Byron Mitchell found guilty of attempted murder, false imprisonment

Mitchell beat roommate, tried to cut off her lips, eyelids

By Liane Morejon - Reporter, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI - A South Florida man was found guilty Tuesday of attempted murder and false imprisonment in the severe beating of his roommate who he met on Craigslist.

Byron Mitchell, 39, told a judge earlier Tuesday that he would not be testifying.

Closing arguments began in the early afternoon in the trial of Mitchell who was later convicted of beating, stabbing and choking his former roommate, Danielle Jones, on the night of her 23rd birthday on Feb. 14, 2016.

He was also accused of trying to cut off her lips and eyelids. 

Mitchell's defense team filed a motion earlier in the day as a last-ditch effort to have the case dismissed based on "a lack of evidence proving premeditation." A Miami-Dade County judge denied the motion. 

Jones testified against Mitchell last week, saying he was often angry.

"Frustrated if people didn't share his opinion," she said. 

Jones took in Mitchell as a roommate in her Miami apartment after he responded to an ad she placed on Craigslist. 

The defense says while photos of Jones' injuries may be gruesome, they don't tell the whole story.

Danielle Jones was searching for a roommate in downtown Miami. A man she found on Craigslist, Byron Mitchell, beat her into a coma on the night of her 23rd birthday.

The defense claims Jones was armed with a knife and said there's no proof that Mitchell tried to kill her.

"What you’re really being asked to figure out is what was his state of mind?" attorney Khurrum Wahid said. 

Prosecutors, however, said Mitchell was infatuated with his new roommate, so much so that he tried searching online for nude photos and videos of her, although detectives said such content of Jones did not exist.

"Nude pictures, nude videos, graphic content -- everything that he could find about her. He desperately wanted her," a prosecutor said. 

Authorities said Mitchell bashed in Jones' head so badly that she was left in a coma for 24 days. 

Prosecutors said Jones was the only person with visible injuries after the Valentine's Day attack. 

Mitchell is expected to be sentenced in about six weeks. It's unclear whether the defense will appeal the conviction. 


 

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