Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Witness in murder trial disputes Pasco woman's self-defense story

NEW PORT RICHEY — Linda Callam stabbed Paul Pullins, driving a long butcher knife into his torso, piercing his diaphragm and liver.

Prosecutors call it second-degree murder. Callam calls it self-defense.

The 58-year-old Callam took the witness stand in her trial Wednesday. She described March 29, 2007, as a long day of drinking and drug use and arguing, preceded by a two-decade relationship of abuse.

Pullins, who was 51 when he died, had given her black eyes, facial wounds and broken fingers. He often kicked her out of his house in Moon Lake. She always came back.

The day he died, she said, they drank beer and used cocaine and fought about money. That night, he began arguing with Corey Burleigh, a friend of the couple, about getting ripped off in one of the cocaine buys.

Pullins came inside in a rage, Callam said, and attacked her. He pushed her down the steps onto a concrete slab and backhanded her across the face, she said.

There was a knife on the counter. Seeing a crazed look in Pullins' eyes, Callam said, she grabbed it and stabbed him.

"I just wanted him to stop," she said, choking up. "I didn't want to kill him. I just wanted him to stop."

But Burleigh gave a different account, saying Callam just appeared from a hallway, raised her hand and drove the knife into Pullins' chest.

"I believe it went all the way in," he said.

Pullins, 51, died later that night.

Defense attorneys called witnesses who corroborated the portrait of Callam as an abused woman. Her son said he picked her up from Pullins' home more than once when he threatened her. People she worked with on construction jobs said she covered up her injuries with long-sleeve shirts, even in the summer.

Prosecutor James Goodnow questioned why no one ever called police. And he called a witness who described a woman intent on vengeance.

Sheriff's Detective Lisa Schoneman said Callam told her she'd made up her mind two weeks prior, when Pullin had kicked her, that the next time he attacked she would kill him.

Both sides rested their case Wednesday. The jury will hear closing arguments this morning and begin deliberating. Callam faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

Witness in murder trial disputes Pasco woman's self-defense story 02/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 10:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The rise and humiliating fall of Chris Cantwell, Charlottesville's star 'fascist'


    The white supremacists, nationalists and far-right trolls who starred in last weekend's violent Charlottesville, Virginia, rallies have suffered no lack of humiliation in the days since.

    White nationalist Chris Cantwell has had quite the week after being featured prominently in an HBO news program on the march in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. [Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post]
  2. MLB umpires wear wristbands to protest 'abusive player behavior'


    Major League Baseball umpires wore white wristbands during games Saturday, protesting "abusive player behavior" after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez.

    Home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn wears a wristband to protest "abusive player behavior" on umpires by players as Rayburn heads to his position to call the first inning of a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and and the Colorado Rockies late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Denver. [Associated Press]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey could regroup but stay clear of Florida


    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop into severe weather.

    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop, according to the National Hurricane Center. [National Hurricane Center]
  4. Fatal hit and run closes section of Nebraska Avenue


    TAMPA — Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash early Sunday morning on Nebraska Avenue.