Winfield Mitchell, 62, listens to the closing arguments
from the prosecution in Carson City District Court in Nevada,
USA, on Monday. Yesterday, the Trinidadian man was found
guilty of murdering a teenage American beauty queen 25 years
Photo courtesy The Nevada Appeal
Winfield Mitchell is found guilty of the beating, rape
and strangulation killing of Sheila Jo Harris, teenage
beauty queen, at an apartmentment complex where he worked
as a handyman, 25 years ago.
TRINIDADIAN has been found guilty in the United States of
murdering a beauty queen, 25 years after the teenage girl
David Winfield Mitchell, 62, showed no reaction when the
jury announced its verdict in the Carson City District Court,
in Nevada, yesterday.
The jury took five hours of deliberation to find Mitchell
guilty of first-degree murderthe beating, rape and
strangulation killing of Sheila Jo Harris, an 18-year-old
former Miss Douglas County who had her sights set on competing
for the title of Miss Carson City.
Harris body was discovered January 6, 1982, by her
mother and a family friend in a Lompa Lane apartment that
she had moved into just five days before.
Mitchell, the grounds-keeper at the apartment complex where
Harris lived, was a suspect from the start.
But charges filed against him in 1986 were eventually dropped
for lack of evidence.
Four years later, DNA comparison resulted in a match between
evidence (semen) found on Harris body and clothing
and samples of saliva and blood obtained from Mitchell by
warrant in the 1980s.
By then, however, Mitchell had fled. He and his ex-wife
had moved to New York. They were eventually deported to
Trinidad, however, after being accused of being in the country
Arrested in Trinidad
In January 2005, police found Mitchell to be living in Champs
Fleurs and employed as a nightwatchman with the Ministry
Interpol arrested him in August last year, and the following
month Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls ordered Mitchell
be extradited to the US.
After a one-week trial, jury deliberation began on Monday
at 6 pm and ended at 9 pm, with jurors saying they had a
verdict but wanted to sleep on it.
Returning yesterday at 9 am, the jury wrapped up its debate
at about 11 am and the verdict was read at 11.30 am.
Mitchell is not expected to face the death penalty, Norton
This morning, following statements from Harris family
and a California woman who Mitchell was convicted of assaulting
in 1979, the jury will decide his sentence.
He faces two possible sentenceslife in prison without
parole or life in prison with parole after ten years.
a deadly weapon was used in the commission of the crime,
his penalty will likely automatically double to life with
parole after 20 years, Norton said..
With assistance from the Nevada Appeal