The victim, 48-year-old Garrick Bloom, was found unresponsive in his cell on August 29, and efforts to revive him proved unsuccessful.
According to a state trooper, Bloom, who had been convicted of multiple child rape charges, had
bruises all over his face and markings on his neck indicating he had been choked by some type of string.
Mitchell signed a plea deal during jury selection, pleading guilty to the lower charge of voluntary manslaughter. All other charges were withdrawn as part of the deal.
President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman sentenced Mitchell to seven-and-one-half years to 15 years.
The affidavit of probable cause stated that Mitchell told investigators he’d been drinking that day and was “passed out in his bunk” when Bloom woke him by touching him inappropriately. He stated that he jumped out of bed and assaulted Bloom, during which Bloom bit his finger, causing him to fly “into a rage.”
Mitchell said that he hit the call button during the assault, and again after he was done beating Bloom. “I think he’s dead,” Mitchell told the guards, according to the affidavit.
“I don’t know. I just snapped,” Mitchell said when he was asked why he strangled Bloom.
“I’m sure I was the cause of whatever happened from there,” he added.
Mitchell’s hand was extremely swollen following the attack, pictures showed.
According to two corrections officers, Mitchell told them that he’d tied the string around Bloom’s neck and tried to hang him to make it look like a suicide.
At the time of the assault, Mitchell was serving six years on separate convictions of felony theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
He was also convicted of four counts of aggravated assault in connection with another incident at a different prison, to which he pleaded guilty to one count of simple assault. He received a consecutive sentence of 12 to 24 months.
In December 2014, Mitchell was moved to Houtzdale. He is currently in SCI-Smithfield, Huntingdon.
Bloom was serving a 40- to 80-year sentence from October 2019 after he was convicted of raping a child in Clarion County.
Sources: Explore Clarion