Bishop and Mrs. Henry M. Mitchell, Jr.
By Deborah Mitchell
Many knew him as Pastor Hayes, but during the investigation into the charges that he killed his wife and daughter it was discovered his mother changed his name by fraud to please her abusive husband from his birth name, Henry M. Mitchell, Jr.
On August 27, 1999, Vangela and Teanna were found murdered in their home. Â Mitchell was arrested on his 35th birthday, five months later, January 11, 2000. Â Mitchell, facing the Death Penalty went on trial in the Spring/Summer of 2003.
The jury found Mitchell guilty based solely on circumstantial evidence. Â A mistrial was declared in the penalty phase. The same jury gave a hung verdict after hearing not only was Mitchell’s name illegally changed, but that he had suffered serious physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his mother and her abusive husband. He had spent years in foster care homes and was kept away from his real father. During his time in foster care at age 14, he rescued one of his foster brothers who was drowning in a lake.
While awaiting trial, Mitchell was conducting Bible studies, prayer sessions, counseled numerous men, and stopped one from committing suicide, which was seen on video tape by the jury. Â Through God’s grace sixteen men during that period gave their lives to Christ. It was revealed Mitchell had provided food, shelter and financial support to many witnesses who testified against him.
Mitchell has been In Propria Persona (acting as his own attorney), drafting and filing all of the motions and making his post-conviction arguments before the Honorable Judge Lance Ito, who was also his Trial Judge.
On July 23, 2010, Mitchell seeks to have his conviction and three life sentences overturned based on newly discovered evidence. Â With the help of his wife, Deborah, his private investigators and expert consultants, it was discovered that critical forensic evidence, notes and lab reports, that could have exonerated him, was recently revealed Â and was never disclosed to him for his defense. Â Further key prosecution witnesses were paid cash benefits and eight unknown fingerprints have yet to be processed.
Bishop and Mrs. Mitchell have kept their faith and service to God and would like to thank those who have sincerely offered prayers for them these last eleven years.