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Man sentenced to life in prison for killing mother in front of her children

Ronald Mitchell Sr., 39 (Source: Nola.com | The Times-Picayune) Ronald Mitchell Sr., 39 (Source: Nola.com | The Times-Picayune)
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

A New Orleans man convicted of killing his ex-wife in front of their children was sentenced Thursday to a mandatory life sentence in prison.

Ronald Mitchell Sr., 39, shot Derice Bailey, 35, in the head and chest in the kitchen of her Aero Street home on Dec. 2, 2016.

The couple, which was attempting reconciliation, were arguing over Mitchell’s accusations of her infidelity. Her friends went to the home to help stop the fight. Mitchell pulled out a revolver and ordered the friends out of the house. They called 911.

Their children, then ages 9 and 13, remained inside with their parents, pleading with their father as he shot their mother, prosecutors said. 

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responding to the 911 call were outside the house and heard the gunshots. Mitchell walked outside of the house and surrendered peacefully.

At trial, Mitchell’s attorney argued that it was a case of self-defense, saying a man he could not identify was hiding in the garage.

The jury deliberated less than 15 minutes on Jan. 12. They found Mitchell guilty as charged of second-degree murder and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The couple’s daughter, who witnessed the homicide with her younger brother, wrote a letter to the court as impact testimony, telling the judge that she loves her mother and father.

“My mother was a wonderful woman. If you met her you would have thought the same thing,” she wrote.

Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and 20 years in prison for the firearm. The sentences will run concurrently.

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