YORK – Jason C. Mitchell, who is listed in court documents as being from Cordova as well as living out of a van in the York area, has pleaded not guilty to first degree sexual assault and domestic assault.
Mitchell made his plea during arraignment proceedings in York County District Court this week.
He is being represented by Deputy York County Public Defender Patrick Tarr.
The 38-year-old has been formally charged with a Class 2 felony – if convicted, he could be facing a possible maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. The domestic assault charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor which carries a possible maximum sentence of one year of imprisonment.
According to the affidavit filed with the court, which was filed by York County Sheriff’s Investigator Alex Hildebrand, the sheriff’s department was contacted by a woman in York who said Mitchell picked her up with his vehicle.
She told investigators Mitchell allegedly grabbed her by the hair as soon as she was in the vehicle and “forced her head between the seats so she couldn’t see where they were going. Then he held her head under the steering wheel and struck her face on an object below her.”
According to court documents, the alleged victim said she grabbed the steering wheel and tried to free herself – when she did so, he allegedly bit her on the left index finger.
It is alleged that after driving for a period of time, he forced her out of the vehicle – the victim said she wasn’t sure where she was but it was a county road. Then Mitchell allegedly returned and demanded that she get back in the vehicle.
They allegedly then traveled to Recharge Lake where the victim said Mitchell allegedly sexually assaulted her.
The affidavit says after the sexual assault, the woman asked to be taken home but Mitchell initially refused. Eventually, he did and she contacted the sheriff’s department.
Investigator Hildebrand said a deputy with the sheriff’s department, while talking with the alleged victim, saw that her clothes were covered in dog hair. The deputy said he had contact with Mitchell a few days earlier and knew that Mitchell’s dog lives with him in his 2005 Chrysler Town and Country van. The deputy said he also had noticed, during that earlier and unrelated contact, that there was a lot of dog hair in the vehicle. She confirmed that those were the clothes she had been wearing during the alleged situation, in the van.
It was also noted in court documents that a sexual assault exam was performed at Bryan West in Lincoln.
This week in York County District Court, Judge Stecker set the matter for jury trial on May 19.
Tarr asked for a bond review for his client, who is currently being held in the York County Jail.
“He has ties to the area, he was employed but lost his job due to this,” Tarr said to Judge Stecker. “He’s Ok with any sort of conditions and a no contact order (with the victim). Bond is currently set at $25,000, 10 percent. We are asking for a reduction to $10,000, 10 percent.”
“We are opposed to a reduction in bond,” said John Lyons, York County attorney,” due to the serious nature of this case. He is a danger to himself and a danger to the victim. He expressed violence toward the victim and he’s demonstrated suicidal tendency.”
“Due to the seriousness of the charges, the motion to reduce bond is denied,” Judge Stecker ruled.