A Porter woman who
fatally shot her ex-husband in 2011 would spend no time in jail under a plea
agreement reached last week with the Porter County Prosecuting Attorney’s
47, told investigators that she shot Donald Crouse, 45, in self-defense with
a 20-gauge shotgun, after he’d become physically abusive while staying with
her at her home on Michigami Trail on Sept. 14, 2011.
Crouse died a week
later in hospital of respiratory arrest and kidney failure related to the
subsequently charged with aggravated battery, a Class B felony punishable by
a term of six to 20 years; battery and criminal recklessness, both Class C
felonies punishable by a term of two to eight years; and pointing a firearm,
a Class D felony punishable by a term of six months to three years.
On Dec. 22 Mitchell
agreed to plead guilty to one of the Class C counts, battery, in exchange
for which the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has agreed to dismiss the other
Also stipulated by
the agreement: Mitchell’s “placement in community corrections, instead of
any jail sentence.” The state and the defense would argue the length of time
which Mitchell would serve in community corrections, for up to eight years,
the maximum term of any Class C felony.
hearing before Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford has been scheduled
for 9 a.m. Feb. 2.
According to Porter
Police, officers responded to Mitchell’s home at 4:18 a.m. Sept. 14, 2011,
after she had run to a neighbor’s residence, still carrying the shotgun. Her
first words to officers: “Police, police, I just shot him, I just shot him.”
advised investigators that Crouse had arrived at her home the day before, on
Sept. 13, that she and Crouse had consumed alcohol, and that at some point
Crouse became verbally, then physically, abusive.
that (Crouse) hit her numerous times and kept pushing her into the empty
bathtub,” the PPD said. “MItchell indicated that she wanted to leave the
house but that he would not let her go.”
advised investigators that she warned Crouse “she would shoot him if he did
not stop his aggression” but that “he ignored her warnings.”
Crouse that she was taking the shotgun’s safety off, and Crouse’s continued
refusal to “leave her alone,” she fired a single round at him, Mitchell
Crouse was found on
a couch with a shotgun wound to his upper chest and a single spent shell
next to the couch.
Mitchell, for her
part, had sustained “injuries to her hands, scratches,” police said.