There is no penalty harsh enough for this murderer, rapist |

There is no penalty harsh enough for this murderer, rapist

John DiMambro
Nevada Appeal Publisher

Twenty-five years after snuffing the life of 18-year-old Sheila Jo Harris, convicted murderer David Winfield Mitchell has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Questions abound regarding the lapse of time between the DNA match confirmation and the actual filing of the report, but I have yet another question. Why did this barbarous citizen of Trinidad and Tabago receive only three years in prison (of which he is said to have served only one) when convicted of assault with a deadly weapon of 22-year-old Jannine Sullivan and her sister Rosanne back in 1979? That violent act was obviously triggered by the intent to kill, only after he would have raped the two young women he attacked.

Here we go again with the leniency of our country’s judicial system. Because the two women escaped before probable death at the hands of Mitchell, a sentence of lessened severity was issued. And the prosecution should not have dropped the charge of attempted rape. So Mitchell had a year of quality time to think about how he could perfect his attacks on prey to satisfy his animalistic cravings. And Sheila Jo Harris – an exceptionally beautiful young lady who as a victim could have been the daughter of any one of us – was Mitchell’s catch of the day upon his release from serving his three-year term.

Although life at Ely State Prison will be no Sunday afternoon treat to the ice cream parlor, the life-term sentence seems anti-climatic. Two life sentences? What the hell would that do? The guy shouldn’t live to see another month. No murderer should.

But one who murders a child or a young adult? Even death isn’t severe enough. Maybe execution by way of starvation-long and slow, with Mitchell feeling the same pain of hunger that the friends and family of Sheila Jo Harris have felt in their pining for their young beloved bird of youth for 25 years. Or maybe even suffocate them in a chamber devoid of the necessary level of oxygen to live more than 30 minutes. Thirty minutes of unrelenting pain – about the same amount of time Mitchell took to rape and murder Sheila Jo Harris. Then, like we should do to all convicted killers, pile their dead bodies high and bulldoze them to hell in a hole.

But if the senseless killing of a teenage girl was not enough, we are told that Mitchell raised a smart-ass smirk through some of the trial, during the sentencing, and while the mother of the victim made her statement to the court. Let’s see if that slap-worthy smirk remains upturned while the covers of his bed are being turned downward by his fellow cell mates at night.

Let him die. Let him rot. The stink of his abomination will be turned back by even the devil himself.

• John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at