Court and prison records in Virginia and West Virginia show Mitchell has been in trouble with the law for virtually all of his adult life, with regular stays behind bars.
He was just 18 in January 1989 when he was charged with a rape and murder in McDowell County. Court records show he was acquitted on Feb. 16, 1990.
McDowell County Prosecutor Sid Bell didn't immediately return a phone message Friday. However, he told The Charleston Gazette that the victim in that case was an 86-year-old woman. Bell had been in private practice at the time and was appointed to defend Mitchell.
Mitchell was sentenced in 1990 on a first-degree robbery and attempted robbery in McDowell County, and he escaped for two days while serving that term, West Virginia Division of Corrections spokeswoman Susan Harding said. Mitchell was then convicted in the escape.
Although Mitchell was acquitted of the 1989 murder, Bell said his client was arrested again a few months later, charged with raping another McDowell County woman, this one in her 70s, and stealing her gun. Prosecutors dropped the sexual assault charge in that case under a plea bargain, Bell told the newspaper.
Mitchell was released from prison in February 2000, according to state corrections officials, but incarcerated again in December 2000 on a grand larceny charge. He finished that sentence in 2001.
In Virginia, corrections records show a long list of arrests, but only one prison sentence, for an abduction: Mitchell served eight years, starting in 2003, spokesman Larry Traylor said.
He was indicted in Tazewell County on charges he stole a vehicle and used it to abduct the former girlfriend, Saretta Mitchell, eluded officers and drove while intoxicated. Since David Mitchell's release last year, he's been convicted of violating probation three times.
David Mitchell has "always had psychological issues and emotional problems," Saretta Mitchell said, declining to elaborate on her relationship with him out of fear for her safety.
"We want something to be done so he doesn't hurt anyone else," she said, "but he's done enough damage to the family already."