HARTFORD — A Bloomfield High School football player accused of fatally stabbing a male friend last month had been sexually assaulted by the man in the past, according to court documents.
The allegation was one of many points that Tarence Mitchell’s lawyer, Morgan P. Rueckert, made in a motion requesting a reduction of his client’s bail. The 20-page document, filed Friday in Superior Court, asked that Mitchell’s bail be reduced from $1 million to $500,000.
A judge on Tuesday rejected the request, but Mitchell’s family posted the bail with help from a bail bondsman hours after his court appearance.
The lawyer wrote that his client’s admission that he fatally stabbed Ronald “Rondale” Taylor, also known as “City,” could support defenses that Mitchell was defending himself or that he didn’t intend to kill Taylor. Judge Joan Alexander questioned the self-defense suggestion during Mitchell’s court appearance and noted that Mitchell initially lied about what had happened, blaming unidentified people wearing hoodies for the stabbing.
Prosecutor Thomas Garcia told the judge that Mitchell, by his own admission, chased down the unarmed man twice during the fatal confrontation and stabbed him multiple times.
No one directly mentioned the allegation that Mitchell had been sexually assaulted in court.
But in his motion, Rueckert wrote that Taylor, “an adult, provided drugs to and sexually assaulted the defendant when he was a minor, and then attempted to use the threat of disclosing the defendant’s past victimization, along with the threat of, and actual, physical violence to force the defendant to engage in sexual contact.”
Taylor had posted on Facebook that Mitchell was a “Bloomfield gay football player,” Mitchell told police. He said Taylor left the post up for five hours before deleting it but later threatened to post it again if Mitchell didn’t stop distancing himself from him.
In his motion, Rueckert pointed out that his client has no criminal record and that he has strong family ties to “contributing members of the community” who include his mother, an administrator of special projects at the Capitol Region Education Council, and his grandmother, a paralegal specialist at the attorney general’s office.
After posting bail on Tuesday, Mitchell avoided reporters and rushed to a waiting car, a jacket draped over his head.
“I’m just happy to have my son home,” said Tyra Smith, Mitchell’s mother. “We have a long road, but I would rather he fight from home than in prison.”
She said she hopes the Bloomfield High School senior can earn his diploma and graduate on time.
Under the conditions of his release, Mitchell will be under house arrest and must wear an electronic monitoring device. He will not be permitted to leave his home except for court or an emergency. It wasn’t clear Tuesday whether he will be tutored.
Smith was one of seven people who made positive comments about Mitchell in letters that Rueckert included in his motion. Bloomfield High School’s principal, a guidance counselor, a teacher and the football coach were among the others.
According to the police report about the Nov. 21 stabbing, Mitchell told investigators he met Taylor about two years ago through his stepbrother. A month or two after meeting Taylor, “he was smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol at ‘City’s’ house,” Mitchell said.
He told police that he and Taylor engaged in sexual relations. Mitchell just wanted to be friends with Taylor, but Taylor “wanted more than that and wanted to have a relationship with him,” the report says.
The day of the stabbing, Taylor texted Mitchell and told him that he was coming over that day and “it wasn’t going to end well,” Mitchell told investigators. Mitchell said he took this to mean that Taylor would end the relationship and may do something “outrageous.”
Mitchell put a steak knife in his right front pants pocket, he told police. He got into the front passenger seat of Taylor’s car, and Taylor, who was in the driver’s seat, asked to see his cell phone. Taylor became jealous that Mitchell had sent cheerful text messages to girls, the report says.
Taylor started to yell at Mitchell and positioned his pointer and middle fingers like a gun, the report says. He started “mushing” the side of Mitchell’s head, Mitchell told police. Taylor hit Mitchell in the face, and Mitchell pulled the knife out of his pocket and stabbed Taylor twice, he told police.
Taylor climbed over him, and Mitchell stabbed him as he did, the report says. Taylor opened the passenger side door and started running away. Mitchell started chasing Taylor, who said, “‘I take it back, I take it back. I didn’t mean to do this,'” Mitchell told investigators.
They ran into the front yard of a neighboring house at 27 Hill Farm Road, and Taylor turned toward him and held his hands up in the air, the report says. Mitchell said he stabbed him again, according to the report.
Taylor fell, got up and ran again, this time into Mitchell’s front yard at 24 Hill Farm Road, the report says. Mitchell followed him again, he told police, and stabbed him one last time — five times in all, the report says.
He left the knife in his back, the report says; Taylor pulled it out.
Taylor was stabbed by another teen in the summer of 2012, according to court documents.
In that case, a teenager who is younger than Mitchell allegedly stabbed Taylor on the left side of his torso. Taylor said the teen — who had slept over at Taylor’s house the night before — had a blank expression on his face during the attack, according to court documents.
The disposition of that case isn’t public because the teen was prosecuted as a juvenile.
Christine Dempsey, Hartford Courant.