UPDATE: Only a day after the case was turned over to them, the jury in the Johnathan Mitchell murder trial found the 35-year-old Cedar Rapids not guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery.
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The jury started deliberating Tuesday afternoon in the murder trial of Johnathan Mitchell, who is accused of slaying a Cedar Rapids cab driver in 2011. Join Gazette Reporter Trish Mehaffey’s live verdict watch starting 9 a.m. today from the Story County Courthouse.
Mitchell, 35, of Cedar Rapids, is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery. He is accused of killing Cathy Stickley, 55, a Century Cab driver, April 29, 2011. According to testimony, Stickley’s body was found by her vehicle in the 1500 block alley between 2nd and 3rd avenues SE. Stickley was stabbed 18 times in the neck and head, according to testimony.
Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday after nearly two weeks of testimony. The jury started deliberating about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday.
The prosecution claimed Mitchell robbed and killed Stickley that night to pay for crack cocaine. Mitchell’s bloody prints were found in the cab, according to testimony.
Mitchell testified Monday he stole money from Stickley that night to buy crack cocaine but he claimed she was already dead when he arrived in the alley. The defense also accused Stickley of drug-related activity that night which would give someone else a motive for murder.
Dawn Stickley, Cathy Stickley’s daughter, testified Monday her mother was an honest person, and she wasn’t using or selling drugs.
Mitchell, who has previous convictions, also is charged in a separate case from 2010 with beating a man near Coe College. He is charged with willful injury, causing bodily injury, and was out on bond in that case during the time Stickley was killed.