Springfield, Mo. -- Christopher Robert Muller, 24, of Republic, was convicted on Friday of second degree attempted statutory rape following a two-day bench trial. The judge acquitted Muller of higher, unclassified felony of attempted rape in the first degree.
Prosecutor Dan Patterson wishes to commend Scott Kohler, Ryan Armstrong, and Logan Stapp, for their quick thinking and bravery in this case because their intervention stopped a forcible rape, and their continued cooperation helped bring Muller to some measure of justice.
At trial, the three witnesses testified that they were walking the Greenway Trails on the evening of July 2, 2015, when they heard a woman screaming. The three men followed the sounds of the scream and located Muller and the victim in a secluded area off to the side of the trail.
Kohler specifically testified at trial that what he saw was “not consensual” and that is why he and his friends acted immediately. Kohler tackled Muller off of the victim and physically restrained him on the ground. Kohler further testified that he had to strike Muller several times and physically pin him to the ground because he kept trying to get away. Armstrong called 911, found the Muller’s identification, and assisted Kohler with detaining him. Stapp went to help the victim and attempted to keep her calm and conscious until help arrived. Prior to July 2, 2015, none of the three young men knew either the victim or Muller and, yet, all intervened to stop the sexual assault.
The victim also testified at trial, saying she had been hanging out with some friends, including Muller. She testified that, earlier in the day, he had made some comments about her body and her clothing that made her uncomfortable. She further testified that she had shown no interest in Muller and did not consent to any sexual activity with him. Finally, she said that she remembered nothing about being at the Greenway Trails or the surrounding area. After the victim was transported to the hospital, following the sexual assault, she was placed in a medically induced coma due to an overdose of muscle relaxants. At the time of the assault, she was 15 years old.
Muller was interviewed by Springfield Police Detective Joshua Morrow. During the interview, he denied the allegations and claims the only thing he remembered was swimming in the creek and then one of his friends attacking him. During the interview, Muller claims he observed the victim take a number of pills and that the victim passed out before they reached the Greenway Trails and remained passed out until law enforcement arrived and claimed he couldn’t remember what happened during the incident.
Muller was initially charged with attempted rape in the first degree and attempted statutory rape in the second degree. He was acquitted of first degree attempted statutory rape and convicted of second degree attempted statutory rape. If he had been convicted of attempted rape in the first degree, Muller would have been facing a range of punishment of five years to life imprisonment and he would not have been eligible for probation. Since the court only convicted him of attempted statutory rape in the second degree, Muller is now only facing a range of punishment of up to four years in prison and he is eligible for probation.
A sentencing date has been set for June 29, 2018.
(Rewritten Media Release)