News and Press Releases

Richmond Man Sentenced to More Than 8 Years for Tampering with a Federal Witness

June 4, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. – Rodney Mitchell, 31, of Richmond, Virginia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge James R. Spencer to 97 months of imprisonment for his role in a plot to tamper with a government witness who was cooperating against his brother in a federal narcotics and firearms case. 

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge, DEA, Washington Field Division, made the announcement after Mitchell’s sentencing today.   

            On January 31, 2012, after a two day jury trial, Mitchell was convicted of one count of Conspiracy to Tamper with a Witness, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(k).  According to court documents, on July 13, 2011, Christopher Harris, Mark Lawrence, and the defendant’s brother, Walter Mitchell, Jr., were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute over a kilogram of heroin, along with several other charges.  In an effort to disrupt the federal case against his brother, Rodney Mitchell and two other individuals approached a cooperating witness, threatened and intimidated him, and attempted to persuade him not to assist in the prosecution.           

.           All three of the underlying defendants were later convicted.  On March 12, 2012, Walter Mitchell, Jr., was sentenced to 252 months for his role in the drug conspiracy and the witness tampering.  On April 2, 2012, Mark Lawrence was sentenced to 132 months for his role in the drug conspiracy.  On April 13, 2012, Christopher Harris was sentenced to 192 for his role in the drug conspiracy and the witness tampering.

            This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, in conjunction with the City of Richmond Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Siebert and Peter S. Duffey prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

            A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on


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