The saga that ended with Steric Paul Mitchell getting 35 years of federal prison time began nearly four years ago with a 911 call.
The woman on the line, as the Observer's Eric Nicholson reported at the time, was frantic. She told the dispatcher she'd been kidnapped the day before. She didn't know where she was, she said, but she knew she was in a house with one of her kidnappers and could see a Dodge pickup parked outside from the tiny bathroom window.
After the woman, known in court documents as K.R., gave the 911 operator that last detail, the line went dead. Shortly thereafter, police triangulated K.R.'s location to a single block in Duncanville and spotted the Dodge pickup parked behind 619 Willowbrook Circle.
K.R. bolted from the house through the front door and ran toward police.
A few minutes later, Mitchell opened the house glass storm door and stood still for a half minute, seemingly ignoring orders from police before stepping back inside the house. When he reappeared shortly thereafter, cops Tasered and arrested him.
After Mitchell's arrest, K.R. told police that she'd come to Dallas from Oklahoma to pick up some extra cash from a weekend of stripping. After a successful Wednesday-Saturday run, she was looking for a Sunday night gig. A new friend told K.R. about a private party where she could make $400 for some dancing, a little flirting and no sex.
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A man named Gregory Steven Hunt picked her up for the party and drove her to a seemingly abandoned house. When K.R. stepped inside, she saw Mitchell, who she recognized as the boyfriend of her new friend who told her about the party. Mitchell pulled a gold and silver handgun on K.R. and told her to do whatever Hunt wanted. Hunt then groped and raped K.R. while Mitchell stood guard with the gun. After Hunt finished, he said "I could sell that in Mexico for $5,000," according to court documents.
Eventually, Mitchell, Hunt and K.R. moved to the house from which K.R. was rescued which, it turned out, belonged to Mitchell's mother. K.R. found Mitchell's cell phone while he was outside and made her call to police from the bathroom.
Hunt pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping in April 2015 and was sentenced to 204 months in federal prison. Mitchell elected to go to trial in August 2015. After two weeks of testimony, a Dallas federal jury convicted him of one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and one count of kidnapping
“The sentence imposed today reflects the egregiousness of Mitchell’s conduct in this case,” U.S. Attorney Parker said Tuesday. “It is difficult to imagine the level of suffering his victim experienced. The sentence handed down today takes into account that suffering and ensures that Mitchell will never again commit such crimes.”