116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The family of a cabdriver who was brutally stabbed 10 times after being robbed by her fare has waited more than 11 years to see justice, find peace and start healing.
Johnathan Mitchell, 44, of Cedar Rapids, pleaded guilty in August to robbery affecting commerce just before testimony was to begin in his federal trial. The case had been pending because Mitchell had been found incompetent to stand trial off and on since 2016.
Mitchell refused to take antipsychotic medications prescribed by prison doctors. A judge finally ordered him to take the medications to remain competent.
Mitchell was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to the maximum term of 20 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Leonard Strand found Mitchell premeditated and intentionally killed cabdriver and mother Catherine Ann Boyle Stickley, 54, of Cedar Rapids, and robbed her to buy crack cocaine April 29, 2011.
Prosecutors argued Mitchell brought a knife with him that night and stabbed Stickley multiple times in the face and then “two deep, fatal wounds to her neck.”
According to a sentencing document, prosecutors also said Mitchell obstructed justice when he lied about his activities that night at his state court trial in 2013 and to FBI agents during the investigation.
Strand ordered Mitchell to pay $5,000 in restitution to the owner of the cab and $24,663 to the Iowa Crime Victim’s Fund, which helped the victim’s family with expenses associated with this case.
He must also serve three years of supervised release following his prison term.
Prosecutors filed a summary of the case after Mitchell pleaded in August, and a sentencing document earlier this month, which lays out what happened that deadly night.
Stickley, driving a Century Cab that evening, was approached by Mitchell about 9:20 p.m. while she was parked at the Hy-Vee on First Avenue NE, according to court documents. Two witnesses saw Mitchell get into the cab.
Mitchell asked Stickley to take him to Dancer’s Ranch, a strip club on Sixth Street SW, according to cab records. Each cab was fitted with equipment that periodically sent the cab’s location and speed to Century’s office, court documents stated.
A “crack dealer” told police he received a call from Mitchell on Stickley’s phone that night. Mitchell told the dealer he was coming to his house in the 1500 block of Second Avenue SE, according to court documents.
Authorities had Stickley’s and the dealer’s phone records, which show that call Mitchell made to the dealer, court documents stated.
The cab’s location at about 9:42 p.m. was on 15th Street, near A Avenue NE. Also at this time, Stickley’s daughter sent her a text about a television show, according to court documents. Stickley responded to her daughter about 9:44 p.m. When Stickley’s flip phone was found at the scene there was no blood on the phone.
Police responded about 10:02 p.m. after a 911 call was received about the cab in the alley behind the dealer’s house. They found Stickley dead lying on the ground outside her cab. Three of defendant’s palm prints were found in and on the vehicle. The prints were made in the victim’s blood.
Stickley’s blood was also found on a bank bag, the interior of the front passenger door, passenger door handle, the cab log, the exterior of the driver’s side rear door, and several other places in the car, according to court documents.
The dealer told police he saw Mitchell come from the alley where the cab was located, through a wooden gate behind the dealer’s house. When Mitchell arrived for the drugs, he started to “pat himself as if looking for money.” The dealer said he was concerned for his safety at that point and displayed a firearm.
Mitchell said he had to get money out of a car and went back to the alley through the wooden gate. He fatally stabbed Stickley for the money and returned a few minutes later. The dealer said Mitchell was “excited, agitated” when he returned. They made the exchange and Mitchell quickly left, going across Second Avenue SE, toward First Avenue.
Others on a nearby porch also said they saw Mitchell leave quickly after meeting with the dealer, according to court documents.
The dealer said he found blood on the money Mitchell gave him. The dealer went to the Hy-Vee on First Avenue to get rid of the cash. The store surveillance cameras showed the dealer in the store about 10:05 p.m., according to court documents.
Police also found a blood mark on the top of the wooden gate, which was Stickley’s blood left by Mitchell. They also found items stolen from the cab — Stickley’s purse and a key card — along the path from the wooden gate to the side of the house where Mitchell met with the dealer.
The bank bag with Stickley’s blood was found in a parking lot across the street along the path Mitchell ran when he left after meeting with the dealer, according to court documents.
While in jail pending federal trial, Mitchell told other inmates, who had planned to testify, that he killed Stickley during the robbery. One inmate, “I.C.” as identified in court documents, said Mitchell referred to himself at “Jason” from the movie Friday the 13th for “what he did to the cabdriver,” according to court documents. Mitchell also said he was on drugs that night and committed the robbery because he needed money.
Mitchell was acquitted in state court for first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in 2013 by a Story County jury. The case was moved from Linn County because of pretrial publicity.
Comments: (319) 398-8318; firstname.lastname@example.org