Trial in ’82 murder set for a month in April | NevadaAppeal.com

Trial in ’82 murder set for a month in April

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

A monthlong murder trial has been set for April in the 1982 killing of a Douglas County teen.

David Winfield Mitchell, 61, entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of open murder Monday in Carson City District Court.

The trial is expected to take four weeks, with jury selection beginning April 3.

Mitchell, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, was arrested Aug. 18 by international police on the Caribbean island, after DNA testing of evidence found on Sheila Jo Harris’ body and clothing allegedly matched samples of saliva and blood obtained from Mitchell by warrant in the 1980s.

On Jan. 6, 1982, Harris, 18, was found slain in the bedroom of her Lompa Street apartment.

An autopsy revealed that Harris had been sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled.

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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 the 1980s, but the charges were later dismissed with a right to refile because of a lack of evidence.

Mitchell denies having any contact with Harris outside of asking her if she wanted her name on her door when she moved in, according to court records.

Newly appointed District Judge Todd Russell will hear the case and newly elected District Attorney Neil Rombardo will be in charge of the prosecution.

Rombardo said he has reviewed Mitchell’s file and has been in contact with current District Attorney Noel Waters about the case.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.