|Birth: ||Dec. 24, 1938|
|Death: ||Aug. 3, 2013|
Information obtained from article by Phil Luciano of the Journal Star on August 13, 2013 and from the Oakley Mitchell Obituary by East Lawn Funeral Home, Bloomington, Illinois.
Oakley Thomas Mitchell died at his home in Secor, Illinois at the age of 74 years old. He was born to Oakley Elmer Mitchell and Virginia May Abels on December 24, 1938 in Missouri. He had three siblings: Geneva May Mitchell Overby (1937-2006), Wayne Mitchell, and James Irwin Mitchell (1943-1944) and three half sisters: Janice Kellerhall (1946-2012), Tess Scott (1953-1985), and Emma Orr.
He was widowed and had three children Charles Mitchell of Secor, Illinois, Darlene, (Jim) Jordan of Heyworth and Thomas Mitchell of Rowen Oak. He worked for more than 30 years as a millwright for Catepillar, Inc. He alwo was active in politics, serving as Woodford County Democratic Chairman. For his party work, he was rewarded with an invitation to one of the Bill Clinton inaugurals, and had his picture taken with the president.
He also raised crops along Woodford County Road. Often, the farm functioned as an informal work farm for the poor. When Oakley ran into people down on their luck, he'd offer them a chance to turn things around. Sometimes, they'd harvest vegetables for charities. Eventually, after earning enough money to get back on their feet, his guests would leave.
Mr. Mitchell stopped farming two years ago, due to ill health, because of myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease that causes severe muscle fatigue. He still would have company in the down-and-outers, allowing them to stay at his home. None took advantage of his generosity until the beginning of August of 2013.
Mr. Mitchell reached out to a woman who fed him a sob story at a bingo hall. After years of putting others' lives back together, the 74-year-old ended up dismembered on his rural Secor farm. Two people-including the bingo-hall woman, who brought two children to live on the property have been charged with his murder.
Rayshawn Lamar Johnson, 23, a Bloomington resident with ties to Indianapolis. He was the boyfriend of the Bingo hall woman whose name is Vishawn Mills. Vishawn was acting as caretaker for Mr. Mitchell, and her boy friend, Rayshwan, allegedly shot Mitchell dead and dismembered and attempted to burn the body before Vishawn allegedly helped him get rid of the dismembered torso by dumping it into the Mackinaw River. More remains were found on Oakley Mitchell's property.
He enjoyed bingo, farming, fishing, and helping others. He was a member of the Union, Lay Baptist Minister, and he was a Democratic Chairman for Woodford County.
Visitation will be from 1:00 pm until the 2:00 pm service on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The Reverend Ferguson will officiate.
Memorial checks can be made to the Estate of Oakley T. Mitchell. Please mail checks to East Lawn Funeral Home, 1102 Airport Rd. Bloomington, IL 61704 in care of Darlene Jordan. For more information call the funeral home at 309-663-8842. Sign the online guest book at www.eastlawn-bloomington.com.
Plans are for cremation and inurnment at the Veterans site in Leavenworth, Kansas Veterans Cemetery.
Oakley Mitchell's generosity and kindness will be missed. He was a loving father, and his dedication to helping those in need will be memorialized.
UPDATE: November 8, 2013
By The Associated Press
EUREKA- A Bloomington man has pleaded guilty in Woodford County Circuit Court to first-degree murder in the death of a rural Secor man.
Rayshawn Lamar Johnson on Friday admitted to shooting 74-year-old Oakley Mitchell at his home last August, burning and dismembering his body and dumping it into the Mackinaw River.
The Journal Star in Peoria reports Johnson did not enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors and could be sentenced to life in prison when he appears in court Jan. 6.
State's Attorney Greg Minger told Judge John Huschen the 23-year-old Johnson argued with Mitchell on Aug. 2 before calling his girlfriend, Vishawn Mills, to tell her he was going to kill Mitchell. Mills helped Johnson dispose of Mitchell's body.
Mills was indicted Thursday on murder charges.
UPDATE: January 20, 2015
By Laura Nightengale of the Journal Star
Posted Jan. 20, 2015 @ 10:41 am
Updated Jan 20, 2015 at 11:00 AM
EUREKA — A Bloomington woman entered into a plea deal that dismissed multiple first degree murder charges the day her trial was set to begin.
Vishawn Mills, 25, pleaded guilty to mutilating a human body and concealing a homicide in a partially negotiated plea agreement with the State’s Attorney. The former charge was amended from dismemberment of a body, and three additional counts of first degree murder were dropped.
The agreement, accepted by Associate Judge Michael Stroh, capped Mills’ sentence at 20 years, for which she will be eligible for day-for-day “good time” credit.
She was accused of helping to plan and cover up the 2013 murder of Oakley Mitchell of rural Secor. Mitchell was shot multiple times as he sat in his motorized wheelchair in his home. His body was then moved to a burn pile in the yard, his charred remains dumped in the Mackinaw River to be found in the following weeks.
Mills and her co-defendant, Rayshawn Johnson, were arrested in Indianapolis Aug. 7, 2013, and brought back to Woodford County where both were charged with murder, dismemberment and concealing a homicide.
She pleaded guilty to crimes related to the cover-up, including the burning and disposal of Mitchell’s body, breaking down in tears when the judge read the offense of mutilation.
