A travesty of justice- the story of Galina Shull- Part 1: A Violent Man

On December 16, 2010, Galina and her 14 year old son Andrey fled into the woods near her home in Sandy, barefoot and in only light clothing, heading into the dark and near-freezing cold of an Oregon winter to escape her abusive husband. They hiked through the woods to take refuge with a nearby neighbor who spoke her native Russian, called 911 and together they waited for the county sheriff to arrive.

That abusive husband was Commissioner Mark Shull. In 2009, while he was still in the military, Shull “met” Galina Anufrieva on a Russian dating website. They corresponded for about a year before he brought her and her son to the United States. They married in June of 2010 and Galina and Andrey moved into Shull’s enormous and isolated house.

Mark Shull purchased the house in Sandy in 1990, around the time his first son Matthew was born. After he and his first wife Michelle, a nurse practitioner, divorced in 1995, Shull became sole owner of the the 4600+SF house on 20 acres, now valued at almost 1.5 million dollars.

Shull’s house in Sandy.

Deputy Sheriff Corey Saffer arrived at about 9:30 PM. He first spoke with Andrey, then with Galina, and the story unfolded. The story below is from both his official report and the report filed by Deputy Alan Alderman mentioned below.

Galina had just finished cooking dinner for her family. As she cooked, Mark Shull finished an entire bottle of wine and started on another. Shull asked Andrey about his day, but he answered with just a few words, in the typical manner of a teenager. Shull then slammed a bottle of ketchup in front of Andrey, demanding that he eat it straight from the bottle. He began screaming profanities, slammed his dinner plate full of food onto Andrey’s plate and tore the ketchup bottle from his hands. He then threw it at a potted plant, shattering it, grabbed the bottle again and threw it at them, screaming “Eat it!” Frightened, Galina told her son that they should leave. As they ran, they said that Shull then pulled out his ever-present handgun and pointed it at them, shouting “Fucking bitch!” He then seized a teapot filled with boiling water and flung it at them.

After interrogating Galina and Andrey, Deputy Saffer interviewed Mark Shull. He claimed that he was angry because Andrey thought of him as “an American dog with a wallet.”

Deputy Saffer recorded that he saw the shattered remains of the pot on the floor and that Shull admitted to breaking the plate and throwing the teapot. Shull denied threatening Galina and Andrey with a gun, claiming it was stored in his car, but Saffer never asked him to show the deputy where the gun was.

Saffer then brought Galina and Andrey back to Shull’s house and telephoned a Russian interpreter. The interpreter confirmed what Galina and Andrey had stated earlier. The interpreter added that Galina also stated she was not in fear of her life when Shull pulled the gun.

In his written report on the situation, Saffer reiterated again and again that he could not understand Ms. Shull and that she spoke only broken English. He also noted that, when she did not understand him, she turned to her son (who spoke better English.) Rather than interpreting this as the natural reaction of someone who had difficulty understanding his speech, he seemed to think it was deliberate evasiveness. Despite his difficulty understanding her, he still managed to claim that she showed “contempt” rather than “fear” of Mr. Shull.

Saffer aso emphasized that neither Galina nor Andrey was clear about when they saw the gun in Shull’s hand. Rather than seeing this as an understandable reaction to trauma as they fled, he dismissed their account as “vague and untruthful.”

Excerpts from the official Clackamas County Sheriff’s report

Galina never returned to the house in Sandy after the incident, moving into the Gateway Shelter for Domestic Violence Services in Portland and obtaining a restraining order against Mark Shull. In January of 2011, she and her advocate, Karina Rutova, contacted the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and spoke to Deputy Alan Alderman to express their concern over several items in the official report that Saffer had filed.

In addition to correcting the record that Deputy Saffer had submitted, Galina described further abuses that Shull had inflicted on her, and further incidents were detailed in the restraining order that she filed. Shull had made her stay at home and refused to let her see friends and subjected her to daily verbal abuse and racial slurs. 2 weeks prior to the incident, as she stood near a stairway, he grabbed her by the shoulder, pushed her hard, and nearly sent her tumbling down the stairs. She reported that he appeared to be mentally unstable and continued to harass her over the phone and via email while she was at the shelter. She had felt that she couldn’t seek help because she had no one to interpret for her.

On February 22, 2011, District Attorney John Foote issued a decline memo, stating that the differences between Galina and Andrey’s testimony and Shull’s were too great to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In 2014, Sheriff Saffer was fired from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office for mishandling criminal evidence, then lying about it. Ten pending cases were dismissed, and Saffer received a fine and probation. His license to work as a police officer in Oregon was revoked. It is not known if his misdeeds would have affected this case.

Go to Part 2- Violation


Sources

Clackamas County Sheriff Incident and Continuation Report- Case 10-38670, 12/16/2010

Clackamas County Continuation Report- Case 10-38670, 1/28/2044

Restraining Order 1101-60976, Multnomah County Circuit Court, 1/28/2011

Decline Memo for Case 10-38670, Clackamas County District Attorney