Jaron Mitchell

Teen Gets Minimum Sentence for Murder of Pregnant Woman

Gunman's friends say 45-year term still too long; prosecutors say they're happy

July 2, 2008

An Indianapolis teenager whose stray bullet killed a pregnant woman in her apartment has gotten the minimum sentence for murder.

Jeffrey Whitsey, 19, was sentenced to 45 years, a term which with good behavior could free him when he's 41. Outside the courtroom, roles were reversed, with Whitsey's friends complaining it's still too much, while deputy Marion County prosecutor Courtney Curtis says she's satisfied.

"Any time a person who's going to try to be the big man in his neighborhood takes a gun and kills two innocent people, and then spends the prime of his life in the Department of Correction, we are happy," Curtis says.

Jamitra Mitchell, 22, had just moved into an eastside apartment to get away from a neighborhood she considered unsafe for her three children. She was killed last April when Whitsey fired a gun outside the complex in an argument with several other people.

Deputy prosecutor Courtney Curtis asked unsuccessfully for separate sentences for the murders of Jamitra Mitchell and her unborn son Jaron, who was nearly full-term. Marion Superior Judge Patricia Gifford gave a shorter sentence based on Whitsey's youth and the fact he'd never been in trouble before.

Whitsey said he was sorry about what happened, but insisted he didn't fire the fatal shot. He complained witnesses he expected to back up his story didn't show up for his trial.

Curtis says cell phone audio and digital video introduced at trial make clear Whitsey did fire his gun. And Whitsey acknowledged under questioning from Gifford he hadn't given his lawyer the names of the witnesses he believed would clear him.

Mitchell's mother, Lillie Vaughn-Butler, says she's just glad Whitsey will pay a price for "doing something stupid."

See post for dear mother Jamitra Mitchell here.


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