Andrew Mitchell's legal team pursues self-defense claim as his second murder trial continues Wednesday
The second murder trial of former Columbus police vice officer Andrew Mitchell continued Wednesday following opening arguments on Tuesday.
Mitchell is charged with the 2018 killing of Donna Castleberry. Authorities say he shot her in the back of an unmarked police car.
The first witness to take the stand Wednesday was Columbus police officer Matt McDaniel, who was one of the first officers who responded to the scene of the shooting.
McDaniel described the scene, telling prosecutors that as he arrived, another officer was rendering aid to Mitchell.
"When I walked up, I saw Miss Castleberry in the back seat. She didn't appear to be moving at the time and didn't appear to be breathing at the time," he said.
Later, defense attorney Kaitlyn Stevens asked McDaniel a hypothetical question: If someone slashed him with a knife that required 34 stitches, a blood transfusion and surgery, would he think that person is a threat? McDaniel replied "Yes."
"And you have to go apprehend that person, correct?" Stevens asked. "I have to stop the threat," McDaniel replied.
"That's what your training dictates, right?" Stevens continued, to which McDaniel replied "Yes, ma'am."
Prosecutors argued it was Castleberry, not Mitchell, that acted in self-defense.
Jurors also heard testimony from retired detective Laura Evans, who worked undercover on the vice unit.
When questioned by prosecutor Dan Cable about Mitchell's demeanor at the scene, Evans said "He was definitely not himself. He was shook." Evans also testified that she could see the blood coming from Mitchell's hand.
"While you were there at all, did you see Donna Castleberry?" Cable asked. "When they pulled her out of the vehicle, yes," Evans replied.
"And how did she look?" Cable followed. "She did not appear to be alive," Evans said.
Evans also provided testimony about the vice unit's procedures during undercover operations at the time.
This is the second time Mitchell is standing trial for the killing.
Jurors in his first trial last year could not agree on a verdict, which resulted in mistrial.