Not guilty plea in stray bullet killing

October 23, 2009 10:20:03 AM PDT
The stray bullet suspect Jamal Blair pleaded not guilty in Bronx Criminal Court on Friday morning. The 18-year-old from the Bronx was held without bail.

Blair is accused of shooting and killing 92-year-old Sadie Mitchell on Tuesday as she cooked dinner and prepared to watch television.

Police charged Blair, who was caught on surveillance video near the scene of the Williamsbridge murder. He is charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Blair was identified after detectives interviewed numerous witnesses to the crime in an around-the-clock investigation. He was placed in lineups Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Mitchell's family members continue to grieve.

"When someone is in their 90s, it's inevitable," the victim's daughter, Sharon Venroy, said. "You expect this, but not like this, not at the hands of some punks."

After an exhausting trip from Virginia, Venroy hugged her mother's neighbors, John and Mary Fields.

They tried to save her mother's life and later broke the news that Mitchell was murdered.

"I'm trying to hold it together," Venroy said. "Displaying anger doesn't help anyone."

Police say a group of kids got into a fight outside Mitchell's East 224th Street home around 5:30 Tuesday afternoon.

The elderly woman was cooking dinner, getting ready to watch game shows, when a bullet burst through her first floor window, hitting the widow in the back.

"She said 'Mrs. Fields get over here. I been shot,'" Mary Fields explained.

"She was on the floor by the window. My wife yelled for an ambulance down the street," John Fields said.

It was too late. Mitchell was pronounced dead at Jacobi Medical Center.

Mitchell lived in the Williamsbridge home for more than 50 years.

Even when her husband died more than 20 years ago, she refused to move.

Despite age and ailment, she loved volunteering, her neighbors and her home.

"A well-known person. A selfless person. Not many of those around," her daughter said.

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