News Staff Report
An Atmore teen who fired several shots into a crowd of his Escambia County High School classmates – not on the school campus – and left one paralyzed in February, is back behind bars after he repeatedly violated one of the major provisions of his bond.
According to court documents and published reports, on May 10 Escambia County Circuit Court Judge Bert Rice revoked the $100,000 bond posted in early March on behalf of 17-year-old De’Andre Lamar Mitchell.
The revocation came after a community corrections officer testified that on at least four occasions since he was fitted with a GPS tracking device, the teen allowed the battery in the electronic ankle bracelet to either die or run low enough that he couldn’t be monitored.
Escambia County Community Corrections officer Matt Rabren testified that he outfitted the teen with the tracking device on March 6, when Mitchell was released from jail. One of the stipulations of his bond was that he wear the GPS tracker.
The monitoring device, he said, begins to vibrate and the green light begins to flash red when its battery is running low.
Rabren said he explained to Mitchell that the device’s battery would need frequent charging. But, he told the court, on three occasions — April 2, April 8 and April 24 — before the bond revocation request was filed, Mitchell let the battery die or run too low for monitoring. Officials contacted Mitchell each of those times, and the battery was recharged each time.
He said the fourth time occurred around 5 a.m. on May 9. Rabren received an email notification that Mitchell’s device had less than 12 percent battery life left. The device shut down a few minutes after 5 a.m., he testified, and wasn’t reactivated until almost 11 a.m.
The judge didn’t buy Mitchell’s assertion that he was asleep when the device stopped working and recharged it soon after he awoke. As to the previous three times, Mitchell said the device sent a message to community corrections personnel each time before he could get it charged.
District Attorney Steve Billy said the loss of battery power to the GPS device “seems intentional,” and asked not only that Mitchell’s bond be revoked, but that the teen be held in the Escambia County Detention Center without bond “until the case is disposed of.”
Mitchell’s mother, 36-year-old Yashetta McKenzie of Atmore, was arrested for complicity in the shooting just moments after she posted her son’s bond. One of his aunts, LaToya McKenzie, 33, also of Atmore, was also charged. Each of the women are free on bond, each charged with one count of attempted murder, the same charge as that levied against the teen.