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Murder Suspect Steals Prison Van After Using Handcuff Chain to Strangle Sheriff's Deputy to Death: Cops

murder suspect allegedly strangles sheriffs deputy to death indiana
Source: Indianapolis Metro Police Department; Marion County Sheriff's Office

Jul. 15 2023, Published 9:48 a.m. ET

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An Indiana man already in custody on murder charges allegedly used a chain from his handcuffs to choke a sheriff’s deputy to death before stealing a prison van and trying to escape, according to authorities.

On the morning of July 10, Orlando Mitchell, 34, allegedly assaulted Marion County Sheriff Deputy John Durm, 61, while they were returning from a medical appointment, officials said.

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The alleged attack on Durm was captured on video, according to WISH-TV.

In the video, Durm allegedly can be seen arriving back to the prison and walking towards the rear of the prison van to open the door. Mitchell then steps behind Durm, places his hands around Durm’s neck and allegedly using “the chain linking his handcuffs to choke” the officer, officials said.

The pair fell to the ground in a struggle and Mitchell continued to choke the deputy until “Durm quits moving,” according to WISH-TV.

Mitchell then stood up, rifled through Durm’s lifeless body to find the handcuff key, removed his handcuffs and drove off in the jail van before he crashed it into a wooden light pole, officials said.

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Mitchell was taken into custody and Durm was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Mitchell was being treated for injuries sustained in the crash, but he will be placed under arrest for murder once he is released, authorities said.

According to officials, Mitchell had been in the Marion County jail since September 2022, when he was accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Krystal Walton.

He has been accused of shooting Walton, the mother of his son, after she dropped off her children at daycare, police said.

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Before Walton’s death, Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of domestic battery in connection with Walton, authorities said.

“Marion County Sheriff Deputy John Durm made the ultimate sacrifice, and we owe him our utmost gratitude," IGovernor Eric Holcomb said in a statement.

Durm was a 38-year veteran of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and came from a law enforcement family. He is survived by a wife, four children, his parents and several other family members.


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