Man convicted in 1982 murder
Appeal Staff Writer
A jury has found David Winfield Mitchell guilty in the strangulation death of Sheila Jo Harris, 18, more than 25 years ago.
The 62-year-old man’s fate was decided by a four-woman, eight-man jury after 5 hours of deliberation that began at 6 p.m. Monday.
The jury broke for the night at 9 p.m. saying it had a verdict but wanted to sleep on it. Returning this morning at 9 the jury wrapped up its debate at about 11 a.m. and the verdict was read at 11:30 a.m.
Mitchell was found guilty of open murder in the beating, rape and strangulation killing of Harris a Gardnerville teen and former Miss Douglas County who’d just moved into a Lompa Lane apartment with her sights set on competing for the title of Miss Carson City.
Harris’ body was discovered Jan. 6, 1982, by her mother and a family friend in her Lompa Lane apartment.
Mitchell was arrested in 1986, but the charges were dismissed in 1987 with a right to refile because of a lack of evidence.
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.