The very last text message that Pamela Ann Daughtry sent to her daughter was a plea for help. Pamela had been absolutely terrified of her 14-year-old son, Mitchell Evan Daughtry.
On the 18th of August, 2015, Pamela text her daughter, Kristen Daughtry, and asked her if she could come over and speak with Mitchell. She explained that he was angry and was not listening to her. Kristen didn’t see the text message immediately, but when she saw it that afternoon, she drove over to her mother’s home in Arlington, Jacksonville, Florida.1
By the time she arrived, it was already too late. Inside, she found her mother, Pamela, dead. Her body was found on the kitchen floor with a sheet covering her. She had been stabbed to death. Kristen immediately called police who arrived and cordoned off the scene. They quickly determined that there were no signs of a break in, indicating that whoever had killed Pamela must have already been inside the home.2
Mitchell was nowhere to be found but it was noticed that the family’s safe, which was where kitchen knives were stored because Mitchell had been suicidal in the past, had been broken into. Moreover, the family’s Volvo sport-utility vehicle was missing from the driveway.
Police put out a missing-child alert issue for Mitchell, but it wouldn’t take them long to find him. He had begun texting friends and family, informing them that he was travelling in the direction of Miami. He also messaged some people to tell them that he had killed his mother.
Mitchell would be found hours later in Sunny Isles Beach, just north of Miami. He had attempted to take his own life by ingesting pills. He was placed into a mental health facility under the Baker Act and was then transported back to Jacksonville.
He was booked into the Duval County jail on second-degree murder charges as well as theft of a motor vehicle.
Police needed to uncover some kind of motivation for the shocking murder. By most accounts, Mitchell was a normal kid. He was a student at Landmark Middle School and he used to spend time fishing with his father and was said to have a close relationship with his mother. “He always talked about how much he loved her,” recollected one of his friends, Kaitlynn Durham.3
However, there were some who said that Mitchell had angry outbursts. On one occasion, he randomly punched another student in the face on the bus ride home from school.
Investigation would uncover that at the time of the murder, Mitchell had been angry because his father, Barry Douglas Daughtry, was facing charges of lewd and lascivious molestation of somebody under the age of 12. He had a pre-trial hearing scheduled for the day after Pamela was murdered. The victims in that case were two girls, aged 8 and 10.4
Despite the fact that Mitchell was 14-years-old, he would be charged as an adult. It was decided that the severity of the crime was one of the determining factors.
He appeared in court where he pleaded not guilty to the murder of Pamela. However, in January of 2019, Mitchell appeared in court where he pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree murder as well as car theft and tampering with evidence.5
Shortly thereafter, it was the sentencing phase. Circuit Judge Steven Whittington ordered Mitchell to remain in juvenile detention until he turn 21-years-old before learning his sentence. He also decided that he must undergo a psychiatric evaluation within six months of his 21st birthday.6
- The Florida Times-Union, 2 September, 2015 – “14-Year-Old Charged in Mother’s Stabbing Death in Jacksonville Home”
- The Florida Times-Union, 18 August, 2015 – “Boy Safe in Miami After Disappearing from Home”
- Action News Jax, 2 September, 2015 – “14-Year-Old Jax Boy Killed Mom”
- The Florida Times-Union, 22 September, 2015 – “Jacksonville Teenager Facing Adult Charges”
- News 4 Jax, 24 January, 2019 – “Teen Pleads Guilty in Stabbing Death of Jacksonville Mother”
- News 4 Jax, 22 February, 2019 – “Teen to be Held Until He’s 21”