TACOMA, WA – Today a jury convicted James Edward Mitchell, 52, of murder in the first degree for the 1993 stabbing death of Linda Robinson. In 2013, cold-case detectives matched Mitchell’s DNA to blood collected at the crime scene. Mitchell is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. in room 214 of the County-City Building in Tacoma.
“This is another success story for justice from our cold case project,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Collaboration between the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Tacoma Police Department and our office has resulted in charges in nine cold homicide cases.”
On Feb. 6, 1993, Robinson’s 7-year-old niece knocked on a neighbor’s door and said, “My aunt’s dead and there’s a fire.” The neighbor rushed to the apartment and saw Robinson lying on the kitchen floor, face down, covered in blood. There was food burning on the stove, which caused the fire alarm to sound.
Robinson had been stabbed 10 times in her back, including a fatal stab wound to her lungs. She was holding a telephone handset, but the cord had been cut. In addition to the blood in the kitchen, police collected blood drops in Robinson’s bedroom and bathroom. Detectives were not able to identify any suspects in the case, and the investigation was eventually suspended.
In 2013, cold-case detectives reopened the investigation, submitting the blood collected in the bedroom and bathroom to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab for DNA analysis. The lab was able to develop a DNA profile, which identified Mitchell as the donor. Mitchell’s DNA profile was in the system as a result of several felony convictions in the early 2000’s. Detectives learned that Mitchell and Robinson grew up across the street from one another.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office