Fayette grand jury indicts man in 2010 beating death

police say he admitted attack, claimed victim made advances

jkegley@herald-leader.comNovember 9, 2011 

A Fayette County grand jury indicted a man accused of killing Kerry "Sam" Mitchell, who was found beaten to death last winter.

Patrick Deon Ragland admitted to police that he attacked Mitchell after Mitchell made sexual advances at him, a Lexington police detective testified at Ragland's preliminary hearing last month.

Ragland "advised that Kerry had come onto him in a sexual way. Mr. Ragland stated he became upset and began striking Mr. Mitchell," detective David Richardson said at the hearing.

Richardson said police were originally led to Ragland when several witnesses reported seeing him at Mitchell's apartment on North Broadway in the weeks before the killing. Family and friends also told police there was a dispute between the men because Ragland had asked to move in with Mitchell, but Mitchell declined.

When police interviewed Ragland the day after Mitchell's body was found, he said he had not visited Mitchell recently, Richardson said.

But DNA results returned from the state police forensics lab showed that Ragland had been in Mitchell's apartment, Richardson said.

Ragland's DNA was found on Mitchell's body and on a frying pan police said was used as a murder weapon. The only other DNA in the apartment belonged to Mitchell, whose body was found in a closet, Richardson said.

Police interviewed Ragland on Sept. 28 after examining the DNA results. He was charged with murder that day after admitting to police that he had struck Mitchell, according to court documents.

Mitchell's body was found on Dec. 28 at an apartment building at the corner of Fifth Street and North Limestone. Richardson said it wasn't clear when the death occurred, but relatives said they thought Mitchell had been dead several days.

Kris Mitchell, Kerry Mitchell's brother, has said he last saw his brother on Dec. 22, and when Kerry didn't call or go home to Lawrenceburg for Christmas, the family suspected something was wrong.

Ragland is charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence and being a persistent felony offender.

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