Man pleads not guilty to 2011 murder

Convicted felon accused of fatally beating Vancouver woman with a baseball bat

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: October 10, 2012, 5:32 PM

 

A convicted felon accused of fatally beating a Vancouver woman with a baseball bat in 2011 pleaded not guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder.

Mitchell O’Brien, 33, is serving a prison sentence at Stafford Creek Corrections Center for first-degree robbery. He was charged last month in connection with the June 27, 2011, death of Deneace McSpadden after prosecutors say DNA evidence linked him to the crime.

O’Brien was arraigned on the murder charge before Clark County Superior Court Judge Dan Stahnke. Trial was set for Dec. 10.

McSpadden, 57, was found beaten to death in the living room of her duplex at 1006 S.E. Morgan Road, off Middle Way and just north of state Highway 14.

According to court documents, investigators seized evidence from a bloody aluminum bat found next to McSpadden’s body and sent the evidence to a state crime lab; evidence from the grip of the bat showed a match with O’Brien.

Investigators questioned O’Brien, a friend of McSpadden’s, about the DNA evidence. He said he had given McSpadden the bat as a present in March 2011, and that’s why his DNA was on it, according to court documents.

However, McSpadden’s boyfriend said O’Brien’s story wasn’t true and that the couple had owned that bat since 2010.

In addition, court documents state that investigators obtained a skateboard belonging to O’Brien to compare the DNA profiles of the bat and the skateboard; both had the same DNA profile, according to lab results returned in August.

A motive hasn’t been revealed.

O’Brien is serving a 41-month sentence in connection to a robbery that occurred four days after the homicide. He held up a Chase bank at 7411 N.E. 117th Ave. on July 1 by presenting a demand note to a bank teller, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and was sentenced Sept. 7, 2011.

Laura McVicker: http://www.twitter.com/col_courts; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.