Judge finds enough evidence for manslaughter charges against Blackwell police officer

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PERRY, Okla. (KFOR) – On Wednesday, a Noble County judge found probable cause to put a Blackwell police officer on trial for manslaughter.

Lt. John Mitchell is accused of firing at least 60 rounds at the truck of Michael Godsey, hitting and killing her, following a pursuit.

Prior to that, Godsey, who has a history of mental illness, is accused of shooting at police and other people.

Mitchell’s attorney says the judge’s decision, after the two-day hearing, came as a surprise.

“I think he was probably shocked as I was shocked. The way the hearing went yesterday, I believe, I never thought he would be bound over,” Attorney Gary James said. “I came up here confident this case would be over this morning."

In the closing arguments, the state argued Godsey never had a chance to surrender before Mitchell started shooting. The defense says Godsey could have been shooting back at police, and there’s no guarantee Mitchell actually killed Godsey.

“One thing that’s never been proven, did John Mitchell’s rounds even strike her? The testimony of Keith Denton was that he believed his rounds – the last three rounds fired – that he’s the one that killed her," James said.

Throughout the hearing, the defense has claimed Mitchell was only doing his job to protect himself, other officers and the citizens of Blackwell.

"The United State Supreme Court has made it very clear, you can shoot a violent fleeing felon,” James said. “If this lady is not a violent fleeing felon then I don’t know what is.”

We did reach out to District Attorney Jason Hicks for comment, but we have not heard back.

Mitchell’s arraignment is scheduled for March 18 in Kay County. His attorney says after that they plan to file a motion to have the case thrown out.


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