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Mitchell arraigned on murder charges

August 13, 2013
The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - The search for a pistol allegedly used during the shooting death of Marie Cantwell, 38, last week is continuing in Beloit, where Cantwell's boyfriend, Michael Mitchell, was arrested late Thursday evening.

Mitchell, 38, was formally arraigned on murder charges at the Jefferson County Justice Center Monday afternoon during a five-minute appearance before Toronto county court Judge Joe Corabi, who set bond at $1 million.

Corabi also appointed attorney Steve Lamatrice to represent Mitchell after the defendant said he had no income and the only property he owned was his truck.

Article Photos

CHARGED WITH MURDER — Michael Mitchell of Irondale signed paperwork Monday afternoon during his arraignment hearing. Mitchell has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Marie Cantwell, in their Irondale home Thursday. Assisting Mitchell with his paperwork was Jefferson County corrections officer Mary Pashke. - Dave Gossett

"I worked last October. The only thing I own is my truck, which is probably worth $2,500 to $3,000," Mitchell told Corabi.

Mitchell will return to the justice center at 8:30 a.m. Thursday for a preliminary hearing.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin asked for the $1 million bond and called Mitchell a "flight risk."

"He faces the possibility of life in prison and has already shown he is a flight risk when he was apprehended in Beloit, Ohio, following the shooting of his girlfriend last week. He faces the possibility of life in prison," Hanlin stated.

Mitchell was apprehended Thursday evening by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Marshals and Goshen Township police.

Mitchell is accused of shooting Cantwell in the head with a small caliber handgun early Thursday morning at their home at 998 county Road 50 in Irondale.

According to Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla , Cantwell's three children were in the home and her 13-year-old daughter was sleeping in bed with her mother when the shooting occurred.

Abdalla said Mitchell left the home around 10:40 a.m. Thursday, telling Cantwell's daughter he would return in about 30 minutes.

Mitchell had put all his clothing, as well as numerous firearms and more than 8,000 rounds of ammunition in his utility truck prior to leaving the Irondale home, Abdalla said.

Abdalla said Mitchell's truck broke down on state Route 213 at the state Route 7 rest area in northern Jefferson County, and a tow truck from East Liverpool towed Mitchell's truck to Beloit.

Abdalla said there was a posting on Facebook that Mitchell was being sought in connection with the shooting death, and the tow truck driver's wife saw the posting and called the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, saying she recognized the man's picture.

Abdalla said the tow truck driver saw a small caliber handgun on the seat of Mitchell's truck but authorities have not been able to find the weapon.

"I just asked him again before the arraignment hearing where the handgun was located. He told me he may have pushed it down behind the seat of the truck or it may be in his uncles' house in Beloit or in the garage or in a shed on the property," stated Abdalla.

"The two uncles are cooperating with us. The uncles said they would continue looking for the gun and were told not to touch it and to immediately call his department if it's found. The gun could be anywhere in there," Abdalla said Saturday evening," Abdalla said.

Goshen Township Police found Mitchell's truck at the house in Beloit, according to Chad Simpson, deputy U.S. Marshal.

Simpson said Mitchell was arrested at the house without incident.

Mitchell also signed a federal waiver of extradition and was transported to the Jefferson County jail, said Simpson.

Mitchell, in an interview by Abdalla at the county jail early Friday, claimed the shooting was an accident, the sheriff said.

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