Man gets 70-year term for attempted murder

Havre de Grace resident shot wife, eluded police in high-speed chase in January

Baltimore & Region


A Havre de Grace man has been sentenced to 70 years in prison for attempting to kill his wife and threatening a friend who witnessed the shooting, an incident that left police searching for the suspect - and the victim - for four days in January.

William James Mitchell, 24, eluded police in a high-speed chase after shooting and injuring his wife, Tesheka Smythe, during an argument at the Darlington home of a friend Mitchell also attempted to shoot.

Four days later, Mitchell was arrested in Havre de Grace on a tip.

Police later found Smythe in the front yard of a home there - in addition to Mitchell's vehicle, which contained bloodstains, guns and ammunition, and was stuck in mud.

Smythe had been shot twice - once in the arm and once in the leg - and had bandages on her wounds, police said. Wanted on several outstanding warrants, Smythe had hid from officers and was not being held against her will, police said.

Mitchell, of the 100 block of Northway Drive, was found guilty in June of attempted first-degree murder, use of a handgun in a crime of violence and threatening a witness to a shooting, the county state's attorney said in a news release.

At his sentencing Monday, Mitchell described Assistant State's Attorney Tracey Delp as the "Picasso of the devil," according to the news release.

Circuit Judge Emory Plitt, who delivered the sentence, said Mitchell had received numerous opportunities to deal with substance abuse problems and Plitt described him as a "con artist," according to the release.

The couple arrived at the friend's home off Darlington Road about 2 a.m. Jan. 10, according to a police report.

Shortly after, the couple began arguing and Mitchell shot Smythe, police said.

Mitchell then pointed a gun at the friend, Timothy Bishop, and pulled the trigger, police said. The gun failed to discharge.

Bishop fled the home. When he returned, Mitchell and Smythe were gone.

In July 2002, Mitchell was convicted of failing to obey a law enforcement officer, a charge stemming from an altercation at a Havre de Grace home where the couple had been living, according to court documents.

Shortly after that incident, Mitchell's father told police his son was uncontrollable and that Smythe might be in danger, the documents say.

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