Durham Man To Claim He Sleepwalked When Son Killed

A North Carolina man accused of killing his 4-year-old son plans to argue he was unconscious at the time of the crime.

Joseph Anthony Mitchell rejected a plea agreement Friday and pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. His trial is set for March.

Young Blake Mitchell was suffocated three years ago in the family's Durham home. Two other children told investigators they fought off their father as he tried to cover their mouths or faces.

Defense attorney Jay Ferguson has filed notice that Mitchell plans to use the so-called "sleepwalking defense" at his trial. That's when defendants argue they're not guilty of a crime because they were sleepwalking and weren't aware they had done anything wrong.


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