Ronnie Chris Mitchell
31 Years Old

December 23, 1962 to October 2, 1994

Ronnie Chris Mitchell was 31 years old when he was murdered on October 2, 1994. Ronnie had finished High School at a Technical School in West Virginia and studied auto mechanics. After high school he moved to Florida and began working at a Ford Dealership in Sarasota, Florida. He was sent to several schools and training seminars for his profession as an auto mechanic. He was a car air-conditioning specialist and was the youngest Master Mechanic in the Ford Family in 1994.

Ronnie was a fun-loving, kind, easy going, gentle person who smiled all the time. Ronnie's favorite football team was the New York Giants and he loved car racing and working on his drag car. He loved NASCAR and NHRA racing and was a member of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). He raced at DeSoto Drag Strip in Bradenton, Florida. Ronnie was working on a new car that was never finished when he was murdered. Ronnie had many friends and relatives scattered among many states. Everyone who ever met him liked him. After his death, his friends and Pastor had a memorial missing man formation with race cars Ronnie had worked on previously at the beginning of an event for a Saturday night race. He was remembered as a friend to everyone and a large banner was signed from fellow racers in Bradenton, Florida and St. Petersburg, Florida for our family with wonderful messages.

Ronnie's parents, Sherry and Murl, a brother Douglas, and a sister Judy, survive him. Ronnie's only niece, Andrea, and nephew, Cameron, also survive with loving memories of their Uncle Ronnie.

Ronnie is gone from our lives, but never gone from our hearts.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Ronnie Chris Mitchell was murdered by his ex-girlfriend on October 2, 1994 in Sarasota, Florida. Ronnie and Linda Koch (pronounced Cook) were clearing out the apartment they formerly occupied. They spent four and one-half hours there before she claimed he wanted sex and she did not, precipitating in a struggle on a bed. She grabbed a .22 caliber Derringer she had kept under her pillow and shot him twice. Ronnie was shot at close range in the forehead two times. She confessed the shooting at the hospital where she was taken. She was found to have no injuries. The confession was not taped. She was then charged with second-degree murder, only to be released the next morning after posting $20,000 bail.

After the right to a speedy trial elapsed (175 days), the State Attorney's office declined to prosecute Linda Koch and the charges were dropped. The prosecutor's office felt it would be too difficult to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the case was not a winnable case. The State said they could not disprove the version of events related by Linda's current boyfriend, a Sarasota City Police Detective, J. Curtis Holmes. Sheriff's detectives tried to re-enact the version Holmes described. They could not. The case was never taken to a Grand Jury or a Coroner's inquest, because the State Attorney would have to permit this and he did not.

Insurance policies were found that made Linda Koch the beneficiary on both policies. The largest policy became effective July 1, 1994, just three months prior to Ronnie's murder. Ronnie also gave her large amounts of money over a ten to twelve month period after he moved out of the apartment they shared. A civil trial was held in 1996 that did not allow Linda to collect any money. She was found by a jury of six to be responsible for Ronnie's death. Under a Florida State Statute the court said she could not benefit from the insurance proceeds because she caused his death. Linda Koch is now married to Detective Holmes, and they live in Sarasota, Florida, near our family and are now parents of a baby girl, born in May, 1999. Koch served no time for the murder except a few short hours in the County Jail in Sarasota, Florida.

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Ronnie MItchell