Marion County - An Indianapolis man learned his fate Wednesday in his bench trial for a 2007 fatal shooting. Prosecutors say Jeffrey Whitsey, 19, fired the gun that killed a mother of three in her new apartment.
After his bench trial, Judge Patricia Gifford found Jeffrey Whitsey guilty of two counts of murder.
Whitsey says he is not guilty of shooting Jamitra Mitchell and her unborn son dead in March 2007.
"I heard gunshots too. I ran too. I don't know what's going on," he said. "I never had a gun."
But minutes after Judge Gifford delivered a guilty verdict, Mitchell's brother and stepfather hugged outside the courtroom. Her mother spoke for the family.
"My daughter, she died for nothing, for something stupid he did. So justice was served today," said Lillie Vaughn-Butler.
She said her daughter's death "has broken us apart. She has three small babies that still talk about her and wonder where their mother is. It really has destroyed our family."
The shooting happened March 31, 2007, around 11:00 pm. Mitchell and her three children, ages five, four and two, moved into Amber Woods Apartments the same day of the shooting.
"She wanted something better for her children. She thought Amber Woods Apartments would be better," said Vaughn-Butler.
Prosecutors say during a fight between two people on the basketball court, Whitsey opened fire. A bullet entered Mitchell's apartment, striking her in the head.
Both Mitchell's family and prosecutors say Whitsey had nothing to do with the fight and should have never come out with a gun.
"There was no reason for him to take out a gun to start chasing and shooting at two of the individuals who were involved in the fight," said David Wyser, Marion County deputy prosecutor.
"I am a little surprised. We disagree with the verdict but that is what the appeals process is for," said Kelly Bauder, Whitsey's attorney.
"Now I got to fight this on an appeal to come back and try to beat this case," said Whitsey.
Whitsey faces more than 100 years in prison when he's sentenced on July 2nd. Prosecutors have not decided on how much time they will ask the judge to give him.
See post for her dear son Jaron Mitchell here.