Man accused in death of son pleads not guilty
Suspect once a parental counselor
A man who once counseled young parents in Mesa County pleaded not guilty Tuesday to fatal child abuse charges involving his own son.
Dartanin Mitchell, 35, was slated to stand trial between May 27 and June 12 before District Judge Richard Gurley, in connection with the May 2011 death of 5-week-old Lucius Mitchell, who died after being removed from life support June 10, 2011, at Children’s Hospital in Aurora.
He is charged with child abuse resulting in death, and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.
Testimony during a preliminary hearing last month said Mitchell was home alone caring for his son when authorities were called out May 27, 2011, on a report of a child not conscious or breathing at 2910 Bunting Ave., Unit 11.
Mitchell explained the boy was sitting on a couch and appeared to raise his arms, before going limp, a Grand Junction police detective testified last month. Lucius was found to have 25 fractures in various stages of healing, aside from bleeding and swelling of the brain that a doctor said would have been “incapacitating” within minutes for the baby, according to testimony.
A former parenting mentor employed by Family First, a Hilltop Community Resources program, Mitchell in 2011 was accused of twice burglarizing his former workplace office, located inside the Mesa County Workforce Center at 2897 North Ave., and stealing vehicles owned by the organization.
While under investigation in his son’s death, Mitchell on June 3, 2011, allegedly broke into the Workforce Center and stole more than $1,000 worth of vouchers and gift cards, earmarked for needy parents.
Mitchell last month pleaded guilty to charges of theft, trespassing an auto and second-degree burglary, resolving three of Mitchell’s outstanding cases.
He’s serving 16 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections relating to four armed robberies in the Denver area.