What Happened: It Can Happen to Anyone

Only three weeks after graduating from Saint Joseph’s University, Kristin Mitchell became a victim of dating violence. On June 3, 2005, she was murdered by her boyfriend in her apartment in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. From interviews with people who knew her and were with her that day, she was in the throes of breaking up with him when the worst happened.

During the ensuing months the Mitchell family was in and out of court at every opportunity. They participated as much as they were able in the legal process. Six months after her death, a trial was scheduled to begin at the Montgomery Court House in Norristown, Pennsylvania. The defense attorney was granted a continuance and the trial was put off indefinitely. The year 2005 ended with no movement, only a very sad holiday season without Kristin.Kristin Mitchell

The year 2006 brought nothing new in the case until March when the judge decided upon a new trial date of June 5, 2006. At that time the murderer of Kristin Mitchell decided to go for a plea of third-degree murder and a thirty year term rather than risk the possibility of a first-degree murder decision in a jury trial and, therefore, life in prison. In Pennsylvania, a life term comes with no possibility of parole.

On April 20, 2006, the killer accepted a third-degree murder conviction and was sent to a Pennsylvania state prison. Although his sentence is thirty years, he would be allowed to appear before parole board hearings as early as at the fifteen-year mark (the year 2020), and could potentially be set free at that time.

The Mitchells have had no contact with the murderer or his family with the exception of speaking to him in court from the witness stand at his plea and sentencing hearing. They expressed great sorrow for what he had done when he “took away the innocence,” as Michele Mitchell put it. David Mitchell suggested his sister’s killer try to make something of himself even with his present state in life. Bill Mitchell said he had not forgiven this man for what he did, but was hoping to someday get there.

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