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Man denied bond after allegedly beating, stabbing roommate

Byron Mitchell, 35, charged with first-degree murder

MIAMI – A 35-year-old man accused of brutally beating his roommate on Valentine's Day in Miami's Overtown neighborhood will remain behind bars.

A Miami-Dade County judge Tuesday denied bond to Byron Mitchell, who is now charged with one count of premeditated attempted murder. The new charge, which is a non-bondable offense, was filed Tuesday.

"I think that someone who starts off with choking, but then moves on to bashing of a head four to five times on the floor has made a conscious decision that they're seeking to terminate a life," Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Rodolfo Ruiz said.

Mitchell's victim, Danielle Jones, 23, whom he met after she posted an ad on Craiglist seeking a roommate, remains in a coma at Jackson Memorial Hospital, family members said.

"There's no probable cause in the affidavit to support attempted premeditated  first -degree murder," defense attorney Patrick Wilson argued. "He still can't be held because the affidavit doesn't support the charge."

"The state has taken sworn testimony from witnesses that supports the charge," a prosecutor said. "The defendant should be held until the state has the opportunity to present the supportive evidence."

Jones' family, including her mother, sat in the first row of the courtroom.

Jones' mother spoke with reporters Monday about seeing her daughter's accused attacker for the first time since the attack.

"My heart was pounding and racing," Aimee Nikolov said. "She's still in a coma. She's still in critical condition. We are looking for any little glimmer of hope."

Monday was supposed to be a bond hearing for Mitchell, but the judge ruled that the affidavit didn't support the investigator's charge of attempted first-degree murder. 

Mitchell had been living with Jones for a week before the incident. He is claiming self-defense. According to police, he called 911, claiming that Jones attacked him with a knife, leaving him no choice but to fight back. 

"It is a joke, " Jamie Peters, a family friend and criminal defense attorney in Miami, said. "He obviously had time to think about it. He took a shower and decided what story (he was) going to give investigators."

Investigators said Mitchell tried to cut off Jones' lips and eyelids during the attack.

An Arthur hearing is scheduled for March 10.