Charges directly related to Mitchell’s death were dismissed.
Johnson’s recent lack of cooperation, State’s Attorney Greg Minger said, directly led to Mills’s plea deal.
Johnson, who shot and killed Mitchell, was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty without a deal with prosecutors in November 2013. Johnson cooperated with investigators from the time of his arrest to his sentencing but refused prosecutors in the case against Mills.
Mills would have faced 21 years to life in prison had she stood trial and been convicted on all charges.
Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 3 when she will face a minimum of six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Laura Nightengale can be reached at 686-3181 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lauranight.
Read more: http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150120/News/150129962#ixzz3Pm7H9G2X
UPDATE MARCH 4, 2015 Vishawn Mills gets 18 years in August 2013 mutilation of Secor man's body
By Journal Star news services
Posted Mar. 4, 2015 at 9:08 AM
Updated Mar 4, 2015 at 9:13 AM
EUREKA — A 25-year-old Bloomington woman has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for concealing a homicide and mutilating a body.
Vishawn Mills admitted to covering up the August 2013 slaying of 74-year-old Oakley Mitchell of Secor. He was shot and his body was burned and dumped in the Mackinaw River. Mitchell’s remains were found at his Woodford County home and along the river that divides Woodford and McLean counties.
Mills was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years on the mutilation charge and four years on the homicide concealment charge with credit for time served.
First-degree murder charges against her were dropped as part of a plea agreement.
Mills faced up to 20 years in prison after striking a deal with prosecutors. Mills pleaded guilty to crimes related to the cover up of Mitchell’s death, admitting that she helped burn and then dispose of Mitchell’s body.
The 18-year combined sentence will be eligible for day-for-day “good time” credit.
Mills’ boyfriend, Rayshawn Johnson, admitted he shot Mitchell and pleaded guilty without a deal in November 2013. Johnson is serving 50 years in prison for murder; his sentence is not eligible for “good time” credit.
UPDATE MARCH 2015
EUREKA — A Bloomington woman who pleaded guilty in January to concealing a homicide and mutilating a human body was sentenced Tuesday to 18 years in prison.
Vishawn Mills, 25, was accused of covering up the August 2013 death of Oakley Mitchell, an elderly Secor man whose remains were found at his home and under a bridge just south of Kappa on U.S. 251. Murder charges were dismissed against her as part of the plea deal.
Mills' boyfriend, Rayshawn Johnson, is serving 50 years for murder.
In handing down the 14 years for mutilation and four years for concealing the death, Associate Judge Michael Stroh said some parts of Mills' story that she feared for her life if she contacted police were not believable.
Citing at least six times when Mills could have disclosed the murder, Stroh told Mills his decision centered one issue: "Did you come forward because of guilt or fear of being caught?"
Mills' admission that she paid for manicures for her two young daughters with money she took from Mitchell's bank account after his death also failed to impress the judge.
In her testimony Tuesday, Mills explained how the 74-year-old man she met at a bingo game was murdered. The two exchanged phone numbers and she moved into his home after he offered to help her while she went to nursing school, she said.
But an ongoing discord between Oakley and Johnson erupted on Aug. 1, 2013, she said, over Oakley's insistence that Johnson sleep in a shed outside the house.
Mills said she heard five gunshots while she was in the bathroom.
"When I came out, he was holding the gun and Mr. Oakley was slumped over his computer," said Mills.
Mills said Johnson dragged the victim's body outside and set fire to it. She and Jonson took her two children to a hotel and returned to Secor the following day.
Seeing portions of the body still intact, Johnson loaded the remains in the trunk of his car. She followed in Oakley's car.
"He drives to some bridge, pops the trunk, gun in hand, took the body and threw it over the bridge," said Mills. When Johnson's car stalled, it was abandoned and the two left in Oakley's car.
A fisherman found the remains in the Mackinaw River on Aug. 3, 2013.
After the murder, the pair made two trips to Indianapolis where both had family. Mills' mother, Darlene Graves, testified that Johnson confessed to her that he had killed Mitchell "because he was disrespectful of me."
Mills disclosed the murder to Indianapolis police Detective Al Watson, who is a family friend. He testified Tuesday that Mills' help in locating Johnson "brought this case to an end within days."
Oakley's daughter Darlene Jordan testified her father was known for helping people. "He took in everybody," said Jordan.
Woodford County State's Attorney Greg Minger asked for 20 years for Mills, saying "I don't believe for a minute she didn't know what was going to happen that night" to Mitchell.
Defense lawyers Jane Foster and Mike Malin sought six years for the mutilation and probation on the concealment. Malin said her involvement was limited to following Johnson's orders to pick up the shell casings and hand him the towels he used to start the fire on the victim's body.
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Oakley Elmer Mitchell (1913 - 1999)
Virginia May Abels Mitchell Miller Keling (1920 - 1973)
Charles Darren Mitchell (1966 - 2015)*
Geneva May Mitchell Overby (1937 - 2006)*
Oakley Thomas Mitchell (1938 - 2013)
James Irwin Mitchell (1943 - 1944)*
Janice Lea Miller Kellerhals (1946 - 2012)**
Mary Montess Mitchell Scott (1953 - 1985)**
Note: cremation with inurnment due to murder and dismemberment
Leavenworth National Cemetery
Created by: Heattown
Record added: Aug 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 115933293