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Mitchell found guilty of murder

Updated: Saturday, June 14 2014, 03:33 PM EDT

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio - Michael Mitchell, the man accused of killing his girlfriend, Marie Cantwell, in her Irondale home Aug. 8, 2013, was found guilty of murder and tampering with evidence by a jury Friday night.
 
The multiple-count indictment against Mitchell charged him with murder and tampering with evidence. Police were never able to recover the gun used to shoot Cantwell.
 
The jury deliberated on the verdict for nearly five hours before the guilty verdicts were returned.
 
If not convicted on the murder charge, Mitchell could have been found guilty on a lesser charge of reckless homicide.
 
Mitchell faced 15 years to life in prison on the murder charge and up to three years for the tampering with evidence charge. The jury also determined that Mitchell committed the crime with a firearm that was equipped with a silencer, adding an extra six years to his sentence.
 
Mitchell was immediately sentenced by Judge Joseph Bruzzese to 24 years to life in prison with a mandatory 21 years without parole.
 
During sentencing Bruzzese opted to go with the maximum sentence on each charge because Mitchell did not call 911 after shooting Cantwell, and actively prevented help from reaching her and instructed the children not to go upstairs to check on their mother.
 
"One of the most disturbing and heartbreaking parts about this case is that Marie Cantwell was alive after he shot her and the coroner testified there was a a period of survival," Jefferson County prosecutor Jane Hanlin said. "The daughter asked him to call 911 and (he) didn't, and he locked that woman's body in the bedroom and told the children not to go upstairs. I don't think anyone will forget that."


Bruzzese further stated that because the firearm had never been recovered and there was the possibility of it being found by a child, he sentenced Mitchell to the maximum of three years on the tampering with evidence charge.
 
Bruzzese gave Mitchell one last chance to reveal where the gun was for a lesser sentence on the tampering charge, but Mitchell said he could not remember where he put the gun.
 
The arsenal of weapons police recovered when Mitchell was arrested in Beloit, Ohio, was turned over to authorities and will be sold, with the proceeds going to the Cantwell children.

Mitchell found guilty of murder


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