Murder suspect won't face death if convicted

David Winfield Mitchell

David Winfield Mitchell

The death penalty will not be sought against a Trinidadian man charged in the 1982 murder of a Douglas County teen.

The notice was filed in Carson City District Court on Wednesday stating David Winfield Mitchell will not face a sentence of death if convicted on the charge of open murder in the two-decades-old killing of Sheila Jo Harris. Mitchell pleaded not guilty to the charge Dec. 18.

Harris, 18, was found beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled Jan. 6, 1982, in the bedroom of her Lompa Lane apartment for which Mitchell was a handyman.

Jury selection in Mitchell's monthlong trial will begin April 3.

Mitchell, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, was arrested Aug. 18 by international police on the Caribbean island, after DNA comparison in 2000 allegedly resulted in a match between evidence found on Harris' body and clothing and samples of saliva and blood obtained from Mitchell by warrant in the 1980s.

Harris' former boyfriend and Mitchell were both suspects in the 1982 murder, but investigators were unable to find physical evidence linking them to the crime.

Mitchell was arrested in 1986, but the charges were dismissed in 1987 with a right to refile because of a lack of evidence.

He is being held in the Carson City Jail without bail.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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