COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Closing arguments in the trial of a former Columbus Division of Police vice officer accused of killing a woman in 2018 were made Wednesday.
Former officer Andrew Mitchell is facing one count of murder and one count of voluntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting.
The defense rested its case Tuesday morning shortly after the court was called into session.
Franklin County assistant prosecutor Sheryl Prichard began with the closing argument of the state.
Prichard replayed the audio of the incident and said to the jury that Mitchell’s testimony aimed to paint Castleberry as the aggressor for the entire encounter.
After 30 minutes from the prosecution, defense attorney Mark Collins began his closing argument.
Collins told the jury about the contradictions the defense believed Jamie Borden made in his testimony last week. Borden was called as an expert witness by the prosecution. More details below.
He also said to the jury that the state did not prove “provocation” and that Mitchell had a “sudden fit of rage.”
“He [Mitchell] reasonably believed that his life was in danger.” said Collins. “And that was the only thing he could do at that time. He told you he didn’t want to shoot her.”
Mitchell took the stand in his own defense Monday, testifying he feared for his life when he shot and killed Donna Castleberry, 23, during an undercover prostitution operation in August of 2018. CLICK HERE for a full recap.
While prosecuting attorneys claim Mitchell used excessive, unreasonable force against Castleberry, the former officer’s defense attorneys contend that Castleberry presented a threat that warranted Mitchell’s use of force.
Last Thursday, the prosecution called retired police detective and Critical Incident Review expert of police interactions, Jamie Borden to testify as an expert witness. While studying the shooting of Castleberry, Borden testified the amount of time between each shot Mitchell fired, known as the cadence, showed a “much slower and deliberative process” than the average use of force, which Borden said is approximately .25 seconds.
Members of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation also took the stand for the prosecution Thursday. CLICK HERE for a full recap.
Columbus Division of Police officer Matthew McDaniel, CPD detectives Lara Evans and Greg Sheppard testified last Wednesday. The prosecution and defense went through group text messages between Evans, Mitchell, and other CPD officers among other items. CLICK HERE for a full recap.
Mitchell has been held in federal custody pending an unrelated case in which he is accused of forcing women to have sex with him to avoid arrest. The federal case against Mitchell as well as the vice unit’s handling of the arrest of an adult performer in July 2018 played a role in the abolition of the Columbus vice unit in March 2019.
The former vice officer faces life in prison if convicted of the murder charge. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Mitchell could be sentenced to between three and 11 years in prison.