POLICE OFFICER INDICTED
Posted on 4/4/2019
Defendant: Andrew K. Mitchell
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien provided the following statement regarding the shooting death of Donna Castleberry where on duty Columbus Police Officer Andrew K. Mitchell discharged his service firearm. On August 23, 2018, Mitchell was working undercover investigating prostitution complaints in Franklinton, just west of downtown Columbus.
Since 1980 the Prosecutor’s Office has presented to the Grand Jury cases involving the death of citizens caused by on duty law enforcement officers. The purpose of that policy has been to assure that where a police officer causes the death of a citizen during the performance of their duties that there is a review of those circumstances by an independent body of citizens. Through that independent review the public is assured that it is not just police officers investigating police officers who make a judgment on charges; or prosecutors who work regularly with the police officers making the final decision. Grand Jurors are selected and serve in the same manner as petit jurors that hear and decide cases every day in Ohio and Franklin County courts.
Testimony or evidence before a grand jury is secret by law as well as the discussions, deliberations, or vote of grand jurors in a particular case. However, the law does permit a prosecutor to state that a particular incident has been investigated by the grand jury, and whether as a result thereof that an indictment has or has not been filed.
Starting on April 3rd, 2019, beginning at 12:00 p.m. the Franklin County Grand Jury reviewed the August 23, 2018 shooting death of Donna Castleberry where on duty Columbus Police Officer Andrew K. Mitchell discharged his service firearm. The Grand Jury has concluded their business for this day and an indictment for one count of Murder and one count of Voluntary Manslaughter has been filed with the Clerk of Courts office regarding this incident.
A grand jury only inquires into whether or not a crime has been committed, and in this incident whether any degree of unlawful criminal homicide occurred.
Issues of civil liability or police directives on use of deadly force are addressed by other officials and in other venues under different legal procedures and burdens of proof.