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Indianapolis man dies of injuries suffered as infant in 1988

Coroner's office rules man's death a homicide
patrick mitchell
Posted at 8:09 AM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 11:30:16-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A 34-year-old Indianapolis man who was seriously hurt as an infant in 1988 has died of his injuries, according to police.

Patrick Mitchell was two months old when he was injured on Jan. 6, 1988, in the 500 block of Vine Street. A news release from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said Mitchell died of his injuries Saturday.

The Marion County Coroner’s Office determined Mitchell’s death to be a homicide. It will be counted as a 2022 homicide, according to IMPD.

In 1988, 22-year-old John Coleman was convicted of felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury and served time in the Indiana Department of Corrections.

IMPD initially said the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office determined Coleman cannot be charged with murder due to the prohibition of double-jeopardy.

However, the department issued a correction Monday afternoon saying the prosecutor's office has not yet made a determination if double-jeopardy will be a factor.

Joseph Hoffmann, the Harry Pratter Professor of Law at Indiana University Bloomington, called the case "legally complex" with questions involving Indiana and federal U.S. Constitutional law.

"The obvious question in a case like this is 'what is the same offense?' Is the battery that he was convicted of back in 1988 the same offense as a potential homicide charge today?" Hoffman said.

IMPD told WRTV in an email Monday night that they don't have information on whether or not Coleman was convicted by a jury or if a plea agreement was reached. Hoffman says that and other factors could play a role in whether or not new charges are filed in this case.

"It's not a clear cut situation. To be honest, the Indiana law of double jeopardy is a little bit in turmoil right now because the lower courts in Indiana are trying to make sense out of the new test that was declared by the Indiana Supreme Court, and it's not 100% clear how it would come out as a matter of Indiana law," Hoffman said.

"IMPD will make additional investigative steps and will then present the case to the MCPO’s for a determination if charges are possible," IMPD Lt. Shane Foley said in an email.

Hoffman says the fact that Mitchell was a minor will have no effect on double jeopardy but will affect what crime Mitchell was charged with back then and under current law.

You can watch previous WRTV reports on Patrick Mitchell's injuries below.

1988: Patrick Mitchell injured
Man in court for Patrick Mitchell injury