Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michael Mullen, Sex Offender Vigilante

I Am Already a New Person

His mother spent a decade cajoling for his release, but Washington authorities were wary, especially as the public in the late 1980s began demanding more severe treatment of sex offenders.   

"I tried and tried to properly train him up in an authoritarian Christian manner, but his Dad had apparently been raised in a very liberal fashion," Lillian Duncan wrote to the state parole board in 1988, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review. "I repeat, he has been punished enough. Please care enough to give him a chance to have a decent life."

Duncan himself weighed in with a self-evaluation in 1989: "I was a confused and rebellious kid demanding denied attention and not understanding the consequences of my actions. Now I am a fully mature adult. I am a positive person. I like me. I trust me...I am already a new person."

Duncan earned a high school diploma in prison and became an expert at computers.

In the 1990s, he gained a new advocate for release: pen pal David Woelfert, a low-level government administrator in Seattle, according to the Spokane newspaper. The men apparently developed a romantic relationship.

"Mr. Duncan is filled with remorse for the act that he committed many years ago," Woelfert wrote to parole authorities in August 1991. "He has gone through the self-imposed hell of realizing the impact of what had happened."

Two years later Woelfert wrote, "He is open, honest and eager to move on with his life. He is no threat to society whatsoever...Further incarceration of Mr. Duncan will serve no purpose whatsoever."

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