‘My mother was a wonderful woman,’ daughter writes as dad sentenced to life for her murder

A New Orleans man who was convicted this month of killing his ex-wife in front of their children was sentenced Thursday (Jan. 25) to a mandatory life sentence in prison.

Ronald Mitchell Sr., 39, shot Derice Bailey, 35, in the head and chest as they stood in the kitchen of her Aero Street home on Dec. 2, 2016.

The couple, which was attempting reconciliation, were arguing over Mitchell’s accusations of her infidelity. Her friends went to the home to attempt to mediate the dispute. Mitchell brandished a .38-caliber revolver and ordered the friends out of the house. They called 911.

Their children, then ages 9 and 13, remained inside with their parents, pleading with their father as he shot their mother. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responding to the 911 call were outside the house and heard the gunshots. Inside, Mitchell put the pistol down, walked out of the house and surrendered, later confessing to his deed, according to trial evidence.

At trial, Mitchell’s attorney argued that it was a case of self-defense, saying a man he could not identify was hiding in the garage.

The jury deliberated less than 15 minutes on Jan. 12, in finding Mitchell guilty as charged of second-degree murder and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The couple’s daughter, who witnessed the homicide with her younger brother, wrote a letter to the court as impact testimony, telling the judge that she loves her mother and father.

“My mother was a wonderful woman. If you met her you would have thought the same thing,” she wrote to 24th Judicial District Judge E. Adrian Adams.

Judge Adams then sentenced Mitchell to the mandatory life sentence for the murder and 20 years for the firearm charge. Judge Adams ran the sentences concurrently.

Mitchell was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a 2003 conviction of the simple robbery of a Metairie business. He received a 5-year prison sentence for that crime.

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Molly Massey prosecuted the case.