Thursday, November 17, 2016
By Joe Gorman
Lucky Mitchell told a judge in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that it’s time for a change.
Speaking to Judge R. Scott Krichbaum on Wednesday during his sentencing hearing on a charge of attempted murder – involving an attack on a corrections officer July 8 at the county jail – Mitchell said he has just turned 34. But that milestone, like most milestones in his life, has been celebrated in jail or prison.
“I know I’m getting too old for this,” Mitchell said. “Having holidays and birthdays in jail is not something to look forward to.”
Mitchell was sentenced to the maximum 11-year term for attempted murder by Judge Krichbaum, who went two years over a recommended sentence by prosecutors of nine years. Mitchell had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but changed his plea last week after two separate evaluations found he was competent to stand trial.
In the attack, which was captured on video, Mitchell asked the guard to look up a court date on a computer for him. He then took a bedsheet out of his pocket that he fashioned into a noose and tried to choke the guard, The two struggled before the guard was able to hit a button and open a door, which allowed two inmates in to help the guard restrain Mitchell. Assistant Prosecutor Mike Yacovone told the judge the fact the guard needed help from inmates showed how dire the situation was.
“He put his fate in the hands of two inmates,” Yacovone said.
The corrections officer was not in court.
Yacovone said prosecutors asked for a long sentence because the attack showed that Mitchell planned it beforehand. Yacovone said Mitchell also lamented to another inmate afterward how he missed a chance to kill the guard and he was thinking of killing another guard.
Defense attorney Doug Taylor wanted a shorter sentence but he said he was flustered about how to argue for his client, who he said has fetal-alcohol syndrome and was separated from his drug-addicted parents when he was 10 and never got past the ninth grade. Taylor said since Mitchell was 16 he has either lived in a homeless shelter or jail or prison. He said his client is reasonable when he is on his medication, and the best course he could think of for Mitchell was that he needed to be somewhere where there is structure and he could have his medication.
“I don’t know what the answer is,” Taylor said.
Mitchell did say he was “sorry for his actions.”
Judge Krichbaum said he sympathized with Mitchell because of his mental problems, but said he can never condone an attack on any law-enforcement officer, and he needs to send a message that such attacks will not be tolerated.
“There’s certain things you don’t do,” Judge Krichbaum said. “You don’t assault a cop.”