NEW YORK (AP) — As she faced the ex-convict who raped her in Central Park, a 74-year-old woman condemned him Wednesday with composed anger, calling him a “sexual terrorist” and an “evil infestation.”
“You, David Albert Mitchell, for the pain you inflicted on me and, by association, my loving family and friends, may you rot in hell for all eternity,” she said during his sentencing to 30 years in prison for attacking her as she watched birds in September 2012 — a week after authorities say he noticed her using a camera to document his lewd behavior.
Mitchell, who had previously been charged with sexually attacking other women over age 70, pleaded guilty this month to rape and robbery. His sentenced was settled then.
While the plea deal prevents her from having to testify about her ordeal at a trial, she made plain Wednesday that she wanted Mitchell to hear about it from her before the case was closed.
“Make no mistake: This is a sexual terrorist,” the woman said, urging a judge “to do the right thing so that nobody else is every hurt or menaced by this evil infestation.”
While the woman, 73 at the time, pursued her favorite pastime, Mitchell pounced on her from behind, slammed her to the ground and threatened to cut her throat when she screamed, scratched at him and tried to poke his eyes out, she said.
“I stopped fighting. I figured I was a goner,” she recalled.
Mitchell raped her twice, told her to stay prone and count to 100 while he left with her camera bag, and admonished her to stay put when she looked up early, she said. The attack left her with injuries including a broken finger, a smashed tooth and a damaged jaw.
Roughly a week before, the birdwatcher had photographed Mitchell in a lewd moment, and he had confronted her, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said.
Mitchell and his attorneys declined to speak at his sentencing, where he showed little reaction as his victim spoke.
The Associated Press generally does not identify sexual assault victims unless they come forward publicly.
Mitchell comes from tiny Jenkinjones, W.Va., where he was charged at age 18 with raping and killing an 86-year-old woman. Acquitted in that case, he was then charged with raping a woman in her 70s; the sexual assault charge was dropped as Mitchell pleaded guilty to other charges, his attorney at the time has said.
Later, Mitchell was suspected but never charged in the death of a 54-year-old woman. He served prison time in other cases, including the abduction of his ex-girlfriend. When he was released in 2011, some Jenkinjones residents bought guns to protect themselves from him.
His New York arrest, plus a convicted sex offender’s arrest in a rape in another Manhattan park about two weeks later, led local officials to call for tougher penalties for sex offenders.
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