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Argument leads to stabbing

By Ed Brock

The Riverdale man accused of stabbing his wife to death was on probation for a previous charge of domestic battery against her.

Keith Andre Mitchell, 46, of Buttonwood Court turned himself in to police around 9 p.m. Wednesday, Riverdale Police Capt. Lisa Presley said.

"He walked into the police station and said he needed to report a stabbing," Presley said.

When asked who and where the victim was Mitchell said it was his wife, 41-year-old Agnes Mitchell, that she was back at their house dead and he had stabbed her. Presley said Agnes Mitchell appeared to have been stabbed to death with a kitchen knife about an hour before Keith Mitchell turned himself in.

She added that the couple had been arguing and that led to the stabbing. She didn't know what the argument was over.

Mitchell made his first appearance in Clayton County Magistrate Court on Thursday where he asked for a court appointed lawyer. He has been charged with murder.

On Aug. 21 Agnes Mitchell called police to report that her husband of 10 months had pushed her into a wall, leaving visible marks, said Clayton County Solicitor General Keith Martin. In response, Keith Mitchell had told police that his wife had pulled a shotgun on him during the argument, but no gun was found where Mitchell said it should be, so he was arrested and charged with simple battery and family violence battery.

Mitchell pleaded guilty at his Nov. 8 arraignment and was given a 12-month probated sentence that included 80 hours of community service in lieu of a fine and the requirement that he enter a family violence intervention program. Martin said he wasn't sure if the intervention program, which involves individual assessment and counseling, had yet begun.

While one condition of Mitchell's probation was that he have no violent contact with his wife, he wasn't forced to leave the couple's home. Martin said Agnes Mitchell did not request that such action be taken, and she did not ask for a temporary protection order.

"As far as we knew, this was a marriage that they both wished to pursue," Martin said.

Apart from the fight that led to the previous charges there were no prior reported incidents of abuse, Martin said.

"In this one we couldn't have done a thing better," Martin said. "I say that with a clear conscience and a heavy heart."

This is the 15th case in the decade and a half that he has been solicitor general that a man convicted of domestic violence charges had gone on to kill his wife, Martin said. He added that it's common that women in domestic violence situations believe their husbands when they say they're sorry and it will never happen again, even when the court's victim's services caseworkers tell them the likelihood that the abuser will do it again.

"She will tend to believe, quite frequently to her dying breath, him over us," Martin said.

Mitchell's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14. He was denied bond until a Dec. 17 bond hearing.