A grisly new charge has been laid against the man accused of murdering nine-year-old schoolgirl Charlise Mutten.
Justin Stein, 32, has been charged with interfering with a corpse after police allege he shot dead Charlsie at the luxury Blue Mountains property of the Stein family in January, 2022 and then placed her remains in a barrel and dumped them on a riverbank.
Penrith Local Court on Friday heard the new charge and that Stein’s murder charge had been altered to classify it as a domestic violence offence.
Stein, who was the fiancé of Charlise’s mother Kallista at the time of the alleged murder, has been described as the schoolgirl’s ‘stepfather’.
However, Stein’s lawyer Peter Katsoolis told Daily Mail Australia that was not the case.
He said Kallista Mutten had a ‘distant relationship’ with her daughter and that he queried the nature of the relationship between Charlise and Stein at the time of the girl’s death.
Mr Katsoolis said he did not believe the case would go to trial until 2024 and that there was a massive brief of evidence to go through.
Stein is accused of shooting the Tweed Heads primary school student on his family’s property at Mt Wilson while she was on holiday with her mother in NSW after Christmas.
The lawyer for accused murderer Justin Stein has claimed the now domestic violence-related murder charge did not reflect the genuine nature of his client’s relationship with nine-year-old Charlise Mutten (above)
Justin Stein has been laid with a new charge relating to the incidents in January, of interfering with a corpse (above, a barrel allegedly containing Charlise’s remains in Stein’s red ute)
Justin Stein, 31, (pictured) has been charged with domestic violence related murder as well as interfering with a corpse, possessing a firearm and two counts of possession of child abuse material
He was arrested shortly after Charlise’s body was found in bushland near the Colo River on January 18 and charged with murder, which Mr Katsoolis has said he intends to fight.
Stein has since been charged with firearm possession and two counts of possessing child abuse material.
Kallista Mutten pleaded guilty to stealing two guns and silver household items allegedly in the company of Justin Stein during a break-in of a house belonging to a neighbour of the Stein’s mountain property in August last year.
Mutten, 39, was sentenced to a community corrections order and returned to a Campbelltown drug rehabilitation centre to undergo further treatment.
The weapons charges relate to two firearms – a Winchester lever action shotgun and a BSA .22 calibre bolt action rifle – and ammunition in bushland near where the schoolgirl disappeared.
Police facts say when forensically examined by the expert detectives investigating the schoolgirl’s death, that ‘Ballistics of BSA .22 bolt action rifle identified characteristics consistent with the firearm used in the (alleged) murder, however unable to make a definitive comparison’.
Stein’s charges are one count of homicide domestic violence related, one count of interfere with a corpse, two counts of possess unregistered firearm, two counts of possess unauthorised firearm, possess ammunition without licence/permit, and aggravated break and enter in company.
Two counts of possess child abuse material were for unrelated matters, police said.
Charlise (pictured) was allegedly fatally shot with a ‘small calibre rifle’ sometime between January 10 and 11
The schoolgirl’s mother Kallista Mutten (above) pleaded guilty to stealing two guns and silver household items. She was sentenced to a community corrections order and is expected to testify against her former lover
Mr Katsoolis said ‘there is no clear motive’ for his client or anyone else to have allegedly killed Charlise and that he had ‘a long way to go to analyse all of those movements’ in relation to CCTV released by police which allegedly showed Stein driving around with a barrel in the back of his red ute soon after the girl’s death.
At the time of the alleged murder, police say Charlise’s mother Kallista was staying at a caravan park at Lower Portland on the Hawkesbury River, 81km from the luxury Mount Wilson estate where Charlise is believed to have died.
Charlise was allegedly fatally shot with a ‘small calibre rifle’ sometime between January 10 and 11.
Ms Mutten reported her daughter missing from the Wildenstein property on the morning of January 14, and police located her remains inside a blue barrel 65km away on the banks of the Colo River on the afternoon of January 18.
Kallista Mutten (above) took her daughter Charlise on a holiday to NSW with new boyfriend Justin Stein, a trip which ended with the tragic alleged murder of the schoolgirl
Stein was arrested on the same night and charged with Charlise’s alleged murder.
An autopsy on the remains of Charlise revealed the cause of death and detectives released CCTV footage in February which allegedly shows Stein’s red Holden Colorado ute with a barrel-shaped object in the back under a blue tarpaulin towing a white boat around various Sydney locations.
Kallista Mutten has indicated she will testify against her former lover at Justin Stein’s murder trial.
TIMELINE OF CHARLISE MUTTEN’S DISAPPEARANCE
January 13: Charlise Mutten, 9, was last seen on the verandah of an estate called Wildenstein in Mount Wilson, north-west of Sydney.
January 14: Charlise was reported missing at 8.20am. Police flocked to the 12.5-acre wedding venue and established a crime scene.
Neighbours told detectives they saw a car at 4.20am on Friday, with no headlights on.
Investigators seized a Holden Colorado ute on High Street in Penrith for forensic testing, which belongs to her mother’s fiance.
Her mother Kallista Mutten, 31, collapsed and was taken to hospital.
Ms Mutten’s fiancé Justin Stein, whose family owns the lavish property, spoke with police in Penrith.
January 15: Homicide detectives took over the search.
Police divers seized a boat in the Hawkesbury River and scanned it for fingerprints. The boat will also be kept for forensic testing.
Investigators continued to scour fire trails in dense bushland surrounding the property.
January 16: RFS volunteers found ‘very small and barefooted’ prints along a fire trail.
‘Certain items’ have been uncovered by detectives, but police have not been able to determine the schoolgirl’s whereabouts.
January 17: A convoy of five police vehicles and detectives on foot entered the property around 11.30am.
One detective ordered media to ‘leave, now!’ from outside the gates of the five-hectare wedding venue retreat.
A police bus followed by unmarked police cars rolled through the gates as a uniformed officer stood guard.
Earlier, plain clothes child protection squad officers drove into the property.
Ms Mutten will be questioned by police.
January 18: Police say Charlise will likely be ‘lethargic’ and ‘stationary’ if she’s lost in the bush.
January 19: Police reveal Charlise’s stepdad Justin Stein has been charged with murder after finding a body in a barrel overnight.
Later, police reveal they have not yet been able to interview Charlise’s mother because she remains in hospital under guard and is difficult to access.
January 25: Police reveal further CCTV of a red ute travelling between Marsden Park and Drummoyne as they continue to investigate Charlise’s death.