Assault trial reset pending alleged victim recanting

Apr. 17—GRAYSON — An Olive Hill man accused of a capitol offense following an alleged violent attack against a woman and her baby last October faces additional charges.

A Carter County grand jury issued a superseding indictment against Tristan Mitchell, 27, on April 5, equaling 11 total counts.

The charges stem from an alleged incident on Oct. 6, in which Mitchell is accused of beating a woman and threatened to shoot her while forcing her to perform sexual acts on him.

Per previous reports and court records, the alleged victim accused Mitchell of grabbing her 1-year-old child from her arms and "(dragged) the child through the grass," when the mother attempted to escape, causing bruising to the infant.

During previous testimony, a former Carter County Sheriff's deputy said the victim had extensive bruising to her face and the child had grass stains on their clothing, which was documented after she fled to a neighboring home to call 911.

Within the new indictment, Mitchell was formally charged by the grand jury with first-degree sodomy causing serious physical injury, a class A felony, which carries a 20- to 50-year prison sentence, if convicted.

Of the most serious accusations, the grand jury also issued charges of first-degree child abuse, kidnapping of a minor, second-degree domestic violence assault, first-degree strangulation and first-degree wanton endangerment.

On Monday in Carter County Circuit Court, Mitchell appeared alongside his attorney, Michael Curtis, to be arraigned on the superseding indictment, which replaces the former.

Curtis waived a formal reading of the indictment and entered a not guilty plea on Mitchell's behalf.

Curtis also previously entered screenshots of a social media exchange between the alleged victim and one of Mitchell's family members, where the alleged victim claimed to have fabricated the incident out of retaliation against Mitchell for cheating.

Commonwealth's attorneys previously said the victim denied sending the messages from a secondary account that was created using the alleged victim's name and photograph.

That development derailed a trial date previously set for this month, but on Monday, prosecutors said the investigation into the social media account revealed it was created not from the victim's cellphone, but from a computer using a public internet domain, requiring further investigation.

According to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Brandon Bradley, the investigation will include narrowing down who had access to the public computer when the account was created.

Carter Circuit Judge Rebecca Phillips was keen on getting Mitchell back on the trial docket, as Curtis previously filed a motion for a quick and speedy trial, but added she was reluctant to set a date if more evidence was still outstanding.

As of Monday, Mitchell is set for trial on June 11.

Curtis previously alluded that if the social media messages come back to the alleged victims, the prosecution could dismiss the case entirely.

(606) 326-2652