PRESCOTT, Ariz. — Walter Harold Mitchell III, who is accused of dumping body parts around central Arizona, was scheduled to change his not guilty plea in the case Monday. Instead, he opted to represent himself and go to trial.
Mitchell is charged with 29 felony counts of concealing or abandoning a dead body. Authorities linked him to the remains found on the outskirts of Prescott in late December 2020 through tags and medical gauze that accompanied them.
Mitchell was living in Chino Valley, a two-hour drive north of Prescott, when he was arrested. He had moved there earlier in 2020 from Washington state, where he owned a business that managed cadavers for research. The remains that included arms, legs and heads have been linked to nine people, according to Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Casi Harris.
Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Krista Carman set Mitchell’s five-day trial for late August into September after letting him know he’s responsible for all aspects of his defense, although she would appoint advisory counsel.
Mitchell, 60, said he understood and considered himself a subject-matter expert in his case.
“I’ve wanted a trial from the very beginning,” he said. “I’ve been very patient, and I believe I can win at my trial.”
Mitchell faces a maximum of more than 22 years in prison if convicted of all the charges. He is being held at the Yavapai County jail.
The prosecution withdrew a plea agreement that would have made Mitchell eligible for probation.