Extradition is ordered for suspect in 1982 murder

Becky Bosshart

CARSON CITY – The suspect in the 1982 slaying of a capital city teen was ordered Monday to be extradited from Trinidad, but it could be several weeks before the 60-year-old night watchman returns to Nevada.

David Winfield Mitchell has 15 days to appeal the extradition order, decided by the Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls at the Eighth Magistrate’s Court in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, said David West, head of the central authority unit at the ministry of the attorney general of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mitchell is accused of the rape and murder of 18-year-old Sheila Harris, who had moved to Carson City just five days before to attend Western Nevada Community College and work at Raley’s supermarket.

“A decision was made to commit him to be extradited, but he can appeal to the high court with a writ of habeas corpus,” West said Monday.

Harris, the 1981 Miss Douglas County, was found dead in her Foothill Gardens apartment at the corner of Lompa Lane and Long Street on Jan. 6, 1982.

Mitchell was the complex’s maintenance man with pass keys to all the apartments. He was arrested in the case in 1986 but released on lack of evidence.

DNA testing done in 2000 on fluids found on Harris’ body and clothing came back as matching Mitchell’s hair, blood and saliva samples he submitted in 1987.

Mitchell’s lawyer argued that an extradition on a 25-year-old murder is an abuse, but West said the technology was not available earlier to match the accused to the murder.

U.S. investigators, with the help of international police, located Mitchell in Trinidad in 2004. He was arrested Aug. 18 by Interpol officers at his job as a night watchman in Mount Hope.

West, who is representing the interest of the U.S. government in the extradition proceedings, said Mitchell was quiet during the hearing, which ended at about 3 p.m. with the chief magistrate’s decision.

Court-appointed attorney Leon Gookool said he would appeal.

If Mitchell’s appeal is successful at the high court, the U.S. can then appeal to Trinidad’s Court of Appeals.

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