No death penalty for father charged with murdering son

Joseph Mitchell appears in court Thursday November 4, 2010

November 4, 2010 9:39:29 AM PDT
Prosecutors said Thursday that they will not seek the death penalty for a Durham father accused of killing his 4-year-old son and attempting to kill his two other children.

Forty-six-year-old Joseph Mitchell was arrested September 22 and charged with suffocating his 4-year-old son Blake at their home on Thistle Trace, in Durham/Hillsborough's Hardscrabble Plantation subdivision.

Authorities say he attempted to murder his other two children, ages 10 and 13, before locking himself inside a room where he tried to take his own life. Mitchell's wife was also at home at the time, but she was not hurt.

Authorities have said they believe financial troubles may have contributed to the crime - as the family's home was in foreclosure.

Court documents also revealed Mitchell was having an affair.

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