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Published: 5/15/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

Man sent to prison over court melee

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

One man is going to prison and three are to serve brief jail sentences for their roles in a disturbance at the Lucas County courthouse last November that escalated into a near riot.

Calling his conduct outrageous and inappropriate, Common Pleas Judge Gary Cook sentenced Anthony Mitchell, 39, of 828 Magnolia St., to three years in prison. Mitchell had been charged with aggravated rioting and two counts of retaliation, but in April pleaded no contest to a single count of retaliation.

Mitchell was outside Judge Linda Jennings’ courtroom Nov. 28 when his nephew, also named Anthony Mitchell, 16, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for rape and aggravated robbery with a gun specification.

The younger Mitchell and co-defendant Kenneth Moore had gone to the apartment of a woman under the guise of selling candles, talked their way inside, and then forced the woman to strip out of her clothing at gunpoint and forced her to perform oral sex on them.

Some family members in the Judge Jennings’ courtroom upset by the lengthy sentence began making verbally abusive comments about the victim and the court. Their discontent spilled into the hall where the elder Mitchell became especially loud.

“Do you have a sister?” Judge Cook asked Mitchell before giving him the maximum sentence. “Can you imagine your sister being in that situation in that courtroom having been the victim of a horrible crime such as what was committed in that case and have someone like yourself in the back of the courtroom shouting the things you were shouting and disrupting the court the way you were disrupting it? Can you imagine if that happened to your sister?”

Judge Cook sentenced Myesha Newton, 20, of 5365 Glenridge Rd., who also was shouting rude comments, to serve 30 days at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio near Stryker. Ms. Newton, who was convicted of misconduct at an emergency, also was placed on probation for two years and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.

The other four co-defendants were sentenced largely for their behavior after they were led out of the courthouse by court security.

Tim Braun, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said things got out of control quickly.

"Court security tried very hard not to arrest anybody that day," he said after the hearing. "What they were trying to do was get about two dozen angry people out of the courthouse while other things, including a murder trial, were going on."

Sonia Nieto, 25, of 314 Arcadia St., who was convicted of obstructing justice for jumping on the back of Toledo Police Det. Shelli Kilburn, was ordered to serve 45 days at CCNO, spend two years on community control, and perform 40 hours of community service.

Judge Cook ordered Angel Bowman, 25, of 230 E. Weber St., to serve 30 days at CCNO, spend two years on probation, and undergo screening for mental health and anger management counseling.

The other two defendants each was sentenced to two years of probation; the judge also ordered both Markella Lawrence, 30, of 420 Elizabeth St., and Antoine Pernell, 36, of 812 Walbridge St., to perform 40 hours of community service.

Ms. Bowman, Ms. Lawrence, and Mr. Pernell had pleaded no contest to misconduct at an emergency.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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