Justice is sweet, even 25 years late
The decision by a jury to convict David Winfield Mitchell was not difficult. The 12 members needed to convene for only five hours before pronouncing Mitchell guilty of killing Sheila Jo Harris, whom he killed 25 years ago in her Carson City apartment.
But what was difficult, even remarkable, was what it took to bring Mitchell into a courtroom to face justice. It was the persistence of the victim’s mother, Linda Bratton, and the tenacity of investigators, including Carson City Sheriff’s Lt. Bob White. In 1999, White asked to review the department’s cold cases, coincidentally at about the same time Bratton contacted the detective division to ask if old evidence could be resubmitted for DNA testing.
Even after the results came back as a match, providing the evidence that jurors used to convict Mitchell on Tuesday, there was still a long, difficult road ahead for investigators.
In 2003, they were able to find Mitchell’s ex-wife in Hawthorne, who indicated he was now in Trinidad.
Finally, in 2005, The International Criminal Police Organization was able to locate Mitchell in Trinidad, where he was working as a night watchman.
And the rest is history that will long be remembered in Carson City. It’s a story that would make an exciting television crime drama. We won’t say it’s a happy ending – nothing will bring back Sheila Jo Harris – but it’s a good day anytime justice is served.