A North Charleston man whose brother died after ingesting cocaine he had given him pleaded guilty this week to involuntary manslaughter, but he will spend more time in prison on a drug charge than he will in connection with the death.
After months of negotiations, Deangelo R. Mitchell, 26, of North Charleston pleaded guilty on Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter and possession with intent to distribute cocaine — second offense.
As part of a negotiated plea, Mitchell was sentenced to five years in prison on the manslaughter charge and 15 years on the drug charge. The negotiated sentence allowed for the sentences to run concurrently.
In April, Mitchell rejected a plea deal that would have imprisoned him for the same amount of time.
“He did not feel as though he had enough information to make an informed decision as to whether or not he should plead guilty or go to trial,” his attorney, Mark Peper, said of Mitchell’s decision at that time.
Prosecutors with the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Mitchell was accused of causing the death of his brother, 20-year-old Wayne Joshua Mitchell.
Mitchell and his brother were arrested on the night of Nov. 30, 2011, on cocaine trafficking charges. On a video made of the two brothers handcuffed and sitting in the back seat of a North Charleston police cruiser, they can be seen and heard discussing their arrests.
Although both suspects are cuffed behind their backs, the video appears to show Deangelo Mitchell contorting to pull something from the rear portion of his clothes. He passes it to his brother, who manages to get his hands by his sides and place the object to his mouth. Wayne Mitchell then appears to be chewing something.
Wayne Mitchell suffered a seizure and died less than an hour later.
Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten has said her investigation backed police conclusions concerning the death. She said an autopsy and toxicology tests determined that Wayne Mitchell died from acute cocaine toxicity.
While awaiting trial, Mitchell was released on bail earlier this year and placed on house arrest, but an electronic monitoring device showed him traveling throughout downtown Charleston, North Charleston and West Ashley during three days in July, according to court testimony.
What Mitchell was doing wasn’t known, but the monitoring company suspected he might be out selling drugs, according to testimony.
He was tossed back in jail, and his case helped draw attention to problems with satellite monitoring for offenders. Circuit Judge Stephanie McDonald later ordered a moratorium on new offenders being placed in the monitoring program.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
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