PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — Walter Harold Mitchell III, who is accused of throwing body parts in central Arizona, was set to amend his plea to not guilty in the case on Monday. Instead, he chose to represent himself and go to trial.
Mitchell is charged with 29 counts of concealing or leaving a corpse. Authorities linked him to remains found on the outskirts of Prescott in late December 2020 through accompanying tags and medical gauze.
Mitchell was living in Chino Valley, a two-hour drive north of Prescott, when he was arrested. He had moved there earlier in 2020 from Washington state, where he owned a business that handled corpses for research. The remains which included arms, legs and heads have been linked to nine people, according to Yavapai County Assistant District Attorney Casi Harris.
Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Krista Carman scheduled Mitchell’s five-day trial for late August to September after telling him he was responsible for all aspects of his defense, although she would appoint an advisory lawyer.
Mitchell, 60, said he understands and considers himself an expert on his case.
“I wanted a trial from the very beginning,” he said. “I’ve been very patient and I believe I can win at my trial.”
Mitchell faces a maximum of more than 22 years in prison if convicted on all charges. He is being held in Yavapai County Jail.
The prosecution withdrew a plea deal that would have made Mitchell eligible for probation.