Donna Dalton Castleberry Murder: Where is Andrew Mitchell Now?

23-year-old Donna Dalton Castleberry was employed as a sex worker in Columbus, Ohio, while also caring for her two children. Despite facing challenges, she was striving to turn her life around, with the encouragement and support of her family. Her life abruptly ended when she was murdered in August 2018. The legal battle that ensued was quite harsh and challenging for the family and they had to strive to find justice for their beloved Donna. Season 3, Episode 11 of A&E’s ‘Taking The Stand’ delves into the crime’s details and the capture of the perpetrator.

Donna Dalton Castleberry Was Shot Three Times

Donna Dalton Castleberry, born in 1994, experienced significant challenges during her upbringing. Struggling with substance abuse, she endured years of isolation and addiction, disconnecting from her family and feeling trapped in despair. However, as a mother of two children, she recognized the need for change and made a concerted effort to improve her life. Reestablishing connections with her family, Donna began working as a sex worker in Columbus, Ohio, to provide for herself and her children.

Despite the challenging circumstances she faced, Donna’s family recognized her efforts to take charge of her life and were proud of her determination. However, tragedy struck on the evening of August 23, 2018, while Donna was working as a sex worker on the streets. After getting into a client’s car, she was shot three times. A total of six shots were fired, three of which struck Donna—once on her left side, once near her left lung and abdomen, and the third through her heart. When police arrived at the scene, they found Donna in the back seat, and she was pronounced dead on site. The coroner ruled her death as a homicide.

Donna Dalton Castlenerry’s Killer Claimed Self-Defense

The responding officers didn’t have to search far for the perpetrator, as it turned out to be one of their colleagues. Andrew Mitchell, a vice officer with the Columbus police, confessed to shooting Donna Dalton Castleberry. According to Mitchell’s account, he was working undercover in plain clothes, driving an unmarked Mitsubishi Galant when he encountered Donna working as a sex worker. He claimed to have picked her up for what he described as an undercover prostitution operation, and a struggle allegedly occurred between them while inside the car.

Mitchell claimed that Donna had attacked him, citing a cut on his hand as evidence of the alleged violent confrontation. He asserted that he shot Donna in an act of self-defense. However, authorities did not accept Mitchell’s statements at face value. By March 2019, Mitchell had already resigned from the police force. An internal investigation uncovered a history of violence, drug-related incidents, domestic disputes, and disturbances across the 15 properties he owned in the area. He faced indictment on charges related to kidnapping victims under the guise of an arrest and coercing them into engaging in sexual activities in exchange for their freedom. Mitchell was arrested and held without bond. He pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.

He faced state charges related to Donna’s death, and in April 2019, additional charges were brought against him for destroying evidence. He pleaded not guilty to these charges too. By this time, Donna’s family realized they needed to take action. They filed a lawsuit against the Columbus Department of Police and Mitchell for wrongful death, which they ultimately won. The city awarded them a $1 million settlement. However, they emphasized that true justice would only be served if the alleged killer faced accountability. Mitchell’s trial for Donna’s death began in 2022 when he was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Andrew Mitchell is Awaiting His Sentence Hearing Today

The jury in the 2022 trial was unable to reach a verdict, resulting in a mistrial. Andrew Mitchell’s second trial commenced in 2023, during which his attorney argued that he acted in self-defense. According to their defense, Mitchell claimed he was attacked by Donna Dalton Castleberry with a knife, leaving him no choice but to resort to lethal force. The defense also suggested that the multiple shots fired may have been a result of his police training, and he ceased shooting only when his gun malfunctioned.

The prosecutors countered Mitchell’s defense by arguing that he intentionally blocked Donna’s exit by strategically parking the car. They presented compelling evidence, including an audio recording retrieved from Mitchell’s phone, capturing the harrowing moments before Donna’s death. In the recording, Donna could be heard pleading for her life and asking Mitchell to stop touching her. Prosecutors contended that Donna posed no threat to Mitchell, especially as she had retreated to the back seat of the car in an attempt to protect herself. Additionally, forensic evidence indicated that some shots were fired while Mitchell was already partially outside of the vehicle, further undermining his claim of acting in self-defense.

The jury acquitted Mitchell of the charges of murder and voluntary manslaughter. However, he still faced federal charges related to coercing women into having sex with him. In December 2023, Mitchell pleaded guilty to two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of obstruction of justice. He awaits sentencing, which is expected to range between 7 to 11 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 2019, and he remains in custody under the jurisdiction of Columbus authorities.

Read More: Emon Harper Murder: What Happened to Anna Young?