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Mitchell pleads not guilty' to theft charges

By By JOHN WALLACE
Staff Writer
Robert Presto, who is representing Mitchell, filed a "plea of not guilty and waiver of arraignment" on behalf of his client at approximately 2 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson in the circuit clerk's office.
Mitchell, 51, of Brewton has been charged with first-degree theft of $19,788 in DHR funds from the State of Alabama, according to a press release from Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor. He turned himself in to the Escambia County Sheriff's Department last Wednesday and was released on a $10,000 bond.
The Attorney General's Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division presented evidence to an Escambia County grand jury on Aug. 8, resulting in Mitchell's indictment on Aug. 10.
The theft allegedly occurred between 1996 and 2000, according to the press release.
In an affidavit submitted by Special Agent George Barrows, several items Mitchell allegedly purchased for foster children were found in his residence.
Whitfield lived in Mitchell's residence, located at 606 Douglas Ave. in Brewton, before being arrested for violation of his probation on April 11, 2000.
Barrows executed a search warrant at Mitchell's residence at 2 p.m. on June 6, 2000 when he found and seized a Sony Playstation, two Philips-Magnavox VCRs, Sanyo television and eight video games.
Mitchell retired from his position as county DHR director on Sept. 30, 2000.
The case is scheduled to be on the next docket call to see if it is ready to proceed to trial on Thursday, Oct. 11, according a spokesperson in the circuit clerk's office.