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Prosecutors: Evidence of sexual assault found on baby stomped to death by dad

courtesy KHOU.com/CBSGALVESTON, Texas — A "hit list" scribbled on a jail cell wall, gang graffiti and DNA evidence of an infant's sexual assault h

courtesy KHOU.com/CBS

GALVESTON, Texas — A "hit list" scribbled on a jail cell wall, gang graffiti and DNA evidence of an infant's sexual assault highlighted Tuesday's testimony in a death penalty hearing.

Travis James Mullis, 24, was convicted Friday of capital murder in the Jan. 29, 2008, stomping death of his 3-month-old son, Alijah.

Sightseers found Alijah's body clad in a diaper on an isolated berm near Galveston's East Beach. When Mullis fled to the East Coast and surrendered Feb. 1, 2008, to Philadelphia police, he admitted stomping Alijah because it was the only way to keep him from crying.

The jury of seven women and five men in Judge John Ellisor's 122nd District Court in Galveston has two sentencing options. It can give Mullis either life without the possibility of parole or death.

The state Tuesday concluded its presentation of evidence in Mullis' punishment hearing with Tanya Dean, a DNA analyst with the Department of Public Safety.

Dean testified she found a very small amount of blood on Mullis' shoes, but she wasn't able to determine whether it came from Mullis, his girlfriend or Alijah.

Dean also tested DNA samples from Mullis and Alijah, and found what appeared to be a problem with Alijah's sample. She found a mixture of Mullis' and Alijah's DNA in an oral swab taken from the child's body.

Believing she had contaminated the process, Dean backtracked her findings but came up with the same result.

Dean called Galveston police officer Scott Pena, a crime scene investigator, to discuss her findings.

The two discussed allegations against Mullis in Brazoria County, where the defendant is charged with enticing a girl. Pena then asked Dean to test for seminal fluid.

Dean ran the test and received a positive result about noon Friday, she said.

Prosecutors on Monday asked a jury to sentence Mullis to death, saying he proved a future danger and that there weren't sufficient mitigating circumstances to overturn a death sentence.

Prosecutors showed the jury photographs Tuesday of what they called a "hit list" recording the initials of 62 people the defendant felt had mistreated him.

The initials matched relatives of Mullis' adoptive mother, at least one friend, former prosecutors handling the case and the attorneys trying to save Mullis from the state's death chamber.

Prosecutors also showed jurors photographs of graffiti made with ink and toothpaste.

Jailers checking Mullis' cell found the writings Nov. 21, 2009.

The writings weren't visible to anyone looking in the window of the solitary cell, where he is confined 23 hours a day.

Jailer Kenneth Dunn asked Mullis why he made the writings, and he said Mullis told him: "I was bored. I had nothing better to do."

The writings also made reference to Hispanic, black and white gangs and included swastikas, which were drawn backward, and a misspelling of "heil" in "hiel Hitler."

There also was a drawing of a hangman's noose that included a reference to the Ku Klux Klan, Dunn said.

Gerald Bourque, one of Mullis' defense attorneys, asked whether his client was in a gang, and Dunn said, "No, sir."

Bourque pointed out that if any gang members saw the graffiti, it was tantamount to Mullis "creating his own death warrant."

"The bottom line, this isn't a threat to anyone except to Travis James Mullis," Bourque said. "Is that a fair statement?"

Dunn agreed.

In other testimony Tuesday, Sgt. Royce McQuaig, a jail supervisor, read to the jury a suicide letter he found in Mullis' cell.

On Oct. 3, 2009, Mullis apparently stuffed socks and a potato chip bag in his mouth, put toilet paper in his nostrils and bound his arms and legs behind his back with clothing.

He also took a bottle of vitamins, saying in the note he couldn't stand to wait another year in jail for a trial.

An ambulance took Mullis to the hospital, and upon his return to the jail, he was kept on a suicide watch in a padded room. Mullis claimed he merely wanted to leave the jail.

The state's testimony consisted of 13 witnesses over two days. The defense is expected to call 10 witnesses, and jury deliberation over whether Mullis could live or die isn't expected to begin until Monday.