Man sentenced in shots fired after self-defense slaying
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A man acquitted last month on grounds of self-defense in the shooting death of a University of Toledo football player after a fight at a Toledo pizza restaurant nearly two years ago has been sentenced to nine to 12 years for three extra shots he fired.
The Toledo Blade reports that jurors acquitted 26-year-old Michael Mitchell of murder and felonious assault in the death of 22-year-old Jahneil Douglas. But jurors convicted Mitchell of another count of felonious assault for firing what Mitchell said were “warning shots” at the fleeing Douglas and at least two pedestrians.
Judge Joe McNamara said during Friday’s sentencing that Mitchell displayed “an immense disregard for human life.” He also decried “a horrible proliferation of guns in our community and every community across America.”
Mitchell testified that he fired in self-defense after Douglas punched him at least once in the head and swung at him several times in the July 2020 confrontation. Prosecution and defense agreed that Douglas instigated the dispute, but Douglas’ mother, Brandi Hopkins, defended her son’s actions.
“He’s not a monster,” she said, calling the father of three a “bright spirit” whom she raised to be protective. Douglas was preparing for his junior season with the Rockets. He was a defensive lineman who had played in 12 games over two seasons, totaling two tackles.
Mitchell called himself “100 percent” remorseful and said “Deep down inside of my heart, I really never wanted this to happen.”
Defense attorney Pete Rost argued for leniency, saying his client didn’t injure anyone and never intended to do so when he fired the three additional shots. He said Mitchell had a very low risk of recidivism and “always voiced concern about the victim’s family.”