Detention Hearing in Hit and Run - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/23/04

Detention Hearing in Hit and Run

A makeshift memorial at the scene of the wreck. A makeshift memorial at the scene of the wreck.

Donald Mitchell, 13, was in court today accused of causing a wreck that killed a four-year-old Savannah girl. The car crash happened Sunday on Savannah's east side. The 4-year-old, Janeya Mitchell (no relation), died last night from her injuries. 

Today was his Mitchell's detention hearing. He sat quietly while the judge ordered him to stay at the Savannah Regional Youth Detention Center and denied him bond. Then the DA announced they will file a petition to charge the 13-year-old as an adult.

Mitchell has come to know the Chatham County Juvenile Courthouse quite well. Last year he was convicted there for robbery and battery. But this may be the last time he comes to court there. Now he's facing much more serious charges; the biggest--felony murder.

The judge will decide later this week whether Mitchell will be tried as an adult. If that happens, his case will be moved downtown to superior court.

The accident on Sunday happened just a few block from where Mitchell lives. A memorial marks the spot of the wreck on the corner of Gwinnett and Paulsen Streets.

Several people told police they saw the accident, they saw Mitchell in the car that caused the crash, and they saw him run away from the scene. Victoria Simmons is one of the those witnesses.

We asked her how she knew who he was. "By looking at him, I remembered his face from coming around this side."

She has a niece the same age as the little girl who was killed by the crash. "I was like, 'Someone catch him,' that's what I was saying."

It doesn't bother her one bit if Donald Mitchell is tried as an adult. "If it has to be like that, it has to be like that. It's a sad tragedy."

Donald Mitchell's family was not in court. His mother was there yesterday but not today. He only had his attorney at his side.

A warrant will be signed tomorrow for Mitchell's arrest and he will be arraigned this week for felony murder in Recorder's Court.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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