A 55-year-old woman is accused of bribing a witness to prevent him from testifying against her son in a robbery trial.
Clarene Mitchell pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of bribing a witness and tampering with a witness. Her bail was set at $100,000.
Her son, Michael Nelson, was standing trial last month for first-degree robbery after allegedly holding up another man at gunpoint Oct. 1, 2011, in Lakewood. The victim’s wallet was found at Mitchell’s Seattle home, police said.
Pierce County prosecutors announced at the trial they had been unable to reach the victim. But as the case was about to be handed to jurors, the victim appeared. He told prosecutors and Nelson’s defense attorney that Mitchell had contacted him six times and ordered him not to testify.
According to charging papers:
When the victim refused during a meeting with Mitchell, a man with her told the victim that people who testify can “get shot.”
Mitchell persuaded the victim to sign a notarized statement saying he was drunk when he was robbed and could not pinpoint Nelson. Mitchell then paid him $550.
The victim “overcame his fear and hesitation and appeared for trial,” court documents state.
A judge declared a mistrial in Nelson’s robbery case.stacia.glenn@ thenewstribune.com