The man acquitted in the 2011 homicide of a local cab driver has now been charged in federal court for robbing her at the time of her death.
Johnathan Dewayne Mitchell, 38, of Cedar Rapids, was indicted Tuesday of one count of robbery affecting commerce in U.S. District Court. The indictment states Mitchell obstructed commerce — the cab company service — by “violently” robbing Catherine “Cathy” Stickley, 54, who was driving a Century Cab on April 29, 2011.
His initial appearance in federal court hasn’t been set. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
Mitchell was acquitted in 2013 by a Story County jury for first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the homicide of Stickley, 54, of Cedar Rapids, who was stabbed to death that night in 2011. The trial was moved from Linn County due to pretrial publicity.
According to testimony, Stickley was stabbed 18 times in the neck and head. Mitchell’s prints were found in Stickley’s blood in the cab. The prosecution claimed Mitchell needed money for crack cocaine and he killed Stickley to get it.
Mitchell was out on bond pending a 2010 assault when Stickley was killed. Mitchell admitted during the trial that he stole money from Stickley to buy crack cocaine but he said she was already dead, lying outside the cab on the ground in the 1500 block alley between Second and Third avenues SE.
Mitchell was the only suspect in the homicide and the case hasn’t been reopened.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Young said he couldn’t comment on the case or explain why Mitchell has been charged five years later.
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Greg Buelow, Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman, also declined comment, since it’s being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Mitchell is currently in prison, serving five years on a forgery charge in Johnson County. He was sentenced to seven years in 2013 for a 2010 assault on Arvin Druvenga and a separate forgery charge.
Mitchell at the plea hearing admitted to beating Druvenga with a wooden handled tool Sept. 25, 2010 while Druvenga and his wife were visiting Cedar Rapids to watch a relative play in a Coe College football game. Druvenga and his wife were watching the game from their parked car on 15th Street.
According to court records, Druvenga suffered skull fractures, a large cut on the top of his head that required eight staples and numerous skin abrasions. He also had to wear a neck brace for several weeks as result of the assault.
Mitchell was sentenced to seven years on those charges but was released on parole in August 2014, according to Iowa Department of Corrections records.