Mitchell indicted in slaying

STEUBENVILLE – An Irondale man was indicted by the Jefferson County grand jury Wednesday in connection with the shooting death of his girlfriend.

Michael E. Mitchell, 38, of 998 County Road 50, was indicted on single counts of murder and tampering with evidence.

Maria Cantwell, 38, was found in their home with a small-caliber bullet wound to the head.

Mitchell is accused of shooting Cantwell in the morning hours of Aug. 8 while one of her three children slept in the same bed.

According to County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, the daughter said she heard her mother making gurgling sounds and throwing up. Abdalla said the daughter wanted to call 911 or take her mother to the hospital, but Mitchell said it wasn’t necessary and they could take her to the hospital later in the day if she wasn’t feeling better.

Abdalla said it was dark and the daughter couldn’t see her mother had been shot in the head.

Mitchell allegedly told the children he was leaving for about 30 minutes around 10:30 a.m. Shortly after, the sheriff said, the daughter went upstairs and discovered her mother.

Mitchell’s truck broke down leaving the Irondale house at the intersection of state Routes 213 and 7. A tow truck was called and towed the truck to a house in Beloit, where Mitchell’s uncles lived.

The sheriff said the tow truck driver noticed a .22-caliber handgun with a silencer on the seat and locked the truck during the tow to Beloit.

The tow truck driver’s wife noticed a Facebook posting that Mitchell was a suspect in the shooting and called the Saline Township Police Department, which then called the sheriff’s department. Mitchell was arrested in Beloit shortly after.

During a four-hour interview, Abdalla said Mitchell claimed he was twirling the gun and it went off. Abdalla asked Mitchell why he didn’t call for help. Mitchell responded by saying he was scared.

The sheriff said Mitchell gave several conflicting stories about where the .22-caliber handgun was located, which has not been found.