LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- Deputies arrested 42-year-old Harold Mitchell on burglary and stalking charges after he allegedly watched a woman talk on the phone for two hours before breaking into her home and strangling her Monday night.
The victim called 911 from her babysitter's residence, where she had fled to with her children after the incident took place in her own home. She told the officers that Mitchell had done some pipe work for her in the past. The night of the crime, she said Mitchell broke into her back sliding glass door while she was watching TV in the living room. The victim looked up and saw Mitchell standing in her dining room. He allegedly asked her who she had been talking on the phone with for the past two hours, and told her he had been listening to her conversation. The victim said it was then that he lunged at her, grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the floor. She scratched at his face to try to get him off of her as he choked her, but he hit her in the face with a closed fist.
Mitchell grabbed the victim's cell phone and fled through the back sliding glass door. The victim locked the door after Mitchell left, and then gathered her children and went to the babysitter's house.
Deputies observed the victim had a busted lip and red marks around her neck. They found the back window appeared to have been tampered with, and that the sliding glass door was off its rail.
The victim told deputies she had met Mitchell at her previous place of employment and that he offered to do the plumbing work for her. She said they never had a romantic relationship, and that she had not invited him into her home.
In December, the victim filed a criminal mischief report against Mitchell after he allegedly slashed the tires of a friend who was visiting her. After that, the victim said she received so many harassing texts and phone calls that she had to change her phone number. She reported receiving as many as 126 phone calls in one hour.
An injunction was filed against Mitchell on January 31st, after the victim found him walking toward her house as she was returning home. When asked what he was doing, Mitchell allegedly said he was on his way to see her. It was then that she went straight to the courthouse, but Mitchell had not been located to be served. The suspect is listed as being homeless.
Detectives tracked the suspect down by calling the victim's cell phone, which Mitchell eventually answered. According to the arrest report, he told detectives he would not meet with them because he knew he would be arrested. He told them he intended to call everyone on the victim's contact list and tell them she was "sleeping around." He claimed the two had been in a relationship for the past few months. Mitchell also reportedly admitted to slashing the tires of the victim's friend's vehicle back in December.
Mitchell claimed that it was the victim who attacked him after he entered her home and confronted her about the two hourlong phone call he had been listening to. He told deputies he was "addicted to crack" because of what the victim had put him through.
Based on the above, deputies found probable cause to arrest Mitchell.