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DURHAM, N.C. — A jury found 50-year-old Joseph Mitchell not guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday afternoon in what was called the “sleepwalking” murder trial. He was also found not guilty of two counts of attempted murder.
Mitchell claimed he was sleepwalking when he smothered his 4-year-old son and attacked two other children in September 2010.
Mitchell’s defense team called mental health experts to testify that Mitchell was suffering from stress and lack of sleep which caused him to sleepwalk. He claimed to have no recollection of the attack.
The prosecution, however, painted Mitchell as a desperate father facing foreclosure who was capable of killing his son because of it.
After the verdict was read, Christine Perolini, Mitchell’s ex-wife, exclaimed in the courtroom, “I failed. I couldn’t save him [my son].” She later was wheeled out of the courthouse on a stretcher.
Read more: WTVD