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Not guilty plea entered for suspect in murder of Marion Co. deputy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Five armed Marion County deputies on Friday morning guided Orlando D. Mitchell into a courtroom.

The Indianapolis man is accused in the Sept. 16, 2022, murder of the 32-year-old mother of his child, Krystal Walton, and Monday’s homicide of 61-year-old sheriff’s deputy John Durm.

The 34-year-old grimaced in discomfort as he was seated at a table. He made eye contact with reporters and other members of the public who were seated just a few feet away from him. 

Judge Mark Smith, a Superior Court judge from Hendricks County who is a special judge for the deputy’s murder case, on Friday entered a not-guilty plea for Mitchell. He’s charged in that case with two counts of murder, a count of robbery, and a count of escape.

Mitchell barely looked at the judge, and quietly answered “yes” several times when asked if he understood the charges and his rights.

According to court records, Mitchell has opted to remained silent and not said a word to investigators.  

The attack on Durm is described in court records. Durm was unloading Mitchell from a sheriff’s van at the Community Justice Campus, Marion County’s jail and court facility on the east side, after a medical appointment. Mitchell forced the chain of his handcuffs over Durm’s head and wrapped the chain around his neck, killing the deputy.

Williams had a slight change in demeanor when the judge mentioned “death penalty.” Smith said, “Mr Mitchell, in the case, the state of Indiana has filed on a separate page in the case seeking the death penalty in this case.”

Then the Marion County prosecutor listed four reasons Mitchell should be put to death, including the killing of Durm and the stealing of a jail transport van to escape.

The judge, continuing to discuss the death sentence, added, “The next aggravating circumstance the state is alleging is, Mr. Mitchell, is on or about July 10, 2023, in Marion County, Indiana, Orlando Mitchell did commit the murder of Deputy John Durm and, at the time of that murder, Orlando Mitchell had committed another murder of Krystal Walton on or about Sept. 16, 2022.”

Walton is the mother of Mitchell’s children. Mitchell is accused of shooting her in front of a church day care facility and then getting into a shootout with police later that same day. Mitchell jury trial in that case is scheduled for Oct. 24 in Marion Superior Court 29, online court records show.

Friday’s hearing, one of the first in Indiana to be opened to cameras after a change by the Indiana Supreme Court’s rules, lasted less than 10 minutes. Williams was then taken from the courtroom by the same five heavily armed deputies.   

The judge did not set a trial date, but scheduled a pretrial hearing for Sept. 8.

In the meantime, Mitchell was to be held without bond in the custody of the Indiana Department of Correction.

News 8’s Gregg Montgomery contributed to this report.

Deputy John Durm’s family attends a memorial (WISH Photo)

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