Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stephen Scott Mitchell - Repeat Sex Offender - Gets 37 years

A repeat sex offender was convicted Wednesday of molesting a woman in the stairwell of a Town Center parking garage and ordered to serve 37 years in prison.

Stephen Scott Mitchell, 45, has been jailed without bond since his arrest Nov. 6, 2007, when an officer found him sleeping in his car near the Oceanfront and noticed he matched the description of the woman's attacker a day earlier. Mitchell's criminal record included convictions on more than six counts of sexual battery.

On the witness stand Wednesday, Mitchell admitted he has a history of sexually assaulting women.

"I don't know why I do those things," he said, detailing how he followed the woman into the parking garage stairwell.

He said he moved behind her as she ascended the steps, slipped his hand under her skirt, groped her for a few seconds and then ran away.

His victim testified he grabbed her from behind, kept one hand over her mouth and molested her for close to a minute.

Jurors took 15 minutes to find Mitchell guilty of abduction and third or subsequent offense of sexual battery. They deliberated an additional 50 minutes before deciding he should spend 37 years in prison and pay a $100,000 fine.

Mitchell waived his right to a pre-sentence report, and Circuit Judge A. Joseph Canada Jr. immediately imposed the jury's recommendation.

The sentence means Mitchell likely will spend the rest of his life in prison. Last year, he was convicted and sentenced in Chesapeake to serve 10 years in prison on unrelated sexual battery and malicious wounding charges.

"25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years"
.........Sarah Tofte

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