do with the disappearance of her daughter.

Supplied Editorial Justin Stein and Kallista Mutten. She is the mother of missing girl Charlise Mutten and he is the fiancee. Picture: Facebook
Charlise was allegedly killed by Justin Stein.


The jury has heard from a mountain of witnesses during the second week of the trial, one of whom told them Charlise had likely ingested schizophrenia medication in the six hours before she died.

On Thursday the jury was Charlise was found with Mr Stein’s schizophrenia medication – Quetiapine – in her system.

Forensic pharmacologist with NSW Police Dr Judith Perl gave evidence on Thursday, telling the jury the drug was found in Charlise’s spleen liquid.

She told the court the drug was not safe for children, and had only been TGA approved for people aged 10 years and above.

Reading from her report, Dr Perl told the court: “I do however consider it possible the Quetiapine may have been ingested within six hours of death due to the presence of it in the stomach of the deceased.”

“Cannot be stated what dose or when the drug was ingested,” Dr Perl said.

“It may have occurred within six hours of death given … this is not a firm opinion given the decomposition of the body.”

If Charlise had taken an adult dose of the drug, Dr Perl told the court it would have resulted in putting her in a “toxic range”.

She explained that if the drug had been absorbed into Charlise’s bloodstream, it could have prompted vomiting.

The jury previously heard Mr Stein had told people Charlise woke up vomiting on the morning of January 12.

Supplied Editorial **MUST CREDIT 9 NEWS** Police are continuing an extensive search for a missing nine-year-old girl who was holidaying in the NSW Blue Mountains. Charlise Mutten, 9, was reported missing from a Mt Wilson property at about 8.20am on Friday and has reportedly been missing since Thursday.. Picture:9 News
Mr Stein’s lawyers allege Charlise’s mother Kallista Mutten (pictured left with her daughter) killed her. Picture: 9 News

“It can produce central nervous system depression … alters the level of alertness of the person, the most common side effect of Quetiapine in children is sedation or drowsiness,” Dr Perl said.

“There may be other adverse affects … things like restlessness, muscle rigidity, unusual behaviours like salivation and chewing and unusual movements of the face.”

Forensic pathologist Marna Du Plessis told the jury earlier on Thursday Charlise was killed by the gunshot wound to her face.

The doctor described “powder tattooing” marks around the gunshot wound, which entered just below the girl’s right cheekbone, led her to the conclusion the “end of the muzzle was about a ruler’s length” from Charlise’s face.

Dr Du Plessis told the jury Charlise was also shot in her left lower buttock, a shot she would have survived.

“The gunshot wound to the back is not independently fatal,” Dr Du Plessis said.

She also told the jury Charlise was still alive when she was shot in the face, with the bullet “entering her brain”.

“She was alive when that shot entered her body,” Dr Du Plessis said.

The jury was told Charlise’s body was in an “advanced” state of decomposition when the exam was conducted.

Crown prosecutor Ken McKay SC alleges Mr Stein was the “last person” to see Charlise and had the opportunity to her between 7.16pm on January 11 and 10.06am on January 12.

Charlise’s body was found in a barrel on an embankment near the Colo River four days after her mother reported her missing.

After his arrest in January 2022, Mr Stein denied killing Charlise in an interview with a Corrective Services officer but said “her mum shot her twice”, the jury heard.

“Her mum was on ice all week, I heard a shot and then I heard her screaming out for me, then I ran back and she shot her again,” he told the prison guard, the jury heard.

The trial continues before Justice Helen Wilson.

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