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Man pleads guilty to raping 73-year-old birdwatcher in Central Park

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A 43-year-old man has pleaded guilty to raping an elderly woman while she was birdwatching in Central Park last year, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced on Tuesday.

David Mitchell admitted approaching the victim, 73, on Sept. 12, 2012, and forcefully hitting her head on the ground. After raping her, Mitchell fled with the woman's camera bag.

"David Mitchell is a predator who targets the elderly, taking advantage of his victims' age and size," Vance said. "In this case, he raped and robbed a 73-year-old woman in broad daylight in Central Park, before leaving her bloodied and bruised on a mulch path."

At age 18, Mitchell was charged with the rape and murder of an 83-year-old woman in his hometown of Jenkinjones, W.Va. He confessed to the crime but was acquitted when a psychiatrist testified that his IQ was too low for him to understand his confession.

He was later charged for raping and robbing another woman in her 70s. The rape charge was dropped under a plea deal, and he served time for robbery.

In 2002, he was suspected in the death of a 54-year-old Jenkinjones woman, but was never charged.

Mitchell also pleaded guilty on Tuesday to pulling a knife on a man in Central Park in a dispute in August 2012. The man was not injured.

He is set to be sentenced on Oct. 16 on charges of rape, possession of a weapon and robbery as a sexually motivated felony.

 
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