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Man indicted in fatal shooting

September 5, 2013
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE -Michael E. Mitchell, 38, of 998 county Road 50, Irondale, was indicted by the Jefferson County grand jury on Wednesday in connection with the shooting death of his girlfriend on Aug. 8.

Mitchell was indicted on single counts of murder and tampering with evidence.

Maria Cantwell, 38, was found in their home with a small-caliber bullet wound to the head, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department reported.

Sheriff Fred Abdalla said an X-ray at the hospital showed metal shrapnel.

Abdalla said he interviewed Cantwell's daughter, one of three children in the home at the time of the shooting, who told the sheriff she was sleeping with her mother because Cantwell had not been feeling well for a couple days.

The daughter said she heard her mother making gurgling sounds and throwing up in the early morning hours of Aug. 8. Abdalla said the daughter wanted to call 911 or take her mother to the hospital, but Mitchell said it wasn't necessary and they could take her to the hospital later in the day if she wasn't feeling better.

Abdalla said it was dark and the daughter couldn't see her mother had been shot in the head.

Mitchell then told Cantwell's children he was leaving for about 30 minutes around 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 8 and would be back, Abdalla said of the investigation. The sheriff said the daughter then went upstairs and discovered her mother and went to a neighbor's house, who called 911.

Abdalla said Mitchell immediately became a suspect.

Mitchell's truck broke down leaving the Irondale house at the intersection of state Routes 213 and 7. A tow truck was called and towed the truck to a house in Beloit, where Mitchell's uncles lived, Abdalla said.

The sheriff said the tow truck driver noticed a .22-caliber handgun with a silencer on the seat and locked the truck during the tow to Beloit.

The tow truck driver's wife noticed a Facebook posting that Mitchell was a suspect in the shooting and called the Saline Township Police Department, which then called the sheriff's department.

Mitchell was arrested by the U.S. Marshal's Service and Jefferson County sheriff's deputy at the Beloit house. Mitchell waived extradition back to Jefferson County and allowed his truck to be searched.

During a four-hour interview at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, Abdalla said Mitchell claimed he was twirling the gun and it went off. Abdalla asked Mitchell why he didn't call for help. The sheriff said Mitchell responded by saying he was scared.

The sheriff said Mitchell gave several conflicting stories about where the .22-caliber handgun was located, which has not been found.

Also, a man who was a county jail prisoner and walked away from a work detail at the county fairgrounds in July was indicted by the county grand jury.

Benjamin M. Delguzzi, 27, of Steubenville was indicted on a charge of escape.

Delguzzi walked away from the work detail on July 16 and eluded capture for a week. He was arrested at his mother's house on Marina Road in Toronto.

Randy G. Atkins, 44, of Wann, Okla., and Shawn M. Lonchar, 35, of 1303 Legion Drive, Weirton, were each indicted on charges of illegal manufacture of methamphetamine. Atkins also was charged with illegal possession of chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine, and Lonchar also was indicted on a charge of possession of heroin.

Troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol stopped their vehicle on July 30 in Steubenville and found items used to make methamphetamine.

Ryan J. Straker, 28, of 725 township Road 378, Steubenville, was indicted on a charge of aggravated robbery in connection with the Nov. 3, 2009, armed robbery of Apothecary Pharmacy, 1361 Franklin Ave., Toronto.

Toronto Police at the time reported a man walked into the pharmacy around 11 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2009, armed with a gun demanding drugs.

County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said the robber threw a sweatshirt in a trash container. Toronto police recovered the sweatshirt, and a state crime lab was able to recover DNA evidence.

Straker recently was arrested on another crime and a DNA swab was taken. Hanlin said the state crime lab was able to match the DNA samples from Straker and the sweatshirt.

The grand jury also returned the following indictments:

Anthony Winters, 21, of 494 S. Fifth St., possession of drugs.

Reanna M. Mayle, 34, of Canton, single counts of theft, receiving stolen property and forgery.

Jason C. Kinney, 26, of 170 county Road 10, Dillonvale, single counts of theft, breaking and entering and criminal damaging.

Jason R. Ferguson, 42, of 260 Woodridge Drive, Wintersville, failure to comply with the order of a police officer.

Jonathan T. Mitchell, 26, of 180 N. Fourth St., single counts of burglary and complicity to burglary.

Lavocni J. Brown, 30, of 521 Cedar Ave., single counts of having a weapon under disability and carrying a concealed weapon.

Theodore Dudley IV, 25, of 989 McKinley Ave., single counts of attempted burglary and criminal mischief.

Kenneth R. Lucas, 25, of 328 High St., Hopedale, burglary.

Louis M. Sadler, 43, of 922 N. Eighth St., two counts of sexual battery involving a girl from the time she was 9 years old until she was age 16.

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