Wife accused of killing husband

By MARK ROGERS,

Victim shot inside Dale Street home

A Columbia woman is facing up to life in prison after allegedly shooting and killing her husband inside their home Friday.

Holly Ann McCraw Mitchell, 29, was being held at the Marion County Jail on $540,000 bond as of press deadline.

She’s charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Shawn Patrick “Chunk” Mitchell, 33. He died of a single gunshot wound to the head at Marion General Hospital after being shot inside the couple’s home at 721 Dale St. near 4 p.m. Friday.

Police Chief Michael Kelly said Chunk Mitchell was shot with a handgun, though other weapons, including an AR-15, were recovered from the house.

Police spoke with Holly Mitchell inside and outside of the home shortly after the shooting before leading her away in handcuffs to a patrol car. Assistant Chief Rita Pickering said she interviewed Holly Mitchell Friday after her arrest and then again Saturday before the charges were filed.

Pickering said neighbors reported hearing the couple arguing before the shooting.

Holly Mitchell is also charged with child abuse and possession of a controlled substance.

“The child abuse charge comes from the fact that she had a 3-year-old child with her at the time the shooting took place,” Pickering said Saturday afternoon outside Justice Court. “She has also been charged with the controlled substance charge and the child was allegedly in a home where crystal meth was used. We obtained a warrant and found a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine.”

Marion County Justice Court Judge Gwen Broom on Saturday set Mitchell’s bond at $540,000 on three charges: second-degree murder ($500,000), child abuse ($20,000) and possession of a controlled substance ($20,000). Second-degree murder carries of penalty of 20 years to life. It’s defined by state law as a killing “done in the commission of an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved heart, regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design.”

Holly Mitchell’s court-appointed attorney, Mike Kuykendall, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

A preliminary hearing was set for Thursday, although it’s common for people accused of crimes to waive those hearings.

Funeral arrangements for Chunk Mitchell were pending as of deadline Tuesday, but a GoFundMe account had been set up as well as a benefit account at Citizens Bank to help with funeral expenses and to help his two daughters, Emma and Marley. He is also survived by his parents, Beth and Fred Mitchell, and his brother, D.B. Mitchell.

Chunk Mitchell was a Columbia Academy graduate who was known for his smile and his umpiring around the Dean Griner baseball complex each summer.

“He didn’t umpire with his eyes, he umpired with his heart,” Keith Greenlee, who hired Mitchell as an umpire, said. “He loved the kids. When I got the phone call Friday night, my heart sank.”

Greenlee said Chunk Mitchell was a natural.

“He came to me when he was 14,” Greenlee said. “I was over the umpires back then. He wanted to umpire. I said, ‘Chunk, you’re a little bit young. Why don’t you wait a year or two?’ He just kept on and he was persistent, and I finally gave him a chance. He got out there and he did well. It just impressed me, and he turned out to be one of my better umpires.”

Greenlee said Chunk Mitchell’s dedication was unmatched.

“There was one time he split his pants during a game, and he just went upstairs and took a stapler and stapled his pants together so he wouldn’t have to leave the ballpark,” he said. “You couldn’t help but like him, and he’ll be missed. The kids lost a friend. I lost a friend.”

Casey Odom of Foxworth said he grew up with Chunk Mitchell in church.

“He went with me to the altar because I was afraid to go up by myself,” he said.

Odom said he’ll never forget an adventure the pair had with fireworks.

“There was a time we were at his house in July, and we’d gotten fireworks from my grandpa’s place,” he said. “We were shooting them and as boys being boys, we started a bottle rocket war. About that time, Chunk’s mom opened the door to check on us and Chunk went to throw a bottle rocket. Instead of flying at me, it flew at Mrs. Beth and went straight for her hair. She screamed and stomped and we were, of course, in trouble. After that, Mr. Fred shut us down.”

Odom also said the pair enjoyed church trips and ballgames over the years.

“He knew about my struggles and always gave me encouragement,” he said. “Losing him is like losing a piece of me.”

 

Pictured Above: Holly Ann McCraw Mitchell reacts while being frisked  Friday afternoon outside her home at 721 Dale St. following the fatal shooting of her husband, Shawn Patrick “Chunk” Mitchell, inside the house. She is charged with second-degree murder. | Photo by Charlie Smith