Bail revoked for mom who pleaded guilty in baby's death
A woman formerly from Frankfort who pleaded guilty in the mauling death of her infant daughter is back in jail after acquiring new charges in Bangor last month, one of which occurred prior to her striking a plea agreement with the Waldo County District Attorney's Office.
According to court records at Fifth District Court in Belfast, 31-year-old Katrina Mitchell, who now shows a Brewer address, was arrested on a warrant seeking full revocation of her post-conviction bail on the charge of endangering the welfare of a child Jan. 25. Mitchell pleaded no contest to that charge Dec. 18.
The child endangerment charge was the result of the death of her 7-month-old daughter, Annabelle, after the family dog — an 89-pound Rottweiler named Hannibal — mauled the child as Mitchell was sleeping on the couch at her Frankfort residence on the night of April 12, 2011. Following the initial investigation into the incident, police alleged Mitchell was intoxicated and "passed out" at the time of her daughter's death.
Court records show Officer Steve Pelletier with the Bangor Police Department arrested Mitchell in Bangor Dec. 11 on a charge of burglary of a motor vehicle, theft and violating conditions of release. The court documents do not offer specific details about that incident, but state that Mitchell pleaded guilty to those charges Jan. 16 and was fined $250 for each charge.
That incident occurred prior to Mitchell's court date in Belfast Dec. 18, at which time Mitchell pleaded no contest to the charge of endangering the welfare of a child. As part of the agreement, Mitchell was to be subject to a sentence of 364 days in jail with all but three months suspended, and one year of probation upon her release. The plea agreement also included recommendations that Mitchell undergo substance abuse and psychological counseling as part of her probation, as well as refrain from using or possessing drugs or alcohol and submitting to random searches and tests for those substances. At that time, Mitchell's case was continued for a sentencing hearing Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 1 p.m.
An affidavit from Bangor Police Officer Richard Polk details the circumstances surrounding Mitchell's second arrest on a second criminal operating under the influence charge and a charge of violating conditions of release on the morning of Dec. 24. Court records show Polk responded to a single-car crash on Stillwater Avenue in Bangor just before 7 a.m., and found Mitchell at the wheel of a 2000 Dodge van that was positioned in the ditch.
According to Polk, witnesses at the scene could see the face of the driver, who was later identified as Mitchell, and described her as "out of it" and "looking messed up."
Mitchell reportedly denied having anything to drink or using any kind of drug prior to the crash, stating that she just left her job at a local convenience store and had stopped at Walmart to buy her husband a Christmas gift just before the accident. Mitchell also stated that there was a mechanical problem with the steering in her van that caused her to end up in the ditch.
In his affidavit, Polk stated that he could smell alcohol on Mitchell's breath and a blood test administered at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor showed Mitchell's blood alcohol content was at 0.17 percent.
Mitchell is scheduled for arraignment on the charges connected to the crash Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Bangor.
Court documents show the Penobscot County District Attorney's Office did not notify the Waldo County District Attorney's Office of the two cases concerning Mitchell until Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Previously published reports state that on the night of her daughter's death, Mitchell told police she had her first drink of beer at about 3 p.m., but that she took between three or four shots of vodka after she called her husband and 911 to report her daughter's death.
Later that night, according to court records, police interviewed Mitchell at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast, where Mitchell stated that her baby fell asleep on one end of the couch and that she was asleep on the other end of the same couch.
“Katrina [Mitchell] stated that her dog, Hannibal, attacked and killed Annabelle [Mitchell], but she did not know how, because there was no noise,” stated Maine State Police Detective Adam Kelley in his affidavit.
Court records also outline the findings of Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Ferenc, who conducted the autopsy on Annabelle Mitchell’s body. In his statements to Kelley, Ferenc concluded the child would have been able to audibly cry for help, based on the nature of her injuries.
“Many of the claw marks were associated with hemorrhage, which is indicative of Annabelle [Mitchell] being alive for at least part of the mauling, and she would have been capable of crying and/or screaming due to pain," Kelley wrote in the affidavit.
After Mitchell pleaded no contest to the child endangerment charge last month, Waldo County Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker said the three-month portion of Mitchell's sentence represents a cap, meaning that Mitchell may argue for less time served on the day of her sentencing hearing. At that time, Walker said Mitchell had been doing "very well" adhering to conditions of her release in the 18 months she'd been out on pre-conviction bail, and she had also worked well with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
Mitchell's attorney, Aaron Fethke, said his client entered the no contest plea because she was hoping for closure in the matter.
"Katrina [Mitchell] and her family are looking forward to putting this entire ordeal behind them," he said.
A message left with Walker inquiring about how the latest charges against Mitchell might impact her plea agreement and upcoming sentencing hearing Monday morning, Jan. 28, was not returned as of Tuesday, Jan. 29, but court records show Mitchell is still scheduled to appear at her Feb. 6 sentencing hearing.