The Murder/Suicide case of Susan Mullaly

I have taken a break from posting here for a while, although admittedly not as long as I have in the past.  Part of this is that when I do these posts I have difficulty multi-tasking and use a lot of concentration to make sure I have the details correct (or as correct as I can determine).  I love the channel Investigation Discovery and I no longer have it in my cable package but was given a free month to which it feels as if I taped every show I could get my hands on. When I watch shows like that, or when I am reading my true crime books, I keep a list of cases that I want to search in the future and consider blogging about.  I am now working through that list.  The first name on my list was Russell Gilman.  I did a cursory search to refresh my memory of that case and it involved the murder/suicide of a man and his family in Scottsdale Arizona.  I was not really feeling it so I moved on to the next name on the list and it was Susan Mullaly.

Here I had just convinced myself after looking up the Gilman case I just was not in mood to do a murder/suicide case and the next one happened to be another.  However, this one is a bit of a twist.  It is rather common (sadly) to hear cases of fathers, or estranged spouses (almost always men) to commit these crimes.  It is on the rare occasion that you find a mother that has committed this crime.  Sure, we have all heard of cases in which mothers who have killed their children claim that they intended to kill themselves also but for me it always seems like more of a defense ploy as they rare seem to have legitimately tried to kill themselves, let alone succeeded.  That is not the case here.

This may prove to one of my shorter blogs considering the more I tried to search this case it seems the less I really truly found.  Maybe there are some readers out there who know more of the story.  However, I do still find this case interesting.

As always, I will start with the facts.  On September 19, 2009 the bodies of Susan Mullaly (50), and her sons Nick (12) and Ryan (15) were found shot in their home.  The boys' father (and Susan's husband), Phillip reported coming home from work and finding them.  By all reports it was quickly ruled a murder/suicide and reported that a suicide note was found, however, through my research I could find nothing that indicated or stated what was said in this note.  Nearly all accounts of the case points out that the couple was having "marital problems" but were always quick to state that the specifics of this was unknown.  One account I found stated that friends of the family stated that Susan had "terminal cancer." But, of all the articles I found there was only the one mention of the cancer and I find that a bit odd. Another thing that I find a bit off is that while there was a flurry of information about this initially and discussion of the devastation that it had on the community, especially classmates of the boys, and memorial vigils it seems that the it was quickly forgotten. 

As in most cases of such, most, if not all, of those around the family stated that this was a shock and nothing they saw coming.  I hope that somehow, somewhere there are professional, be it in law enforcement or involved in psychology examining and studying this case.  There must be much more information out there.  It is likely that the note that was written would have given some kind of indication as to the motive of this crime.  

As someone who borders on "obsession" when it comes to true crimes the lack of continued coverage, as well as a few comments made throughout articles is in a way a disservice.  As I stated above it is rare in which a mother is the one involved in a murder/suicide situation.  It is overwhelmingly more often the man that is involved in these situations.  In fact, off the top of my head I can not think of any other case in which I have heard of in which a mother took the lives of her children and succeeded in taking her own life.  Nearly every article I read indicated that Susan and Phillip were having marriage problem (never fully explained) and of course they stated that Phillip had found the bodies after returning home from work.  Due to the slant of the articles, as well as I indicated my obsession with true crimes, this one left me with a funny taste in my mouth.  There was never any true indication that Phillip was involved in this in any way, however, the lack of information released, and a history of similar crimes leaves questions.  In a normal homicide case the first suspects are the spouse or companion and/or the person who discovered the bodies.  In this case that person is Phillip in both cases.  One article stated that a shotgun was used and that both boys were shot in their chest while Susan had "aimed at her head."  I found this statement to be odd in itself.  "Aimed"?  Unlike so many other situations of such you hear where the weapon was found in proximity of the bodies. I did not find that here. Let me be clear that I am in no way implicating Phillip in this crime as there is no evidence of such.  However, my point in mentioning this is while all articles immediately stated that this crime was a murder/suicide, the lack of other details that are so readily available in crimes like this were not given here and I find that odd.  So I think the lack of information given is the "disservice" I mentioned as it gives people like myself a way to let their mind wander.

I would truly love to know more about this case.


  1. Hey, i have more information for you on this case, shoot me an email and we can talk.

  2. I was a classmate of Nick Mullaly. I will never forget him until the day I die. Even when I was 12 I found the lack of information disturbing. If you ever find anything, please, please report on it.

  3. I too, was a friend of Nick Mullaly when I was 12 or 13. Very interested to hear anything on the case if it pops up, as it was quite a hard time to lose my best friend at that age.

  4. I went to school with Nick and I will forever be saddened by it. That day is one I will never be able to forget.

  5. I am a nurse that worked with Susan back in the 1990s. I just can't believe Susan would do this, not with a shotgun and shooting herself in the head, unless she had gone completely insane. She was beautiful and very intelligent. Women usually kill with poison, not violent messy shootings. This story has never left right to me.

    1. She was evil, end of story.

  6. If you would like more information from a family member let me know send me an e-mail.

  7. You're an idiot! Trying to imply more to the story than there is. A murder was committed by an insane, evil woman! End of story!

  8. I grew up with the boys. Their parents were friends of my parents. I can tell you Susan was disturbed and distraught over the fact Phil wanted a divorce. She did not have brain cancer and Phil was an amazing father and husband. This incident ruined him as a person. There is nothing more to this story other than Sue was incredibly selfish.


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