San Luis Obispo woman talks about attack in mobile home

90-year-old’s family moves her out of mobile home after a beating she can’t remember

nwilson@thetribunenews.comSeptember 27, 2009 

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenew.com Buy Photo

Mildred Maddelein doesn’t recall being beaten nearly to death in her former home in San Luis Obispo on the night of Aug. 14.

Still bearing a bruise on her cheek, the 90-year-old says she feels fine now, despite the assault she suffered while living in the Laguna Lake Mobile Home Park near Laguna Lake Golf Course.

Maddelein said she had felt safe living for 15 years on Gathe Drive and had developed friendships with neighbors.

“I don’t remember a thing about what happened,” Maddelein said. “Nobody really goes into much detail with me about it. I think it’s probably better that way.”

Maddelein said her husband lived with her up until a year ago when he died.

She was alone last month when a 22-year-old San Luis Obispo man allegedly broke in by removing the screen of an open window.

San Luis Ambulance medics responded when her emergency bracelet alert went off, a search warrant states. They found her lying next to her recliner.

Medics took her to French Hospital Medical Center for treatment of severe facial injuries.

Police said that Brennan Thomas Fulfer turned himself in that night, telling authorities that he’d “done something very bad.” He led them to Maddelein’s residence, where he explained his actions.

“Fulfer said he had just murdered an elderly female by strangling her and suffocating her with an American flag,” a search warrant stated. “… Fulfer said the reason he wanted to kill Maddelein was because he wanted to steal her car and then kill as many people as he could and then get out of town.”

A Sheriff’s Department search warrant states that Fulfer had been having homicidal thoughts for about three weeks, and that he had attempted to act on them three or four times.

“Fulfer said that each of those times he was unable to work up enough courage to complete the act of murder,” the warrant states. “Fulfer said he hates people and wants to kill them.”

Police said they found an American flag draped over Maddelein’s reclining chair in the living room with a glass of wine spilled on the floor.

A new start

As a result of the attack, Maddelein’s family has moved her to a local senior-care home. She wishes she still had the independent life she had at her mobile home.

She tears up when examining a wooden clock and paintings that have been transplanted from her old house and set up in her new residence.

But she’s getting used to her new home, saying maybe she’ll start playing cards soon with guests and understands why her family wanted to protect her.

Maddelein likes to watch golf on television and spend time with her four children and eight grandchildren.

She’s not angry at her alleged attacker.

“I feel sorry for the man,” Maddelein said. “I think he’s off mentally — at least that’s what they were telling me.”

Maddelein said she recalls seeing the bruises and massive swelling of her face, which has subsided in recent days.

Fulfer has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, attempted robbery, burglary and elder abuse.

His attorney, Patricia Ashbaugh, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Fulfer’s next appearance in San Luis Obispo Superior Court is a pre-preliminary hearing on Oct. 5.

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