by: Kevin McCarty Updated:
Family and friends of Linda Robinson said a prayer outside the courtroom where her accused killer was about to face charges 21 years after her murder. James Mitchell was arrested after cold-case detectives with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department matched DNA from blood found at the crime scene in February 1993 to Mitchell. The 51-year-old Mitchell is charged with stabbing Robinson to death, then setting her apartment on fire.
“This is a glorious day,” said Stephanie Robinson-Stewart, Robinson’s sister. “We’ve waited a long time for this and I just want to thank God for this day.”
Mitchell was arrested in Florida in early August. Detectives investigating Robinson’s murder in 1993 found blood spatters they determined could not have come from the victim. Samples were taken and saved. Improvements in DNA technology helped investigators track the blood to Mitchell.
“I knew that someday, somebody was going to find out,” said Debbie Mewborn, who called herself Robinson’s mom even though she is not her biological mother. “If I didn’t live to see it, somebody was going to live to find out what had happened.”
Mitchell’s alleged motive for the killing isn’t known. He grew up near the Robinson family and knew Linda Robinson, although family members said the two were not friends.
“I watched him grow up,” said Robinson’s sister Sylvia Robinson. “He was always strange, he was always different, he was always standoffish.”
Mitchell pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. His bail was set at $2 million.