The Porter woman
who fatally shot her ex-husband in 2011 will see no jail time after pleading
guilty to one count of battery.
47, told investigators that she shot Donald Crouse, 45, in self-defense with
a 20-gauge shotgun, after he’d become physically abusive while staying with
her at her home on Michigami Trail on Sept. 14, 2011.
subsequently charged with aggravated battery, a Class B felony punishable by
six to 20 years; battery and criminal recklessness, both Class C felonies
punishable by a term of two to eight years; and pointing a firearm, a Class
D felony punishable by a term of six months to three years.
Last week, Mitchell
was sentenced to four years in the Indiana Department of Correction on the
Class C battery count, with the whole of the term suspended but for time
served. Those four years Mitchell will serve instead on formal probation.
As an additional
condition of probation, Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford ordered
Mitchell to participate in the Day Reporting Program, a sentence
As part of the plea
agreement, the other three charges filed against Mitchell were dismissed.
Mitchell agreed to
plead in December, a little more than a year after Bradford granted a motion
filed by her attorney, Bob Harper, to suppress the physical evidence
collected at the scene in the hours following the shooting.
argued in that motion that investigators “continued to search (Mitchell’s)
residence, took many photos, and collected much evidence” there “without her
permission and without a valid search warrant.”
this one to suppress Mitchell’s statement to police--on the grounds that she
didn’t understand her Miranda rights and her request to call an attorney was
ignored during her questioning--was still pending when she pleaded in
According to Porter
Police, officers responded to Mitchell’s home at 4:18 a.m. Sept. 14, 2011,
after she ran to a neighbor’s, still carrying the shotgun. Her first words
to officers, police said: “Police, police, I just shot him, I just shot
advised investigators that Crouse had arrived at her home the day before, on
Sept. 13, that she and Crouse had consumed alcohol, and that at some point
Crouse became verbally, then physically, abusive.
advised investigators that she warned Crouse “she would shoot him if he did
not stop his aggression” but that “he ignored her warnings.”
Crouse was found on
a couch with a shotgun wound to his upper chest and a single spent shell
next to the couch. He later died in hospital.
Mitchell, for her
part, had sustained “injuries to her hands, scratches,” police said.